Oedipus Rex

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The philosopher Aristotle wrote his work Poetics as a deconstruction of aesthetics approximately 50 years after the death of Sophocles, the author of Oedipus Rex. Aristotle was a great admirer of the works of Sophocles and is said to have considered Oedipus Rex to be the perfect tragedy and the basis for his thoughts in Poetics. He defines tragedy as, “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions…Every tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which…show more content…
In Oedipus Rex some of the key incidents are the receipt of the information from the oracle that Laius’ murderer be found, the argument between Oedipus and Creon, and the story Jocasta tells Oedipus about the murder of Laius. This all leads to the metabasis and perpetia, or the shift in the action and recognition, when Oedipus learns that Polybus was not his real father. The climax of Oedipus Rex comes with the stories of the messenger and the herdsman revealing the entire story of how Oedipus ended up in Thebes and how he fulfilled his fate. Aristotle’s next principle is the character, and he tells us the main character should be good, appropriate, consistent, and yet consistently inconsistent. So, very much like a real person that the audience can relate to. There will be a protagonist, the character undergoing the struggle, who is the lead character represented by Oedipus in this play. There is also the antagonist, or the other side of the struggle. This is the bad guy normally, but in Oedipus Rex the thing which Oedipus struggles against is his own fate, making it the antagonist. Oedipus fits Aristotle’s definition of a good protagonist and lead character because he is good but makes mistakes. Throughout the play Oedipus seems to be a good and righteous man who tries to avoid his fate of killing his father and laying with his mother, and is also motivated to save the city where he is King. According to Aristotle there should be some

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