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Aristotle and the 'Oedipus Rex' Play

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According to Aristotle Oedipus Rex is a tragedy which will fit in what he believed as a tragedy. In the play, Oedipus comes out as version of what one can consider to be a great hero. This can be attributed to the impression that emerges from his personality. Due to hamartia which in English is a mistake, he undergoes a peripeteia which  is a disaster, to which according to  Aristotle, it is the centre or core of the tragedy. Some people in most times translate hamartia as as a serious tragic flaw,  but there is no indication the presence of a big fail on the personality with such attributes as lust or pride, but hamartia is seen as mistake that are related to recognition or perception . A lot of scholars have argued of the clear and actual meaning and the true scale of the mistake that was committed. For peripeteia it can be regarded as a “reversal of fortune,” this is a repeated happening that occurs when individual are experiencing tragedies as their lives shift from better to worse.  

According to Aristotle, the reversal that occurs helps in the creation of pity and also fear to the audience who are watching the play, it plays the key role. This work sin the build up to the catharsis, which is a popular word which is mostly used in the study and field of literature. catharsis is a term which comes from the religion of the Greek people, the term stands for the ritual purification of the people using rituals and it works in purifying people from pollution which is a crucial way of life in the Greek culture.

Miasma or the pollution that people are seeking purification from is brought about by crime in the society in particular murder. Therefore there was need to clean the blood that was spilled during murder and so the act of purification of miasma was wanted and need for proper rituals for this purpose and work.  The purification occurred in the place where the said crime was committed and also there was need to purify the person who committed the crime (Anagnostopoulos, 72). It was believed that if a person who has committed murder and run to a new place without purification, the murder will cause pollution in the new environment. This happens to be the actual occurrence at the start of Oedipus Rex where in the play the gods have not yet sent misfortune to the Thebes people since there is Laius who is a known killer in the city also the other problem is in the city of Jocasta and also Oedipus.

The word catharsis is used by Aristotle to mean the suppression of a lot of emotions from an individual. When one watches the tragedy that unravels in the play and also by the feel of the high emotion that makes on to fear and also have pity for the characters who are acting on the play, the audience will experience some sort of soul cleansing (Osborne et al, 185). This plays out the same way the ritual of catharsis on the people in the play help the individuals who before we polluted and by the ritual they can once again be accepted in the community without the individual carrying miasma with them.

Therefore the metaphorical catharsis for the audience who are watching the play are able to share in the experiences that bind them together closely. Aristotle works in the in assisting to locate the true importance of the self in perception, this he achieves by helping to share perception by helping people to perceive in similar circumstances. This will help the audience to develop an important common bond or identity. Therefore Aristotle, by the individual and communities watching the play it acts as a benefit to all.

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