An Analysis of Romeo and Juliet and Literary Terms

An Analysis of Romeo and Juliet and Literary Terms
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Why Aristotle Would Consider Romeo a Tragic Hero

Aristotle would consider Romeo a tragic hero on various grounds. Firstly, he would consider the tragic flaw Romeo makes before his fall. He makes a wrong judgment when he believes Juliet is dead. The moment he just sees her body lying lifeless, he takes poison and kills himself. Aristotle would consider this a tragic flaw: a wrong judgment of the situation. He would also consider the reversal of fortune that occurs when Romeo kills himself. He was destined to marry the love of her heart. However, this does not happen due to the occurrence of hamartia, the tragic flaw that changes his fortune from good to bad. Romeo also fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero since his fate is greater than he deserves. Many antagonistic forces work against his intention to marry Juliet. For example, Tybalt invites him to a duel for no reason but sheer hatred. Even when he turns down the invitation, he finds himself killing him for killing his cousin, Benvolio. Fate has condemned him to death no matter what he does to avoid trouble. Juliet feigns death for the purpose of finding a way to run away from Paris and marry Romeo, but the plan ends up tragic: Romeo commits suicide thinking that she is dead. She also commits suicide. All these occurrences could not have happened otherwise because fate had already predetermined how they would happen.

Why Aristotle Would Not Consider Romeo a Tragic Hero

Aristotle would not consider Romeo a tragic hero for not going through anagnorisis. Shakespeare does not allow him to go through the recognition stage as classical playwrights used to do in their tragedies. He dies before he discovers that Juliet is not dead. Therefore, he dies with the ignorance, which classical tragic hero overcame before they died.

Secondly, Aristotle would not consider Romeo a tragic hero for not being born in a royal background. Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero mostly alluded to Oedipus, who was born in a royal family and became king later in his life. Therefore, a noble birth to Aristotle meant a royal family.

My Opinion on the Characteristics of a Tragic Hero

According to me, a tragic hero is somebody who does extraordinary things for his community but dies tragically because he is fated to die that way. He or she does not necessarily have to be from a noble or royal family. Achilles is my ideal definition of a tragic hero because he helps his people defeat the Trojans but does not live to enjoy the victory.

Definition of Literary Terms as used in Drama Terms

Plot Complication is the gradual introduction of tension in a play. Complications come in to spoil the erstwhile good relationship among the characters at the beginning of the play. People who are friends during the plot’s exposition become antagonistic as the play progresses towards the climax.

Denouement is the final situation at the end of the play. It may be a happy or tragic ending depending on the nature of the play. In a tragic play, the ending is, usually, catastrophic in the sense that the tragic hero finds himself or herself in a worse situation than he or she was at the exposition. On the other hand, the denouement of a comedy entails a resolution of the antagonism between the comic hero and the antagonistic forces around him or her.

A tragic flaw is a catastrophic mistake a tragic hero commits in a play. It is, usually, the turning point of the hero’s fortunes from good to bad. It leads to the fall of the hero from a respectable position to a disreputable position. For example, Oedipus falls from royalty to blindness before dying.

Mimesis is the representation of real-life events in a play. It occurs when characters in a play create situations that are true to life in the process of their acting. For example, Shakespeare’s characters are representations of lovers who are ready to overcome all limits for the sake of the love they have for each other.

Catharsis is the release of the feelings that build up in an individual after watching or reading a work of art. They may be feelings of pity, joy, happiness or sadness depending on whether the ending is comic or tragic.

A protagonist is the main character in a play and other works of art. The protagonist takes part in most of the events of the play, and the climax affects him or her directly.

An antagonist is any force in a work of art that works against the protagonist. It may be a human being, a group of people, an animal or any other type of characters used in a play.

Psychological Realism is a literary movement that emphasizes on the definition of reality from the way individual characters see it. Playwrights who use this approach in their works concentrate on the thoughts and activities of individual characters as opposed to what people do to them or say about them.