In the excerpt, The Poetics of Aristotle the play Oedipus is considered a Greek tragedy. According to the article, a tragedy should imitate actions which excite pity and fear. A tragedy should not be based on a character that goes from prosperity to adversity because this does not bring pity or fear but shock. Moreover, a tragedy should not be based on a character that moves from adversity to prosperity because this principal is not even close to what a tragedy should be. Pity is brought on by unwarranted misfortune, while fear is brought on by the misfortune of a man like ourselves.
A tragedy is caused not caused by someone who is good and just or by a vice but by a blunder or weakness. Oedipus is the quintessential example of this type of tragedy. He was a man of high regard who came crashing down to create a tragedy. Oedipus at first did not know that he was an adopted child. When the Corinthian messenger comes to “cheer” up Oedipus and let him know that his mother is really not his mother, all goes wrong. This recognition makes Oedipus gain unwanted knowledge about his true identity. When the Corinthian messenger told Oedipus about his past, the discovery for Oedipus came by natural means. The messenger had no idea that this downfall of Oedipus would be caused by him. This recognition is best because it arose from the incident itself. This “reversal of the situation” creates a negative effect on a once positive atmosphere.
What makes this play so great is the fact that the pity and fear come from within the play, in the inner structure of the play itself. This is the reason Sophocles is considered a brilliant poet, with superior talent. Even if you are not able to visually see the play itself; if you can hear the play it is guarantee you to give you a thrill of fear while simultaneously melting you from the pity of the tragedy. This is why Oedipus is considered one of the greatest tragedies.