Tragic Heroics

Well let's get the night out of the way first. It was long and had many sleepless portions but it's over now. Thank Zeus or Barney Rubble for that. It's another beautiful morning here, mild, so mild. Spent a good deal of yesterday trying to learn more about how Aristotle thought things ought to be. His whole idea of tragedy is interesting but hard to arrange. I think that's probably why he thought that Oedipus Rex was the best play ever because it hit all those points, but how many times can you go back to the same well.

I understand how sometimes it works, but it's a lot to ask of a plot.

The big protagonist has to be important and proud of it but with a fatal flaw, an error he made early on that invokes a curse. I get that it's best if the error was made out of what in the short term appeared to be kindness. The flaw or error is the hamartia and it has to be in place for the rest to work the turn or reversal (peripeteia) is when the downfall kicks into place. The hamartia in the Hobbit is not killing Gollum. Just looked that up online and found a discussion of Thorin as the tragic hero in that but there must be several of those story lines weaving along through that story. I think now of Neo in The Matrix, as the chosen one who must have a story that follows the same pattern.

Or maybe not. Maybe it isn't all as connected as I now see it. But the ones that stick out as good will probably have some parts of the structure. I should look for more sources of analysis that explain the relationships. Online classes that pull apart stories in examination of the classical greek tragedic structure. There must be lots. That would be one of the things that literature majors do.

I wonder what I could learn from that. At least as a starting place for understanding story structure. I find it interesting, although it might not hold the whole key to making good stories.

I learned that the hero or protagonist has to be consistent, good, appropriate. , and have a tragic flaw (hamartia) that will eventually cause a reversal (peripeteia) with tragic irony (downfall is the hero's fault) and he or she will figure this out and understand (anagnorisis) and ... wait let's try this again from another lecture.

Hero --> Hamartia (flaw, error) --> Peripeteia (tragic irony)  ->Catastrophe (reversal of fortune) -> Anagnorisis (understanding by the hero of the whole thing) producing tada-> Catharsis.


Hero with Hamartia -> Peripeteia (reversal) -> Anagnorisis (Understanding) -> Suffering (Pathos, Catastrophe) -> Catharsis or release in the audience.
The Best tragedies have only a bad outcome, no silver lining or redeeming moral.

This is the ideal tragedy. The more you can make this all dependent on the protagonist the better. So Oedipus is the ideal of this obviously it's time to re-read Oedipus the King. Right?

More later,


Popular Posts