Oedipus And Aristotle Essay

Oedipus And Aristotle Essay-67
In his famous "Poetics," the philosopher Aristotle laid the foundations for literary criticism of Greek tragedy.His famous connection between "pity and fear" and "catharsis" developed into one of Western philosophy's greatest questions: why is it that people are drawn to watching tragic heroes suffer horrible fates?Second, Oedipus himself and the Chorus both note that Oedipus will continue after the tragedy's conclusion.

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The audience fears for Oedipus because nothing he does can change the tragedy's outcome.

Finally, Oedipus' downfall elicits a great sense of pity from the audience.

Finally, Oedipus earns royal respect at Thebes when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx.

As a gift for freeing the city, Creon gives Oedipus dominion over the city.

Though Sophocles crafted Oedipus long before Aristotle developed his ideas, Oedipus fits Aristotle's definition with startling accuracy.

The Six Elements of a Tragedy in “Oedipus Rex” Aristotle’s “The Poetics” describes the process of a tragedy.In effect, Oedipus is dead, for he receives none of the benefits of the living; at the same time, he is not dead by definition, and so his suffering cannot end.Oedipus receives the worst of both worlds between life and death, and he elicits greater pity from the audience.First, by blinding himself, as opposed to committing suicide, Oedipus achieves a kind of surrogate death that intensifies his suffering.He comments on the darkness - not just the literal inability to see, but also religious and intellectual darkness - that he faces after becoming blind.Instead, the character's flaw must result from something that is also a central part of their virtue, which goes somewhat arwry, usually due to a lack of knowledge.By defining the notion this way, Aristotle indicates that a truly tragic hero must have a failing that is neither idiosyncratic nor arbitrary, but is somehow more deeply imbedded -- a kind of human failing and human weakness.The Greek term "hamartia," typically translated as "tragic flaw," actually is closer in meaning to a "mistake" or an "error," "failing," rather than an innate flaw.In Aristotle's understanding, all tragic heroes have a "hamartia," but this is not inherent in their characters, for then the audience would lose respect for them and be unable to pity them; likewise, if the hero's failing were entirely accidental and involuntary, the audience would not fear for the hero.Clearly, for Aristotle's theory to work, the tragic hero must be a complex and well-constructed character, as in Sophocles' Oedipus the King.As a tragic hero, Oedipus elicits the three needed responses from the audience far better than most; indeed, Aristotle and subsequent critics have labeled Oedipus the ideal tragic hero.

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