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How Does The Crucible exemplify Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy?

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Samoya Wallace

on 24 January 2014

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Transcript of How Does The Crucible exemplify Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy?

Samoya Wallace: IOP Presentation, Year 12.
How does 'The Crucible' exemplify Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy?
The Examination of John Proctor.
Who was Aristotle?
Aristotle (384-323 BC) was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, scientist and physician.
Created his own idea of what he believed shaped the theme of a tragedy, (Aristotle's Theory).
Aristotle's poetics:
Tragedy involves a protagonist of high estate ("better than we") who falls from prosperity to misery through a series of reversals and discoveries as a result of their own downfall. For Aristotle, a downfall of a protagonist is NOT tragic.
Modern Tragedy?
Aristotle's 4 Elements:
- The character must elicit sympathy from the audience.
- The character must posses virtues that are appropriate. ''Aim at propriety."
- The character must be realistic.
- The character must act according to a consistent psychology.
What is the essentials to tragedy according to the theory?
Hamartia ('Tragic Flaw').
Peripeteia (unexpected reversal of fortune).
Hubris (over-weaning pride).
Anagnorisis (recognition)
Catharsis (purging and purifying such emotions)
Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible...
The protagonist: John Proctor.
30 year old farmer.
Christian, yet dissatisfied with the way Rev. Parris runs the church.
Despises injustice, yet feels guilty for his affair.
Proctor's Hamartia: (Tragic Flaw)
Factors such his pride and his secret affair with a younger girl, Abigail Williams (lechery).
His hamartia is the rooted seed of where troubles begin to lay within his life... So then if one makes a wiser choice, would life turn out any differently?
Proctors' Hubris:
The personal quality that lets down his character; it's inevitable, however it's his blockage to progression within his situation.
The thing that ultimately makes the character stubborn, in this case, Proctor's over-weaning pride.
The character's life comes to a catastrophe whereby, they go from a high status to a low one and this activates a sense of pity from the audience.
- In this circumstance, it all starts from where Proctor's wife is accused of witchery.
Proctor's Anagnorisis:

Very lastly, the character MUST reach a realisation of their actions and wish to make their mistakes right. They also have to reach a place of peace and acceptance to what's gone on...
Aristotle's Expectations:
Aristotle believed that at the end of a performance the audience should be psychologically moved by their emotions and should have an emotional purge.
He cared just as much about the reactions and interaction between the protagonist and the audience, as he did to the text.
"... a man who is highly renowned and prosperous, but one who is not pre-eminently virtuous and just, whose misfortune, however, is brought upon him not by vice or depravity but by some error of judgement or frailty; a personage like Oedipus."
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