The issue of tragedy Essay Free Essay

The term. calamity. by dictionary definition. can be defined as “A narrative with a sad or unhappy stoping. ” ( Arthur Miller. Tragedy and the Common Man ) . Although there is some truth to this. the true definition of calamity goes much deeper. The impression of calamity has been a portion of English literature since the beginning of the Classical times. Calamity is available in about all literary signifiers. such as. novels. play Wrights. movie. etc. Shakespeare. for illustration. has written legion universe renowned calamities since the bend of the 17th century. Four centuries subsequently. with all the alterations to the universe of literature. calamity continues to predominate. as a popular signifier of literature.

Through comparison and contrasting William Shakespeare’s. Hamlet. with Arthur Miller’s. Death of a Salesman. it is clear that calamity continues to hold many of the same characteristics as it did so long ago and it continues to appeal to audiences today. This is demonstrated through the tragic hero. the hero’s tragic defect. and the katharsis. With these three elements included. a more exact definition of calamity is defined by Aristotle as. ‘…the imitation of an action that is serious. complete. and of a certain magnitude. in linguistic communication embellished with each sort of artistic decoration. the several sorts being found in separate parts of the play…through commiseration and fright set uping the proper catharsis of these emotions. ” ( Aristotle. The Poetics ) .

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Although each and every calamity is somewhat different or even rather dissimilar. every true calamity includes the presence of a tragic hero. The tragic hero can be defined every bit “man as both beautiful and terrible” ( Class notes. Calamity and The Tragic Hero ) . It is most frequently the hero’s undue life which turns his narrative into a calamity. The tragic hero has been a critical function since the beginning of calamities and it continues to be today. However. positions of how the hero should rank in society. have changed over clip. Harmonizing to Aristotle. it is thought that the hero’s place in society is to be much above the mean adult male. Aristotle defines the hero to be “a character of baronial stature and has illustriousness. ” ( Aristotle. Aristotle’s Idea of Tragedy ) .

This can be seen in Shakespearian clip. through such dramas as. Hamlet. Hamlet’s baronial stature comes from his place as a prince ; he is the boy of the late male monarch and nephew to the new male monarch. Hamlet’s strong trueness and dedication to his household has been interpreted as his illustriousness by many critics. This can be seen as Hamlet learns the truth about his father’s decease. and his male parent asks him to seek retaliation on his uncle. the new male monarch. “Haste me to know’t. that I. with wings every bit fleet As speculation or the ideas of love. May expanse to my retaliation. ” ( Shakespeare. Hamlet. III. v. 23-24 ) . Hamlet reveals that he will make whatever it takes to seek retaliation upon his uncle and is non worried about the effects. With this quotation mark. It becomes obvious that Hamlet is in fact the tragic hero of the drama.

Although it is partially the consistence of tragic gallantry that attracts viewing audiences to tragedy today. the position of the tragic hero has been viewed otherwise by great philosophers today. than it was 100s of old ages ago. Arthur Miller. for illustration. believes “that the common adult male is as apt a topic for calamity in its highest sense as male monarchs were. ” ( Arthur Miller. Tragedy and the Common Man ) . The tragic hero. Willy Loman. in Arthur Miller’s. Death of a Salesman. unimpeachably conforms to this description. Willy Loman is a common adult male. which is apparent through his household life. his calling as a salesman. and his place in society.

Viewing audiences can easy place with him. which farther classifies him as a tragic hero. Although Willy is a common adult male. he still has some illustriousness. “His illustriousness lies in his battle to claim some shred of self-respect. He fights back against a system that is bigger than he is. that destroys ‘little men’ like him. He demonstrates an ability for ego forfeit. ” ( Class notes. Death of a Salesman- Is it a Tragedy ) . This is demonstrated through Willy’s treatment with Howard about acquiring farther in front in his concern. “You can’t eat the orange and throw the Peel away—-a adult male is non a piece of fruit. ” ( Arthur Miller. Death of a Salesman. pg. 84 ) .

Willy is trying to warrant his place in society and fight back against the system. which he necessarily fails miserably at making. By comparing Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s. Death of a Salesman. it is apparent that the tragic hero is a cardinal component to every calamity. Although their places in society are somewhat different they both posses qualities of illustriousness and will finally be doomed by these qualities. A calamity would non be a true calamity without the presence of the tragic hero. which is why audiences are still attracted to calamities after 100s of old ages.

Although the tragic hero is acclaimed to be deemed with the qualities of illustriousness. the tragic hero is surely non perfect. In fact. this strong imperfectness is know as the hero’s tragic defect. The hero’s tragic defect is what distinguishes him from any other character. This can be seen in both Death of a Salesman and Hamlet. It may be precisely this alone tragic defect which continually attracts audiences to calamities today. The hero’s tragic defect is alone to each character and it is what makes him/her a true tragic hero. In Shakespeare’s. Hamlet. Hamlet’s tragic defect comes from his boundless trueness to his household. It is because he strives to follow his father’s orders to the absolute fullest that he finally causes his ain death.

Hamlet is excessively passionate. indecisive. overly rational. and excessively infantile. He has ne’er grown up. Hamlet suffers from Oedipus composite and can non accept the world that he has a female parent with sexual demands. It is his tragic defect which make Hamlet edge for devastation. This becomes apparent to the audience when Hamlet is in his mother’s room and hears a shriek. without looking he assumes it is the voice of Claudius. “How now. a rat? Dead for a ducat. dead. [ Makes a base on balls through the tapestries. Polonius falls and dies ] . ” ( Hamlet. III. four. 72 ) This is Hamlet’s character defect. he doesn’t think before he acts. he merely wants to follow his father’s commands to the fullest and so he acts with inordinate passion.

The tragic hero ever has the possible to stand out in his illustriousness but he/she necessarily succumbs to his/her weaknesses/tragic defect. ( Class notes. Calamity and the Tragic Hero ) . The tragic hero. Hamlet. is really different from Death of a Salesman’s tragic hero. Willy Loman. yet the tradition of the tragic defect continues. Willy Loman’s tragic defect differs dramatically from Hamlet. yet audiences are still attracted to the tragic defect today every bit much as they were in Shakespearian clip. In Arthur Miller’s. Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman’s tragic defect comes from the unneeded. huge importance he puts upon success. category. and respect through the eyes of society. Willy becomes obsessed with obtaining a high place in society that it becomes his lone ground for life.

It is his tragic defect which finally leads him to his ain decease. As Arthur Miller remarks. “the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to put down his life if need be. to procure one thing- his sense of personal self-respect. ” ( Arthur Miller. Tragedy and The Common Man ) . This describes Willy Loman precisely. The feeling of commiseration is evoked in viewing audiences because Willy’s tragic defect is so easy to place with. Willy’s defect has good purposes. for he wants Biff to follow in his footfalls and benefit from his values. but Willy’s true defect is his sightlessness to see that his compulsion with these values is doing his ain death.

This is demonstrated when Willy gives his two boies advice about acquiring in front in the universe “…the adult male who makes an visual aspect in the concern universe. the adult male who creates a personal involvement. is the adult male who gets in front. Be liked and you will ne’er desire. ” ( Miller. Death of a Salesman. Pg 33 ) Obtaining a high place in society and being respected in the concern universe are what Willy feels are the most of import facets of life. As Bradley writes. “ [ The tragic hero ] need non be good. but should hold so much of illustriousness that in his mistake and autumn we are vividly witting of the possibilities of human nature. ” ( Class notes. Calamity and The Tragic Hero ) . The feeling evoked is that if waste.

Both Hamlet and Willy had great possibilities in life but the sightlessness of their tragic autumn caused them to blow their opportunities and blow their life. This expected tragic feeling has remained changeless over clip and is what continues to appeal to audiences clip and clip once more.

Calamities are literary plants which are continually filled with agony. devastation. and most frequently decease. However. through this agony. the tragic construct is that “man endures and additions through agony. ” ( Class notes. Calamity and the Tragic Hero ) The devastation in each calamity is ne’er meaningless. it has important relevancy. Although. emotions are aroused. calamity does non go forth viewing audiences experiencing down. The end of a calamity is to go forth viewing audiences in a province of katharsis.

“The word katharsis implies that tragedy purgings. removes. or unclogs negative emotions. such as commiseration and fright that build up within the human spirit. ” ( Some ideas About Tragedy. both literary and mundane ) Calamity cleanses. purifies. and therefore rids viewing audiences of negative emotions. such as. choler. commiseration. and fright. and turns them into something good. Viewing audiences endure the calamity but so derive through agony by sublimating their unhealthy emotions into something healthy. Catharsism is apparent in both Hamlet and Death of a Salesman and it continues to pull viewing audiences to calamities today. as it did 100s of old ages ago.

At the terminal of Hamlet. viewing audiences are left with a really negative scene of blood. and many nonmeaningful deceases. Equally dejecting as it may look. it is non meant to go forth the audience feeling depressed. The audience is left with a feeling of cleansing. fring any feelings of retaliation. Viewing audiences accept a feeling of a new beginning. due to the anterior line of lunacy being destructed. Hamlet displays a part of this optimism merely before his decease. “Give me the cup. Let travel. By Eden. I’ll have’t. O God. Horatio. what a hurt name. Thingss standing therefore unknown. shall populate behind me! If thou didst of all time keep me in thy bosom. Absent thee from felicitousness awhile. And in this rough universe draw thy breath in hurting To state my narrative ( Hamlet. v. two. 120 ) .

Although Hamlet is deceasing. he asks for his narrative to be told so other’s can profit from the narrative of his life. It turns a cheerless impression into something optimistic. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman follows this same trait. Without personally reading or sing. Death of a Salesman. one might believe that Willy Loman taking his ain life is a really cheerless impression. However. like Hamlet. Death of a Salesman leaves the audience with the feeling of a katharsis when Willy’s life tragically ends. Audiences can easy associate to Willy Loman in his clip of desperation. as he fails once more and once more to obtain acknowledgment from society.

It is his full ground for life until he finally gives up and lays down his life in order for Biff to profit. The calamity allows the audience to purge themselves of feelings of commiseration and fright due to the strong connexion with Willy’s character. Happy realizes what Willy has done for Biff and as he stands at his father’s funeral. Happy defends Willy by stating “I’m gon na demo you and everybody else that Willy Loman did non decease in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the lone dream you can have—-to come out number-one adult male. He fought it out here. and this is where I’m gon na win it for him. ” ( Miller. Death of a Salesman. Pg. 138-139 ) .

The audience realizes that Willy has about turned his ain licking into a victory. which replaces any negative emotions. with positive 1s. There is no uncertainty that in every calamity. there is eternal agony and devastation. nevertheless it is 1s acknowledgment with these feelings which allows the audience to cleanse themselves of these emotions and addition through the agony. These qualities have been a big constituent of calamity since calamity began and go on to pull and appeal to audiences today.

Calamities are frequently highly varied and each one is somewhat different. The content of calamities can be highly diverse and frequently have nil in common with any other calamity. However. there are a few constituents which must be present in every true calamity.

Three of import facets which are contained in every true calamity is the tragic hero. the hero’s tragic defect. and the katharsis. This becomes apparent through comparison and contrasting William Shakespeare’s. Hamlet. with Arthur Miller’s. Death of a Salesman. It is these characteristics which allow calamity to appeal to audiences today. merely every bit much as they did 100s of old ages ago. Calamities have been popular for centuries and they will go on to be popular for centuries to come.

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