Do you agree with the full title of the play, which suggests that Mortimer has his own tragedy?

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Rob Williams

Do you agree with the full title of the play, which suggests

that Mortimer has his own tragedy?

        There are many definitions of Tragedy, but a traditional tragedy can be described as,

"an imitation of an action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude; in the form of drama, not of narrative, through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions (catharsis)." Tragedy must tell of a person who is "highly renowned and prosperous" and who falls as a result of some "error, or frailty," because of external or internal forces, or both.”

Aristotle claims that there are six basic elements to a tragedy: plot; character; diction (the choice of style, imagery, etc.); thought (the character's thoughts and the author's meaning); spectacle (all the visual effects); and song. Though Edward the Second is not a Greek Tragedy it contains all these elements, excluding song. However though the title suggests that both Edward and Mortimer have their own tragedies, it is Edward who is the only true tragic figure. Ultimately, though Mortimer’s character may seem to have tragic characteristics, such as his downfall, he does not fill the criteria to be seen as great tragic figure.

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Furthermore, many critics see the change in Mortimer from a patriotic, honest and uncompromising character to one full of duplicity, egotism and deception, as dramatically unrealistic and unsatisfying. Therefore his fall, because of its unrealistic portrayal is undermined from the start as the audience is unable to empathise with the character as they can, for example, with Lear.

Mortimer’s character, at the beginning of the play, is certainly not that of the tragic stereotype. Rather than being a powerful egotistical character that we see weaknesses in, he is young and attractive. He is authoritive, patriotic and plain (in ...

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