Comparison of Tragedies written by Miller and Aristotle

Essay by MitsuiHigh School, 12th grade January 1996

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For a story to be a tragedy it has to follow the principles set

by Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, or those of Arthur Miller

who is a twentieth century playwright. A tragedy, in Aristotle's

view, usually concerns the fall of an individual whose character is

good but not perfect and his misfortunes are brought about by the

tragic flaw. This flaw is the part of the character that personifies

him as being tragic. Miller uses this definition of a tragedy but

also broadens it including the common man. All of these

characteristics are seen in the plays Julius Caesar, Death of a

Salesman, and Oedipus Rex.

Although the title of the play Julius Caesar focuses on

Caesar, the play itself is really based on Brutus. 'Brutus had

rather be a villager than to repute himself a son of Rome.'(Act I,

scene II, line 172). This was said by Brutus after Cassius told him

how Caesar had become a towering figure over Rome and how

Caesar controls Rome.

Notice the good in Brutus, and the

extremes he will go to in order to protect democracy in Rome

even if it means killing the one he loves, Caesar. Brutus possesses

one of the most tragic flaws. He is too nice of a person and

therefore he gets taken advantage of. He lets Cassius persuade

him into killing Caesar for the good of Rome. Because he does

for others more than himself he makes a fatal mistake, he lets

Antony live. Brutus says to the conspirators, 'For Antony is but a

limb of Caesar'(Act II scene I line 165) meaning that if Caesar is

killed Antony will die off too. Brutus clearly does not regard

Antony as being a threat, but little does Brutus know that

Antony will stir up the town to...