Mcfarland Precis

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McJesse Chen
Mr. Leal
Honors English 10 – Period 3
8 October 2010

McFarland, Thomas. “The Meaning of Tragedy.” Tragic Meanings in Shakespeare. New York: Random House, 1968. 3-16.

Thesis Statement: “We look into the tragic mirror ... to extricate our being from nothingness” (7).

Tragedy reflects human existence. It is very unusual for one to be thinking of his or her death. Instead, we look into tragedy, which reflects human life in the bluntest and most straightforward sense. This tragic mirror allows us to look at the pain and suffering of humans and free ourselves without it affecting us.

In many cases, art enhances security. Mirrors show things as a whole with a reversed truth. At times, art is more real than history. We know far more about famous people in stories than we do about famous people in history.

Tragedies are more straightforward than life. For example, death is portrayed as merely an event indicating the end of being in someone. In order to judge something, one must judge it as a whole, from the start of being to the start of non-being. No tragedies exist without a sense of non-being, and non-being is always present. Non-being isn’t just something that occurs at the end of life, it invades it. Therefore, Tragedies are a paradox because non-being is both alien and integral to our lives as well. We also look at tragedy to separate our being from nothingness. Tragedy does not provide us with any new truth; all of it is repeated throughout history. When children are presented with tragic art, they are depressed. In contrast, when adults are presented with tragic art, they are uplifted. Tragedy is read for confirmation because they are all true. Humans admire effort, especially in the most hopeless of situations. As humans, we are constantly in a war with time. As a result, we create easy meanings in life in order to live in a more comfortable world full of illusions. When non-being is the product of...
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