Aristotelian Tragedy Macbeth Essays

611 Words Aug 18th, 2011 3 Pages
Aristotelian Tragedy: Macbeth Aristotle is known widely for developing his ideas on tragedy. He recorded these ideas in his Poetics in which he comments on the plot, purpose, and effect that a true tragedy must have. The structure of these tragedies has been an example for many writers including Shakespeare himself. Many of Shakespeare’s plays follow Aristotelian ideas of tragedy, for instance Macbeth does a decent job in shadowing Aristotle’s model. Aristotle describes one of the most important elements of a tragedy to be a tragic hero. The tragic hero however must present certain qualities such as nobility and virtue. In the play Macbeth, Macbeth is a perfect example of a tragic hero. Macbeth begins the play coming home from battle, …show more content…
However, Macbeth does not go unpunished as he suffers countless dreams and illusions that drive him to insanity. The loss of his wife also brings Macbeth to his final denouement. In the end, Macbeth is killed by Macduff; because of his arrogance he believed he was invincible even after being told his fate. Macbeth reaches his end through the same way he lived his life, through murder and deception. Many argue over the fairness of Macbeth’s life, but the goal of a tragedy in Aristotle’s view point is to strike fear and pity in the audience through harsh punishment upon the hero in extreme ways. Finally, Aristotle claims that in order for a tragedy to be effective, the fear and pity must be released from the audience through catharsis. First the tragic hero must gain some knowledge from his tragic life. Macbeth shows this self-realization in his ‘yellow leaf’ soliloquy when he expresses remorse for his actions. Also, in the end he knows he must fight until the end whether his fate is death. At this point the audience is cleansed of the emotions of the plot and the tragedy is finished. Macbeth is a primary example of a typical Aristotelian tragedy. It follows the structure necessary from the tragic hero, to his downfall and ultimately to the catharsis necessary for an original Greek drama. The aspects of this play are a perfect example of the tragedies of that
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