Oedipus Rex as Aristotalian Tragedy

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Oedipus Rex as Aristotalian Tragedy

By | October 2010
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One may argue that the Greek playwright, Sophocles modeled his play Oedipus Rex on Aristotle's definition and analysis of tragedy.Since according to Aristotle's definition,

"A tragedy is an imitation of action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished artistic ornaments, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not narrative with incidents that evokes pity and fear of a persons emotions."

Also Aristotle identified the basic six parts a tragedy as being plot, character, thought, melody, diction and spectacle which he considered the least important. Therefore the controversy of Sophocles modeling his play Oedipus Rex on Aristotle's analysis of tragedy can be argued out since the play Oedipus Rex is a classic Aristotelian tragedy. However this conception is totally fallacious since it is a well known fact that Aristotle lived a century after Sophocles. Taking in to account the plot of "Oedipus Rex",it has a recognizable beginning, middle and end as approved by Aristotle in his 'Poetics’. Aristotle prefers complex plot to be more tragic as it consists both peripety and anagnorsis which heighten the tragic effect of the play. According to Aristotle, the plot of "Oedipus Rex" satisfies all the requirements of a good plot in a very nice way.

In fact, Aristotle’s views are mainly based upon the excellences which "Oedipus Rex" possesses as a tragedy. By defination,the beginnig is that which does not presuppose anything else to have gone before it. Although Sophocles' play focuses attention only on the last day of Oedipus' long rule over Thebes, we do not feel the need of any information about what has gone before, when we read the prologue of the play. In fact earlier events are related by Jocasta and Oedipus in the liter part of the play. The middle is that which is necessary and logical sequence of the beginning. The first episode of "Oedipus Rex" is a logical and necessary...

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