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Positive Meaning in Tragedies

By:   •  March 2, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,090 Words (5 Pages)  •  891 Views

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Tragedy is defined as "a type of drama in which the chief character undergoes a morally significant struggle which ends disastrously." However, tragedies do not only represent sorrowful, miserable and disastrous plots; there is the meaning of rebirth within the tragedies, and thus inspire people positively.

In most of the Greek Tragedies, the tragic heroes were in disorder or a miserable situation. Tragedies written by Greeks may be sorrowful, but the tragedies were not only tragedies. Greeks elevated the spirit of tragedies, and revealed the positive meaning. Though Greeks write tragedies about the conflict between humans and the fate, it does not mean that Greeks are pessimistic. Instead, they showed their positive attitude by telling us how the tragic heroes fought against the inexorable fate.

Greeks showed their optimism and positive mind by depicting the human beings as iron-willed and unbending heroes. In the myth of Psyche and Cupid, Psyche was given difficult missions to do by Aphrodite because of her beauty and her and Cupid's love. Though difficult, Psyche tried her best and finally overcame all the difficulties. If Greeks were pessimistic, Psyche may have been described as a hopeless girl who would hang back when facing difficulties. If Greeks were passive, Psyche may obey Aphrodite's mind when knowing that Aphrodite tortured her on purpose because fighting against gods was not an easy thing and usually led to disaster. However, no matter how hard the missions Aphrodite gave were, Psyche never gave up. Even if Aphrodite spite Psyche, Psyche still strived for love and refuse to yield herself to difficulties. In addition, we see that every time when Psyche were almost unable to finish the mission, there would be things helping her. Greeks also indicated there was hope in despair and the bright side of obstacles.

In the Greek tragedies, humans were tortured by fate physically, but mentally, their noble spirits, brave minds and strong will were not submitted by fate; that is to say, the tragedies were tragic because of relentless fate, but they were actually comedies or happy ending when the characters showed their spirit of refusing to take defeat lying down and stood up for their dignity. Take a brief tale of lovers for example, Pyramus and Thisbe both died because of a relentless arrangement of inexorable fate in the end. But in fact, it's a happy ending because they proved that their love was true and would never change even if they died. Death, which we consider to be sorrowful ending and thus usually be defined as tragedies, however, may be bliss in Greek tragedies to some degree. If the story was only a tragedy which contained only sadness and sorrow, the tragedy would only be tragedy but did not mean anything and the two lovers would be described as cowards who dare not to die for their pure love and their brave spirit. The relentless fate made the whole event tragic, however, the two characters, died for each other bravely in order not to be separated by ruthless fate, were not tragic at all. Take another myth for example. Antigone was put to death because she bravely buried her dead brother which Creon did not allow to do. Antigone died in the end, but it was not a tragic but a happy ending for she showed her fearless and noble mind when facing death. Greeks did not set her as a woman who cravenly clung to life instead of braving death. It, again, showed that the tragic heroes fought against the miserable situation.

There is another example I want to give to prove that tragedies give people a brand new view of their life. In the novel The Lovely Bones, a girl named Susie Salmon was murdered by her neighbor. After she went to the haven, she at first was so furious with the


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