Elements And Characteristics In Oedipus Rex, By Sophocles

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Aristotle is a well-known Greek thinker and philosopher, widely known for tutoring Alexander the Great. Poetics, written by Aristotle, thoroughly analyzes the elements and characteristics which make up tragedies. Aristotle used Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, as a guide or example of what elements a good tragedy contains while writing Poetics. Oedipus Rex fulfills Aristotle’s idea of a perfect tragedy because of multiple aspects of the play, but one very important aspect is the importance of plot. According to Aristotle plot should be whole with rising action, climax, and falling action which is similar to another tenet from Poetics; a tragedy should also have Unity or wholeness of action. In Oedipus Rex there are three main unities; …show more content…
Oedipus displays hubris, or excessive pride, and anger. Oedipus saved Thebes by solving the Sphinx’s riddle and as a reward took the throne, which seems justifiable to be proud of, but he displays hubris when he tries to deny his fate. His fate was to kill his father and to sleep with his mother. He thought by avoiding his birthplace that he avoided his fate, but that was hubris. Oedipus’ anger is seen when he is traveling to Thebes and kills all but one of the men who gave him a difficult time. His anger led him to unknowingly kill his father. Another time the audience sees Oedipus 's anger is when he chastises Creon and Teiresias for bringing bad news. One cannot escape fate which is verified by the end of the …show more content…
In Aristotelian tragedies there is an absence of Deux ex Machina and an importance of probability. The events in Oedipus Rex are believably all chance. No great force or godly intervention interrupted the situation to salvage any characters. The characters were left to spiral into their own realizations.
More tenets that are important to Tragedy are the cathartic purging experienced from the play and the spectacle as an external ingredient. The cathartic purging is the emotional effect or response to something truly tragic. In Oedipus Rex Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus gauges his eyes out in reaction to the realization of their situation. The audience does not see the action; instead a messenger recalls the violence and the audience is left with the effect of what happened.
As one can see Oedipus Rex is a superb example of an Aristotelian tragedy. In Poetics Aristotle explains the major principles that create a tragedy. Each tenet explained in Poetics is clearly represented in Sophocles’ tragedy. Plot, imitation of an action, tragic flaw, “higher” and “lower” types, and recognition and reversal are a few tenets explained by Aristotle that make up a tragedy. The spread of Aristotle’s guideline for a tragedy set the classical notion for what the world knows as today as a

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