Aristole says that the best example of tragedy is Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Focusing on the “imitation of an action” and the fall of an eminently good hero which creates catharsis of pity, anagnorisis, and recognition, Sophocles composes a prime example of tragedy. Sophocles shows the reader that tragedy is a big deal in Oedipus Rex. Through evaluating the elements of catharsis, anagnorisis, and peripeteia in Oedipus Rex, there is clear evidence to support Aristotle in his statement. By knowing the true definition of a tragedy, it is easy to see that Oedipus Rex has all of the characteristics of being the perfect example of a tragedy.
While reading Oedipus Rex, catharsis, or purification of emotions, is put into the mind of the reader by the use of dramatic irony, in which the reader or audience knows more than the characters themselves. A good example of catharsis in Oedipus Rex would be when King Oedipus releases a flood of emotions after discovering he is the killer of his biological father and husband to his biological mother. He then turns his emotional experience into healing by gouging his eyes out. “Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day, count no man happy till Harding 2
he dies, free of pain at last.”(Chorus, 1683-84).By doing this he releases all of his tragedy and heals himself. Catharsis brings a lot of emotions to the audience and captures their attention and shows them the ending to the story. Anagnorisis meaning recognition, is when the tragic hero suddenly realizes the terrible truth. In Oedipus Rex it happens when the Messenger and the Theban Shepherd make Oedipus realize that he's unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy he's struggled to avoid. One of the things that makes Aristotle think the play is so great is that the anagnoris is directly caused by the peripeteia. The words of the Messenger are what cause Oedipus to summon the Shepherd. The two plot...