Outline

Introduction 1

Aristotle on Tragedy 2

Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero 3

Aristotle and Sophocles’ Oedipus 4

Oedipus as a Tragic Hero 6

Conclusion 7

Work Cited 8

Sophocles’Oedipus: A Prototypical Tragic HeroHow Sophocles Oedipusexemplifies or refutes Aristotle definition of a tragic hero

Introduction

Thispapershall presenttheinformationon Sophocles’ Oedipus andillustrateshowthisplayexemplifiesorrefutesAristotle’s definitionof a tragichero.Sophocles is an Athenian playwrightandpoet,wholivedbetween 496-406 B.C andconsideredas one of thegreatesttragedianof antiquity(Peter2). Thetreatiseofthispaperis to expandtheprecinctsof our knowledgeby exploringsomefundamentalelementsrelatingto Greek theaterandmodelofthe tragicheroby thetwo greatauthorsSophocles andAristotle. Whentalkingabout theGreek theatre,wemust unavoidably differentiatebetween tragicdramaandcomicplays.ThisworkreviewsSophocles’ Oedipus with an analysisof whethertheplayexemplifiesorrefutesAristotle’s definitionof a tragichero.Thisplayabout Oedipus is a tragictaleof a characterthat takesthelifehis fatherandmarrieshis mother.Theseactsaredepraved,butthecentralcharacter,Oedipus wastotallyunawareof relationswith his “wife”andthemanhekilled.His actionscircuitously resultto tormentanddistressforhim, his familyandthekingdom.(skaleidoscope1). We shall start by explaining the main characteristic of a tragichero as put forward by Aristotle. We shall then show how Sophoclesexemplifies Aritotles definition of tragic hero and then summarizethe overview with a conclusion.

Aristotleon Tragedy

Aristotleacknowledgedthetragedyas a topart.Thisviewcorrelatesto a leadingpositionthata tragedytookin an antiqueartculture.Tragedycan be regardas a replication of actionandlife,misfortuneandhappiness(Finkelberg1). Thisis a catharticeffect-sanitizing of a viewer’ssoulthrough empathyandfearcreatedby a tragicaction.In thiscase,Aristotleillustratesthequintessenceof tragedyin thefollowingmanner:

Tragedyis theaccountof an actionthat is complete,serious,andof someimportancein a languagethat is delightfully embroidered,thevariantformsof embroiderycomingin distinctparts,depictedin theoutlineof action,not narrationby meansof misfortuneandapprehensionbringingabout thecatharsisof suchemotions”(Minnema108).In thisconceptof catharsis,Aristotle puta moralandaestheticsenseforhim itmeantthetotalenlightenmentof thehumansoul.In thisvein,atragedyhas a cognitive significanceandoffersa moral,aestheticandeducationalimpact.

Aristotle’sdefinitionof a TragicHero

Aristotlehighlights thequestionof thenatureof a tragichero.Basedon his descriptiona tragicherodoesnot holduniquevirtueandjustice,andfallsinto adversity,notbecauseof his valueandiniquity,butdue to somefault,whereasthefirstwasin greathappinessandhonor,forexample,Oedipus andotherexceptionalpersonsof thesamenature(Aristotle&amp Richard 108).Additionally, Aristotle statestheimitationnatureof thetragedy,in which attractiveresourcesarecombinedwith thestrikingcloutof musicandotherarts(skaleidoscope1). Accordingto Aristotle,atragicheroshould possessthefollowingthefeatures:

Firstandforemostthecharactermust be noble-goodandpositive

Mustcorrespondto thatactor,meaningthecharactersneedto be aligned

Thecharactermust be believable-similar to thesampleimitation(Richard&amp Aristotle, 109).

Mustbe consistent

Inthislight,atragicherois a personof noblecharacterwhosedemiseorruinis fora greatercause.Accordingto Aristotle, a tragedyis a replication of an featof highimportance,in which fearandpityaffectsits purgation. Thisindividualmust e of a noblebirthandmust displaycertainfaultsthat resultinhis destructionordownfall.Thisconditionis hatAristotle refersto as Harmatia.Healsospecifiesthatatruetragicheromust experienceperipeteia ((Richard&amp Aristotle, 110).. Thisis a statewherethere transpiresa turnaround of fortunesas a consequenceof thehero’faults.Thetragicheroalsoengagesin actionsthat augmentknowledgeandself-awareness.

AristotleandSophocles’ Oedipus

Basedon thedescriptionprovidebyAristotle about a tragicheroitis possibleto perceiveSophocles Oedipus as a tragichero.Ifweincorporatethefeaturesthat a characterin a tragicheromust possess,itis feasibleto concludethatOedipus is a tragichero.Thisis dueto thefactthatthekinglifegetsinto a ruinwhenhegetsto knowthetruthstoryof his life.Sophocles Oedipus is certainlynoble(Finkelberg1). Theking’sinterestandconcernfor thewelfareofall his subjectsserveas a fuelin thistragedy.Conceivablythismight be themainbasisforthedisclosureof thehero’snoblenature.

Toaccordhis actor,humanweaknessof thenoblecharacterSophocles gavehis heroanger.Itis apparentthatOedipus didnot hearTeiresias’s wordsdue to thisanger.Also,thisangerfueledthekingto condemnCreon indiscriminately. Inthesamelight,itshould be notedthattheherois angryin diversewayswith differentcharacters(Finkelberg1). Forexample,in a conversationwith Tiresias thekinggoesthewayoftherequestsforassistanceto ireat thestubborntelepathist, butin spiteof thisfactthehekeepsdecoruminherentin theking.Eventhoughheis angry,thekingis unableto thinkof violenceagainst theoldman.Allthrough theepisodewecan witnessthatOedipus’s charactermeetshis statusas a kingbecause,inthiscase,heprotectshis authorityandpower.Thus,thedevelopedcharacterof Oedipus by Sophocles followsprobabilityornecessityof theactionof thetragedy(skaleidoscope1).

Thehero’sirrationalpersonalityobservedy Aristotle- Oedipus doesnot botherto searchforthekillerof Laiusforforma verylongtime-is beyond therealmof tragedy.Anobleheroon Sophocles’ representationnot onlyshould havehigh-esteem andcapacityto safeguard itin allwayspossible,butshould alsobe ableto revilehimself, iffortheir ownfreewill orinvoluntarily droppedhimself in his ownopinion.Normativity off his representationis in thelineof obligationto himself “To livewellornot to live”is thesloganof a righteousnature.Sophocles positionin relationto theherois thatof a fate(Finkelberg1). Nonetheless,whencrimesof Oedipus wereopened,hedoesnot layblameon fate,butin contrast,heaccuseshimself, callinghimself not onlyill-fatedanddespondentbutalsoimmoralandiniquitousandas a resultheadministerstheretributionon himself.Heweighshis conductpeggedon thereason,butnot on theresult,andthispurposefulconscientiousnesswith subjectivevirtuousness is alsoa demonstrationof thenormativeimage,comprisingof thedecisionto answerforyour actionsbefore fellow humansandgods(skaleidoscope1).Thepenaltyof deathhas profoundmoralsensea personis answerableandaccountablefortheir exploitsandputownreticenceabove theverdictof thegods.In thislight,Sophocles depictsthatmortalpeoplepredominateover immortalgodsdueto thefactthattheir livesare constantstruggles.Mortalbeingsare alwaysmakingeffortsto overcomemanyearthlychallenges.Thedistantfateof Oedipus is not veryvividandclearto thereader,andperhapsSophocles didnot wantto detachfrom themythologicalpractice.Itis apparentthatevenafter his blinding heremainedin Thebes. In thisincidenceitis plausibleto statethatthere are nonegativecharacters-humanbeingsdonot makeblundersconsciously (Finkelberg1). Sophoclesstressesnot onlytheinevitability of fatebutalsothevariability of humanhappinessandlackof wisdoms

Oedipusas a Tragic Hero

Itis evidentthatOedipusis responsibleforthethingsthat are takingplaceinhis life.His actionsare theonesthat setsthebackgroundforthemotionof eventsthat surroundhis life.Evidentlyhealsosuffersgreatlybecauseof his actions.At firsthecoercesTeiresias to revealhis destinytogetherwith thenameof his father.Teiresias attemptsto eludethequestionsandultimatelycautionsOedipus against coercingher to disclosethedetailsmentionedabove(Finkelberg1).

Oedipuswas resoluteto discoverthetruthpersistsandproceedsto probeTeiresias further.Teiresias has nooptionbutto disclosethetruthto Oedipus thathewasresponsibleforthedeathof King whosemurderhemeticulously sought(skaleidoscope1).

Aristotlealsosetup theaspectof recognition.Heexemplifiesrecognitionas theprocessof anagnorisis wherea charactermakesa disclosurethathewasnot familiarwith priorto a givendate.In mostcase,thetragicherowill comeacross therevelationthat will resultinmakingtheherodiscoverhis trueidentity.Through Teiresias,Oedipusdiscoversthathewasa childof a motherwhohadgivenhim awaytobedestroyed.In thisrespects,theherogoesinto reversal,a situationwheretheeffectsof their actionsare differentfrom whattheyintended(skaleidoscope1). Whenhedecidesto fleefrom his parentsandstarthis ownkingdom,his actionsleadto his self-destructionthoughhis intentionsweredifferent.Hadheopted to staywith his parentsin Corinth, hewould not haveknownthatthesewerenot his biologicalparents,andhewould not haveenteredinto a forbiddenrelationshipwith his mother(Peter3). In thesamevein,hewould not havemurderedhis fatherin theexpeditionto amassthekingdom.From thisstandpoint,Oedipus is theonlypersonwhois responsibleforhis ownactionsandthepredicamentsthat engulfhis lifelater.Whenhediscoversshehas sired childrenwith his mother,heis verydistraughtandinflictsharmon himself by causinghis blindness(Finkelberg1). Headmitshis actionswereevilandwrong,andthatis whyhesevereshis eyes.Thereaderdoesnot knowwhetherto rejoiceorpityOedipus because,even though, hisactionswerewrong,theoffencesweredonein ignorance,whatAristotle refersto as Harmatia(Peter3). Regrettably, Oedipus has committedone grievousflawthat ledto his downfallanddestruction.Hekilledhis fatherandmarriedhis mother,andthushis childrenwerehis brothers.

Conclusion

Sophocles,Oedipus exemplifiesAristotle’s definitionof a tragichero.Itis a classictragedywith the entire featurethat Aristotle pointsout. First,there is theelementof Harmatia,wheretheprincipalcharacter,unknowingly killshis fatherandmarrieshis father’swife.Itis thecuriosityof Oedipus that leadto therealizationandknowledgeof theactualstateof affairs.His inquisitivenatureis his majorflawthat leadsto his knowledgeabout his birthandparents.Thesituationof peripeteia alsooccurswherethemaincharacterfallsfrom graceto shamebecauseof discoveryof theevilsdonein ignorance.Finally,theplayhighlights thefeelingof catharsisin which thereadercommiserateswith Oedipus situation.Sophocles’s transformation of Oedipus character personifies theGreek art dictum and serves as a model for Aristotle’s definitionof a tragic hero.

WorkCited

Dodds,E. R. On Misunderstanding the`Oedipus Rex`. Cambridge UniversityPress, 2013 Print. Retrieved 3 March 2015 from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/642354

Finkelberg,M. (2006). Aristotleand episodic tragedy.Greece and Rome. Vol. 53(1) 60-72

Minnema,Lourens. TragicViews of the Human Condition: Cross-cultural Comparisons betweenViews of Human Nature in Greek and Shakespearean Tragedy and theMahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā.New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. Internet resource.

Peter,Haugen. Hamartia and Hubris in the Story of Oedipus. University ofNorth Dakota, Grand Forks, ND. LCMNDe-journal Volume 2003/4.

RichardJanko, and Aristotle. PoeticsI.Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 1987. Print.

Skaleidoscope,J.M. OedipusRex: The Quintessential Tragic Hero.West Orange, NJ. 2013. Retrieved from:http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/academic/article/515659/Oedipus-Rex-The-Quintessential-Tragic-Hero/