Critical Essays On Oedipus Rex

Critical Essays On Oedipus Rex-41
Instead, the character's flaw must result from something that is also a central part of their virtue, which goes somewhat arwry, usually due to a lack of knowledge.By defining the notion this way, Aristotle indicates that a truly tragic hero must have a failing that is neither idiosyncratic nor arbitrary, but is somehow more deeply imbedded -- a kind of human failing and human weakness.

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The Greek term "hamartia," typically translated as "tragic flaw," actually is closer in meaning to a "mistake" or an "error," "failing," rather than an innate flaw.

In Aristotle's understanding, all tragic heroes have a "hamartia," but this is not inherent in their characters, for then the audience would lose respect for them and be unable to pity them; likewise, if the hero's failing were entirely accidental and involuntary, the audience would not fear for the hero.

In effect, Oedipus is dead, for he receives none of the benefits of the living; at the same time, he is not dead by definition, and so his suffering cannot end.

Oedipus receives the worst of both worlds between life and death, and he elicits greater pity from the audience.

A careful examination of Oedipus and how he meets and exceeds the parameters of the tragic hero reveals that he legitimately deserves this title.

Oedipus' nobility and virtue provide his first key to success as a tragic hero.The audience fears for Oedipus because nothing he does can change the tragedy's outcome.Finally, Oedipus' downfall elicits a great sense of pity from the audience.In his famous "Poetics," the philosopher Aristotle laid the foundations for literary criticism of Greek tragedy.His famous connection between "pity and fear" and "catharsis" developed into one of Western philosophy's greatest questions: why is it that people are drawn to watching tragic heroes suffer horrible fates?Second, Oedipus himself and the Chorus both note that Oedipus will continue after the tragedy's conclusion.Unlike, for example Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Orestes (the heroes in the Orestia trilogy), Oedipus' suffering does not end with the play; even so, the conclusion also presents a sense of closure to the play.Aristotle's ideas revolve around three crucial effects: First, the audience develops an emotional attachment to the tragic hero; second, the audience fears what may befall the hero; and finally (after misfortune strikes) the audience pities the suffering hero.Through these attachments the individual members of the audience go through a catharsis, a term which Aristotle borrowed from the medical writers of his day, which means a "refining" -- the viewer of a tragedy refines his or her sense of difficult ethical issues through a vicarious experious of such thorny problems.Finally, Oedipus earns royal respect at Thebes when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx.As a gift for freeing the city, Creon gives Oedipus dominion over the city.

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