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Aristotles Rules and Oedipus Rex

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Jehnae Davis

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of Aristotles Rules and Oedipus Rex



Aristotle's Rules and
Oedipus Rex

Aristotle (384-322 BC)'s
Poetics is the earliest
surviving work on
dramatic theory, written
in 335 BC
Here he discusses what
poetry really means and
its main elements and
genres.
He says that poetry
includes drama (comedy
and tragedy)
Lost and misinterpreted in
the Western world, but
was revived in Arabic by
Averroes
"Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude... through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions." (Aristotle VI)
a tragic hero is "such a person who neither is superior [to us] in virtue and justice, nor undergoes a change to misfortune because of vice and wickedness, but because of some error and who is one of those people with a great reputation and good fortune" (Aristotle)
Oedipus
Rex is defined by Aristotle as
"the perfect tragedy"
Aristotle defines a perfect tragedy as
a work that contains the 6 elements: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song
The play has a plot that rises the emotions of pity and fear
The play shows the downfall of the exceptional character (oedipus)
The plot is laced with peripety and anagoris which happen co-incidental

Anagnorisis is when Oedipus find out he actually fulfilled the prophecy. This results in feelings of pity and fear for the protagonist from the audience, usually after the spectacle
Oedipus (the protagonist) suffers because of a tragic flaw, being his prophecy, killing his father and marrying his mother
Oedipus's error is caused by hubris, meaning pride or arrogance
Oedipus Rex shows and dramatizes the mystery behind pre-planned misery of a human being that does not deserve it and shows how fate can cause their downfall
the six elements are:
plot
character
diction
thought
spectacle
song
The most powerful elements in tragedy is peripeteia (reversal of the situation), and anagoris (recognition) as parts of the plot. Tragedy follows as cause and effect of events from characters.
The meaning behind the words/dialogue
Spectacle is the climax, the most epic, gory scene in the story or moment in the plot (oedipus going through anagnorisis, digging out his eyes, Jocasta committing suicide)
Tragedy is divided into prologue, episode, exode and choric song
in a "perfect tragedy" the main character is described as having a "tragic flaw" that causes their own downfall explained simply that the character is oblivious to what is going on. The character must be a good person or be very reknowned
This contrasts the characters horrible downfall or the transition from good fortune to bad fortune
Oedipus killed his father and married his mother because he simply did not know they were his biological parents
Oedipus was a man of high social status. He was an intelligent, king, caring, noble, good person who was defeated by his own fate because he did not know any better. He was determined to find the killer, not knowing he was the killer and in turn, lead himself to discovering his own fate. He then falls from having a great amount of power, to having nothing.
In Oedipus Rex the plot uses a strategic chain of events that leads to the heroes inevitable downfall.
oedipus kills his father when he runs into him on the road, which leads to the plague sent by Apollo, which leads him to receive the proclamation from the Gods, which leads him to Creon and Tiresias, which leads him to being accused of being the killer, which leads him to seek the truth, which lead him to his downfall.
each event leads to another and they all lead to the tragic heroes downfall.
Thought is how a character's speeches reflect his or her personality
Diction refers to the metaphors evident in the play.
For example, the symbolism between blindness and sight. When Oedipus blinded himself, is was symbolic towards him not being able to see who he really was and being "blind" towards the idea when he was being accused.
song is when a chorus is used in a play and it flows well with the story
For instance, in Oedipus, the chorus does not interupt the story line, instead it adds to it as if the chorus was part of the scene.
For example, Oedipus refers to his subjects as his children, showing that he is a protector and a father figure. Also, when Creon is faced with a decision at the end of the story, he needs to seek consultation, showing that he is dependent and not very self confident
spectacle is used to dramatize a scene and make the story even more tragic.
One last, not as equally important, element is catharsis, which is a release of emotional tension that results in tranquility usually resulting in pity and fear. We feel pity towards Oedipus when he finally finds out the truth and also because he has lost everything he has ever loved. but we also fear him for him rash and severe act of stabbing his own eyes, because if her would do that, who knows what else he would do in that state.
Aristotle classifies Oedipus as a tragic hero because of his series of unfortunate events.
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