Oedipus Trannus And Clouds Analysis

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In the Western world of literature, Aristotle is ingrained within the consciousness of the literally tradition. In fact, the philosophy based on Aristotle’s writings is known as Aristotelianism. An example of such influence comes from the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe who stated “Live and die in Aristotle’s works” (BrainyQuote). Aristotle’s beliefs in the essentials of tragedy and comedy can be found in Poetics. So how would an ancient Greek tragedy and comedy hold up to his standard? Sophocles’s Oedipus Tyrannus and Aristophanes’s Clouds are both great plays but which is the superior work? Whereas both Oedipus Tyrannus and Clouds are fantastic works in their adherence to Poetics in terms of the similarity of their characters…show more content…
Aristotle states that the playwrights themselves decide the necessary and effective utilization of diction in their respective works (Aristotle 57). In this sense, for tragedy there should be more serious and dramatic as opposed to the more relaxed and humorous language of the comedies. Sophocles employs the usage of dramatically powerful language in Oedipus Tyrannus when in the first choral ode, Sophocles describes the plight of Thebes “Pain, misery beyond reckoning...all my people, sick with plague…No crops will grow... No children crown the birth pangs of our women…You see them take bird wings and rise. To the dark shore of the western god.” (Lines 168-173 & 175 & 177). Sophocles’s usage of dramatic language here helps to visualize the plight of Thebes. The language is particularly dramatic particularly the line concerning the “dark shore of the western god” which is the realm of Hades, the god of death. This section of the choral ode describes the failure of the harvest and lack of fertility. Similarly, Aristophanes uses simpler language in Clouds “Well, they’re [the Clouds] the only deities we have-the rest are just so much hocus pocus.” (Lines 482-483). Both employ diction that isn’t similar stylistically, but on appropriateness. Aristophanes and Sophocles both use their respective style of diction for their respective genres which is what makes them similar in their…show more content…
In tragedy, Aristotle states that the protagonist’s fortune must be good at the beginning but then collapse into bad fortune (Aristotle 22). An example of this is in Oedipus Tyrannus in which Oedipus goes from the king of Thebes into gouging out his own eyes for his crimes against nation and god (Line 1297). Conversely, the opposite is true for comedies; however Clouds doesn’t follow this rule, but instead Strepsiades remains in debt and goes on to lose control of his son and ends up attempting to burn down the Thinkery (Lines 1901-1906). By violating this tradition, Clouds is the inferior play as it completely disregards the concept of Aristotelian fortune. Oedipus’s fall from fortune is superior because it follows the correct method of the fall from grace. Oedipus doesn’t simply fail for the sake of failing but it is Oedipus’s hubris that ends up being the main root of his downfall. Strepsiades on the other hand simply remains as ignorant and bitter as he was in the beginning and even resorts to violent acts which means he sinks even lower than previously. Oedipus Tyrannus is the superior Aristotelian play in comparison to

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