Oedipus And Aristotle Essay

Oedipus And Aristotle Essay-13
Oedipus fits this precisely, for his basic flaw is his lack of knowledge about his own identity.

Oedipus fits this precisely, for his basic flaw is his lack of knowledge about his own identity.

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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.

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.

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.

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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