Aristotle's Tragedy : Shakespeare And Aristotle On Tragedies

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Shakespeare and Aristotle on Tragedies
The Greeks were the trailblazers in the art form of theater, and with no precedents the defined the characteristics of theater, specifically tragedies. Even today, Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy is widely used. According to Aristotle, a tragedy, concerns a tragic hero, whose tragic flaw contributes to his downfall, contains the devices of recognition and reversal, and inspires purgation in the audience (Kennedy 707-09). Tragedies that satisfy Aristotle’s criteria are called classical tragedies. William Shakespeare is known for his tragedies, but how does his version of tragedy compare to Aristotle’s definition? The Shakespearean tragedy Othello, The Moor of Venice, corresponds most closely to classical tragedies. It contains a protagonist that fulfills the requirements of a tragic hero, elements of recognition and reversal, however the conclusion of Othello significantly contrasts to the conclusions of classical tragedies.
Aristotle’s first element for a tragedy concerns the protagonist, called the tragic hero. In Aristotle’s tragedies, the protagonist is one of “high estate” and notable in character or stature (Kennedy 707). Although most classical tragic heroes are royalty, this element in simplest form establishes only the need for a tragic hero to have something to lose. Essentially a general, Othello possess great power. Additionally, Othello has the wealth and power to qualify as upper class. However, he is not truly

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