To Be Tragic or Not To Be Tragic: That is the Question.
He was a young boy, probably only sixteen at the time. He had everything going for him. He was on his way to becoming a doctor, he had friends who cared about him, he attended a prestigious preparatory academy. In short, he was successful--or so every body thought until that fateful winter night. Because on that night, tragedy struck. On that night, Neil Perry committed suicide. That was the story of Neil Perry, the high achieving yet ill-fated young man in Dead Poets Society. Some may argue that Dead Poets Society is not a tragedy because although the death of any human being is sad, it is not necessarily tragic. Others would say there could be nothing more tragic than the loss of such a promising young man. The question remains: Is Dead Poets Society a tragedy? In Poetics Aristotle writes about several aspects of literature to look at when considering whether or not something is a tragedy. Aristotle believed the plot was "the soul of a tragedy." He states that "a well constructed plot should, therefore, be si ngle in its issue, rather than double, as some maintain." Dead Poets Society is based around the lives of six young men attending the same preparatory academy and how one teacher's philosophy on life changed the way each young man lived his life. So Nei l was not the main character, and his fate was not the only story outlined in the plot. In order for a story to be tragic, the plot must have a change of fortune from good to bad. Certainly Neil's story fits this definition. He was indeed fortunate--at least to the outside world it appeared that way. But his inner turmoil and dissatisfac tion with himself led him from living a nearly utopian life to committing suicide--a perfect example of a change from good to bad. Aristotle also believed that "the plot ought to be so constructed that, even without the aid of the eye, he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror and melt to pity at what takes...
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