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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 parts determine its quality – namely, plot, characters, diction, thought, spectacle, melody”. The work Oedipus Rex fits very well into this structure using the specific characteristics of; late point of attack, exposition, several key incidents, climax, catharsis, protagonist, antagonist, hamartia, anagorismos, metabasis, and perpetia.
Aristotle’s first principle of tragedy is that of the plot. He defines the plot as how the incidents are presented to the audience in the structure of the play. This is the most important of the parts and holds the meat and potatoes of a tragedy. According to Poetics the best plots should be complex, arouse fear and pity, and involve a high degree of suffering for the protagonist. These are all seen in Oedipus Rex as there are plot twists, we learn to care about Oedipus and the decisions he makes, and finally understand his pain when he eventually claws out his own eyes. The plot of Oedipus Rex utilizes a late point of attack and exposition as it begins after many of the several key incidents in the play have already occurred, but the audience is given all the information it needs over the course of the…...

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