The Importance Of Inevitability In Tragedy

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The inevitability in tragedy is often due as much to the hero’s stubbornness as to fate. The stubbornness of tragic heroes shows in their concern with vengeance and their unwillingness to forgive. As Aristotle said, in comedy enemies often become friends, but in tragedy they never do. If a person with a locked will or an obsession appears in a comedy, by contrast, it’s not as a hero to be admired, but as the butt of joking. Characters with idées fixes, as Bergson called them, the miser, the pedant, and the hypochondriac. What’s valued in comedy is not “staying the course,” to use George W. Bush’s phrase, but adapting thought and behavior to what’s happening. Like tragic heroes, comic protagonists face big problems, but they think rather than feel their way through them. Instead of chaining themselves to a principle or a tradition and dying in the process, they find a new way to look at things, wriggle out of the difficulty, and live to tell the tale (Morreall 80) In the tragic vision there is a desire for things and events to fit neatly into categories. Ambiguity is shunned and everything should be clear and have one meaning (Martin 176) Tragedy goes for the truth about each thing and situation, and for absolute truth rather than relative truth. Comedy, by contrast, is not put off by ambiguity and multiple meanings. In fact, it uses them regularly without them there could be no jokes. In comedy there is no obsession with reaching the absolute truth about anything, if that
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