Tragic heroes in modern English literature

  Auwera J. van der. Pragmatic presupposition: Shared beliefs in a theory of irrefutable meaning // Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 11:

Tragic heroes in modern English literature

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1.1 Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being

1.2 The last generation as a new representatives of the tragic hero



2.1 The image of tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller

2.2 E. Heminqways “Fiesta” as a new approach to the tragic hero

2.3 The tragic hero as representation problem in the works E. Heminqway and Arthur Miller







Our work is devoted to the analysis of the novels by Arthur Miller and E. Heminqway. The plots of there novel generally revolve around the subject of tragedy of the main heroes and lay emphasis especially on its tremendous importance.

The aim of our work is to reveal the tragedy of people in the novels by A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

The hypothesis of our work is that the writers in their books represent the tragic hero.

The aim has defined the next tasks:

- to research the Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being;

- to investigate the last generation as a new representatives of the tragic hero;

- to investigate the image of tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller and E. Heminqways “Fiesta” as a new approach to the tragic hero;

- to research the tragic hero as representation problem in the works E. Heminqway and Arthur Miller.

Object of research in the given work is A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

Subject is the tragedy of the main heroes in A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

The practical value is that it can be useful for anybody who is interested in life and work of the novels by A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

While making our research we used the works of such linguists as Vinokur G.O., Suvorov S.P., Arnold I.V. and many others. During our work we used the works on the translation theory of such linguists as Levitskaya T.R., Fiterman A.M., Komissarov V.N., Alimov V.V., Shveytser A.D., Garbovskiy N.K., Dmitrieva L.F., Galperin I.R., Arnold I.V., Yakusheva I.V., van Deik, Kolshanskiy and others. We used also the articles from the the periodical editions.

Concerning the aim and the tasks we have used such method as a descriptive one, the method of the experience, the contextual method and the comparative method. These methods werent used as the isolated methods, they were used in their complex to satisfy the aim and the task in the best way.




  1. Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being


The term Tragedy is used in a common parlance, and yet it cannot be reduced to a formula, for it has so many shades that it actually defies a logical analysis. An American critic has admirable summed up Tragedy in a few words: “Courage and inevitable defeat.” Now-a-days we can never think of a Tragedy without an unhappy ending. But the Greeks did. Philoctetes by Sophocles, for example, has no unhappy ending. There is a similarity between the ancient Greek Tragedy and a modern Tragedy. The hero and certain other characters are caught in a difficult situation.

Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity "the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams puts it.[3] From its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens 2500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its singular articulations in the works of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, or Schiller, to the more recent naturalistic tragedy of Strindberg, Beckett's modernist meditations on death, loss and suffering, or Müller's postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change.[4] A long line of philosophers--which includes Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin and Deleuze--have analysed, speculated upon and criticised the tragic form.[5] In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry in general, where the tragic divides against epic and lyric, or at the scale of the drama, where tragedy is opposed to comedy. In the modern era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama, the tragicomic and epic theatre. The character and plot in most of Tragedies are linked up. In Greek Tragedies fate played a very important part, but after the Renaissance character became more and more prominent. In some of Shakespearian Tragedies, despite the importance of character, the motivation of action comes from the supernatural forces or even external circumstances. In modern Tragedies, the hero is often the victim of social forces.

The origins of tragedy are obscure, but the art form certainly developed out of the poetic and religious traditions of ancient Greece. Its roots may be traced more specifically to the chants and dances called dithyrambs, which honoured the Greek god Dionysus (later known to the Romans as Bacchus). These drunken, ecstatic performances were said to have been created by the satyrs, half-goat beings who surrounded Dionysus in his revelry.

Phrynichus, son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, was one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. "The honour of introducing Tragedy in its later acceptation was reserved for a scholar of Thespis in 511 BCE, Polyphradmon's son, Phrynichus; he dropped the light and ludicrous cast of the original drama and dismissing Bacchus and the Satyrs formed his plays from the more grave and elevated events recorded in mythology and history of his country", and some of the ancients regarded him as the real founder of tragedy.[7] He gained his first poetical victory in 511 BCE. However, P.W. Buckham asserts (quoting August Wilhelm von Schlegel) that Aeschylus was the inventor of tragedy. "Aeschylus is to be considered as the creator of Tragedy: in full panoply she sprung from his head, like Pallas from the head of Jupiter. He clad her with dignity, and gave her an appropriate stage; he was the inventor of scenic pomp, and not only instructed the chorus in singing and dancing, but appeared himself as an actor. He was the first that expanded the dialogue, and set limits to the lyrical part of tragedy, which, however, still occupies too much space in his pieces. Aristotle is very clear in his Poetics that tragedy proceeded from the authors of the Dithyramb.[9] There is some dissent to the dithyrambic origins of tragedy mostly based in the differences between the shapes of their choruses and styles of dancing. A common descent from pre-Hellenic fertility and burial rites has been suggested. Nietzsche discussed the origins of Greek tragedy in his early book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872).

Aristotle defined Tragedy as “a representation of an action, which is serious; complete in itself, and of a certain length; it is expressed in speech made beautiful in different ways in different parts of the play; it is acted, not narrated; and by exciting pity and fear it gives a healthy relief to such emotions.” [12, 121].

Tragedy must be spoudaious i.e. noble, serious, and elevated. The Greek root for Tragedy is tragoidia, which means something serious, but not necessarily a drama with an unhappy ending. Plato has called Homers Odyssey a Tragedy, though it is not drama. Seriousness of subject is what really matters.

Tragedy, F. L. Lucas maintains, had three different meanings in the three periods of literary history. In ancient times, a Tragedy meant a serious drama; in medieval times, a Tragedy meant a story with an unhappy ending; and a modern Tragedy is a drama with an unhappy ending.

“Tragedy is an imitation of an action.” And action again gives rise to a lot of troubles. A novel or an Epic is narrated, while a drama, be it a Tragedy or a Comedy, is acted. Can there be action without narration? The answer is obvious. The Greek Dramaturgy did not allowed any act of violence on the stage. Even a romantic playwright like Shakespeare had some of the murders reported by messengers. Lucas rightly points out, “Not everything permits itself to be acted. Let not Medea slay her sons before the audience: things like that, at least, on the Greek stage were relegated to a Messengers speech.”

With regard to “an action which is complete in itself,” the controversy has been raging for a long time. What is actually meant by completeness? An action having a beginning, a middle, and an end is said to be complete. T. R. Henn defines completeness as totality which Matthew Arnold later called architectonice. Aristotle himself, in different chapter of the Poetics, has saught to define completeness. If the play begins abruptly, the reader or the audience may not understand what it is about. Let not the reader ask “What happens then?” The work of art should b

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