Aristotle's Paradox

Aristotle's Paradox - Jake Priddy ENGL 102-01 Jay Whitaker...

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Jake Priddy ENGL 102-01 Jay Whitaker Oedipus Rex: Aristotle’s Paradox Aristotle’s definition of tragedy relies on a dramatic piece having six key features. Ironically, he used Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex as the defining play to highlight this definition, yet Oedipus Rex does not have these six features as put forth in Perrine’s Literature . The first key feature of tragedy is the essence of the hero; his nobility. Perrine’s states, “He is not an ordinary man but one of outstanding quality.”(Perrine’s 1211). The issue here is the identity of Oedipus. If nobility is measured by title, then Oedipus is in fact noble; he is a king. However, if nobility is an issue of personal character, a la Hamlet’s loyalty to his father’s memory, Oedipus shows no noble character within the framework of the play. Even the idea of his heroic defeat of the Sphinx is referential back-story, and not dealt with in the work itself. How do we know that he is the Oedipus that defeats the Sphinx? We don’t. He is confrontational and quick to jump to conclusions throughout the story; an extremely vulgar trait, and the only one expounded on besides his temper. The second key is the hero’s hamartia, or “commission of an unjust act.” Within the
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This essay was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course ENG 208 taught by Professor Baker during the Spring '07 term at Shepherd.

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Aristotle's Paradox - Jake Priddy ENGL 102-01 Jay Whitaker...

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