Fences Play According to Aristotle

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Using Aristotle’s descriptions of Tragedy, I classify Fences by August Wilson as a tragic play. The elements of tragedy, Troy Maxson as a tragic hero, and tragic plot were evident throughout the play. Also, the feeling of catharsis at the end-which is proper of tragedy, was clearly identifiable. I. Fences fits into the tragic genre based on the points given by Aristotle. In Poetics, he defines tragedy as "the imitation of an action that is serious and also as having magnitude, complete in itself."
• Aristotle’s idea is that the plot has a beginning middle and end and all parts follow each other in concise fashion. o In the beginning, the hero is a garbage man, who previously was given a chance to participate in professional
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The promise of change is empty; he cares only about change itself…The so-called realities of the social world around him matter little, for he dances to an internal rhythm, answering a call for self-authentication that springs from a cultural, even cosmological, dimension.” (Pereira 38)
• Aristotle then says in his descriptions, “Thirdly, character must be true to life: for this is a distinct thing from goodness and propriety, as here described.” o Troy fits a character who would have lived in the 1950’s, having experienced discrimination, an abusive father and a changing society towards African-Americans in that period. o Troy says in Act 1, Scene 3 pg. 37 "…The white man ain 't gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway." Troy’s beliefs ran true to his experiences all through the play.
• The last characteristic of a tragic hero is that he must be consistent. o Troy was consistent in his belief that the black man could not get ahead in America. o He behaved and learned from the examples given by his own father. o “The events of almost a century had underscored the distinction between de jure and de facto. Legally, blacks had been free for ninety four years, but practically they had little or no access to any of the benefits that ordinary citizens take for granted-recourse to the law, equal employment opportunitites, education.” (Pereira 36) III. Troy’s
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