Analysis of veiwpoints on tragedy The question of what defines tragedy has been an issue addressed by several different literary minds since the day of Aristotle, the first person to define tragedy. When Aristotle first defined tragedy he believed tragedy was something reserved for a person of noble stature. He said this person was eventually brought down by a tragic flaw, hence the term tragedy. Robert Silverberg agrees with Aristotle’s views on tragedy, but other authors don’t accept Aristotle’s view so easily. Arthur Miller for example Believes any common man can be tragic, not just the nobility. And Richard Sewall, takes a view that’s a bit different all together.
Aristotle was, as far as we know, the first person to…show more content…
Robert Silverberg’s opinion of tragedy completely coincides with Aristotle. He doesn’t form any new opinions, and his lack of creativity and originality really makes his article “Roger and John” undeserving of mention in this paper.
Of the four opinions reviewed here I like Arthur Miller’s the most. In Miller’s “Tragedy and the Common Man” Miller states, “I believe that common people are as apt subjects for tragedy in its highest sense as monarchs are” (Miller, 16). While the others who have written their own definition have reserved tragedy for the noble, I like the fact that Miller doesn’t feel that tragedy is something too good for the ordinary man. He defines tragic characters as people, “who are ready to lay down their lives, if need be, to secure one thing – their sense of personal dignity” (Miller, 16). Miller also believes that the character is not brought down by a tragic flaw of their own, but rather by a tragic flaw in the environment.
Richard Sewall has a defined three-part definition of tragedy. In his essay “The Tragic Form” he states, “[t]ragedy makes certain distinguishable and characteristic affirmations, as well as denials about… the cosmos and man’s relation to it;… the nature of the individual and his relation to himself;… the individual in society” (Sewall, 166). Sewall says that in a tragedy good and evil are both seen as definite forces in the