Tragic Flaws Of Romeo And Juliet

1954 words - 8 pages

Tragedy is a broad topic; there are many aspects of a tragedy. A tragedy includes events arousing the emotions of pity and fear. These emotions can define a tragedy and are evoked when watching the play or reading the drama. In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet, endure events that arouse pity and fear from the reader. An Aristotelian tragedy is a specific type of tragedy outlined by Aristotle. In this type of tragedy, a cause-and-effect chain takes place and the characters' fate is determined by their tragic flaw. There is no predestined fate; the character's fate is entirely in the their hands. A normal tragedy deals with fate being the factor that determines the events which take place in the drama. The characters have no control over the outcome in a normal tragedy. Whether a tragedy is Aristotelian or not is open to interpretation. Romeo and Juliet were brought to an Aristotelian ending because of their unfortunate tragic flaws and the evidence of tragic emotions/catharsis.
To begin, Romeo's tragic flaw is the over-exaggeration of his emotions. Romeo acts too emotional when dealing with large-scale issues. For instance, he overreacts when he learns of his banishment from Verona. He proceeds to cry hysterically on the floor in Friar Lawrence's cell. Romeo's emotions get the best of him and he ends up feeling hopeless. His emotions lead him to have a very negative outlook: “There is no world without Verona walls,/ But purgatory, torture, hell itself./ Hence banished is banish'd from the world” (III, iii,18-20). This quote shows Romeo's view of life outside of Verona. Romeo completely overreacts to his banishment and appears very desperate to the Friar. As a result, the Friar thinks of a plan for Romeo to get out of his predicament. Romeo also exhibits his intense emotions when he hears that Juliet is “dead”. He immediately goes into shock and decides to kill himself. This behavior and reaction is overblown. Just because a loved one dies, it does not mean that one has to kill themselves as well. Romeo is too emotional as is shown in this specific circumstance. Also, Romeo acts very emotional when dealing with small-scale issues. For instance, Romeo is serious and ominous during his soliloquy right before he enters the Capulet party. He overreacts to what was just a simple dream. Dreams do not dictate fate; one's actions do. Similarly, Romeo's emotions magnify once again and he looks at life using a negative viewpoint. Furthermore, Romeo's tragic flaw of over-exaggerating his emotions leads the reader to believe that Romeo and Juliet is an Aristotelian tragedy. Aristotle states: “In the ideal tragedy, claims Aristotle, the protagonist will mistakenly bring about his own downfall- not because he is sinful or morally weak, but because he does not know enough” (McManus 3). Romeo's tragic flaw, or harmatia, prohibits a happy ending for the couple. Again, Romeo acts extremely emotional when dealing...

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