Oedipus Rex

Topics: Tragedy, Sophocles, Drama Pages: 4 (1350 words) Published: March 8, 2011
Greek Tragedy
The Greek drama Oedipus Rex is clearly a tragedy. It definitely meets the five main criteria for a tragedy: a tragic hero of noble birth, a tragic flaw, a fall from grace, a moment of remorse, and catharsis. Interestingly, even though Oedipus the King came before Poetics, Sophocles’ play illustrates Aristotle’s rules for classical drama. Oedipus the King particularly displays a tragic emotion, a tragic character, and a tragic fall. Aristotle also writes that such a drama ought to have a change "accompanied by a reversal, or by recognition, or by both". Aristotle also points out terms such as catharsis, which can be said that is the purification of one’s soul. He argues in his Poetics that catharsis is achieved through emotions of pity or fear, which is created in the audience as they witness the tragedy of a character who suffers unjustly, but is not entirely innocent. Recognition is a change from ignorance to knowledge leading either to friendship or hostility depending on whether the character is marked with good fortune or bad. Reversal or peripertia is a change from one circumstance to its exact opposite. The story has the unity of time, place and action since the tragedy takes place all in the same day, in one scene and develops only one plot. Classical tragedy also involves portraying the reversal of a situation, self recognition from a character, and human suffering. The three unities, noble character, and a complex plot, are some of the criteria from Aristotle’s Poetics that make Oedipus Rex a classic example of Greek tragedy. The festival, called the City Dionysia, was a religious festival in honour of the god Dionysos. Watching theatre was not just a pleasure, but part of a religious duty. And what's more, it was also a fundamental part of the display of civic identity. Spectacle is one of the six components of tragedy, occupying the category of the mode of imitation. Spectacle includes all aspects of the tragedy that...
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