Oedipus the King an Aristotle’s Tragedy

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Oedipus The King

The Greek drama Oedipus is clearly a Aristotle’s tragedy. It definitely meets the five main criteria for a tragedy: a tragic hero of noble birth, a tragic flaw, a hero‘s downfall, a moment of remorse, and a catharsis. Aristotle in his Poetics defines Oedipus as being a definite example of the form and purpose of Aristotelian tragedy. In tragedies the Greeks dramatized climactic events in the lives of heroes, and Oedipus story is no different. By using many different literary devices it brings moral dilemmas of action and motive to the public stage. The action is set out over the timeframe of one day, which will according to the prophet Tiresias will bring Oedipus birth and death.

Oedipus clearly meets the first of the five criteria because Oedipus the son of Laius, who was king of Thebes. Is the main protagonist and within his character lies a tragic flaw. This tragic flaw is of course Oedipus killing his father Laius, and then marrying Jocasta, his mother. Oedipus and the rest of the characters discover this mistake that was actually made long, long ago and cannot be reversed. He unintentionally is the architect of his own downfall. The strengths that once lead him to solve the riddle behind the sphinx later lead him to his own destruction. In the words of the priest; “you helped us stand, only to fall once more.” Which lies at the root of the plot. It was fury that lead him to kill Laius by mistake. Even at the beginning of the story, when we are told that Oedipus is the son of Polybus, he is still of noble birth and Polybus is king of Corinth. We realize that these actions have taken place much earlier in the story than the characters do. However, both of these events actually took many years ago.

The hero’s downfall in Oedipus The King is when Oedipus, Jocasta, and all the other characters in the story realize that Oedipus actually did murder Laius and that Jocasta is indeed his mother as well as his wife. This occurs rather...
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