Aristotle considered Oedipus Tyrannus the supreme example of tragic drama and modeled his theory of tragedy on it. He mentions the play no fewer than eleven times in his De poetica c.
Sigmund Freud in the twentieth century used the story to name the rivalry of male children with their fathers for the affection of their mothers, and Jean Cocteau adapted the tale to the modern stage in La Machine infernale ; The Infernal Machine , However, no matter what changes the Oedipus myth underwent in two and a half millennia, the finest expression of it remains this tragedy by Sophocles.
Brilliantly conceived and written, Oedipus Tyrannus is a drama of self-discovery. Sophocles achieves an amazing compression and force by limiting the dramatic action to the day on which Oedipus learns the true nature of his birth and his destiny. The fact that the audience knows the dark secret that Oedipus unwittingly slew his true father and married his mother does nothing to destroy the suspense.
That knowledge enables them to fear the final revelation at the same time that they pity the man whose past is gradually and relentlessly uncovered to him. The plot is thoroughly integrated with the characterization of Oedipus, for it is he who impels the action forward in his concern for Thebes, his personal rashness, and his ignorance of his past. His flaws are a hot temper and impulsiveness, but without those traits his heroic course of self-discovery would never occur.
Fate for Sophocles is not something essentially external to human beings but something at once inherent in them and transcendent. The explanation is to be found in a further fact: While Greek tragedies are not specifically meant to be character studies, the best tragedies incorporate protagonists whom audiences both respect and identify. Aristotle describes tragedy as being less about a protagonist's character than it is about the way circumstances converge to affect his life: In other words, you can have a full-fledged tragedy without knowing much about who a character is inside, but the more you know him, the more the events of the tragedy can make you feel for the character and understand the gravity of what is happening to him.
The changes - normally bad - that occur in the tragic protagonist's life create the "pity" and "fear" that the audience is supposed to feel, which in turn creates the feelings of catharsis that the audience experiences in beginning to understand the basic lessons of the work: The tragic hero must be both relatable i. Oedipus of Sophocles' Oedipus the King is both.
In many respects he displays the characteristics of a great epic hero, a type of character that is presented in ancient epic poetry to drive home very important lessons about virtue and morality in much the same way that a good tragedy should in fact, Aristotle believed that both epic poetry and tragedy had the same essential goals, just presented in a different style. In some ways Oedipus' experience tracks that of an epic hero, too. The fact that Oedipus is in many ways a "good" and accomplished person of high status puts him in a league with Odysseus of Homer's Odyssey.
This is why we often refer to him as a "tragic hero," which sounds like an oxymoron. There is a lot to look up to in his example, but his tragic flaw or "frailty" as Aristotle describes it combined with a really crummy prophecy makes it hard for him to stand as a wholly admirable role model.
How could the story be told differently, if the audience were unfamiliar with it? Is the audience more or less sympathetic toward Oedipus? Why or why not? How does the audience perceive Oedipus' quarrels with Teiresias and Creon?
Are these two ideas completely incompatible? Are all the joys and woes that befall the ruler's View all Lesson Plans available from BookRags. Copyrights Oedipus the King from BookRags. Get Oedipus the King from Amazon. View the Study Pack. Order our Oedipus the King Lesson Plans.
Oedipus the King Essay Topics & Writing Assignments Sophocles This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King is a great resource to ask questions.
Oedipus Essay Topics. Choose ONE of the following essay topics and write a five paragraph essay, complete with introduction and conclusion, using quotes from the text to support your ideas. The Greek word ‘Tyrannos’ is an absolute ruler who has seized power, not inherited it. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from”Oedipus”on our quotes page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay. Thesis Statement #1: Family as Defined in Oedipus. To the character of .
Free research essays on topics related to: oedipus the king, character traits, sophocles oedipus, years ago, todays society; Oedipus The King Sophocles Oedipus. 1, words Sophocles Oedipus the King and Homer s Odyssey both deal on the topic of truth. In both works the character Tiresias, a blind prophet, participates in the different. Literary analysis essay. You'll be writing an essay on the motif of sight in Oedipus Rex. Oedipus says no man can be hurt, "me, or any man who lives in light.".