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Since the day Adam and Eve released sin into the world, tragedy has been forever linked with mankind. Tragedy can be defined as "A serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror." Aristotle realized that in plays there were rules that had were needed to create an effective Greek tragedy play. He created a book called "Poetics" which contained those rules and definitions. Using examples such as "Oedipus the King" by Sophocles, Aristotle discovered seven categories that were essential to a tragedy play: Plot, Character, Thought, Diction, Song, Spectacle and Catharsis.

The plot of a play is the most important feature of tragedy. It is an explanation of events that occur and is interesting and captivating to the reader. Aristotle defines plot as "the arrangement of the incidents". The plot usually goes through three stages: A beginning (Reversal of Situation), a middle (Recognition), and an end (Suffering). Reversal of Situation occurs when something unexpected happens that moves the story along such as a death occurs within a family. Recognition occurs when new information is revealed within the play, either good or bad. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus discovers that he is the one who killed his father and the prophecies that were revealed to him were true. Finally, Suffering is needed to complete the plot within a tragedy. Once Oedipus realizes that he caused his fathers death, he stabs his eyes, because he cannot look at his father with his eyes in the afterlife.

The character of the protagonist is the second key in a Greek tragedy. Six points break this category down: Status and Reputation, Tragic Flaw (Hamartia), Conflict, Catastrophe, Struggle and Consequence, and Fate. Each one of these points is necessary in developing the character of a play. In a perfect tragedy, the character is renowned and prosperous so that his fortune can go from good to bad. Like a rollercoaster, the main character's life will begin relatively okay. In Oedipus the King, while there is disease Oedipus's his country, his life would be considered good; this is the start of the rollercoaster. As Oedipus seeks the person who killed Laius, the story moves towards its climax, like the rollercoaster moving closer to its peak. Once Oedipus discovers that he is the killer, the rollercoaster has reached its peak and is quickly moving downward. From here on it is only sorrow as Oedipus is stabs his eyes as his life continues downward spiral. The rollercoaster begins to fall and the character's life ends lower than where it started.

Thought is third in importance. The play should reveal the characters intentions and the actions of the characters



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