Oedipus: A Perfect Tragedy

Topics: Tragedy, Oedipus, Sophocles Pages: 4 (1357 words) Published: October 12, 2014
Humans are highly susceptible to emotions, as they influence thoughts and feelings on everything. A great story toys with the emotions, and emits happiness, sorrow, confusion, and even anger. One of the best playwrights of all time is Sophocles, who implemented pity and fear, along with other elements to create what are considered by Aristotle to be perfect tragedies. A tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in the form of action, not narrative, through pity and fear affecting the purgation of these emotions (Aristotle). Aristotle, after the analysis of several successful plays, created his definition of what a tragedy is, and what it requires in order to be successful. His interpretation of a perfect tragedy is appropriate during this time because he examines the popular plays and tragedies that won competitions in Greece. Sophocles’ genius construction of his universal plot of Oedipus the King resonates a perfect tragedy. Sophocles’ implementation of anagnorisis and peripeteia enhances the idea of irony in the play and introduces a major theme. Catastrophe adds the aspects of hamartia and hubris, along with the element of irony. The well-constructed plot arouses the emotions pity and fear, and achieves the tragic catharsis. Sophocles implements these three different aspects well in his plays, which supports the statement of Oedipus being a perfect tragedy. Oedipus the King contains the imperative key elements of a plot, the anagnorisis and peripeteia. These two parts of plot usually coincide within the story, with the anagnorisis eventually leading up to the moment of peripeteia. Aristotle’s definition of the perfect tragedy is influenced by the changes Oedipus goes through with the anagnorisis and peripeteia. In Oedipus the King, the anagnorisis is the moment that Oedipus learns the truth of his birth, where he gains self-knowledge about who he truly is; he goes from ignorance to knowledge when he is told...
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