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Tragedy Essay

1254 words - 5 pages

Tragedy, is an element, which is incorporated in many pieces of literature to generate interest and diversity for the reader. "Tragedy, a serious play or drama typically dealing with the problems of a central character, leading to an unhappy or disastrous ending brought on, as in ancient drama, by fate and a tragic flaw in this character, or, in modern drama, usually by moral weakness" (World, 1418).Tragedy… is an imitation not only of a complete action, but also of incidents arousing pity and fear. Such incidents hace the very greatest effect on the mind when they occur unexpectedly and at the same time in consequence of one another; there is more of the marvelous in them then than if they happened of themselves or by mere chance (Sense, 12).In Macbeth, Carrie and in the Blood of the Martyrs, discovery of tragedy is basically shot into your face. Tragedy in these three cases being very apparent thus makes analyzing these pieces of literature to retrieve the protagonist's tragic flaws, which leads to their downfall more simplistic. Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare, contains such an excellent example of a protagonist with a tragic flaw, which leads to his own downfall. "Superficially, Macbeth seems to return to a more conventional mode, and on one level it is much more straightforwardly a play about an ambitious prince who overreaches himself in murdering the king, and who brings about his own downfall in the end" (Focus, 8). Macbeth being so ambitious tries to become king by killing the king Duncan himself. He is so driven by his wife and by the witches that he eventually does not let anything stand in his way and proceeds to overtake the throne.There is a very fine distinction to be made in the initial presentation of Macbeth, in his first response to the prophecies of the witches. The question is wether or no they are playing upon a mind that has already considered and half-formulated desperate and ambitious designs. The tendency of late, in criticism as upon the stage, has been to accept this preparation of Macbeth's mind and nature for temptation. Such an interpretation is in harmony with conception of tragedy as the outcome of a tragic flaw in character, the flaw here being his ambition (Justice, 12). 1 As stated Macbeth's flaw is his ambition, he is so upbeat due to the fact that he is now the king and because the witches told him "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him" (Macbeth, IV, i 92-94).Therefore Macbeth doesn't believe he can lose his titles or be killed. Hence he continues with no thought of danger in his mind and this, eventually leads up to his unfortunate and tragic death.Clifford Davidson discusses Macbeth as tragedy, not according to Aristotle's definition, but according to the cultural and religious beliefs of Shakespeare's time. Davidson argues that hypocrisy is Macbeth's sin, which deprives him of sensitivity and makes him a tyrant guilty...

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