Oedipus the King Criticism

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The history of the critical reception to Oedipus Rex begins with Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), who in his Poetics inaugurated the history of formalist and structural analysis of literature, two important cornerstones for the enterprise of the critical interpretation of literature. In some ways it can be regarded as the first book of literary criticism, and its significance for the subsequent study of the works of Sophocles in general and Oedipus Rex in particular is enormous, due to the exemplary status he granted the play, as the greatest tragedy ever written. He gave it high praise for its outstanding fulfillment of the requirements he set out for tragedy, including reversal of situation, characterization, well-constructed plot, and rationality of action.

Oedipus Rex contains an excellent moment of "reversal" in the scene in which the messenger comes to tell Oedipus of the death of Polybos, whom he believes to be...

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This section contains 1,062 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Oedipus the King Study Guide
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Oedipus the King from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.