Oedipus the King as a Tragedy Essay

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Many things can describe a tragedy. However, according to definition of a tragedy by Aristotle, there are only five. The play has to have a tragic hero, preferably of noble stature. Second, the tragic hero must have a tragic flaw. Because of that flaw, the hero falls from either power or death. Due to the fall, the tragic hero discovers something. Finally, there must be catharsis in the minds of the audience. Oedipus Rex qualifies as a tragedy. It fits all the characteristics as defined by Aristotle. The tragic hero of a play is a man of some social standing and personal reputation, but sufficiently like ourselves in terms of his weaknesses that we feel fear and pity when a tragic flaw, rather than an associate, causes his…show more content…
Oedipus makes decisions publicly for all to hear, making reconsideration difficult for a proud person such as himself. When Creon returns with information from the oracle concerning the ills of Thebes and wishes to tell Oedipus privately, as we learn later that it could be bad news for Oedipus. Oedipus tells Creon, "Let them all hear it. It is for them I suffer, more than for myself." This was the first time that Oedipus is confronted with the idea that he might have fulfilled the prophecy. He is the one that is named as the killer of Laius. Oedipus directs any inhabitant of Thebes that know of any facts of Laius' murder to come forward without fear of reprisal, concurrently forbidding the withholding of information. Oedipus reaffirms his stand to avenge the murdered king promising the consequences do not diminish because of one's position: "And as for me, this curse applies no less If it should turn out that the culprit is my guest here, Sharing my hearth." Oedipus has said all of this before knowing any evidence. If he had just one clue that he could have been the unwitting culprit, would he have acted differently? As a strongly principled man, Oedipus, like Socrates when faced with compromising his principles, chooses death over compromise. When Oedipus realizes he may in fact be the culprit, he says "You are aware, I hope, that what you say means death for me, or exile at the least." Oedipus's quickness to take a position causes him to
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