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Oedipus Rex: Catharsis, Hamartia, Hubris, and a Tragic Hero
Transcript of Oedipus Rex: Catharsis, Hamartia, Hubris, and a Tragic Hero
What is a tragedy?
According to Aristotle, a
is a serious play in which the chief figures pass through a series of misfortunes leading to a final devastating catastrophe.
The play must be divided into five parts:
The character is in a state of happiness, or at the height of their power
The problem or dilemma is introduced
Point of crisis is reached, but can still be averted
The disaster occurs
Grim consequences are revealed
Literally "missing the mark"
, a misperception, lack of insight, or some sort of
that ironically results from the character's strengths.
The trait that makes the individual noteworthy is what causes the downfall
Greek "sudden change"
change in direction
Often a change from stability and happiness to destruction and downfall
The Tragic Hero
Can be a
, lack of insight due to over-confidence in one's abilities
The moment of tragic recognition
Protagonist discovers some important fact about himself, human nature, or his situation
Critics claim it is found in one single line of text
Typically occurs after the climax of the plot
The moment of
Emotional discharge that brings about moral or spiritual
or welcome relief
Aristotle: catharsis is marking feature and
of any tragic work
Allows for a
purgation of emotions
"A man doesn't become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall." --Aristotle
Flaw or error of judgement
Reversal of fortune
Discovery or recognition
Character's fate is greater than deserved
Must suffer more than he deserves
Doomed from the start
Noble in nature, but imperfect
Discovered fate with his own actions
Understand his doom
Story should arouse fear and/or empathy
Physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences
Major flaw or weakness, usually pride