Compare Classical And Modern Tragedy

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Classical vs. Modern Tragedy Paulo Coelho once said, “Tragedy always brings radical changes in our lives, a change that is associated with the same principle of loss.” In Poetics, Aristotle describes the qualities of a tragedy and uses the character of King Oedipus as a perfect example of tragedy. In the modern world, authors continued to create tragedies as depicted in the modern book of Death of a Salesman. Considering the time difference between the two books, one is left wondering how the concept of tragedy has remained relevant for many centuries, and whether in the modern world tragedy has changed in any way. In light of these facts, the author gives a personal definition of tragedy and examines the tales of Oedipus the King and Death…show more content…
For instance, the tragic hero is always a person of high standing in society, but misfortunes often cause his downfall or death. Violence is another common element identified by Aristotle in tragedies. In the Common Man, Miller argues that the tragic hero is always ready to die and secure personal dignity rather than remain passive to something conceived as a challenge to that dignity. Based on these arguments, both Oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman are tragedies given that the two refuse to remain passive when their dignity is challenged. Oedipus who is a successful king is tragically destroyed when he learns that he murdered his father and sired children with his mother. Since these events have caused a crisis in Thebes, King Oedipus cannot remain silent even though it means he will suffer a tragic fate. Oedipus focuses on regaining Thebes’ dignity and in the process loses his own. In the Death of a Salesman Willy Loman spent his early days as a successful and decorated salesman who travelled to different towns and cities to close big sales. However, age has caught up with him and his company no longer see him as a star salesman. Similarly, he has frosty relationships with his sons and one believes he is a hypocrite. Despite the series of challenges in Willy’s life, his wife and a good neighbour are helping him emotionally and economically. Unfortunately, Willy is too stubborn and proud…show more content…
On the one hand, classic tragedies always have many characters. However, everything revolves around the protagonist and the rest of the characters have limited impact on the drama. Oedipus is the protagonist in Oedipus the King. He shapes the drama from the beginning until the end. The seer and other subjects in the city of Thebes have little or no impact on the drama. On the other hand, modern tragedies always involve a limited number of characters that play a role in shaping events of the drama. Despite Willy Loman being the protagonist, characters such as Charley as well as Loman’s wife and sons have a great impact on Loman’s actions and
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