November 28, 2005

Literature Tragedy vs. Real Life Tragedy

Arthur Miller is absolutely correct when he makes the comment on most people's misconceptions about tragedy. Technically, tragedy can be defined several ways.

~A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

This definition explains the term as we and other literary scholars know it, but because of the other definition (a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life) the lines are blurred between what is a tragedy in literature and what a tragedy is in real life. Although sometimes a moral lesson can be found in a real tragedy ("I learned my lesson, I'll never do that again!), it is much more likely that the moral can be discovered in the text. And although Miller did not want to claim more optimism in a tragedy author, I will. To me, comedies are to entertain, while tragedies are made to show the human flaw, but also the hope that those flaws can be overcome.

Posted by KatherineLambert at November 28, 2005 04:33 PM
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