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MacBeth - Trajedy Or Satire?
William Shakespeare wrote four great tragedies, the last of
which was written in 1606 and titled Macbeth. This "tragedy", as it
is considered by societal critics of yesterday's literary world,
scrutinizes the evil dimension of conflict, offering a dark and
gloomy atmosphere of a world dominated by the powers ofdarkness.
Macbeth, more so than any of Shakespeare's other tragic protagonists,
has to face the powers and decide: should he succumb or should he
resist? Macbeth understands the reasons for resisting evil and yet he
proceeds with a disastrous plan, instigated by the prophecies of the
three Weird Sisters. Thus we must ask the question:
If Macbeth is acting on the impulses stimulated by the prophecies of
his fate, is this Shakespearean work of art really a Tragedy?
Aristotle, one of the greatest men in the history of human
thought, interpreted Tragedy as a genre aimed to present a heightened
and harmonious imitation of nature, and, in particular, those aspects
of nature that touch most closely upon human life. This I think
Macbeth attains. However, Aristotle adds a few conditions.
According to Aristotle, a tragedy must have six parts: plot,
character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. Most important is
the plot, the structure of the incidents. Tragedy is not an imitation
of men, but of action and life. It is by men's actions that they
acquire happiness or sadness. Aristotle stated, in response to Plato,
that tragedy produces a healthful effect on the human character
through a katharsis, a "proper purgation" of "pity and terror." A
successful tragedy, then, exploits and appeals at the start to two
basic emotions: fear and pity. Tragedy deals with the element of evil,
with what we least want and most fear to face, and with what is
destructive to human life and values. It also draws out our ability to
sympathize with the tragic character, feeling some of t...
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