Mankind's Place in the World: Oedipus

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Mankind's Place In the World:
Oedipus

Aristotle's Poetics: Comedy and Epic and Tragedy comments on the reflection of reality by it's very imitation. As with comedy being an imitation of the inferior and ugly, the role of the epic and tragedy follow the roles of characters of great importance. The idea being that only those of importance are even noticeable in the eyes of the gods, since mankind is relatively insignificant and are nothing more than an amusement to the gods.

As the children address Oedipus with remarks such as “You are not one of the immortal gods, we know; Yet we have come to you to make our prayer as to the man surest in mortal ways and wisest in the ways of God.” (1. Prologue. 35. 43.), the audience can understand Oedipus's role as king and the respect to his power, as with an irony on the fate bestowed upon our hero. As the fate of Oedipus is that of the tragic hero, Aristotle's descriptions of simple and complex plots within a tragedy lead to such “events that are fearful and pathetic" (Aristotle. 70). As Aristotle said that a tragedy should evoke two emotions: terror and pity, such that the audience is aroused with these feelings with the fate of Oedipus, but can relate and understand logically how such events took place.

As Oedipus questions for the identity of Laios's murder, it is said by Oedipus to Choragos, “An honest question. But no man in the world can make the gods do more than the gods will.” (Soph. 1. 1.65. 46.) A line that remarks directly on the insignificance of mankind compared to the will of the gods, but later as Oedipus is in conversation with the prophet Teiresias, its mankind's helplessness that is subtle in Teiresias words “How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there's no help in truth! I knew this well, but did not act on it; else I should not have come.” (Soph. 1. 1. 100. 48.) The truth of the fate at which Oedipus would succumb was inevitable because nothing can escape fate, least of all mankind....
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