Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Analysis

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A tragedy according to Aristotle 's Poetics, "is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;... in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions." Ma Rainey 's Black Bottom is a play written by, August Wilson, that takes place in a studio in the 1920 's over the course of an afternoon. The bare-bones sequence of this play is the band members discussing amongst one another about the struggle that they as African-Americans have endured against whites and about the current situation of prejudice African-Americans face in American society. The emotional impact of racial conflict that blacks have faced affects how the band members interact with one another, as well with whites. They treat the white characters, Irvin and Sturdyvant, with disdain throughout the play, especially Ma Rainey. There is a clear relationship between Ma Rainey 's Black Bottom and Aristotle 's definition of what a tragedy is. Ma Rainey 's Black Bottom is a tragic play because there is a plot with an issue in it that holds magnitude to it, along with incidents that arouse pity and fear into the audience that yields a reaction of catharsis of these emotions, and there is a tragic hero within the story. Aristotle defines a tragedy as an "imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself... in a

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