ARISTOTELIAN TRAGEDY D A V I D A L L E N , C H A N C E R A M S E Y, G A B E DEVOE, AND ADAM WEBBER
ARISTOTLE• To understand a man, you have to understand his history.• Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who was taught by the great Plato and taught one of the more famous rulers of all time, Alexander the Great.• He is considered one of the greatest founders of Western Philosophy.• His reign of influence was very potent during his time and expanded into the Renaissance when the humanists looked back to medieval times.
PARTS OF ARISTOTELIAN TRAGEDY• Plot• Character• Thought• Diction• Melody/Song• Spectacle• The Ending
PLOT• Aristotle believed that the plot scheme that relates to the reader the most is a cause and effect system.• The protagonist‟s feelings and personality are not as important as the way the writer relates the story to the reader.• It must have a beginning, middle, and end. Along with a climax.• “Sally falls off her bike and scrapes her knee” , is not a good plot. A good plot is complex and „intertwining‟.• The protagonist must have recognition of the catastrophe, and usually there should be a reversal of his/her intentions.
CHARACTERS• The characters will, will fuel the plot, the characters make the audience have fear and pity for the characters.• Personal motivation.• The protagonist must gain essential knowledge before the end of the book, and must “self destruct in blindness.”• Traits of the Characters:1. They must show their feelings.2. They must stay true to life.3. Fit the story.4. Stay true to themselves.
THOUGHT• Aristotle spoke very little about what role thought played in the equation to make a perfect tragedy, but what he did say was that the tragedy must make a point, it must prove something “to be or not to be.”
DICTION• In a few of his works, Aristotle described his love for diction and writing; in tragedies, Aristotle believes that the diction must have lots of metaphors.
MELODY/SONG• Melody is a KEY piece to the tragedy, melody should not be a part of the plot, but be THE plot. What the chorus is singing should represent the plot.
SPECTACLE• For Aristotle spectacle wasn‟t important. It was not about how fancy the set or characters, it was the inner structure of the play. The part that should bring the viewer/reader joy is the structure and plot, not the cool tribal scenes when the construction team did a nice job, it‟s what the protagonist said so beautifully in scene three for instance.
THE ENDING• Aristotle never defines what he believes should happen at the end of a tragedy, rather he discusses what the reader should feel after the tragedy. He goes on to say that the reader should get joy from the story, because he/she gets to ponder all aspects of the greatness of the story, i.e. the pity and fear that are “purged.”
THINGS FALL APART• Plot: Aristotle said that plot was the most important characteristic of a tragedy, and in this case Things Fall Apart fits like a glove. The plot is fueled by a cause and effect system, there is a beginning, middle, and end. The protagonist, Okonkowo, sees and understands the catastrophe, the catastrophe that the tribe is being misunderstood by the white men. This story‟s plot fits the Aristotelian tragedy.
THINGS FALL APART• Characters: In an Aristotelian Tragedy the protagonist is very important, he/she must do four things.• 1. Show his/her feelings: Okonkwo definitely fits this aspect of the protagonist, he is not shy in telling his tribesmen how he feels.• 2. He/She must stay true to life: Okonkwo stays true to his culture and fights for it until the very end.• 3. Fit the Story: Not only does Okonkwo fit the story, he sets up the story, in my opinion.• 4. Stay true to himself/herself: Like in #2, Okonkwo sticks to his guns throughout the entire story, he never once loses sight of where he‟s from.
THINGS FALL APART• Thought: The thought aspect of an Aristotelian Tragedy is pretty simple; to be, or not to be. The story shows at the end which side everyone falls on. Okonkwo sides on the “not to be” side, he sticks true to the ancient culture and refuses to side with the white men. However, most of the tribe decides “to be” or to give in to the white men‟s new culture.
THINGS FALL APART• Diction: The diction in an Aristotelian Tragedy is supposed to use lots of metaphors. Turns out in Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe writes in proverbs and short- choppy sentences. It definitely qualifies in this section.
THINGS FALL APART• Song/Melody: There is a few tribal songs here and there, but overall there is no song or melody.
THINGS FALL APART• Spectacle: I think the more you divulge into the history of Nigerian independence and get to know more about their culture, it‟s easier to see how wonderful of a job Achebe did with the spectacle aspect of an Aristotelian Tragedy. Achebe did a great job in bringing out the importance of the way his diction represented the native tribes. The spectacle aspect is more of a play or skit aspect of the tragedy, but overall I feel that Achebe did a good job here.
THINGS FALL APART• My group has reached a decision; After looking over all the different pieces to the Aristotle puzzle, we believe that Achebe‟s work, is an Aristotelian Tragedy.