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Oedipus Rex, And Jean Racine's Tragic Tragedy

Decent Essays
According to the great French playwright, Jean Racine, “Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” (“Quotes about Tragedy”). Racine’s observation would likely be embraced by the playwrights of ancient Greece, where plays were written in the style of three major categories: comedy, tragedy, or satyr play. According to Jacobus, Greek tragedies were the first plays to be performed in competition (Jacobus, 30). Plays are classified as tragedies when they present a powerful protagonist undergoing extreme suffering, the theme of fate, and the end-goal of a catharsis. Tragic heroes are defined by their easily identified character development pattern, as well as their tragic flaw. Oedipus Rex is the perfect example of a tragedy, and the protagonist, Oedipus, is the quintessential tragic hero.
Tragedies are defined by their morose plotlines, and Oedipus Rex is no exception. Throughout the course of the play, Oedipus’s world crumbles around him. At the most climactic moment, Oedipus learns that his family tried to kill him as a baby, he murdered his own father, and he has been sleeping with his biological mother, which fulfilled one of the many prophecies in the present in the play. After learning about this, Oedipus proceeds to stab his eyes out when he finds his wife/mother hanging. This plotline follows the traditional guidelines of a tragedy, wherein a powerful and influential protagonist is reduced to ruins via the hands of fate.
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