The Winter's Tale, The Remains of the Day, & The Great Gatsby
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All three texts portray leading characters who suffer due to flaws within their own personalities; however, it could be argued that the flaws these individuals fall victim to are directly a product of their environments rather than being innate within themselves. These texts were written between 1623 and 1989 and depict figures from all levels of the social hierarchy; from a King in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale to a servant in Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and a socialite in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, showing that falling victim to a weakness within one’s own character is not an experience exclusive to one era or one class of people.
The central figures in these three works are all undoubtedly flawed, each one in a very different way. They may have responded to their positions in life, or the circumstances in which they find themselves may have brought out traits that already existed. Whichever applies to each individual, or the peculiar combination of the two that is specific to them, it effects the outcome of their lives. Their reaction to these defects, and the control or lack of it that they apply to these qualities, is also central to the narrative that drives these texts. The exploration of the characters of these men and their particular idiosyncrasies is the thread that runs throughout all of the works.
The idea of falling victim to one’s own flaws is often closely associated with the Aristotelian definition of tragedy, particularly the concepts of hamartia (a tragic or fatal flaw) and hubris (pride before a fall). Although The Winter’s Tale, The Great Gatsby and The Remains of the Day are not widely considered to be tragedies, yet there are elements of the definition that are relevant. This c...
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...e Winter’s Tale, The Great Gatsby and The Remains of the Day one of the most significant lessons to be learnt is that anyone from the jealous king, to the hedonistic socialite, to the strictly dutiful servant can suffer at their own hand and fall victim to the flaws of their own character. It is a universal phenomenon, which was originally defined by Aristotle, which is consistent from the plays of Shakespeare to the works of contemporary authors.
The Winter’s Tale – William Shakespeare – Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Penguin Classics
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro – Faber and Faber
York Notes Advanced, The Winter’s Tale – Lynn and Jeff Wood – York Press
York Notes Advanced, The Great Gatsby – Julian Cowley – York Press
York Notes Advanced, The Remains of the Day – Sarah Peters – York Press