Oedipus the King

1164 Words Mar 29th, 2010 5 Pages
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once identified the key ingredients of the tragedies that his culture is so famous for. These ingredients include a character with a fatal flaw, the realization of the fault for a particular problem and the final sudden reversal of fortune. For many tragedies, the fatal flaw is demonstrated as excessive pride, which usually serves as the driving force of the play’s action. It is common, even beneficial, to have pride in oneself, but when it becomes expressed as arrogance or in defiance of one’s fate, it is considered excessive and often leads men to engage in activities that will lead to their downfall. Aristotle (1998) stated “the tragic hero falls into bad fortune because of some flaw in his …show more content…
In the process of trying to avoid fate, he has committed some of the greatest sins imaginable to him – defiled his mother’s bed, murdered his father and spawned monstrous children born of incest. Rather than face the truth and unable to take the severe wound to his pride, Oedipus stabbed out his eyes with broaches and walked away from Thebes forever, thereby sealing his doom through further prideful actions. The sudden reversal of fortune has Oedipus walking away from Thebes a blind, homeless beggar rather than the respected king he should have been based upon his more noble qualities. While this is a surprise, it is nevertheless a logical possible conclusion to the events that have taken place. This concept is brought out to greater extent in the film through the change in setting. Pasolini begins and ends the film in a contemporary setting to when the film was made. While the play suggests that Oedipus went wandering into the desert a self-blinded beggar man, the film indicates that he has been wandering a tortured individual for much longer than a normal lifespan.
Thus, the elements of classic tragedy are carried throughout both play and film to slightly different interpretations. In both, a fatal flaw within the character of Oedipus drives his actions that eventually seal his own doom. Seen as it is throughout the various elements of the classic tragedian format of first
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