Aristotle And Sophocles Essay

921 words - 4 pages

Perfect From Beginning to End"Ah God! It was true! All the prophecies! O Light, may I look on you for the last time! I, Oedipus, Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, damned in the blood he shed with his own hand!"(229) The play Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, is an ideal example of the perfect tragedy. When this play is placed next to the definition from Aristotle's Poetics, the evidence of this statement is undeniable. Aristotle had many ideas pertaining to what makes the perfect tragedy. Poetics states that a tragedy must be complete, _"the plot ought to be so constructed that, even without the aid of the eye, he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror..."(242). ...view middle of the document...

It is also hard to avoid the same feelings for the king, as he begs them to hang on to hope and keep their faith in him. The tragedy then begins to unfold.Poetics continues by stating: "a middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it"(241). This is where the phenomenon of a tragedy takes place. The plot is explained and the tragic event is staged. It should strike the observer as terrible or pitiful. Aristotle believes "... Pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves"(242). As Oedipus' story unfolds it becomes obvious to all but him that his oracle and worst fears have come true. The idea that this could happen to anyone crosses the observer's mind and Oedipus becomes equal to them because they can relate to each other. It becomes hard not to feel sympathy toward him. While Oedipus' self-knowledge grows and the chance that the oracle has actually come to be, he changes from a prideful, heroic king at the beginning of the play, to a tyrant in denial. His attempts to avoid the horrifying prophecy and the fact that his actions caused it, creates the element of irony. As the plot continues and he pushes for answers to something he really doesn't want to know, the observer fears that he will find out. They again relate themselves to King Oedipus. What a catastrophe this would be if it happened in their own lives. Who could bare...

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