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Shakespeare's Non Aristotelian Works Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

Shakespeare’s works employ none of the traditional requirements for tragedy and comedy defined by Aristotle. The two people have different ideas for what a tragedy or comedy should contain. Shakespeare’s works are usually five act plays which follow the traditional plot arc. His play expositions tend to have little plot development so that his audiences, comprised of mostly poor and usually drunk citizens, can have some time to acquaint themselves with the characters within the play. There are many features that are mutual between all of Shakespeare's tragedies. Of them, the most common is the major flaw that each of his heroes have, such as an inflated sense of self-importance, pride, or an ...view middle of the document...

In tragedy, Aristotle defines the use of a character that is just, who befalls undeserved misfortune. Through this, the pity and fear is present in the audience for the possibility that the events are relevant to their lives. Shakespeare, in his plays, does not follow the basic guidelines set by Aristotle for proper tragedies and comedies.
The characters in the film rendering of Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare is an inaccurate representation of the standards for comedy set by Aristotle. Aristotle, quoted on page two in “From an essay on Aristotle,” by Leon Golden, believes that true comedy should “[represent] such characters , not in regard to every kind of vice, but in regard to the ridiculous,” in order to express true humor. Golden and Aristotle, in this essay both articulate the fact that comedy, as it should be, is ridiculous. Much Ado About Nothing, the movie rendering on Shakespeare’s famous comedy, is undeniably ridiculous, containing the common instances of humorous arguments and practical jokes. The two, however, have different approaches to achieve this humor. Hero, the daughter of the lord of a noble family, and Count Claudio, the Don Pedro’s right-hand man, behave differently than what Aristotle has envisioned. The characters in Aristotle’s definition are also described as to “[achieve], at least temporarily, undeserved success” and “regularly meet with deserved punishment” (Golden) which generates the humor in the play, while the characters from Much Ado About Nothing derive their comedic actions from their successful endeavors and sarcastic dialogues, such as the constant arguments between the two characters Beatrice and Benedick, where the two often try to find ways to belittle the other. Also, Shakespeare cannot follow the next standard for comedy set by Aristotle: that “[comedy] represents the opposite kind of character [to tragedy], which we can designate as ‘base’ or ‘ignoble’” (Golden, 2). Aristotle believes that the inability for the audience to empathize with a lower class will make the misfortunes and accidental successes of the characters much more enjoyable and less personal. Much Ado About Nothing defies this rule because the main characters, Hero and Count Claudio, are clearly nobles in their society.They are completely relatable to the audience as they are characterized similarly to the class of people that the audience is used to everyday. The Shakespearean approach to comedy is completely...

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