A “Moving tragedy is a drama of a serious, distinguished and dignified character. It describes the development of a conflict between protagonist and a superior force (such as destiny, circumstances, society or some hamartia) filled with irony and reaches a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity and fear causing the viewers to experience a feeling of catharsis.”
According to the above definition, the factors which make Oedipus Rex a moving tragedy, include the tragic character of the protagonist, his hamartia, the dramatic irony and the feeling of catharsis.
Aristotle gives his conception of the tragic character in the Poetics as:
“A protagonist should be morally and intellectually sound. Someone who is not pre-eminently good and just yet whose misfortune is broad about not by vice or depravity but by some error or frailty”.
Oedipus Rex is a great and successful example of a tragic hero. He is a man of royal birth possessing excellent qualities of character; a good king, well-wisher of his people, a man of integrity, an honest administrator, an outstanding intellect, a loving father and a pious man who hates impurity. He is honoured as a saviour and is worshipped by his subjects. Even before people come to him with a petition, he is aware of their sufferings while saying:
“I was not sleeping, you are not waking me. No, I have been in tears for a long while, and in my restless thought walked many ways. In all my search, I found one helpful course, and that I have taken: I have sent Creon, son of Menoikeus, brother of the queen, to Delphi, Apollo’s place of revelation, to learn there, if he can, what act or pledge of mine may save the city”. And then further more acting on Creon’s advice, he has already sent for Teiresias to seek his guidance. He also utters a curse upon the... [continues]
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