Aristotle is a name that has survived the years because of all the contributions he made to various types of arts and sciences. He was taught by another famous philosopher, Plato, and was the tutor of Alexander the Great. This already impressive resume included some works on theater and tragedy. Aristotle crafted three unities or rules for how to make a perfect tragedy. these unities were, the unity of time, meaning that a perfect tragedy should only tell the story of what happened in one day. The next unity was about space, there should only be one scene in a tragedy. Last was the unity of action, which stated that there should be no side stories or subplots that did not directly contribute to the story.

Aristotle was a great fan of Sophocles and Oedipus Rex in particular because it followed all of his unites. Though it refers to past events, the story talks about what happened in just one day. As far as space, Oedipus Rex has only one scene, outside the palace in Thebes. There are no subplots, and everything contributes the play as a whole.

Another concept Aristotle believed in was Catharsis. Catharsis was an emotional cleansing felt by the audience where all the emotional tensions of the tragedy would be resolved. Aristotle left us many legacies. His work on tragedy has survived to this day. Writers, playwrights, any one with a story to tell, all study the Aristotle’s three unities of tragedy.

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June 2023

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