Macbeth Is Not a Tragedy

Topics: Macbeth, Aristotle, Shakespearean tragedy Pages: 4 (1319 words) Published: November 12, 2010
Macbeth has been defined as a tragedy, however, the definition of “tragedy” is questionable and doesn’t have a definite definition. The dictionary definition of a tragedy is a “serious drama with unhappy events or a sad ending” however, according to the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, a tragedy should have six parts which consists of: a plot, character, thought, diction, spectacle and song. This "tragedy", as it is often considered by others, examines the evil aspect of conflict, showing the dark and depressing atmosphere of a world dominated by the powers of darkness and evil. It is revealed through the play that Macbeth does not fear evil, but is driven by the prophecies of the three witches. Furthermore, later in the play, Macbeth yet seeks out the witches again. This then begs the question, is Macbeth really a tragedy if Macbeth acts out of his own ambition for this event to become his own benefit rather than this event causing great sadness as it should in a tragedy. On the contrary, Macbeth is shown as a tragedy with Macbeth being cleansed by a catharsis towards the end of the play which balances his emotions and restores some of his noble character as seen from the beginning of the play.

Firstly, Aristotle started that there should be six components which should be fulfilled in order to create a “tragedy”. The plot is the most important component of an Aristotelian tragedy, how the incidents are arranged. The second component, and perhaps the only one which is arguable, is the character, who must be renowned and prosperous, so his change of fortune can be from good to bad. This change should be caused by a great error in character, for example the Shakespearean character’s “fatal flaw”. Such change in fortune should be used to create pity and fear in the audience. The pity should be aroused by undeserved misfortune and fear created by the misfortune of a common person like ourselves. However, the character of Macbeth doesn’t evoke pity nor fear as...
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