Elements of Tragedy

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Q: DISCUSS “OEDIPUS REX” AS A TRAGEDY.
Ans:
Aristotle’s views regarding tragedy are mainly based upon the excellencies which “Oedipus Rex” possesses as a tragedy. The play presents an imitation of an action or piece of life, which is serious, complete in itself and also having a certain magnitude. The means employed by Sophocles is language beautified by all available devices. The story is told in a dramatic form with incidents arousing pity and whereby to accomplish the catharsis of such emotions. So we discuss the major traits which erect “Oedipus Rex”head and shoulder above other plays. Aristotle singled out the plot of “Oedipus Rex” for the highest praise and since his time the greatest superlatives have been used for the plot of this tragedy. Coleridge considers that the plot of “Oedipus Rex” is one of the best constructive plots in the world. The most noteworthy feature of the plot of “Oedipus Rex” is its sheer inevitability; such incident arises quite logically out of the one that has gone before. The main action is the discovery of the murderer of Laius and his banishment. In spite of the close link of the cause and effect the play maintains suspense and curiosity throughout the action. Aristotle has highly praised Sophocles, handling of the recognitions (Oedipus comes to know about himself as a murderer) or discovery in this play. Then there are beautiful parallels of events and situations. The song of chorus also contributes in the development and unfolding of the plot of the play. Though there are some flaws and inconsistencies but there are all forgotten in the power an dintensity with which Sophocles moves his story forward. Another important point to note about the plot of “Oedipus Rex” is that like the most Greek plays of ancient times it observes all the three unities;unity of time, unity of place, unity of action. The entire action of the play takes place at the royal palace in the city of Thebes, within twenty-four hours. Similarly, the entire...
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