Aristotle's Interpretation of Sophocles' Oedipus: Character Analysis

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Table of contents

  1. Oedipus' Character Through Aristotle's Analysis 
  2. Concept of Plot in 'Oedipus the King' in Comparison to Aristotle's Views
  3. Conclusion

Sophocles' Oedipus is one of the most notable unfortunate heroes throughout the entire existence of drama. His weird destiny drives him to heartbreaking ruin that leaves both the peruser and the crowd feeling sincerely influenced. As indicated by the meaning of the Greek thinker, Aristotle, Oedipus' problematic story qualifies him as a lamentable hero. Oedipus is the epitome of Aristotle's portrayal of an unfortunate hero through his capacity to save his prudence and intelligence, notwithstanding his blemishes and bind. The Aristotelian perspective on a heartbreaking hero doesn't uncover the absence of profound quality or even the fiendishness of the hero, in light of a blunder of judgment. The catastrophe and drama so consummately fit the Aristotelian qualities of Oedipus which character is explored in the following analysis essay.

Oedipus' Character Through Aristotle's Analysis 

Thinking about Aristotle's meaning of a disastrous hero, it tends to be discovered that Oedipus fits the character depiction consistently through different qualities that he shows and the birthplace of his deplorable fall:

There stays then the man who possesses the mean among righteousness and wickedness. He isn't extra-standard in ethicalness and nobility but then doesn't fall into horrible luck as a result of abhorrence and fiendishness but since of some hamartia of a sort found in men of high notoriety and favorable luck, for example, Oedipus and Thyestes and popular men of comparative families.

Aristotle's meaning of a shocking hero completely fits the character of Oedipus on account of the different attributes he shows and the inception of his fall. Despite the fact that Oedipus isn't a holy person, his remarkable capacity to outfox the Sphinx and comprehend the conundrum gives him much worship.

Oedipus acquires sanctification as King, a compensation for sparing the individuals of Thebes, which awards him more force as he comes a consecrated pioneer of the city. The Priest tends to Oedipus: 'Extraordinary Oedipus, O ground-breaking King of Thebes'. Despite the fact that this close to righteousness has been perilously recolored through his perverted relationship with his mom, Jocasta, regardless of that he didn't realize she was his mom. Following Aristotle's idea, Oedipus' defeat doesn't come from his mischievousness, however from a blend of elements.

One factor that significantly adds to Oedipus' destruction is his resentment towards Tiresias, which enormously mirrors his own shortcoming. Oedipus loses his temper when the visually impaired prophet attempts to caution him: 'Am I to hold up under this from him? Perdition Take you! Out of this spot! Out of my sight!'. By losing his temper, Oedipus exhibits the mistake of judgment that Aristotle alludes to in his definition. The obligation of catastrophe is put on the shortcoming that uncovers that off-base has been done; in any case, Aristotle won't hold fault to the hero whose decency and righteousness he despite everything remains constant. Aristotle targets human blunder, restricted to the absence of ethical quality as it the reason for disaster. In spite of the fact that Oedipus is blameworthy of interbreeding and character blemishes, his goodness is undeniable, as he uncovers blame and duty. Toward the finish of the play, even his resentment is recovered. He shows bountiful knowledge after he gets visually impaired and bound to oust. '… or execute me, throw me, Into the ocean, away from men's eyes for ever… all things considered, only i can hold up under this blame… '. Aristotle's point is approved by Oedipus' quality, an appalling hero' goodness affirms that he isn't abhorrent, only fit for committing errors.

Generally speaking, the decent variety of the language essentially improves the play and empowers the play to be valued by various crowds. 'Aristotle accepts that the language must be sweet in disaster. The degree of language utilized by various characters ought to vary to delineate the social stands of the characters'. Also, he centers around important language reflected all through the whole play, and stresses that catastrophe must be paid attention to.

Aristotle presents that there is a mind boggling connection among disaster and feelings. For him, it is communicated through pity and dread. Konstan contends:

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The possibility that the object of pity doesn't merit his destiny is available in the definition Aristotle offers in the Rhetoric; in the Poetics, be that as it may, Aristotle abuses the idea of closeness so as to clarify the fear that disaster initiates. On the off chance that the characters in front of an audience are sufficient such as ourselves-the setting shows that the sense is ethically comparable then we will encounter their dread as our own. 

Obviously, the crowd responds to the grouping of occasions in the play; having sympathy for Oedipus about his destiny and the issue he faces. Aristotle applauds a splendid course of action that makes the play increasingly alluring and makes better standards:

The assembling of the different activities is significant. The excellence of the plot in this way lies in the courses of action which must have size and not involve possibility. Surely, the unobtrusive control of the plot which brings anticipation likewise finishes in the disclosure.

He feels that the activities ought to be reflected through a conceivable plot to which the crowd can without much of a stretch relate and relate to for the achievement of a genuine catastrophe.

Finkelberg contends that Aristotle calls: 'for the production of a full-scale hallucination of genuine experience and, subsequently, for the crowd's enthusiastic recognizable proof with the characters. Just such passionate recognizable proof would prompt the best possible appalling joy that Aristotle looks for'.

Concept of Plot in 'Oedipus the King' in Comparison to Aristotle's Views

Following Aristotle's concept of plot, Oedipus the King has a very distinctive plot that makes anticipation and completely draws in the crowd. Through the institution of genuine encounters, real feelings are made by the individuals who can relate to the encounters and can locate a solid association between the imaginary characters and themselves. The groupings of occasions don't follow a sequential request, which upgrades the tension of the plot. For example, as the play starts, Oedipus is as of now the King of Thebes; in any case, reality with regards to his organic guardians isn't found by the crowd until some other time.

Aristotle advances a plot that connotes a parity of completeness, fulfillment, greatness, and intricacy. This is dictated by the length and multifaceted nature of the play as it identifies with the earnestness and criticalness of the plot. This article builds up an exhaustive association between the activity and the plot that are reliant and basic to the play: 'Catastrophe, by suggestion, is an 'activity that is not kidding.' The activity is connected up with the plot in light of the fact that the plot is the impersonation of the activity. At the end of the day, the plot is the blend of the individual demonstrations. 'Serious' implies that the activity must encompass an individual of high class, a blue-blood' . This depiction coordinates the character of Oedipus who isn't just an aristocrat yet additionally a temperate and great man. As per Scheeper's article: 'Aristotle invalidates the 'shortsightedly' organized heartbreaking plot, which includes a decent man coming to mishap, as totally indecent, and rejects the straightforward good plot, where a terrible man surrenders to hardship, as completely un-deplorable'. As in Oedipus the King and through the character of Oedipus, he accepts that the hero doesn't need to be ethically detestable, however upright.

Aristotle utilizes virtue and profound quality as two significant ideas in his references to the awful hero and disaster. The crowd for the most part relates to the characters through these two ideas; notwithstanding the characters activities and how they can be identified with the crowds own lives. This clarifies the crowd's feelings all through the presentation or perusing. As Konstan clarifies:

The setting in the Poetics shows, as we have seen, that the pertinent purpose of comparability on account of catastrophe is good similarity: it is, for the most part talking, in character, as opposed to age, family, or calling, that we are closely resembling the heroes of a play.

In spite of the fact that drama is a figment of reality, it might speak to an impression of a character that some may relate to. As Gillet and Hankey state: 'The responses depicted in Oedipus make clear character qualities as well as the job of uprightness in directing what we may do in circumstances that interface with our characters in possibly sad manners.' 


Aristotle's ideas of a deplorable hero, catastrophe and drama are interestingly significant. The Aristotelian heartbreaking hero is a powerful character with invested excellence, whose fall originates from a blunder in judgment, not from the character's underhandedness. In addition, Aristotle's meaning of a disaster perceives the imitated genuine encounters and simultaneously uncovered vital essentials of drama. Oedipus' character, as above analysis shows in the essay, completely represents Aristotle's view as a shocking hero, as he figures out how to acquire righteousness and shrewdness, despite the fact that his temper has been tried which drives him to his unavoidable ruin.

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