Tragedy and the Common Man – Questions
1. Why is the common man “as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were”?
Tragedy once belonged to the kings and the high-bred class, because tragedy centers on the awareness of disparity between self-image and the perception the world has of you. In archaic times, only kings could retain this sense of nobility. But now nobility belongs to every man. Revolutions provide proof enough, that the common man maintains a sense of indignation in the face of having their dignity stolen, and so the common man can experience tragedy as much as the kings can.
2. What evokes “the tragic feeling” in us as viewers of a play? What is the cause of the…show more content…
5. What “shakes us,” the viewers as we watch or read a tragedy?
Tragedy shakes the audience by tapping into their own private fears. An undeniable connection drawn by empathy links every audience member to the plight of the character, because the itch of indignation is universal among all humanity. As long as someone has a sense of self, they have a sense of dignity. The character in a tragedy has been wronged by some “flaw”, and there is a fear of never correcting that wrong. Every audience member experiences that fear, and so is shaken by the tragedy.
Tragedy shakes the audience
6. Given Miller’s earlier definition of tragedy, what is illuminated by the tragic figure’s destruction? What comments does Miller make about the “condition of life” and the “wrong”? How does he mean each of these terms?
The tragic figure is destroyed by the suppression of his own creative instinct. The wrong is lack of freedom inflicted on a character, and there can be no dignity without freedom to express your own individual self. Destruction enlightens the reader to what the suppression is, what robs the character of their freedom. In a certain sense, tragedy is heroism for the sacrifice it makes for personal knowledge.
7. How does the tragic figure, especially if he is a common man, “gain size”?
When the tragic figure makes