Macbeth as a tragedy

Topics: Macbeth, Tragedy, Character Pages: 13 (4751 words) Published: December 11, 2013
Macbeth as a Tragedy According to Aristotle's Definition
Literature provides us the various sensation; for examples; love, hate, sorrow, melancholy, pity, fear and joyfulness. Melancholy is the origination of many great literature works; for instances; the works written by the greatest writer in English literature, William Shakespeare. He wrote many precious works and his masterpiece namely tragedy of Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.

The Tragedy of Macbeth seems to fit to an idea mold created by Aristotle. Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece. In the Poetics, Aristotle explained about his theory of tragedy was based on:

Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy.
“A tragedy 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.” (

This means that a good tragedy always deals with the serious issue. We can see in many tragedies that they were involved with the death. The tragedy cannot be the story of a small failure or unsuccessful of something which can be founded in everyday life; for example; lost of wallet or car crash. Besides, its plot should be complete and have a unity of one main issue; for preventing the audiences get lost of the plot. For making the audiences understand clearly, the language in the play should be easy to listen and the rhythm should have good harmony when it was sung. Moreover, the play is not like the story that can be simply told. The play should be acted out more dramatic compared to narrate a story. In the tragedy, the events in the play will lead the audience to feel mournful because of the main character or the tragic hero; and they may fear when the main character was dived to cause the ruination in the end. As the play moves along, the events should arise up the pettiness and fear of the audiences. The audiences can release their tension when the story comes to the end as the main character will fall to the lowest point. They may feel like their emotion finally is exploded.

Aristotle has given the definition of a tragedy that it was combined of six elements that making the sort of a work becomes a tragedy. In generally, a tragedy play is divided into five acts. The first act begins with the state of happiness of the main characters, or at the glory of their power, or their fame. The second act usually presents a difficulty which reaches the critical point in the third act but in the third act the main characters may be able to confront it. Then, they fail to avoid the crisis and the catastrophe will be occurred in the fourth act. At last, in the fifth act shows about the grieve outcomes of the failure. Thus, refer to all six aspects, Macbeth fits the definition precisely.

Aristotle said that tragedy has six main elements:
1. Plot;
2. Character;
3. Thought;
4. Diction;
5. Melody;
6. Spectacle.
These six elements are the main principles of the play but the priority of the organization may be different. Some writers may arrange the topic by spectacles, character, plot, dictation, melody and thought; but some may not. However, the most important point is the neat combination of every part. Because the tragedy play is not only the imitation or representation of humankinds but it also demonstrates the action which moved step by step. Furthermore, it has to be shown about the mixture of happiness and sorrowfulness and showing about the way of life starting from the opening until the end. It must be presented in chronologically events and should not show only in the specific part of the whole story.

In sum, we can conclude that the most important element is Plot which must have a unity. In afterwards, the good plot was required both of Peripety and Discovery.
Character is the second...

Cited: ___,"Aristotle: Poetics." Aristotle: Poetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.
Barbara F. McManus. "Outline of Aristotle 's Theory of Tragedy." Outline of Aristotle 's Theory of Tragedy. N.p., Nov. 1999. Web. 28 Sep. 2013.McManus, Barbara F. "Outline of Aristotle 's
Shakespeare, William, and Stephen Orgel. Macbeth. New York: Penguin, 2000. Print.
Peck, John, and Martin Coyle. A Brief History of English Literature. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002. 62-68. Print.
___,"The Internet Classics Archive | Poetics by Aristotle." The Internet Classics Archive | Poetics by Aristotle. N.p., 2009. Web. 29 Sep. 2013.
___,"Quizlet." Greek Tragedy Terminology Flashcards. N.p., 2013. Web. 30 Sep. 2013.
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