Sunday, November 14, 2010

Main Qualities of Tragedy

1.  Tragic hero is man of noble stature. Greatness about him.
Good, though not perfect.


2.  Fall results from committing “an act of injustice.” 


3.  Ignorance of issue or conviction of greater purpose.


4.  Downfall is own fault/free will.
Not by accident, treachery, fate, or bad luck.   These may be agents/parts but not whole.


5.  Misfortune not wholly deserved: Punishment worse than crime. Sad loss of potential/person’s life.   But it shows awareness/gain of Self-Awareness & Discovery of Larger-than-Life Truth before tragic end occurred.


6.  Arouses solemn emotions: pity & fear (compassion-awe). Reflection-thought on purpose in life and place in Universe. 


(That's Sisyphus.  Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce, but was avaricious and deceitful, violating the laws of hospitality by killing travelers and guests. He took pleasure in these killings because they allowed him to maintain his dominant position.

From Homer onwards, Sisyphus was famed as the craftiest of men. He seduced his niece, took his brother's throne and betrayed Zeus' secrets. Zeus then ordered Thanatos (Death personified) to chain Sisyphus in Tartarus. Sisyphus slyly asked Thanatos to demonstrate how the chains worked. When Thanatos did so, Sisyphus secured them and threatened him.

This caused an uproar since no human could die with Thanatos out of commission. Eventually Ares (who was annoyed that his battles had lost their fun because his opponents would not die) intervened, freeing Death and sending Sisyphus to Tartarus.  There, he would spend eternity in the harshest part of the Underworld and roll a rock uphill, then have it roll back down again.  Repeat process.

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