Conventions of Tragedy in "Oedipus Rex" Analytical Essay by chief

Conventions of Tragedy in "Oedipus Rex"
Examines the components of Greek tragedy upon which Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex" are based.
# 25355 | 2,283 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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By 500 B.C., Greek tragedy had reached a high point of popularity and was celebrated in religious festivals honoring Dionysus, god of wine and fertility. The paper shows that, taking it for granted that their audiences were familiar with the characters and themes, writers during this time based their dramatizations on myth and ritual. It discusses how, in addition to being familiar with the stories acted out on stage, the audience was aware of the workings of a Greek tragedy: how it progresses, what constitutes a tragic hero, what kinds of conflicts characters face, what moral statement or observation is being made. The paper shows that these four components provide the foundation for "Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles and its enduring success as one of the greatest tragedies of all time.

From the Paper:

"As does the plot, the characterization of the main character Oedipus revolves around situation more than interaction with other characters. Oedipus is the epitome of tragic heroes, doomed by the excess of some good quality within himself and willing to take responsibility for his ensuing actions (Richards 742). This quality in Oedipus, his hamartia, or tragic flaw, is an unquenchable desire for truth no matter what the cost, a desire that stems from his pride of intellect. Initially, Oedipus, still basking in the glory of having solved the riddle of the Sphinx, exhibits great self﷓confidence in his wisdom, oblivious to the fact that his own identity remains concealed from himself. It is this ignorance of the adage "Know thyself," combined with Oedipus' quest for truth, that constitutes tragic character. In terms of Greek tragedy, Oedipus' suffering from hybris, an arrogance resulting from excess (pride, in Oedipus' case), leads to hamartia, the aforementioned tragic flaw that brings about his downfall (Brown 96). The chorus recognizes that "the tyrant is a child of Pride/Who drinks from his great sickening cup/Recklessness and vanity/Until from his high crest headlong/He plummets to the dust of hope" (Sophocles 57)."

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