This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Aristotle's Idea Of Tragedy And The Play "Fires In The Mirror"

1316 words - 5 pages

Aristotle was a phenomenal Greek philosopher. His words and thoughts inspired millions, and continue inspiring today. He taught lessons to those who would listen, he preached his scientific findings, but above all, Aristotle enjoyed the theatre. In fact, Aristotle had his own views about different genres. Today we will look at tragedy. In Aristotle’s mind, a tragedy was the process of imitating an action which had serious implications, was complete, and possessed magnitude. He even composed six elements that a tragedy must contain. Aristotle’s six elements of tragedy are a plot, characters, thought, verbal expression, song composition, and visual adornment. Each contributes to an aspect of a tragedy.
Fires in the Mirror, written by Anna Devere Smith, is a contemporary tragedy. We can use Aristotle’s 6 elements to deeper analyze Fires in the Mirror and discover what makes it a tragedy, and why it challenges and differs from other tragedies during the ancient Greek period when Aristotle preached his knowledge.
Aristotle’s first element regards the importance of an interesting plot. A plot is a compiled sequence of events in a play. The sequences must be unified because they will all link to the central action. The central action is the goal which the hero is trying to achieve. In Fires in the Mirror, we don’t see a hero, or a timeline plot. This challenges Aristotle’s idea about plot. Instead, we see interviews that are supposed to make up the “would-be” plot. Although they aren’t a series of events, they are still linked because each interview pertains to the riots and the opinions about racism. All are intertwined and relate to the Crown Heights riots of 1991.
Aristotle’s second element pertains to characters. He believed the hero of the play has to be a good character that acts in ways which are appropriate to their situation. This is another place where Fires in the Mirror challenges Aristotle. Fires in the Mirror had many characters, but no hero. Not to mention that Fires in the Mirror also had female roles. In Aristotle’s day, women could not perform in plays because it was against the law. In fact, women didn’t have a significant role in society at all. They were merely domestic property unless they were of royal status. This meant the protagonist in the plays were usually male. Nowadays, women have rights and many plays use both men and women to act as the protagonist.
The third element in Aristotle’s tragedy list is thought. The way we describe thought is the way a character reasons. Aristotle argues that the characters of a play are logical. Fires in the Mirror challenges this element because Anna Devere Smith made most of her characters react off of emotion, rather than logicality. During the Greek era, the hero of a play was directly related to the situation, but they still used logic to determine their action. I believe Anna Devere Smith illustrated reality a bit better. Very few people use...

Find Another Essay On Aristotle's Idea of Tragedy and the Play "Fires in the Mirror"

Mirror, Mirror in the Soul Essay

799 words - 3 pages A shattered mirror makes a thousand tiny daggers. Mirrors show us exact reflections. We get an accurate measure of how we physically appear to others. Looking inward, however, is not as easy. It requires time, thought, and honesty. Without these we form assumptions and are unable to accurately evaluate ourselves. Sometimes we are prompted to evaluate from external sources, and sometimes from internal sources. Whatever the cause, it is a

Discuss the importance of the 'mirror' in psychoanalytic terms with reference to Lacan's theory of the mirror stage and Angela Carter's short story 'Flesh and the Mirror'

1829 words - 7 pages whole, sees itself for the first time in a looking mirror and recognises the image to be their own. They transform from a world of believing their body to be fragmented (what they can see immediately, then vanishes) to achieving a new status of wholeness. The idea of the 'other' for them has now been created as they have a sense of 'I'. Before the sense of the other, they believe that they are attached to their mother but when they realise they

Strategic Plan to Reduce the Number of Fires in Lancashire

2481 words - 10 pages Initiation stageFires in LancashireLancashire Fire and Rescue Service designed a good Strategic Plan; the aim of the plan was to reduce the number of fires which take place in Lancashire. Among the performance indicators which was utilized to help in reducing the amount of deaths caused by accidental fire of the people of Lancashire. The management prepared a report based on the death due to fire in Lancashire in from the year February 2008

man in the mirror

994 words - 4 pages The Man in the Mirror Hadley Richardson was born into an upper class society in St. Louis. She was the daughter of an alcoholic father who committed suicide and a mother who hated everything about the men. With this history no wonder she was drawn to a man like Hemingway. Hadley was a twenty- eight year old on her way to becoming a spinster when she was introduced to Ernest Hemingway while visiting in Chicago. It started off a love story like no

Look in the Mirror

945 words - 4 pages drink. You probably can't tell when someone is lying or stealing or committing any number of sins. In your life the person you need to be the most concerned about is you. Keep an eye on that guy in the mirror and make sure that he's doing what he knows he supposed to do. The only time you should worry about whether others are doing what they're supposed to do is if you have a specific calling or one day when you have children and even then, follow

Of Cannibals: Looking in the Mirror

1285 words - 6 pages Brazilian peoples and Montaigne had an issue with this. He saw that the Brazilian peoples were far less barbaric than what the Europeans thought they were, and clearly refutes this in the document.6 "They are savages in the same way that we say fruits are wild, in which nature produces of herself and by her ordinary course."7 Montaigne had the proper idea in viewing the Brazilians, he knew that they were living the best way that they could

The Mirror of Frost

771 words - 3 pages The Mirror of FrostI believe that everything in life and art is open to interpretation. I believe that how these things are interpreted is influenced by each individuals mood, experiences, mindset and environment. I believe each of these interpretations have varying levels of severity and recognize that what may seem extreme to one, can be average or inconsequential to another. I fully believe that the poetry of Robert Frost not only is a mirror

The Mirror of Death

817 words - 4 pages Step 1: Look at yourself in the mirror. Do it now. I know you don’t want to. Look at yourself. Pathetic girl, your eyes are burning red and your head is pounding. Maybe next time you won’t cry as much. Your hair is knotted from the countless times you dragged your fingers through it and yanked. Lace your fingers through it again and pull, pull harder and harder. Let the long strands drop to the floor; you’ll sweep them up tomorrow. Look at the

In the play Romeo and Juliet the real tragedy is that everyone loses. Discuss. - english - essay

793 words - 4 pages In the play Romeo and Juliet the real tragedy is that everyone loses. Discuss. William Shakespeare's critically acclaimed drama, Romeo and Juliet is about two misfortuned lovers whose immense passion lead to the defiance of their noble families, the Capulets and the Montagues and in time,  ending the an ancient grudge. A feud, proving much too important to be resolve than to invest in true love that both Romeo and Juliet have for one another

The Tragedy of Macbeth: The Play vs. The History

989 words - 4 pages The Tragedy of Macbeth is written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s works are collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death. Shakespeare’s Macbeth shocks and captivates readers for nearly four hundred years. The Tragedy of Macbeth is not a complex play but is filled with intense and powerful scenes. The historical version and the play version compare and contrast in many ways. The setting of the play

Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society

1454 words - 6 pages Women in Renaissance Tragedy A Mirror of Masculine Society *No Works Cited The life of Renaissance women was not one that was conducive to independence, or much else, outside of their obligations to her husband and the running of the household in general. Women, viewed as property in Renaissance culture, were valued for their class, position, and the wealth (or lack thereof) that they would bring into a marriage. This being said, the role

Similar Essays

Shakespeare's Use Of Aristotle's Guidelines To Tragedy In Creating The Play Othello

1624 words - 6 pages Throughout time, the tragedy has been seen as the most emotionally pleasing form of drama, because of its ability to bring the viewer into the drama and feel for the characters, especially the tragic hero. This analysis of tragedy was formed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and also noted in his Poetics (guidelines to drama). As a playwright, Shakespeare used Aristotle’s guidelines to tragedy when writing Othello. The play that was created

"The Revenge Wrapped In Tragedy" Hamlet Is More A Tragedy Than A Revenge Play. Discuss This Idea By Examining Three Essential Elements Of The Play That Make It A Tragedy

1210 words - 5 pages Shakespeare's Hamlet is more of a tragedy than a revenge plot in that it follows the unfortunate downfall of a prince due to his vengeful goal rather than the honour or justice brought about by his revenge. The tragedy underlies the plot in three fateful elements: death, corruption and betrayal, themes that echo throughout the play and resonate in each character's actions ultimately leading to their own demise, whether by their own hand or

The Idea Of Imitation According To Aristotle's "Poetics"

708 words - 3 pages Aristotle had refuted Plato's conception of imitation. Plato thought imitation to be a deviation from truth. Aristotle thought imitation to be the re-creation of something better than reality. Aristotle in Poetic says:"Epic poetry and Tragedy, as also Comedy, Dithyrambic poetry, and most flute-playing and lyre-playing are all, viewed as a whole, modes of imitation."Aristotle does not bring all the types of art. He speaks only of Epic poetry

The Catagorization Of Death Of A Salesman In Accordance To Aristotle's Definition Of A Tragedy

595 words - 2 pages Loman displays a number of qualities of which Aristotle would consider to be that of a tragic hero, he encompasses harmatia which takes form in his foolish pride, and dreams he could not accomplish. Throughout the play it is pointed out to the reader that Willy’s foolish pride has lead to the failure of achieving his dream as well as financial imbalance. Pride leads Willy to shield himself in delusion rejecting any blame that could fall upon