Aristotelian Concept of Plot

Aristotelian concept of plot and how far is it applicable in King Oedipus

Definition of Plot:  Generally plot is a small piece of ground which is used for a specific purpose.  According to the concept of Aristotle, a plot is the very life and soul of tragedy and it must have a beginning, middle and an end and the events of the plot must casually relate to one another. In his poetics, Aristotle considered plot as the most important element of the drama- more important than character.  

The plot of Oedipus Rex: The plot of Oedipus Rex has a recognizable beginning, middle and end, as approved by Aristotle in his poetics. The tragedy begins with the intention of an astrologer who says to king Laius and queen Zakasta that they will produce a child. The child will kill his father and marry his mother. They have tried to keep themselves separate from each other so that they are unable to produce any child but they have failed. After a long time they produce a child and when they realize the speech of the astrologer then they made a play to save themselves from the child. The middle of the tragedy is the satire of a drunker. When King Oedipus grows enough by the conservancy of King Polybus at that time once a drunker banters Oedipus about his birth. He says the face of Oedipus is not the same King Polybus. So, Oedipus becomes mad to find out his own identity. He goes to the Delphic Oracle to know his identity but without getting the answer of his question, he learns from Oracle that he will kill his father and marry his mother. So, Oedipus tries his best to keep himself far away from this great sin but fails. The end of this tragedy is the tragic death of Oedipus and his mother and wife Zokasta.

 According to the view of Aristotle, in a drama there will be a main plot and some subplots. The subplots will help the main plot to make the drama fruitful. He also says that in a drama there will be three unities. The unities are- a. Unity of Time, b. Unity of Place and c. Unity of Action.

 Unity of Time: Unity of time refers the limitation of a drama or plot. Aristotle explains that the drama must be completed within 24 hours otherwise, it will not be considered as a perfect drama.

Unity of Place: It refers the plot of the drama where it will be shown. All the incidences of a tragedy must be displayed on the stage in the same time and same place. It must be happened within a short time. The place of the plot will be limited or very short.

Unity of Action: All the incidences that are happened in the world must be shown on the stage. As all the parts of a drama are related with one another so the incidences must be come gradually and the incidences will create pity and fear to the audiences.

Plot Construction: The plot of Oedipus Rex possesses a perfect structure. It is coherently developed from the prologue to the termination. There are excellent parallels of events and situations. The songs of the chorus also assist in the development and unfolding of the plot by building up the proper mood and atmosphere.

According to the definition and characteristics of a plot The King Oedipus is perfect and the concept of plot is also applicable.


 If you are benefited from my post, Please don’t forget to sms me. It’s mine: 01919879309

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.