Oedipus Rex

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Aristotle said “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is the best Greek play ever written. The audiences might agree with Aristotle depending upon their understanding of the “healthy confusion” of both pleasure and perplexity portrayed. “Oedipus Rex” is one immense riddle that lifts the audience’s minds’ to a higher understanding of the human life. Greek culture would call this: Catharsis, which is purification of the mind. Thematic ideas in the play are derived from the axial age, which concentrated on logos, reason, abstraction, and a mathematical form of mind. Greeks believe that people should live life logically. The play follows Aristotle’s definition of tragedy, with Oedipus Rex being the protagonist and tragic hero. His agonizing fall is ironic and teaches the audience what not to do, learning from his suffering. There is a feeling of contentment when one begins to understand the significance behind the disquieting plot of the play through the story of Oedipus Rex, life aspects of fate verses free will and the value of truth are conveyed, both creating metaphysical questioning of moral law. The play opens with Oedipus Rex, the current king of Thebes searching for the killer of the previous king Laius’s. Teiresias, the blind prophet, informs Oedipus that Oedipus himself killed Laius. Deeply troubled by the news Oedipus seeks aid from his wife Iocasta. She tells Oedipus of a prophecy. The prophecy is said that Iocasta and King Laius were to have a son who would kill Laius and sleep with her. Iocasta believes the prophecy not to be true however over the course of the play Oedipus begins to investigate these events. He discovers he was abandoned as an infant and adopted by a new family. As the play unfolds Iocasta realizes that she is Oedipus’s mother and that Laius was his father. Due to the horrifying news Iocasta takes her life. Oedipus also puts everything together and realizes he has conceived children with his own mother. Traumatized by the series of...
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