Oedipus Rex and Aristotle

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The Six Elements of a Tragedy in “Oedipus Rex”
Aristotle’s “The Poetics” describes the process of a tragedy. It is not the guide per se of writing a tragedy but is the idea’s Aristotle collected while studying tragedies. A tragedy, according to Aristotle, consists of six major points. The first and most important is the plot, which is what all the other points are based on. Such points are: character, language, thought, melody, and spectacle (Aristotle). A prime example of the usage of these parts in a tragic drama is evident in Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex”.

The plot of a tragedy usually consists of a tragic hero’s fall from grace. Aristotle describes plot in two ways a simple plot and a complex one. In a simple plot a fall from grace takes place, but in a complex plot this change is accompanied by a recognition, or a reversal, or both (Aristotle). “Oedipus Rex” involves a complex plot with a recognition. The plot uses cause and effect to bring about the recognition. The plague in Thebes causes Oedipus to call upon the oracle of Delphi. The oracle then tells Oedipus he must banish the murderer of the former king prompting him to call for Teiresias, who says Oedipus is the murderer. Oedipus then unknowingly assumes someone is plotting against him leading to arrival of the only one who knows who killed the former king. This causes the recognition that he truly is the cause of the plague. Character is the second most important part of a tragedy, because it supports the main plot. According to Aristotle, the tragic hero is someone born of noble blood that possesses a certain mind set. The mind set should be one of passion and aspiration to do the right thing; this mindset allows the reader to sympathize with the hero. The hero should go from honored and exalted to pitied and deprived. Also, the tragic hero should have a flaw which causes his catastrophic downfall. . The tragic hero of this drama is Oedipus. He starts out as the king, because...
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