The Perfect Aristotelian Tragedy: Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King'

918 Words Jan 28th, 2018 4 Pages
His reasons were based on the structural perfection of the play, in which the protagonist's recognition of his circumstances (anagnorisis) comes at the same moment as his reversal of fortune (peripeteia). But the terms whereby Aristotle defines character in Greek tragedy are slightly harder to work out where is the hubris of Oedipus? An examination of the plot will demonstrate that Oedipus' hubris is manifest in the way in which he sets the plot of the tragedy into motion. The clue to Oedipus' hubris is given at the outset of the play, in the speech at lines 58 through 77. Here, Oedipus is forced as king to take stock of the plague which has fallen upon Thebes the plague itself is considered an omen, which must have been caused by some horrific wrongdoing. Thus Oedipus has given orders to consult the oracle of Apollo, since Apollo was not only the inspirer of prophecy but also the god of pestilence, and thus may give some insight into the mysterious plague. Oedipus phrases his account of his actions in the most lofty and high-minded terms:

My poor, poor children! Surely long ago
I have read your trouble. Stricken, well I know,
Ye all are, stricken sore: yet verily
Not one so stricken to the heart as I.
Your grief, it cometh to each man apart
For his own loss, none other's; but this heart
For thee and me and all of us doth weep.
Wherefore it is not to…
Open Document