Oedipus Rex

898 words 4 pages
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 the case of Oedipus the mistake made is him thinking he can change his fate and the actions he takes once he learns of his fate.
The remaining parts of the perfect tragedy of thought, diction, spectacle, and melody are also witnessed in Oedipus Rex. This includes mainly how the information concerning the plot and characters is relayed to the audience. It should be done with appropriate words and songs and in a beautiful manner. This all seems very relative to the time and place of the play, but is also universal in that it is important to appeal to the audience in an intelligent manner.
The final key piece to an ideal tragedy presented by Aristotle is that of catharsis. This should be a way for the audience to purge itself, going through pity and fear to arrive at pleasure. Aristotle wanted the audience to feel safe and appropriate amounts of these emotions in order to give them experience for their own lives from the safety of the audience. What exactly is meant by the cleansing nature of tragedy can probably be interpreted in a number of different ways, but that audiences have enjoyed sharing in the tragedy of Oedipus is something that has withstood since it was first performed. That we are still reading and enjoying the play today must be some proof that Aristotle was on to something in holding this play up as an example. Finally, there isn’t much doubt that Aristotle would have considered Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex the ideal tragedy as it


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