Read the following definition of “Tragedy,” the write a 1-2 page papers that answers the question of whether or not the play Oedipus the King fulfills the definition given by Aristotle.
Your paper should first summarize your understanding of Aristotle’s definition, and then show the RESULT of you comparing it to the play “Oedipus the king”.
This Response must:
Complete the three critical tasks
Follow MLA format exactly: Include page numbers, a heading, and the Paper #
ARISTOTLE ON TRAGEDY AND COMEDY
INTRODUCTION: The eminent Greek philosopher Aristotle (384â€“322 B.C.E.) wrote on the subject of tragedy in his Poetics, along with a great many other subjects. In the excerpt below, he discusses the key components of tragedy.
Tragedy, then, is a representation of an action that is worth serious attention, complete in itself and of some amplitude; in language enriched by a variety of artistic devices appropriate to the several parts of the play; presented in the form of action, not narration; by means of pity and fear bringing about a purgation of such emotions. By language that is enriched I refer to language possessing rhythm, and music or song; and by artistic devices appropriate to the several parts I mean that some are produced by the medium of verse alone, and others again with the help of song.
Now since the representation is carried out by men performing the actions, it follows, in the first place, that spectacle is an essential part of tragedy, and secondly that there must be song and diction, these being the medium of representation. By diction I mean here the arrangement of the verses; song is a term whose sense is obvious to everyone.
In tragedy it is action that is imitated, and this action is brought about by agents who necessarily display certain distinctive qualities both of character and of thought, according to which we also define the nature of the actions. Thought and character are, then, the two natural causes of actions, and it is on them that all men depend for success or failure. The representation of the action is the plot of the tragedy; for the ordered arrangement of the incidents is what I mean by plot. Character, on the other hand, is what enables us to define the nature of the participants, and thought comes out in what they say when they are proving a point or expressing an opinion.
Necessarily, then, every tragedy has six constituents which will determine its quality. They are plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song. Of these, two represent the media in which the action is represented, one involves the manner of representation, and three are connected with the objects of the representation; beyond them nothing further is required.
SOURCE: Aristotle, “On the Art of Poetry,” in Classical Literary Criticism. Trans. T. S. Dorsch (Harmondsworth,
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