Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shakespeares Macbeth - A Tragedy Without the Tragic Flaw? :: GCSE English Literature Coursework

Macbeth: A Tragedy Without the Tragic Flaw? William Shakespeare wrote four great tragedies, the last of which was written in 1606 and titled Macbeth. This tragedy, as many critics of literature consider it, scrutinizes the evil dimension of conflict, offering a dark, gloomy atmosphere of a world dominated by the powers of darkness. Macbeth, more so than any of Shakespeare's other tragic protagonists, has to face the powers and decide if he should he succumb or resist. Macbeth understands the reasons for resisting evil and yet he proceeds with a disastrous plan, instigated by the prophecies of the three Weird Sisters. One may question whether Macbeth is really a tragedy if Macbeth is acting on the impulses stimulated by the prophecies of his fate. Aristotle, one of the greatest men in the history of human thought, interpreted Tragedy as a genre aimed to present a heightened and harmonious imitation of nature, and, in particular, those aspects of nature that touch most closely upon human life. This I think Macbeth attains. Howev er, Aristotle adds a few conditions. According to Aristotle, a tragedy must have six parts: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song; however, Macbeth fails to portray the most important part, that of the tragic flaw. Most important [most important what?] is the plot, the structure of the incidents. Tragedy is not an imitation of men, but of action and life. It is by men's actions that they acquire happiness or sadness. Aristotle stated, in response to Plato, that tragedy produces a healthful effect on the human character through a katharsis, a "proper purgation" of "pity and terror† (author’s name page #). A successful tragedy, then, exploits and appeals at the start to two basic emotions: fear and pity. Tragedy deals with the element of evil, with what we least want and most fear to face, and with what is destructive to human life and values. It also draws out our ability to sympathize with the tragic character, feeling some of the impact of the evil us. It is difficult for the reader feel pity for Macbeth because he is merely part of the evil force that has always existed in our world and not the poor, forsaken, fate-sunken man, according to Aristotle's idea of tragedy . The reader can sense the power and greed upon which Macbeth thrives, prospers, and finally falls and therefore the reader sees Macbeth as a bad guy, feeling little or no pity for him.

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