Oedipus the King: A Greek Tragedy Essay

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A tragedy by definition is “a drama which recounts an important and casually related series of events in the life of a person of significance, such events culminating in an unhappy catastrophe, the whole treated with great dignity and seriousness';. The Greek tragedies are plays based on myths which were well known and enjoyed by audiences. Most of the plays encompassed certain elements that Aristotle identified in his Poetics. The five Aristotelian elements for a tragedy are: 1. The tragedy must make the audience feel fear and pity toward the actions that take place on stage, and the play should inspire the audience to live better lives; 2. The hero must be of high importance in his society (king, god, etc.), and possess a …show more content…
The gods have cursed Thebes because the murderer of the former King, Laius, was never punished. Oedipus vows to avenge the death of Laius by finding and killing the murderer. This is ironic because Oedipus is the killer of Laius, and the audience knows this because they are already familiar with mythological background. This type of irony is known as dramatic irony, which is an important element in any Greek tragedy. The reversal in this play is most definitely when Oedipus hopes that his investigation of Laius’ murderer will bring him and his kingdom happiness; when in fact, the complete opposite of this transpires and the conclusion is catastrophic. The plot itself follows Aristotle’s’ characteristics of the unity of Action, Time, and Place. The action is unquestionably a series of closely related events because all of the main incidents sequentially occur one right after the other. The plot’s time is most definitely within 24 hours, and the setting does occur in the same place (in the palace of Thebes). The other two elements that Aristotle includes in his definition of tragedy are: the language of the drama, and whether or not the drama evokes feelings of fear or pity for the action that is taking place on stage. I’m sure that Oedipus the King made

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