We’re about to read Oedipus Rex, one of the most famous Greek Tragedies.
Aristotle defined what makes a play a tragedy by its Tragic hero. According to Aristotle, the tragic hero either must make the audience pity him, or fear him. He believed that the fear would come from the fact that the same misfortunes that befall the tragic hero could easily befall on any of the audience memebers.
Another important detail is that the downfall of the tragic hero cannot be because of his own vices or evil, but because of simply bad luck. This is another place where the pity comes into play, because the audience can think “oh poor thing, he didn’t deserve it.” That being said, a tragic hero isn’t perfect. They may have flaws that contribute to their downfall, but it isn’t on purpose or our of malice.
Now, to put this into context of Oedipus Rex. In short, Oedipus kills his father without knowing who it is and unknowingly marries his mother. Just with this really short description ofthe story, you can see that Oedipus is a tragic hero. He didn’t knowingly or out of malice kill his father, he didn’t realize who it was. The same goes for unknowingly marrying his mother. It was just a bad turn of fate that leads to his downfall, and the audience is definitely able to pity him.