Aristotles Theory on Tragedies and Oedipus Rex

Topics: Tragedy, Poetics, Sophocles Pages: 2 (612 words) Published: October 29, 2012
"In respect of Character there are four things to be aimed at” for a tragic hero according to Aristotle. Theses four traits include moral goodness, propriety, realism, and consistency. He also says that a tragedy must invoke catharsis, the purgation of the emotions pity and fear. A good example of an ancient Greek tragedy is the Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. The story of Oedipus Rex greatly supports Aristotle's claims about tragedy. It’s obvious that to be a hero one must be good. Aristotle adds that “any speech or action that manifests moral purpose of any kind will be expressive of character: the character will be good if the purpose is good.” This means that, although what the hero does may be viewed as immoral of criminal, if his reason for doing so is expressed to the audience as righteous, he will be viewed as heroic. Secondly, he must be proper, “one who is highly renowned and prosperous." In ancient Greece this is true, they would only view someone who is well known and wealthy as a hero, while from a modern viewpoint a common man, or woman can be seen as a better hero as we can more easily relate with them. The Greeks were taught that a hero must be wealthy and powerful person to maintain order in there society. Its improper for a common man to be hero in their eyes, and this keeps the Greek citizens from rebelling against the city for something that they would think to be righteous. Aristotle also claims "There is a type of manly valour but valour in a woman, or unscrupulous cleverness, is inappropriate," though, this is inconsistent with his description of goodness in a hero where he says "Even a woman may be good." Next the hero must be realistic in order for the story to seem possible, and finally he must be consistent in his actions and motivations. In order for catharsis to happen, the plot must give the audience pity and fear. The emotion of pity is “aroused by unmerited misfortune,” and for fear, “by the misfortune of a man like ourselves.” This...
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