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Does Romeo and Juliet Fit Aristotle's Definition Of A Tragedy?

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Introduction

Anna Katibah LaPointe English Period 4 11*6*03 Does Romeo and Juliet Fit Aristotle's Definition Of A Tragedy? A story is an account or recital of one or many events, true or not. Many different types of stories have been written since the earliest forms of writing. Even though it was written by Aristotle in the 340's B.C., one form in particular, the tragedy, sticks out in minds today. Today the term tragedy has come to mean something sad making many people miss use it within the context of literature. A very famous author, William Shakespeare, always stuck to Aristotle's definition of a tragedy. According to Aristotle in his book Poetics, a tragedy is a serious fictional story which has: the three unities time, place, and action; involves important figures who have a major flaw; incorporates reversal and recognition; and has pity, fear and catharsis. Shakespeare wrote a very famous tragic play called Romeo and Juliet. Because Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare involves important figures who have a major flaw; contains the three unities of time, place, and action; incorporates reversal and recognition; and has pity, fear and catharsis it is nevertheless a classic example of Aristotle's definition of a tragedy. Aristotle's definition of a tragedy states on the first hand that the story must be a serious fictional story which always involves important figures who have a major flaw. ...read more.

Middle

Verona is place in Italy, consequently fulfilling the second unity. Next comes the third unity, action. Something accomplished, the action, is stated clearly throughout every story. Shakespeare states Romeo and Juliet's action clearly in the beginning, middle and end. Even though all of the statements of action are very good, the best action statement is in the beginning of the story. This action segment is declared by the chorus: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" P.5-6. Action is shown in this quotation because these next thoughts describe the plot: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes" means being born from their parents' who already have their outcome spelled out because of enmity and because "a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" is when Romeo and Juliet kill eachother. The three unities are contained in Romeo and Juliet, a classic example of Aristotle's definition of a tragedy. Romeo and Juliet fits Aristotle's definition of a tragedy because it contains pity, fear, and catharsis in the third place. When one feels pity for someone they regret what has happened to someone and feel sympathy and sorrow for the person. Otherwise known as a group of people who say commentary from a play, the chorus is very important in this piece of evidence of pity and in the whole essay. ...read more.

Conclusion

Reversal is unveiled in this quote: "Romeo must not live" 3.1.189 and recognition in this phrase: "See what a scourge is laid upon your hate that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!" 5.3.292-293. This last quote is spoken by the Prince of fair Verona, who tells the families of Montigue and Capulet in the beginning if they do not stop fighting he will put them all to death. In the end the Prince and the rest of the characters in the story, including all Montigues and Capulets, recognizes their hate has gone too far because heaven found a way to kill their precious offspring, Romeo and Juliet, with love. Reversal and Recognition are the final requirement of Aristotle's tragedy. Including all the requirements in Aristotle's tragedy Romeo and Juliet sets a standard for all stories which claim to be tragedies. Aristotle's definition of a tragedy can be applied or needed for reference any time, anywhere, any place, or by anyone. Moreover, all of Mr. LaPointe's English classes at Campolindo High School in Moraga, California needed Aristotle's definition of a tragedy to learn for a test, but did not know they would need it for an essay. If one wants to read another supposedly "tragic" book, they will hope to remember Aristotle's definition of a tragedy to figure out if it really is "tragic." Romeo and Juliet is the real form of a tragedy as supported by Aristotle's original definition. ...read more.

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