Analysis Essay: Oedipus the King

1017 Words Jan 13th, 2018 4 Pages
The play's lasting appeal may be attributed to the fact it encompasses all the classical elements of tragedy as put forth by Aristotle in Poetics nearly a century before it was written. According to Aristotle, tragedy needs to be an imitation of life according to the law of probability or necessity. Tragedy is serious, complete, and has magnitude. It must have a beginning, middle, and end and be spoken in language that is fit for noble characters. Furthermore it must be acted, as opposed to epic poetry, which is narrated. Tragedy shows rather than tells. Finally it must result in the purging of pity and fear, or a catharsis. Tragedy is based in the fundamental order of the universe, it creates a cause-and-effect chain that clearly reveals what may happen at any time or place because that is the way the world operates. Tragedy arouses not only pity but also fear, because the audience can envision themselves within this cause-and-effect chain. Tragedy as a whole is composed of six elements: plot, character, language, thought, spectacle and melody. Melody and language are the media by which the effect of imitation of action is carried out, spectacle is the manner or way the tragedy is carried out, and plot, character and thought are the means that initiate the action. Oedipus the King possesses all of these elements. Aristotle asserts the plot is the most…
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