Aristotelian Tragedy Analysis

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Greek philosopher Aristotle made many significant contributions to society with his knowledge. In his work Poetics, he states his own theory about tragedies, defining them using several key components. His work helped the development of literature for a very long time. William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet can be regarded as an Aristotelian tragedy as it adheres to its key components, such as unity of action, catharsis, and a scene of suffering.
The first component of an Aristotelian tragedy is unity of action in which the story should have a clear beginning, middle and end. It should surround one action, and have minimal subplots. In this play, the plot revolves around the intertwining themes of love and sacrifice. In Act I
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Catharsis is defined as the “relieving of emotional tensions”. This element requires that the tragedy’s events should inspire pity and terror in the audience, thus affording them the opportunity to be cleansed emotionally. In Act V Scene 3, Romeo kills himself by drinking poison: “Here’s to my love! O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die,” (119-120). Romeo’s words provoke pity and fear in the audience. The audience is able to feel apprehensiveness at this moment in the play, even though they are already aware that he will die. This builds up emotional tension among them. When Romeo dies, the apprehensive moment ends and the audience is able to feel satisfaction towards the outcome. Through this event, the audience is able to cleanse their emotions and free themselves of repressed feelings that they might have due to a similar event in their own…show more content…
The scene of suffering is a painful or harmful action, such as injuries or the death of one or more characters. Aristotle believed that this scene of suffering should help the characters realize their weaknesses that led to their defeat. In Act V Scene 3, both Romeo and Juliet suffer. Romeo suffers from shock and sadness when he is misinformed of Juliet’s death and dies as a result of drinking poison. Juliet sees him lying dead, suffers in shock as well, and stabs herself. To conclude, both of them end up killing themselves. These occurrences lead to the fall of the highly renowned protagonists of the story. However, the fall of Romeo and Juliet leads the Capulet and Montagues to understand their own flaws: “Poor sacrifices of our enmity,” (V.iii.304) This leads them to resolve their vendetta: “O brother Montague, give me thy hand.” (V.iii.296) They are able to recognize that the whole tragic situation of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths was caused by their errors. Therefore, the scene of suffering serves as a catalyst for this recognition by the
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