Friday, November 18, 2011

"The Tragic Fallacy" (Joseph Krutch)

I thought that Joseph Krutch brought up a series of extremely interesing points in his essay, The Tragic Fallacy. Many of which i had never considered before, but when put in a different context make a considerable amount of sense to me. Krutch makes a reference to tragedy as "essentially an expression, not of despair, but of the triumph over despair and of confidence in the value of human life". I found this point particularly interesting because before reading this essay, I looked at tragedy as a gloomy and gory genra that had no purpose other than to portray the violent and relentless nature of man and to kill a lot of people on stage. But after i read that line, it made so much sense! I realized that, yes, these were demented and unspeakable acts committed for the sole purpose of personal benefit, but these characters are plagued with a tragic flaw that ultimately leads to their downfall, where they  meet some horrible fate.Whether it be exile, death. But the character always has an epiphany of sorts. Krutch wrote in his essay, 

        "Othello plunged the dagger into his own breast, but not before he had revealed that  greatness 
of soul which makes his death seem unimportant. Had he died in the instant when he struck the blow, had he perished still believing that the world was as completely black as he saw it before the innocence of Desdemona was revealed to him, then, for him at least, the world would have been merely damnable, but Shakespeare kept him alive long enough to allow him to learn his error and hence to die, not in despair, but in the full acceptance of the tragic reconciliation to life."

This gave me goosebumps. It changed my whole perspective. I had never though about tragedy as a mode of transportation for moral lessons to society. Suddenly tragedy wasnt the blood and gore that i had seen it to be, not twenty minutes earlier, but it was a story of triuph that uplifted the soul and gives one hope to perservere through grief and strife. I could finally understand why in the Elizibethian period, tragedy was created, and renowned by almost all as superior to any other form of theatrics. It was a show, but it left the crowd with feelings of triumph, dignity, honor, and hope. Even though they had just witnessed acts damned by god, on stage, man always perservered, and in the end, justice was always served. I suppose from their point of view, (or even mine for that matter) , I could understand why they might react that way. Life is really difficult, and it was more so back then. to watch incidents that were almost unfathomable to any human not of nobility, and watch man, in his darkest hour, perservere and rectify whatever the issue might be, would probably leave me with a feeling of hope. Our everyday problems seem relatively insignificant compared to the treasonous murder of Duncan, in Shakespeare's "Macbeth", but watching these people overcome these obstacles, makes us believe that we can overcome the obstacles in our lives too.

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