Oedipus Rex Research Paper

Topics: Sophocles, Oedipus, Tragedy Pages: 7 (2415 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Dramatic Research Paper (Grade 92)
“Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles

Introduction/Thesis
“Oedipus Rex” was a Greek Tragedy written by Sophocles in the fifth century BC. It was the first of a trilogy of plays surrounding the life of Oedipus. Sophocles wrote over 120 plays approximately 100 years before Aristotle even defined a tragedy and the tragic hero. Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy is “… an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude; in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties; acted not narrated; by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions” (Kennedy and Gioa 2010). According to Aristotle there were six elements to a tragedy: the plot, the character, the thought, the spectacle, the diction, and the music. He believed that “[t]he plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy; character holds the second place” (Aristotle 1999). The character (tragic hero) being the second most important element of the tragedy, he must be of nobility, he is not infallible and his downfall is due to an error in judgment, and is capable of making his own choices and, most important, accepting the consequences for those choices. “Oedipus Rex” is not only a classic example of Aristotle’s definition of a tragic plot; Oedipus (the protagonist) has all the characteristics of a tragic hero. Oedipus is the son of a king and eventually becomes a King; his character is also that of a nobleman by possessing high moral virtues of determination and tenaciousness; these self-same traits of his moral character later becomes arrogance, pride, and pig-headedness that lead to his downfall; because of these choices, he accepts the consequences for his actions.

Outline

I.Introduction/Thesis
II.The Tragic Hero’s Nobility
III.Tragic Flaws
A.Arrogance and Pride
B.Arrogance and Paranoia
C.Pride
D.Pig-headedness
IV.Downfall
V.Conclusion

Dramatic Research Paper

“Oedipus the King” by Sophocles

“Oedipus Rex” was a Greek Tragedy written by Sophocles in the fifth century BC. It was the first of a trilogy of plays surrounding the life of Oedipus. Sophocles wrote over 120 plays approximately 100 years before Aristotle even defined a tragedy and the tragic hero. Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy is “… an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude; in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties; acted not narrated; by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions” (Kennedy and Gioa 2010). According to Aristotle there were six elements to a tragedy: the plot, the character, the thought, the spectacle, the diction, and the music. He believed that “[t]he plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy; character holds the second place” (Aristotle 1999). The character (tragic hero) being the second most important element of the tragedy, he must be of nobility, he is not infallible and his downfall is due to an error in judgment, and is capable of making his own choices and, most important, accepting the consequences for those choices. “Oedipus Rex” is not only a classic example of Aristotle’s definition of a tragic plot; Oedipus (the protagonist) has all the characteristics of a tragic hero. Oedipus is the son of a king and eventually becomes a King; his character is also that of a nobleman by possessing high moral virtues of determination and tenaciousness; these self-same traits of his moral character later becomes arrogance, pride, and pig-headedness that lead to his downfall; because of these choices, he accepts the consequences for his actions.

The play opens with the city of Thebes being besieged by a plague. Oedipus has been the King of Thebes for several years now and showing the characteristics of a perfect citizen and great leader, the citizens of Thebes admired him greatly. After several years of prosperity, the crops...

Bibliography: Aristotle. "Aristotle - Poetics." The Works of Aristotle at LibertyOnline. 1999. http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Aristotle/Poetics.html (accessed May 3, 2012).
Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioa. Literature - An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Pearson, 2010.
Merrill, Eugene H., Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti. The World and The Word. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2003.
Miller, Stephen M. The Complete Guide to the Bible. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing Inc., 2007.
The Holy Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson , 1976.
Unknown. "Lesson 24 - Studies of Oedipus Rex." ENGL 102: Literature and Composition. Spring D 2012. http://bb7.liberty.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_1731752_ (accessed April 25, 2012).
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