Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex as Classical and Modern Tragedy

3 Mins read

“Oedipus Rex”; the tragedy; has been talked about as among the best tragedies ever written by Sophocles. Regardless of of its controversial genre, it gained fame in lots of countries. The play was translated in lots of modern languages and performed in all the world. A motive resulting from which, “Oedipus Rex” received fame is that it was mentioned in “Poetics”. Aristotle, Greek thinker and the author of “Poetics”, talked about Oedipus Rex as a perfect tragedy.

Many critics don’t think about “Oedipus Rex” as perfect tragedy; they’re of the view that if “Oedipus Rex” is judged in Aristotle’s necessities of tragedy, even then it can’t be thought to be a Greek tragedy. Some critics say that Aristotle rightly adjudged “Oedipus Rex” and it’s a perfect Greek tragedy as per requirements of “Poetics”. Therefore, this matter wants consideration and clarification is required to resolve the genre of “Oedipus Rex”.

Aristotle outlined “Tragedy” in his book “Poetics within the following phrases:-

“[tragedy is] the imitation of an action that is serious and also as having magnitude, complete in itself.”

Therefore, the first goal of tragedy is the catharsis of pity and fear. Aristotle didn’t define the phrase catharsis, but in simple words, it signifies that when hero’s sufferings shock the viewers, then viewers put its feet in hero’s shoes and shares his emotions with the character. This action causes the arousal of emotions and feelings of pity and concern. Thus, we name it catharsis.

Oedipus Rex as Tragedy by Aristotle

Aristotle referred “Oedipus Rex” as a perfect tragedy in his book “Poetics” because it completely is the imitation of an action. It’s critical and likewise results the catharsis of pity and fear. It has magnitude and certainly it’s complete in itself; it has a proper beginning, middle and end. Aristotle centered on the plot of “Oedipus Rex” which is the distinguished factor of a tragedy. To understand the significance of plot, deal with the next statement by Aristotle:-

“Without action there cannot be a tragedy, there may be without character,”

The skillful plot of Oedipus Rex made it favourite to Aristotle. The play begins when people of Thebes are struggling due to an unknown illness. King of Thebes tries to search out the answer to the issue; that part of the play unveils various things. Thus, middle of plot is the mix of beginning and it leads the plot in the direction of end. The plot has additionally a correct finish because it has no additional occasion however a tragic end. Thus, Sophocles masterly knitted each occasion of plot on this tragedy.

Read About: Sophocles as a Dramatist Explained

The principle character of the play additionally belongs to the ‘king’ character, which is the favourite for Aristotle’s tragedy. He’s good, however not perfect, and his hamartia leads to the struggling of Oedipus. These necessities of a tragic hero trigger the catharsis of pity and fear.

Modern View on Oedipus Rex

For contemporary critics they don’t agree with Aristotle’s idea. They say that Oedipus Rex doesn’t endure because of hamartia. It was the desire of gods that Oedipus Rex would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus Rex tried his best to flee from his destiny, however his efforts have been ineffective. When viewers watches the downfall of Oedipus Rex, it doesn’t shock the audience. It solely will get sympathy for the viewers, which is towards the notion of tragedy.

Thus, “Oedipus Rex” doesn’t have an effect on the catharsis of pity and fear. Downfall of Oedipus Rex appears predestined. His hubris just isn’t accountable for his downfall. Gods are accountable for the fall of Oedipus Rex. Aristotle himself has stated that the character ought to endure because of “hamartia”, “err”, or “frailty”. In case of “Oedipus Rex”, solely gods are accountable for his hostile circumstances, subsequently, there isn’t a concept of catharsis in “Oedipus Rex”.

To conclude, Oedipus Rex is an ideal Greek tragedy. In modern days, dramatists and novelists have altered the definition of tragedy, however in these days, people and writers thought of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy as finest definition. Whether or not Sophocles adopted Aristotle or vice versa, however it’s true that tragedy was defined in that period.

If the character is ignored, even “Oedipus Rex” is taken into account as an exquisite tragedy. Therefore, the play “Oedipus Rex” belongs to the genre of “Greek Tragedy”.

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