How Far Do You Agree With The View That The Tragedies In ‘Ethan Frome’ And ‘A View From The Bridge’ Are Brought About By Individual Characters Rather

2216 words - 9 pages

Within A View from the Bridge and Ethan Frome the main protagonists are tragic figures. The origin of a tragedy comes from Greece, where the basis of the idea was a drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or extreme circumstance; this usually resulted in either disaster or death. As is true to most Greek tragedies the ending of the shown before the downfall itself. Most victims of tragedy were written to be of a high stature such as royalty, yet both Ethan Frome and Eddie Carbone were ordinary men who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Arthur Miller said in his famous essay ""Tragedy of the Common Man", Arthur Miller states, "I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in the highest sense that kings were."₅ In both texts, both Ethan Frome and Eddie Carbone reactions are determined by themselves as a character with the external factors acting as a catalyst to initiate their downfall.

The result of the tragedy is foreshadowed in both texts by the author. The use of a narrator to announce the result of the tragedy before the downfall is described and exposed to the audience is relevant to both texts. Both Arthur Miller and Edith Wharton use an external narrator. The narrator used in Ethan Frome, a businessman who is intrigued by Ethan. The narrator often describes/compares Ethan to his surroundings “He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe"₂ This description suggests that Ethan is very withdrawn and has been affected by unfortunate circumstances. The use of the word "mute"₂ to describe him makes him seem to not be his complete self, as though he is holding back and suppressing his full personality. Many similarities can be drawn between the setting and Ethan. Starkfield is described to be a very cold and lacklustre place in which people often appear to be trapped or oppressed into rather than chosen as a place to live. It sounds very desolate and isolated which also relates to how Ethan is viewed by the community. The name itself "Starkfield"₂ shows that it's bare, barren and exposed much like Ethan. Whereas Miller uses the basic format of a Greek Tragedy and adapts it to a modern-day situation. He uses a chorus to offer a variety of background and a summary of information which assists in the understanding of the protagonist. "Alfieri shows symbolically for Eddies downfall and offers a balanced view of the action"₄. Both the tragedies that occur in ‘Ethan Frome’ and ‘A View from the Bridge’ are initiated by the main protagonists themselves. External factors, such as other characters or social setting, act as a catalyst for the problems that occur. The reaction is determined by the individual characters themselves and their character traits.

Whereas, Edith Wharton encourages the reader to empathise with Ethan allowing them to develop an informed understanding of his individual character. The narrator tells the story n the third person. By...

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