Ancient Greek / Tragedy As Defined By Sophecle term paper 9460

Ancient Greek term papers
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Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is the definition of Greek tragedy. All elements of Greek tragedy can be found in Oedipus Rex. The main character, Oedipus, King of Thebes, is a male of noble birth with noble characteristics. He is brave, "You saved us from the Sphinx," (38-39), he is loyal "You shall see how I stand by avenge the city and the city's god," (137-138), and he is caring "...But my spirit groans for the city, for myself and for you," (65-66).

He is on a quest for justice. He wants to bring out the truth behind Kind La os' death, and punish the culprits accordingly. He must do this in order to save his kingdom from the plague and pestilence that is devouring it. He is fair because he tells his people that if you do have the murder in your home, you will not come to any harm, as long as you kick him out and don't give him any help.

He has errors in his judgment. As soon as he finds out that the gods have prophesied that he will kill his father, marry his mother, and have children with her, he leaves his home so that he won't be able to fulfill the prophesy. "At a feast, a drunken man...cries out that I am not my father's son" (260-261), little did he know that the drunken man actually spoke the truth, and the prophesy would still come true. However, there is a paradox through his judgment error, it defines his caring.

The audience feels a catharsis at the end of the play. They are purged of their fear for the people of Thebes, because the plague and pestilence have been lifted. They are also purged of their pity for Oedipus. Instead of pitying him, they admire him for doing the right thing, even though it wasn't in his best interests.

All of the elements of a Greek tragedy: noble birth, quest for justice, error in judgment, and catharsis appear in Oedipus Rex; therefore, it is a definition of Greek tragedy.


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