How Is Tragedy Defined In The Legend Of Oedipus

Oedipus is a tragedy by Aristotle’s definition because Oedipus fails to fulfill his fate, bringing about the tragic downfall of Oedipus. Oedipus’s fate was to kill his father and marry his mother in order to bring peace to Thebes. Oedipus is given three signs that he does not heed, resulting in his ultimate downfall. Oedipus fails to act too late, Oedipus does not confront the truth of his fate directly and Oedipus kills an unknown stranger instead of Polybus. By this definition Oedipus is a tragedy because Oedipus dies at the end while everyone else lives through their tragedies.

“ Oedipus did not learn all these things until it was too late to do anything about them; so he remained unalleviatedly miserable for the rest of his life, which soon came to a tragic end ” (Aristotle)

If Oedipus had known that he was fated to kill his father and marry his mother Oedipus would have never done those things. Oedipus was a tragic hero because he suffered a downfall he knew was coming and Oedipus could not prevent it from happening. Oedipus is also considered to be a tragic hero by definition because Oedipus’s fate came after Oedipus had already made great accomplishments in Thebes; Oedipus had rid Thebes of the evil sphinx and Oedipus had married Jocasta, which were both very admirable feats that Oedipus accomplished before his fate caught up with him.

Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone by Aeschylus were some of the most significant examples of Greek tragedies. Oedipus as a Tragedy is based on Oedipus Rex which was written by Sophocles. Oedipus Rex immediately followed Oedipus at Colonus as part two of Sophocles’ Oedipiad.

Oedipus Rex is known as Oedipus Tyrannos (Οιδίπους Τύραννος). It has been claimed that Oidpius Tyrannos is not a tragedy in its actual definition as there were no tragic heroes. Oedipus Rex who is the protagonist of this tragedy was a hero, albeit he is not a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s definition. Oedipus Tyrannos actually contains all the elements that comprise a tragedy as stated by Aristotle in his Poetics. Oedipus as a Tragedy according to Aristotle’s Definition follows the stages from pity and fear which Oidpius Rex induces, catharsis or purgation of those feelings, the discovery of Oidpius’ fate and finally the restoration of order. Oedipus Rex takes its audience through a sequence of emotions.

The Oedipal conflict begins with Oedipus being abandoned by his parents Oidpius and Iokaste at birth. Oedipus is instead taken in by Oidpius’s brother-in-law, King Polybus of Corinth who adopts Oidpius as his son. Oedipus then becomes King of Thebes after he successfully solves the Sphinx’s riddle which was foretold to bring death to anyone that fails to answer it. Oedipus marries Queen Jokaste without knowing her true identity.

Oedipus vows that he will find the murderer and put an end to the plague. Oedipus immediately begins to solve this troubling case by calling upon Tiresias, a blind prophet who Oedipus believes will be able to help him. Oedipus is impressed with his own intelligence because he himself does not realize how absurd it was to call a blind man for advice on a murder case. In fact, Oedipus even insists that he have an answer before Oedipus leaves Thebes so as not to delay Oedipus’s quest any further.

Odysseus, as well as Oedipus, were tragic heroes of tragedy as per Aristotle’s definition of tragedy in Odeii. Oedipus was a tragic hero because he had hamartia, which is the heroine that caused Oedipus’s misfortune. Oedipus suffered from his own ignorance, arrogance, rashness, and stupidity which were all part of Oedipus’s heroism. Odyseuss’ tragedy also consisted of hubris and anagnorisis as Odyseuss found out about what happened to him in Troy. Both Odysseus and Oepdius are examples of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy

-Oftentimes played by many actors at one time

-A prologue setting up the characters’ roles within the play

-A Parados (Paradox), or scene of entry, in which Oedipus enters the stage with his attendants

-An Episodia (Episode), or departure of Oedipus from the stage after learning about the truth behind his identity

-A Stasima (Standstill), or pause, during which Oedipus gasps and faints and is carried off by his servants and attendants.

-An exodus (departure) of Oedipus from Thebes after it is revealed that Oedipus killed Laius, Oedpius’s father

Odysseus, as well as Oepdius, were examples of tragedy as per Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. Aristotle defined tragedy as a story focusing on the protagonist as Odyseuss and Oedipus. Oedipus was a tragic hero because he had hamartia, which is the heroine that caused Oedipus’s misfortune. Oedipus suffered from his own ignorance, arrogance, rashness, and stupidity which were all part of Oedipus’s heroism.

Odysseus and Oedipus also contained hubris and anagnorisis as Odysseus found out about what happened to him in Troy and how both Odysseus’s wife Penelope betrayed him by committing adultery with another man while Oepdius finds out about who killed Laius by accident after Oepdius sends for Laius’ killer.

Oedipus is still blinded by ignorance because he does not know the truth about who he is and his tragic flaws are what leads Oedipus to his downfall. Oedipus’ incestuous desires, the fact that Oedipus takes other men’s children as his own, and Oedipus’ refusal to listen or acknowledge others throughout the play (his fate) all contribute to Oedipus’ own tragedy.

Oedipus: A man who did not know that he killed his father and married his mother; it was Oedipus’ fate that led him down this path of self-destruction. Oedipus is definitely guilty of committing two crimes against Laius, but Oedipus is also a victim because he did not know that he was the murderer of Laius. Oedipus’ fate slowly unfolds during his investigation into who murdered King Laius and Oedipus relents to fate by realizing that all the signs are pointing toward Oedipus being the perpetrator. Oedipus is known as a tragic hero because he does have some tragic flaws, but his refusal to acknowledge other people’s feelings causes Oedipus’ downfall.

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