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Arthur Miller was certainly aware of the nature of Greek tragedy and made a deliberate decision to use the structure of Greek drama as a basis for his play A View from the Bridge, as he had previously done for All My Sons. The central character, Eddie Carbone, fits well with the central figure in All My Sons and Death of a Salesman, being a family patriarch who has also been a complete failure as a father. He has no children of his own, so he looks after his wife's young niece. Over time, he has developed unconscious sexual feelings toward her, affecting everyone around him. Eddie is an ordinary man living among other ordinary men. The high-born nature of the traditional tragic hero is gone now, though Carbone can be seen as a middle-class version of a high-born hero because he is respected in his community and the head…
Bloom, Harold. Arthur Miller. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
Chanter, Tina. "Tragic Dislocations: Antigone's Modern Theatrics."
Differences, Volume 10, Issue 1 (1998), 75-97.
Miller, Arthur. A View from the Bridge. New York: Viking, 1959.
Tragic Hero begins with an examination of Oedipus ex. But, while he is the archetype of this particular literary character, Hamlet is, perhaps, the most well developed and psychologically complex of tragic heroes. For the Greeks, all things in life are preordained, which is what makes for the tragedy of Oedipus - his attempt to make his own destiny. Over the course of time, however, while the form of the tragic hero did not change, the reason for his being tragic did. The social world of the enaissance had shifted from a philosophy of determinism to one of individualism - that we all have the choice to accept or deny our relationship with God. This makes Hamlet a tragic hero who is punished not for a flaunting of destiny, but because he is mad. It is the purpose of this paper to examine both Oedipus ex and Hamlet as tragic…
Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Penguin Classics, 1987.
Sophocles. The Oedipus Cycle. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1977.
Oedipus as Tragic Hero
In most dramatic plays, tragedy usually strikes the protagonist of the play and leads him, or her, to experience devastating losses. hile tragic instances can be avoided, there are other instances where one's fate and future is out of the protagonist's control. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles and first performed around 249 BC, Oedipus cannot escape his destiny and even though he tries to overcome and circumvent prophecy, he finds out that supernatural forces will get what they want in the end. Oedipus meets the criteria of a tragic hero set forth by Aristotle and his fate within the play demonstrates that one does not always have free will in their lives.
Traditionally, in Greek drama, tragedy is meant to reaffirm the concept that life is worth living and that people are in constant opposition with the universe. Action within Greek tragedies commonly comes…
"Archetypes, Myths, and Heroes." Seven Valleys Software. 1998. Web. 18 April 2012.
"Aristotle." VCCS LitOnline. Virginia Community College. Web. 18 April 2012.
Aristotle. "Outline of Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy in the POETICS." Ed. Barbara F.
McManus. November 1999. Web. 18 April 2012.
Othello as Tragic Hero
hile Othello is not Greek and Shakespeare is not a Greek playwright, Othello embodies many characteristics of a tragic hero as outlined by Aristotle.
hat is a tragic hero?
Person who is neither perfect in virtue and justice, nor someone who falls into misfortune through vice and depravity, but rather, one who succumbs through some miscalculation.
Othello is manipulated by Iago to murder Desdemona
Iago uses Othello's trusting nature against him
Hero falls because of tragic flaw/hamartia
Tragic choices are made through free will
No one forces Othello to act as he did, Iago simply pushes him iii. Tragic flaws include jealousy, stubbornness, and misplaced trust
Othello surrounds himself by people who want to destroy him -- Iago.
Iago sees Othello's trusting nature as a weapon
Iago attacks Othello because he was passed up for promotion iii. Iago attacks Othello because he hates him…
Aristotle. (n.d.).Virginia Community College System. Accessed 7 October 2012, from http://vccslitonline.cc.va.us/tragedy/aristotle.htm.
Arthos, John. (1958). The Fall of Othello. Shakespeare Quarterly. Vol. 9, No. 2. pp.
Boas, George. (1955). The evolution of the tragic hero. The Carleton Drama Review, Vol. 1, No.
First, he burns their crops. When they seek revenge for that, Samson defeats an untold number of them. All of these incidents are merely preludes to the first real battle, which occurs when Samson is a prisoner facing overwhelming odds. The Philistines demand that the Israelites hand over Samson, so they bind him with ropes and hand him over. However, "The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men." (Judges 15: 14-15).
Furthermore, Samson is initially successful over his second wife, Delilah's attempts to betray him to the Philistines. She repeatedly asks him for the secret to his strength and he repeatedly gives her false answers. However, each time that he gives her a false answer, she attempts to use that answer to betray him to the…
As a tragic hero therefore, Oedipus does not err because his character is somehow flawed. Instead, his inevitable fall is caused by an error of judgment: instead of accepting his own fate, he tries to find out the truth about his origin and thus begins the quest that will lead to his dramatic end. Oedipus' almost paranoid search for the truth of his birth shows him as a social nonconformist who is urged to seek answers rather than meekly accept ignorance and his given lot. hen he is close to finding out the whole truth of his birth Oedipus declares himself confident in accepting whatever may come, and seems to resign himself to his fate: "But I / ho rank myself as Fortune's favorite child, / the giver of good gifts, shall not be shamed. / She is my mother and the changing moons / My brethren, and with them…
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex, in Four Famous Greek Plays edited by Paul Landis. New York: The Modern Library, 1929.
A short time later, Oedipus comes across Jocasta who has hung herself. He immediately blinds himself with her brooches in a fit of madness brought on by the recent developments. Oedipus ultimately seeks to banish himself out of the Kingdom to escape his reality and for the good of the people of Thebes.
Oedipus fits the classic model of an Aristotelian tragic hero very neatly. First, Oedipus exhibits and is known to possess fine moral character, as is evident from his pattern of behavior displayed throughout the entire play. Next, he develops a tragic flaw or mistake which is an obsession with avoiding his prophecy. This is a human frailty on the part of Oedipus and not an instance of depravity or moral turpitude. The demise of Oedipus is fairly swift and sweeping as his kingdom, family and reputation are all ruined. Aristotle believes that a tragic hero must…
Aristotle. Poestics. The Internet Classic Archive. Web. Accessed 4 October 2010.
Belfiore, Elizabeth. Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotion. Princeton (1992), p. 176.
Dawe, R.D. ed. Sophocles: Oedipus Rex. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2006). p.1
Aristotle studied literary theory in his book, Poetics, and in this study he defined and provided ideas about the concept of tragedy. Tragedy for Aristotle is defined as, "an imitation of life in the form of a serious story that is complete in itself; in other words, the story must be realistic and narrow in focus." He characterized a "good tragedy" if it brings about a feeling of "fear and/or pity" in it viewers. Aristotle also conceived his own concept of the "hero of tragedy" or tragic hero. He enumerated several ideas on the different characteristics that identify tragic heroes. These characteristics will be discussed later in the body of the paper. An example of a tragic story is William Shakespeare's tragic play, Hamlet. Hamlet, the primary character in the story, is considered a "tragic hero" because he possesses the qualities that Aristotle identifies as the characteristics of a tragic…
Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragic hero according to the definition of Aristotle. First, he is a man of noble stature. Second, he is good—but not perfect—and his fall is directly attributable to his own guilty actions. Third, his fall is tragic—the combination of his greatness and his own responsibility in causing his own fall. Fourth, the misfortune Othello suffers is enormous and due to the fact that he himself is larger than life. Fifth, the fall that Othello suffers does come with an increase of awareness—self-knowledge that restores a bit of his wisdom and nobility before the curtain falls; he exits not cursing his fate but taking responsibility for his own crimes and acknowledging the justice delivered upon himself. Sixth, the play achieves a cathartic effect by arousing pity and fear in the audience in which the emotions are purified or purged; instead of feeling depressed by what…
Medea as Tragic Hero
The pattern of the tragic hero was first defined by Aristotle. Aristotle's work The Poetics discusses the art of Greek tragedy, and defines the rules for a tragic protagonist. If we examine these rules from Aristotle alongside the Medea of Euripides, we may see how Euripides observes or breaks the classic pattern. I suggest that Euripides observes more rules than he violates, to better emphasize those aspects in which he differs from the Aristotelian norm.
The first part of the pattern of a tragic hero is discussed by Aristotle in Poetics Chapter V. Here, Aristotle defines what will come to be known as "the unities":
They differ, again, in their length: for Tragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit, whereas the Epic action has no limits of time. (Poetics V)…
Aristotle, The Poetics. Translated by S.H. Butcher. Internet Classics Archive. Accessed 15 April 2011 at: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html
Euripides, Medea. Translated by E.P. Coleridge. Internet Classics Archive. Accessed 15 April 2011 at: http://classics.mit.edu/Euripides/medea.html
According to Aristotle, the tragic hero's suffering results from an error (hamartia) he or she makes. Does Antigone make a mistake, and if so, of what kind?
Sophocles wrote the play Antigone in 441 BC in which the emotions of loyalty, love and honor are found in conflict of each other as Antigone ignores Creon's law and follows that of the Gods, by burying her brother, Polynices who otherwise has died a traitor.
In this regard, Antigone shows nothing but pure, unadulterated love for her brother, coupled with the need to fulfill what has been written above that of Creon and the laws of man.
Antigone therefore does not make a mistake in wanting to bury her brother and disobey Creon, as she states in "As for the poor corpse of Polynices, however, they say that an edict has been published to the townsmen that no one shall bury…
One of the most pervasive archetypes in literature is the hero. The Greeks presented a complex and very human type of hero, often referred to as the tragic hero. eaders can relate especially to tragic heroes because tragic heroes have flaws. Their flaws make tragic heroes more human, and are effective protagonists even when their plans fail. The hero who is semi-divine or divine is a less compelling story, given that few if any human beings can relate to a figure who is flawless, immortal, and possessing of unlimited strength. Graphic novels present complex characters including some that fit the definition of tragic hero. Modern literature teems with examples of heroes who are just like us: they have good intentions, they are far from perfect, and they sometimes fail. Yet embedded in the definition of hero is the imperative that the individual must be able to put aside egotism,…
Franklin, J.H. (n.d.). The train from hate. Retrieved online: http://www2.selu.edu/Academics/Faculty/scraig/Franklin.htm
Knight, E. (n.d.). Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane. Retrieved online: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15411
Quinonez, E. (2000). Bodega Dreams. Vintage.
The positive value that most people place on a character's ability to face their demons is traditionally what defines a "hero." What defines a "tragic hero" is when facing those demons is too much for the protagonist to handle, which is the case in this play. But this lack of unwavering strength and courage is what makes the character of Oedipus seem human, and therefore relatable to the audience. If his reaction to the truth had shown nothing but strength, he would seem more like a cardboard cut-out than a human being.
A hero is more noble and more human when he must overcome his flaws and life's adversities. This may be why literary heroes have appealed to readers across many different cultures and over many different eras in history; because they represent the deepest and most respected ideals of human behavior, without extending too far beyond the constraints of…
Segal, C. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge, New York, 1993
Sophocles, Dawe, R.D. (ed.) Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2006
It recounts the travails of Antigone, daughter of Oedipus the former king of Thebes, who disobeys King Creon in burying the body of her slain brother. She knows that she faces death for doing this, but insists that she does not care, saying "For whoso lives, as I, in many woes,
/ How can it be but death shall bring him gain? / And so for me to bear this doom of thine / Has nothing painful" (Arrowsmith, lines 508-12). Antigone does not see meaninglessness in death, but rather is willing to face death for the symbolic gesture of burying her brother. This illustrates her own tragic quest for truth; like Gilgamesh (and Creon), she is frustrated by the rules and order imposed by a mortal government, and feels that it pales in comparison to the divine moral laws such as those regarding the treatment of the dead and the…
Arrowsmith, William. Antigone. New York: San Val, 1999.
Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh. New York: Mariner, 2003.
Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Washington D.C.: Folgers, 1997.
He complains that his name "is now begrimed and black" (3.3.384) and fears that Desdemona has made him a "fixed figure for the time of scorn" (4.2.53). His fears might be those of any man, insecure in his position, concerned about how he is viewed. Thus, both heroes are true to life in that each has his own particular faults, like any man.
Aristotle's fourth condition of the tragic hero is "consistency: for though the subject of imitation…be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent" (43). As Aristotle suggests, both characters are inconsistently consistent, though in their own ways. Oedipus bounces from being high-minded, caring and affectionate to being almost simple-minded, careless and angry any time his pride is pricked. For example, even when the evidence all points to the truth of what the priest says, Oedipus is reluctant to admit it; yet when his wife tries to undermine what…
Aristotle. Poetics. (trans. By Gerald Else). MI: University of Michigan Press, 1970.
Lattimore, S. "Oedipus and Teiresias." California Studies in Classical Antiquity,
8 (1975): 105-111.
3.47-51). hile Ophelia clearly is intelligent enough to take care of herself as well as offer her own rebuttals against the male characters' altogether creepy insistence on controlling her sexual life, she suppresses this intelligence and ability out of deference for her father. Thus, her eventual fall is inevitable and largely her own fault, because by allowing her relationship to her father to overshadow everything else, including her own thoughts and desires (revealed explicitly when she says "I do not know, my lord, what to think"), she sets herself up to be utterly devastated following her father's death (and abandonment by Hamlet) (1.3.104).
The circumstances surrounding Ophelia's death are somewhat murky, as they are only related second-hand via the Queen, and the reasons for Ophelia's madness are only ever truly "explained" by the king. Although Ophelia does state that she "cannot choose but weep" at the thought that her father…
Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet." Shakespeare Navigators. Web. 4 Aug 2011.
Charterhouse of Parma Hero, Fabrizio Del Dongo
It is exceedingly difficult to label Fabrizio de Dongo, the protagonist of Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, a hero in the conventional sense. Heroes conventionally are imbued with heroic qualities including great courage, physical prowess, a discerning intellect, and other superlatives that make them better than most men (who are not heroes). There are many characteristics of Fabrizio that make him more of an anti-hero -- he is excessively idyllic and is plague by misfortune (which the author satirizes in a comical way). However, there is a similarity with conventional heroes that Fabrizio unequivocally shares: he is a starkly shining idealist and, whether or not he can actually fulfill them, he is motivated by some of the purest and most heroic motives.
One of the aspects of Stendhal's novel which helps to prove the veracity of the previous thesis is the fact that…
Stendhal. The Charterhouse of Parma. www.ebooks.adelaide.edu. 1839. Web. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/stendhal/charter/index.html
Shakespeare delays the entry of his tragic hero until the second scene of Othello, creating dramatic irony and suspense. He also allows the audience to first perceive Othello from the eyes of Iago and Roderigo, thus emphasizing their roles in the coming course of action. Although it is unclear whether Iago and Roderigo are honest men this early in the play, the fact that they fail to name the title character leads the audience to suspect that these two men might be up to no good. Furthermore, their characterization of Othello raises curiosity in the mind of the audience. The introduction of Othello in Scene 2 of the first act relieves this dramatic tension. Othello is poised, regal, and, as we soon see in scene 3, popular; the Duke clearly favors him over Brabantio. Othello is portrayed as a sympathetic character early in Shakespeare's play.
Othello is only referred to…
Willy suffers from the consequences of the internal and external conflicts in his life. One of the antagonists in this story is the false promise of the American Dream, not another person per se. Willy is unable to become rich and show his family his own worth through material possessions, despite his hard work and perseverance, which is a conflict to him because he believed that would happen. He believes that the company he has been employed by for decades will promote him, but instead he is fired. He has worked hard and struggled to provide for his family, yet his sons reject him. Willy learns that the truths he has believed in life are actually false promises. These conflicts are all caused by the antagonist of the play, and losing his job and income and therefore perceiving himself to have let everyone, including himself, down are his external conflicts.…
Crazy Horse and the Western Hero
Crazy Horse, believed born sometime in 1838, was a respected member of the Oglala Sioux Native American tribe and is noted for his courage in battle. He was recognized among his own people as a visionary leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life and leading his people into a war against the take-over of their lands by the White Man. The location of Crazy Horses birth is not conclusively known. Some sources report his birthplace as the South Cheyenne River. Other sources point to either Rapid Creek, near present day Rapid City, South Dakota, or near ear utte outside Sturgis, South Dakota.
Crazy Horse earned his reputation among the Lakota not only by his skill and daring in battle, but also by his fierce determination to preserve his people's traditional way of life. Celebrated for his ferocity…
Marshall, Joseph M. "Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko) 1840-77."
Pautler, N.P. "We all play the hand we're dealt, honored historian says." University Week. June 22, 1995, p. 3.
Robert Warshow. The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
White, Richard. It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
Door in the Wall" our hero is Lionel Wallace. His heroism lies in his ongoing fight with his childhood memories and the knowledge that there is an easier way. He perseveres in life even though he feels the tediousness of it. Wallace is a tragic hero. The tragedy is that he gave into the choice when he was too young to understand and now must fight it every second, with its impact making his life more unpleasant.
The story revolves around Wallace's encounter with a green door when he is at the age of five or six. He enters this door and finds an enchanted world. On leaving this world, the memory of it haunts him for the rest of his life. We see Wallace encounter the door again and again, each time not entering it for different reasons.
Inside the door is both a paradise and an escape, an…
Camera angles that focus on wretched faces, of young boys in red coated uniforms begging for mercy, and of the arrogance of the British officer corps, not just towards Americans, but towards their own enlisted men, are shown with filming skill. As might be expected for this type of film, John Williams' score was masterful and very much in line with the generation of epics from the 1950s and 1960s -- painting a realistic picture of the film without dialog. Similarly, the audience is set up between the idyllic farm and hard work of a widower in the opening scene to the juxtaposition and hoped for return to normalcy in the final moments -- however, knowing that things will never be as they were (See: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=336714&contentTypeId=130&category=trailer). The scene, however, that most stays with the audience is not one of the grander battles, but a one-on-one battle between Benjamin and Tavington,…
REFERENCES and WORKS CONSULTED
Bittarello, M.B. (2008). "Re-Crafting the Past: The Complex Relationship
Between Myth and Ritual." Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies. 10(2): 214.
TRAILERS and PREVIEWS
Brown, Todd. (2007). "Footage from Taras Bulba." Twitch. Cited in:
Those with issues to overcome are always more heroic. Hector also becomes a hero when, after at first running from Achilles, he eventually stands up to him and dies a heroic death.
The Iliad is primarily a war epic. In your opinion, is the Iliad condemnation of the it could easily be argued that the Illiad glorifies war, as much of the poem is spent portraying the warriors as brave and courageous, even as they go on killing rampages. Warriors are describes as "masters of the battle cry" and "warlike" in glowing epithets. When Achilles originally refused to fight, he is roundly condemned for it by all of the other Greek characters. Even the weapons of war, such as Achilles impenetrable shield, are glorified. But homer is more complicated than simple -- war also brings death, which he describes in great detail. Hector's death is perhaps the most graphic of…
arrior Hero: A Stranger in a Strange Land
The figure of the hero is set apart from the common herd of ordinary men by virtue of his special qualities and abilities; in some works, this separateness is literal - he is in a strange land apart from his own kin. To see how this alienation enhances the tale of the hero's conflict, The Odyssey, Beowulf and The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice will be considered.
Odysseus, Beowulf and Othello are all warrior heroes. Odysseus, in The Odyssey, has been instrumental in the victory at Troy, and now fights to return to Ithaca and bring his men safely home; more struggles await him there. Beowulf, a great fighter who has proven his mettle in many conflicts, hears about the depredations of Grendel on Heorot Hall and journeys there to rescue Hrothgar's people. His role in the conflicts against the…
Alexander, Michael, trans. Beowulf, Penguin Classics. New York: Viking Penguin, 1973.
Cook, Albert, trans. Homer: The Odyssey. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1967.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. London: Abbey Library.
In the heat of battle, George stands up and allows himself to be killed. He thus becomes a "hero" for his hypocritical "loved ones" at home to mourn.
The first major theme of Death of a Hero is the hypocritical attitudes and immorality of the Victorians. Much of the prologue and the first two parts of the novel are dedicated to a savage, bitter portrayal of Victorian middle class life in England, from the 19th century up to the First orld ar. The individuals in these sections are portrayed in such a severe fashion, that the inevitable conclusion drawn is that life in this society was so stifling and unbearable that it spurred a lot of idealistic young men such as George to go to war as a means of escaping it.
The third part of the novel takes place during the war itself, and allows Aldington to explore his…
Aldington, Richard. Death of a Hero. New York: Covici-Friede, 1929.
film explicitly relives the foundation of the Qin dynasty. It outlines the ancient China before the reign of the first emperor who survived assassination attempts from warring factions' from the neighboring kingdoms. The film highlights events leading to the establishment of the empire that are missing from history books thereby assigning the plot of a mythical foundation. The plot of the film articulates the founding mythology, it focuses on a minor official who defeats Qin's three principal enemies and is summoned to the palace to tell the King of his surprising victory. From the onset of the film, it is unclear who the hero is, Qin appears to be a central figure and also featuring prominently are the other assassins Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword. However, it is without a doubt that Nameless not only appears in every scene, but also is the center of focus these scenes. He…
Oedipus Exemplifies or Refutes Aristotle's Definition of a Tragic Hero
Aristotle's, the Greek philosopher definition of a tragic hero and tragedy has been influential since he set these definitions down in The Poetics. These definitions were viewed as important during the Renaissance, when scores of writers shaped their writings on the works of the ancient Rome and Greece. Aristotle asserted that tragedies follow the descent of a tragic hero or a central character, from a noble and high position to a low one. A tragic hero posse some tragic flaws, which cause his, fall from fortune, or turnaround of fortune, and to some point, the tragic hero realizes that his own mistakes have caused the turnaround of his fortune. Aristotle also noted that the tragic fall of a hero or a central character in a play stirs up fear to the audience or the reader given that the audience sympathizes…
Bloom, Harold. Oedipus Rex. Texas: Infobase Publishing, 2007.
Grene David. Sophocles. Oedipus the king. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010
Kahan Jeffrey . King Lear: New critical essays. New York: Routledge, 2008.
Madden Frank. Exploring literature: Writing and arguing about fiction, poetry, drama and the essay. Pearson Education Canada, 2008
His failure at both appears to perpetuate each other: his failure as provider translates to his failure as business and family man, and indeed to his failure as American success. In this way, the American Dream is representative of ultimate success. By failing at this, Willy represents the doubts and fears of many Americans; he fails in all the ways feared by society.
Oedipus' failure occurs on a much larger scale. His success relates to his status as the person of highest importance in society. He however reacts differently from Willy, who first lies to himself and then crumbles under the pressure of the increasingly obvious truth. As the truth becomes increasingly obvious for Oedipus, he still refuses to turn away from his search. When all is finally revealed, Oedipus displays his true character by taking responsibility for his actions. Although the king can hardly be blamed for what happened,…
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman Penguin, 1976
Johnston Ian. Fate, Freedom, and the Tragic Experience: An Introductory Letter on Sophocles's Oedipus the King. 2007. http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/introser/oedipus.htm
Sophocles. Oedipus the King.
He kills his father as he flees his home and marries his mother after solving the riddle of the Sphinx. His end is inevitable, but Sophocles clearly shows the role negative character traits play in Oedipus' tragedy, while Hamlet's supposedly negative traits of doubt are not necessarily evil.
Thus Hamlet could be classified as a kind of nascent anti-hero, a man who mourns "the time is out of joint/oh cursed spite/that ever I was born to put it right," and never succeeds in 'putting it right' because society offers him only one, ineffective mechanism for pursuing a brutal type of justice (1.5). The failure of heroism to 'put things right' is manifested starkly in Waiting for Godot, where the heroes famously wait for the final 'solution' of the arrival of the presumably heroic Godot, who never comes. These characters are not so much heroes or even anti-heroes -- rather they…
Othello Is a Tragic Hero
Othello is an Aristotelian tragedy
This paper will show that Othello can be correctly labeled a "tragic hero" and that the play fits the form and function of the Aristotelian tragedy according to the model as it is understood and interpreted by critical scholars.
Defining the tragic hero and the Aristotelian tragedy
The tragic hero is good, valorous, true to life and consistent
The Aristotelian tragedy is complete, an imitation of an action and produces a cathartic effect through fear and pity
Othello is a Tragic Hero
He is Good
The senate loves him because he is strong
Desdemona loves him because he is brave
His men love him because he is a leader
He has Manly Valor
He is viewed as a moral man
He is unafraid of meeting a challenge
c. He is true to life
He has faults and weaknesses
Aristotle. (1970). Poetics. (trans. by Gerald Else). MI: University of Michigan Press.
Barstow, M. (1912). Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Aristotle. The Classical
Weekly, 6(1): 2-4.
Bates, C. (1997) 'Shakespeare's Tragedies of Love', Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Tragedy, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Iago notices this flaw at once and plots to exploit it almost immediately. This is evident when he tells Roderigo:
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by th' nose
As asses are. (Shakespeare I.iii.393-6)
Here we see that Iago intends on using Othello's open nature against him by allowing him to believe that Desdemona is cheating. Othello has a tendency to be slightly gullible - especially when he believes he is interacting with a confidant. R. B Heilman notes that it is the villain in Othello that defines the tragic hero. hen Iago describes Othello as one "loving his own pride and purposes" (I.i.12), he is describing Othello's "tragic role" (Heilman 21) a.C. Bradley observes, "Othello's mind, for all its poetry, is very simple. He is not observant. His nature tends…
Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive. Information Retrieved March 01, 2009. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html
Bradley, a.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. Victoria: Penguin Books. 1991.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Kenneth Muir, ed. New York: Penguin Books. 1968.
Heilman, R.B. "Modes of Irony in Othello." Shakespeare's Tragedies. Baltimore: Penguin Books. 1966.
Othello as a Tragic Hero
Thesis: Othello fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero because he meets all four of the philosopher’s conditions: 1) he is great, 2) he demonstrates nobility or manly valor, 3) his character is authentic and true to real life, and 4) he is consistent. The play also fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy as it effects pity and fear in the audience.
a. Aristotle’s definition of tragedy and the tragic hero
b. Thesis statement
a. Othello is better than the average man—he is a hero of Venice and rightly so
b. Othello demonstrates manly valor and that is why he is beloved by the Venetians and by Desdemona
c. Othello is true to life—nothing about is so unbelievable that it makes the play unrealistic
d. Othello is consistent—his fall is a consequence of flaws in his character that are evident…
Finally, there is a sense of release or uplifting at the end of the play. Linda's comment, "We're free" (Miller 1054) seems to encapsulate the family's struggles and inner turmoil. Willy has died in a blaze of glory, utterly convinced he is doing the right thing, and perhaps that has made his last moments happier than they have been in years. He will never know he failed again, and failed his family in the most permanent way. However, there was so much argument, turmoil, and strife in the family, perhaps removing himself was really the thing the family needed. There is a feeling, even though it may be implied, that the family will come together as a result of Willy's death, and that they will survive. There is also a feeling that the two sons will have some impetus to make something of themselves, even if it is because they…
Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." Masters of Modern Drama. Haskell M. Block and Robert G. Shedd, ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1962. 1020-1054.
A lot of genres throughout history have been tested over time among which 'tragedy' has been the most favorite one. Tragedy reveals a debacle tale of a good or valuable person through misinterpretation and fatal mistakes along with the production of misfortune and awareness on the protagonist's part and arousal of fear and sympathy on the audience's part. Aristotle, an ancient Greek thinker, is considered to have been the key ruling forces of tragedy. 'Poetics,' a masterpiece literature is considered to be the key authority that defines a true misfortune (Aristotle, 1968, pgs 33-35).
A character filled with tragedy must lift the story plot in every tragedy and that hero has to accomplish particular rules to be called a tragic hero. Aristotle presents some rules of a tragic hero which state that the character should not be displayed fleeting through an excellent fortune to a bad one; while…
Altman, J.B. (1987). "Preposterous Conclusions": Eros, Enargeia, and the Composition of Othello. Representations Journal. No. 18, pp. 129-157
Altman, J.B. (2010). The Improbability of "Othello": Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Aristotle. (1968). Aristotle on the Art of Fiction: An English Translation of Aristotle's Poetics. CUP Archive Publications, pgs 33-35.
Dominguez-Rue, E and Mrotzekb, M. (2012). Shakespearean tragedies dynamics: identifying a generic structure in Shakespeare's four major tragedies. International Journal of General Systems. Vol. 41, No. 7, 667 -- 681.
Othello as Tragedy
Othello as Tragic Hero
Aristotle defines tragedy as "an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament…; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions" (Aristotle, 1970, p. 43). The main points of the definition are found here: tragedy should be cathartic and should be a complete representative of a serious action. Moreover, Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero is that he must be better than the average man in order for his fall to be that much more dramatic and moving. In order for a character to be a tragic hero he must first of all be good, conforming and appropriate to the moral standards of his times, true to life, and consistent. With this in mind, it is fair to…
Aristotle. (1970). Poetics. (trans. By Gerald Else). MI: University of Michigan Press.
Barstow, M. (1912). Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Aristotle. The Classical
Weekly, 6(1): 2-4.
Bates, C. (1997) 'Shakespeare's Tragedies of Love', Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Tragedy, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Indira Gandhi's assassination and the assassination itself. This paper delves into her early life to understand her political steps. Furthermore, it highlights the economic and political climate of India during her rule. Lastly the paper concludes whether Indira Gandhi can be understood within the context of a tragic heroine.
Indira Gandhi has been a controversial figure in the political history of India. Descending from the most important dynasty of India, Indira ruled India for a total of twelve years; a tenure that ended with her assassination. In retrospect, it is evident that her assassination was a direct result of the ways that she employed in running India's domestic policy. According to some, Indira Gandhi's life can be termed as a Greek tragedy and herself as the tragic heroine. According to Aristotle's description of a tragic hero which he gave in Poetics, a tragic hero is a person who falls from…
Dumar, Dhrub. Impact of Indira Gandhi on Indian Political System. Harper Collins: 1999.
Frank, Katherine. Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi. Harper Collins; 2001
Gupte, Pranay. Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi. Scribners Charles Sons; 1992.
Jayakar, Pupul. Indira Gandhi: An Intimate Biography. Pantheon Books Inc.: 1993.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Specifically, it will explain how the suffering brought upon others by Oedipus contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole. Oedipus is the classic tragic hero, as he not only adversely affects his own life, he is the instrument of suffering for many of the other characters surrounding him in the play. His tragic flaw, or hamartia, is a fatal mistake that flows from a hero's character, and this tragic flaw continually affects those around him, and ultimately leads to his downfall, and the tragic ending of this play. Tragedy surrounds everything that Oedipus does, and ultimately no one in the play can survive when Oedipus touches their lives.
Oedipus' tragic flaw is his rashness. He does not think things through before he acts on his rash impetuousness, and this continually affects those around him. From the moment he slays the traveler…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Robert Bagg. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982.
searching for an example that follows Aristotle's principles for creating the perfect tragedy, we need look no further than illiam Shakespeare's play, Othello. According to Aristotle, a tragedy must possess certain characteristics. These include a plot that is easily remembered and structured to arouse pity and fear within the audience. Additionally, Aristotle writes, "Such an effect is best produced when the events come on us by surprise; and the effect is heightened when, at the same time, they follows as cause and effect" (Aristotle VIIII). A great deal of importance is also placed on the action of the plot. According to Aristotle, "A Complex action is one in which the change is accompanied by such Reversal, or by Recognition, or by both" (Aristotle X). These events must "turn upon surprises" (Aristotle XI) in order to fulfill the requirements of a tragedy. Suffering is also essential for a tragic hero to…
Aristotle, Poetics. Trans S.H. Butcher. MIT Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html . Site Accessed March 01, 2004.
Bradley A.C. "Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on 'Hamlet,' 'Othello,' 'King Lear,' 'Macbeth.' 1904. Site Accessed October 23, 2003. http://www.infotrac.com
Cantor, Paul A. Othello. "Southwest Review." 1990. Site Accessed October 23, 2003. http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=9608042302&db=aph
Muir, Kenneth. Othello: Introduction. New York: Penguin Books. 1968.
Tragedy and the Common Man," he contemplates the idea that only the wealthy, noble characters can fully understand tragedy, and therefore appreciate it. That thought is not a reflection of his own opinion, as Miller argues the case of tragedy and the common, working class man - for tragedy knows no income boundaries, but rather that this person would "lay down his life...to secure one thing - his sense of personal dignity." To that end, Willy Loman epitomizes what Miller is speaking about.
Willy Loman is most certainly a tragic hero, according to the modern-day, Arthur Miller type definitions. Loman is hardworking and relentless in his pursuit of his American dream. His tragic flaw is that he cannot recognize how desperately his family wants to love him, yet Willy loves his family deeply enough to sacrifice self in order to give Biff the American dream that he could not obtain…
The commencement of illiam Shakespeare's work can be traced to the latter quarter of the fifteen hundreds when he started writing and performing plays. In his work, Shakespeare basically considered the current issues, which contribute to debates among scholars on whether his works should be regarded as contemporary writing or universal philosophical statements. His focus on current issues was mainly geared towards reconstructing the existing political and social concerns and universal concepts and issues. Notably, one of the major issues raised by scholars regarding his work is the significance of historical depiction. Some scholars argue that Shakespeare's historical depiction of his characters should not be overlooked. This depiction plays an important role in understanding the characters themselves as well as gaining important insights from his works. In this case, Shakespeare's characters fall into two major categories i.e. heroes and heroines and villain characters.
Analysis of Shakespeare's Characters:
Berkoff, Steven. "Shakespeare's Villains: A Masterclass in Evil" British Council. British Council, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. .
Johnston, J. "Characteristics of a Shakespearean Tragic Hero." Sussex Regional High School. Sussex Regional High School, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. .
Magnusdottir, Lilja D.S, and Martin Regal. "Shakespeare's Heroines: An Examination of How Shakespeare Created and Adapted Specific Heroines from His Sources." Skemman. Skemman, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. .
Sandoval, Jennifer. "Shakespeare's Characters: A Visual Analysis." Yale National Initiative. Yale University, 1 Aug. 2004. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. .
Bradley describes this by saying that "Othello's nature is all of one piece... Love, if he loves, must be to him the heaven where either he must leave or bear no life. If such a passion as jealousy seizes him, it will swell into a well-night incontrollable flood" (Bradley 188). This shows how Othello goes to the extremes, especially relating to his emotions. Bradley also says that "He is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect" (Bradley 188). This shows that like Hamlet, Othello is not able to consider the source of his emotions. This occurs as a natural part of Othello's character, while for Hamlet it is specifically linked to the particular situation and the particular emotion. However, the end result is the same with both characters unable to consider their emotions and rationalize them.…
Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Penguin, 1991.
Eliot, T.S. "Hamlet and his Problems." The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. 1922. Bartelby.com. Retrieved October 29, 2005. URL: http://www.bartleby.com/200/sw9.html
Shakespeare, W. Hamlet. New York: Penguin, 1987.
Shakespeare, W. Othello. New York: Penguin, 1984.
He does so to mask his true malicious intentions. Here he shows how his manipulation is actually paying off, "[...] He [Othello] holds me well; / the better my purpose shall work on him," (I.3.382). Iago shows his audience yet another motivation for his ensuing treachery in this passage as well. Earlier in the play, Iago spoke about his own jealousy towards Cassio when Othello choose him over Iago for the position Iago desperately wanted. Despite Othello's reasoning behind his decision, Iago's jealousy has obviously not subsided at this point in the play, "Cassio's a proper man. Let me see now: / to get his place, and to plume up my will / in double knavery-" (I.3.384-386). Iago reveals that he will commit double treachery, ruining both Cassio and Othello in his plot to frame Desdemona's betrayal with the innocent Cassio.
The last chunk of the passage is where Iago's…
Shakespeare, William. Othello. (Complete with exact pages and publication of the version of the First Folio which you used... The line numbers cited in the text do not need to be changed.)
Tragedy in the Oedipus Trilogy
Sophocles is considered to be one of the greatest Greek dramatists, and remains among the most renowned playwrights even today. The Greek tragedy is one of the most influential genres of literary and theatrical history on the modern drama and theatre. The theatre of ancient Greece was inspired by the worship of Dionysus, and the performance of plays was considered to be a religious experience for both the actors and the audience. ecause of this, the intensity of the Greek theatre was very strong, and the degree to which the plays were taken seriously as a means of influencing and interpreting life was also very high. According to Aristotle, the philosopher credited with creating the definition of a tragedy, "Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament,…
McManus, Barbara. "Outline of Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy in the POETICS." CLS 267 Topics. November 1999. http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html
McManus, Barbara. "Unity of Actionn in Oedipus the King." CLS 267 Topics. November 1999. http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/oedipusplot.html
Morissey, Christopher. "Oedipus the Cliche: Aristotle on Tragic Form and Content." Anthropoetics 9, no. 1. Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University. Spring/Summer 2003. http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0901/oedipus.htm
"Reading Greek Tragedy." University of Washington, Tacoma. 2005. http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/ctlt/students/resources/someelementsoftragedy.pdf
Shakespeare Never Read Aristotle?
Or, the dynamic forms of catharsis and tragic flaws in Shakespeare's plays
Shakespeare's most beloved plays are his tragedies. If one were to list his best and most popular plays: Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, and so forth, one would find the list comprised almost entirely of tragedies. So it would not be amiss to say that much of the modern literary conception of theatrical tragedy is shaped and influenced by Shakespeare. At the same time, the definitions of the tragic form as understood at the roots of theatrical history (in Greco-Roman times) continue to be part and parcel of the official comprehension of tragedy. Many critics have sought to fore Shakespeare into the mold of tragedy defined in Aristotle's Poetica, and many others have rightfully protested that he was not cast from that mold, and that in fact he owes little to it.…
Aristotle. Poetica. Trans. W.H. Fyfe. http://www.noncontradiction.com/ac_works_b38.asp
Charlton, H.B. "Humanism and Mystery" Shakespeare The Tragedies. Ed. Alfred
Harbage. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964. 10-18.
Harbage, Alfred. "Introduction" Shakespeare The Tragedies. Ed. Alfred Harbage.
As a king in ancient Greek literature, Oedipus was required to have a dramatically catastrophic fall, while modern literature needs a tragic hero who is an "everyman." But both suffered greatly in their own ways, and in ways that the audience both expected and regarded as essential. But while these two characters were both the central, tragic figure in their respective stories, their differences were a reflection of the role of dramatic tragedy in their societies.
The subject of ancient Greek literature was often the magnificent deeds of the gods and heroes, while everyday life was more often forgotten. As a result, the tragedies presented often had as their main character a great person, sometimes with a major personality flaw, who suffers extreme torments and a mighty plunge from an exalted position. Nothing exemplified this excessive amount of suffering than Oedipus, a man who became a king only to later…
Aristotle, S.H. Butcher. "Poetics." The Internet Classic Archive. Web. 8 April 2012.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. London: York, 1998. Print.
Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." The Internet Classic Archive. Web. 9 April 2012.
Oedipus: A King of Multiple Archetypal Meanings, as well as Multiple Tragedies
"hat walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?" In answering the question to the Sphinx's riddle with the word 'man,' "Oedipus the King" of Sophocles seals his fate. He will marry the widowed queen of Thebes, having unwittingly dispensed with his father during a roadside brawl. Perhaps because the answer to this riddle so perfectly embodies Oedipus' own struggle, this character's answer has a special poignancy for the reader or viewer of the play. Oedipus began his life crawling on all fours as one of the lowest of babes, retrieved by a shepherd shortly after being abandoned at birth. In the noontime of his life, he was raised high as a king, standing on two legs. Then, after being exposed as a parricide and of having engaged…
"Myths, Dreams, Symbols." http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/archetype.html
Heroic Ideal Greece, ome
An Analysis of the Heroic Ideal from Ancient Greece to oman Empire
The mythopoetic tradition in Greece begins with Homer's Iliad, which balances the heroic figures of Achilles and Hector, two opposing warriors and men of honor, amidst a war on which not even the gods are in agreement. Hector and Achilles mirror one another in nobility and strength and both represent an ideal heroic archetype of citizenry -- men who do battle to honor both their countries and their names. To illustrate, however, the way the ideal of heroic citizenship changes from the Greek mythopoetic tradition through to the late Stoicism of oman imperialism, it is necessary to leap ahead several centuries and survey the several different bodies of work.
The mythopoetic tradition in Greece somewhat continually dwells on the same themes with regard to heroic citizenship, whether in Homer or in the Golden Age…
Aristophanes. (1973). Lysistrata/The Acharnians/The Clouds. Trans. Alan Sommerstein. NY: Penguin Classics, 1973.
Homer. (2008). The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. UK: Oxford University Press.
This explains the indecisiveness of Hamlet to remove Claudius and a strong barrier between Gertrude and Hamlet is made by him so as he will never express his true emotions for her. Hamlet feelings for Gertrude will be disguised by the ones for Ophelia which aren't real as long as Claudius stayed in the way. His original indecisiveness about revenge ultimately grew and he tried to defy his order after a while. hen his mother is killed, then the reason for not killing Claudius disappears and he makes the decision to kill his him and avenge his father. His indecisiveness does cost him his life and that of his mother who was the one reason for his living (Utter 137).
The tragic flaw is of Hamlet is evident in his indecisiveness to take revenge for the death of his father. Hamlet brings up several excuses for not taking action yet…
Burch, R. "I knew Hamlet." Mississippi Review. 29.3 (2001): 43-47
27 April. 2010. < http://www.jstor.org/stable/20132124>
Halliday, F.A Shakespeare Companion 1564 -- 1964. Baltimore: Penguin, 1969
"Hamlet: Themes." The lit Chart Library. 3 Sept. 2008. 27 April. 2010.
Journey motif is pervasive in global literature, attributed to the existence of collective symbols common to all human societies as archetypes (Zhang, 2008). Both Homer's Iliad and Shakespeare's Henry V incorporate the journey motif as a literary technique. This serves to elevate the status of the protagonist to the heroic level, as the character struggles to meet challenges and overcome obstacles without the familiar trappings of home, family, and social status. War is one of the reasons that heroes undertake journeys, and war indeed figures prominently in both the Iliad and Henry V, driving the plot and transforming their respective protagonists. Journeying occurs on actual and symbolic levels in both these texts. In Homer's Iliad, Achilles undergoes several changes of heart during the war. His journey is introspective, taking him from a point of habitual action through a stage of vengefulness, and finally, onward to spiritual, social, psychological, and political…
Alston, A. (2008). Henry V: The hero king? Retrieved online: http://www.shakespeare-revue.com/PDFs/Alston-HenryV.pdf
Homer. (800 BCE). The Iliad.
Shakespeare, W. Henry V. Retrieved online: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry5&Scope=entire&pleasewait=1&msg=pl#a1,s1
Zhang, K. (2008). Archetype and allegory in Journey to the West. Retrieved online: http://dspace.library.uvic.ca:8080/bitstream/handle/1828/1823/Archetype_and_Allegory_in_Journey6.pdf?sequence=1
drama is tragic not only because of Willy Loman's suicide, but because he has left his family with nothing, and his sons with no hopes and abilities of their own.
Brief overview of the play
Argument for tragedy
Pro argument for tragedy
Con argument against tragedy
What the critics say
Death of a Salesman as Tragedy
This paper analyzes the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Specifically, it discusses the definition of tragedy by Aristotle, and research if it is correct to label the play as a tragedy.
Death of a Salesman is indeed a tragedy of epic proportions. The drama is tragic not only because of Willy Loman's suicide, but because he has left his family with nothing, and his sons with no hopes and abilities of their own.
Arthur Miller wrote Death of a Salesman in 1948,…
Adamczewski, Zygmunt. The Tragic Protest. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1963.
Amsden, Robert. "Aristotle's Definition of Tragedy." Ripon College. 2002. 29 Aug. 2005.
Bloom, Harold. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.
Shakespeare's Macbeth represents what many refer to as the tragic hero. This can be proven by examining Macbeth's character. Through a series of bad decisions, Macbeth single-handedly ruins his own life. By allowing himself to be influenced by outside forces, Macbeth diffuses his own moral strength and good nature, which were the very things that led him to greatness. Step-by-step throughout the play, the reader can watch Macbeth's character deteriorate until he has nothing left. Macbeth might have been a tragic hero, but the tragedy was of his own making.
In the beginning of the play, Macbeth demonstrates characteristics of a hero and a leader. His loyalty to the king transforms into a desire to be king. This is evident in the first scene when Macbeth encounters the witches and falls victim to their curses and predictions. Because of his false sense of security, he believes everything they say. In…
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1994.
He is out of control, and he hurts the one who loves him the most.
Ophelia is of course, devastated by Hamlet's denunciation. She cries to the King, "And I, of ladies most deject and wretched, / That suck'd the honey of his music vows, / Now see that noble and most sovereign reason, / Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh" (III. i. 147-150). Hamlet is a tragic hero in this drama, but Ophelia is equally tragic because her love denounces her, and in her melancholy, she drowns herself. Her fate is tied to Hamlet's, even though he denies his love, and that helps make her a sad and tragic heroine. In today's world, Ophelia is even more tragic, because it is impossible for her to make up her own mind. She listens to the men in her life - her brother, the King, her father, and…
Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Michael Meyer, ed. Seventh Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. 1407-1558.
Nevertheless, it was his curiosity that made him popular and it would only make sense that it would be his downfall as well. This very human aspect of the king allows us to relate to him and a persona level.
The final tragic move in the play occurs as Oedipus chooses to leave his Thebes. His attempt to rid the city of contamination is brave. He realizes his failure and how he was remarkably shortsighted. Truth was nothing but trouble and for all he wanted to see, there was nothing but destruction for every aspect of his life. Oedipus does not lose his sense of fairness in the tragedy and still behaves responsibly. By the end of the drama, he is ready to accept what he has coming or what he thinks he deserves. He accepts responsibility Laios' murder and the condition of Thebes and her people. He tells Creon…
Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive.
Site Accessed November 15, 2010.
Barranger, Milly. Understanding Plays. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1990. Print.
Hadas, Moses. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. Jebb, Richard, trans. New York: Bantam
Miller and Eliot on Beauty
Comparing and Contrasting "Beauty" in Miller and Eliot
Arthur Miller and T.S. Eliot are two 20th century American playwrights. hile the latter is more commonly noted for expatriating to Britain and writing some of the most memorable poetry of the early 20th century, the former is noted for his famous depiction of the common man's struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in Death of a Salesman. As distinct as the two writers may seem, they both conceive of and treat the theme of beauty -- Miller analyzing its absence in Salesman, and Eliot analyzing its abandonment in several poems like "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The asteland." This paper will compare and contrast both writers and show how they deal with the theme of beauty in their works.
The Absence of Beauty in Salesman and "Prufrock"
Beauty is missing from illy Loman's…
Aristotle. "Poetics." Internet Classics Archive. Web. 12 Oct 2011.
Barstow, Marjorie. "Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Aristotle." The Classical
Weekly 6.1 (1912): 2-4. Print.
Blasing, Mutlu Konuk. American Poetry: The Rhetoric of Its Forms. New Haven: Yale
Faustus' Acceptance to Eternal Damnation
Many traditions and legends have been created all the way through the long history of western culture. Among which one of the most outstanding and well-known as well long lasting traditions of western culture is of the Faustus legend, where in this legend, a man called Faust or Faustus, sells his soul to the devil for almost twenty-four years for the purpose of worldly power. This makes it a very prominent story that has been narrated many times over by writers such as Goethe, Lessing, and Mann. However, most probably the famous telling is Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
The social upheaval during the time period is the most prominent influence on Marlowe's version of Doctor Faustus. This novel has been suspected of being first performed in 1594, which was a time of great change in Europe. During this period the Medieval Times were over…
Conflict in the Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. November 6, 1998.
Christopher Marlowe. Books and Writers.
movies Gladiator and Braveheart both focus on the highly popular and time-honored, classic theme of humankind's unending struggle for freedom. Braveheart and Gladiator share numerous similarities, but are very different movies, in several important ways. In both movies, the average man becomes a true hero, after he is horribly wronged, and is thereafter forced to fight for freedom for both himself and others, against what seem to be almost hopeless odds.
In these movies, the average man becomes a hero, both through circumstance, and the strength of his individual character. The average, unassuming man who evolves into a classic, but tragic hero is charismatic. It is this charisma that allows him to attract loyal followers, against their common and powerful opponents.
In both Braveheart and Gladiator, the tragic and unassuming hero ultimately suffers a horrible and dramatic death, as a result of his struggle for freedom and justice.
Bradley, K.R. Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989.
Braveheart. Director: Mel Gibson. VHS, 1995.
Gladiator. Director: Ridley Scott. VHS, 2000.
Goldstein, R.J. The matter of Scotland: Historical narrative in medieval Scotland. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Classic tragedies possess tragic heroes and cataclysmic endings. Otherwise strong and potentially great leaders fall prey to human character flaws such as hubris. In a true tragedy, the protagonist does not emerge victorious, but rather, typically brings about their own and others' downfalls. Tragic heroes squander their personal power and usually learn from their mistakes, but moments too late. Classical tragedies rarely have more than a smidgen of comic relief and are typically devoid of lighter moments. Comedies, on the other hand, can include tragic elements and remain comedies. So-called "black" comedies include elements of the tragic and the funny. Through farce, the themes of the drama are imparted powerfully. Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is therefore an example of a comedy, not a tragedy. The play's protagonist, George, is no tragic hero, and nor is his wife Martha. Unlike classic heroes like…
structure of ancient and modern dramas to highlight their differences and similarities. The paper also shows how drama evolved over the centuries with references to Greek, Elizabethan and Modern plays.
MODEN AND ANCIENT DAMA: A COMPAISON
Drama has an inherent ability to adapt itself to the thinking and wishes of the society in which it takes birth. Therefore modern drama with all its intensity, relevance and eloquence is certainly more popular among modern audiences than its ancient counterpart. Still we cannot deny the importance of ancient dramatic concepts, models and devices in the development and evolution of modern drama. While ancient plays are mostly remembered for their grandeur and myths, close analysis reveals that there is more to them than meets the eye. All ancient Greek tragedies contain some similar elements, which set them apart from tragedies of later eras. While they basically concentrated on highlighting the significance of myths,…
Aristotle The POETICS Book XIII: 350 BCE Translated by S.H. Butcher Online version:
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, 1949 Penguin USA, 1 edition, October 6, 1998
Arthur Miller, "Tragedy and the Common Man," from The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller (Viking Press, 1978)
In this passage, Shakespeare brings into lucidity Hamlet's tragic flaw: as he delayed his plan to avenge his father against Claudius, Hamlet opens an opportunity for the murderer of his father (Claudius) to plan ahead and instead, turn the tables against Hamlet, which eventually results to his death.
It was only at the end of the play that Hamlet redeems himself from his mistakes in life. This is when he achieves "catharsis," the "end or goal of tragedy" (1186). Hamlet finally kills Claudius before he dies himself, and Fortinbras best illustrates his redemption by exulting him by saying, "Let four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage, for he was likely, had he been put on, to have proved most royal, and for his passage, the soldiers' music and the rite of war Speak loudly for him" (1345).
Although Oedipus in the play "Oedipus the King" can be…
Roberts, E. And H. Jacobs. (1998). Literature: an introduction to reading and writing. (5th ed.). NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Tragedy of Oedipus Rex
Many people understand Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex, is a tragedy but what they may not know is that Aristotle established the notion of the tragic drama and Oedipus Rex fits it perfectly. The ancient drama serves as an excellent example of what a tragic play looks like. According to Aristotle, the hero of a dramatic play can must be noble or of royalty. Because he is noble, he is often perceived of in an extraordinary in some way. This is certainly the case with Oedipus. His people love and respect him primarily because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx. Besides being extraordinary, a tragic hero must vacillate between two extremes and reveal his tragic flaw and eventually experience a catharsis. Finally, the hero must evoke a sense of pity or sympathy from the audience before the play's conclusion. Oedipus Rex fulfills these requirements.
Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive. Web.
Site Accessed March 08, 2011.
Hadas, Moses. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. Jebb, Richard, trans. New York: Bantam
Books. 1971. Print.