Critical Essays On Oedipus Rex

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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.

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.

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?Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.The idea of hubris is monumental in a plethora of Greek mythological works.First, as any Greek audience member would know, Oedipus is actually the son of Laius and Jocasta, the King and Queen of Thebes.Thus, he is a noble in the simplest sense; that is, his parents were themselves royalty.This odd amalgam of continued suffering and closure make the audience feel as if Oedipus' suffering is his proper and natural state.Clearly, Oedipus' unique downfall demands greater pity from the audience.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.First, by blinding himself, as opposed to committing suicide, Oedipus achieves a kind of surrogate death that intensifies his suffering.He comments on the darkness - not just the literal inability to see, but also religious and intellectual darkness - that he faces after becoming blind.

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