The Invention Of Poetics In Oedipus Rex By Aristotle

752 Words 4 Pages
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who spent many of his years writing and teaching about western philosophy. In one of his famous books, Poetics, Aristotle outlined the key features to having a perfect tragedy. Although Aristotle created these so called guidelines to a perfect tragedy, Poetics aspects were mainly based on and came from the tragic play Oedipus Rex therefore, Oedipus Rex is an illustration of Poetics. In this paper, we will discuss how Aristotle’s Poetics is conveyed through Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex by Aristotle’s major tenets.
Aristotle’s first tenet is imitation in terms of art. Aristotle claims that art should mirror life and portray life, meaning art should be realistic. He also claims that there are two types of imitation,
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The external part, which includes spectacular presentment, is how the play is put on and shown to the audience. The three internal parts- plot, character, and thought- seem to be extensively analysed with plot being the most important. Aristotle claims the plot must be a whole and unity in terms of action, time and place. The tragedy should happen over a period of one day and one place, unified and whole. The plot must also be realistic with probability which connects back to the imitation of art. Also, without probability, the plot would not suffice to evoke pity and fear because there are no risks to be taken. Next, the main character should be of a higher status with a tragic flaw. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is the main character or hero because he is superior not only because of social standing, but also because of his smarts; he is the only person who could solve the Sphinx 's riddle. Although Oedipus is superior, he is far from perfect as he stubbornly refuses to believe Teiresias 's warnings and, although seems to be a good father, unwittingly fathered children in incest. Again, the main character must have a tragic flaw or as Aristotle put it, a hamartia or mistake. Oedipus ' mistake or tragic flaw was killing his father at the crossroads and although it was made unknowingly, there was no way of escaping his fate which makes it tragic and evokes pity and fear into the audience. Lastly, …show more content…
The internal and external parts of a tragedy along with imitation, pity and fear, and cathartic purging can be seen throughout the entire play and it’s what makes Oedipus Rex so popular. With Oedipus Rex in mind, Aristotle put forth the components he found in western philosophy and created a guideline to a perfect tragedy. Poetics will continue to serve as a guideline to a perfect tragedy and Oedipus Rex will continue to be that perfect

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