Aristotle's Tragedy in a Modern Play

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Aristotle's Tragedy in a Modern Play In Poetics, Aristotle explains tragedy as a kind of imitation of a certain magnitude, using direct action instead of narration to achieve its desired effect. It is of an exceptionally serious nature. Tragedy is also complete, with a structure that unifies all of its parts. It is meant to produce a catharsis of the audience, meant to produce the emotions of pity and fear and to purge them of these emotions and helping them better understand the ways of the gods and men. Tragedy is also in a language in both verse and song (Aristotle 1, VI; McLeish 8-9). Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, written by Edward Albee’s, is a contemporary tragedy. Through the criteria set forth by Aristotle the structure, theme, magnitude and plot of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, will be analyzed. Finally, proving that Edward Albee’s, play is definitely a good example of a dramatic tragedy. Aristotle states that "For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality. Without action there cannot be tragedy; there may be one without character . . . The plot, then is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy: character holds the second place" (Aristotle 1, VI). The actions of the characters are influenced by their character and thought as well as the actions of others. These actions are put into a chain of events which is called the plot. In Aristotle's words, "Hence, the Plot is the imitation of the action- for by plot I here mean the arrangement of the incidents" (Aristotle 1, VI). In turn, they each represent a situation that does not occur in life to illustrate a point directed toward the audience. The plot in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, is a complex situation where, Edward Albee, revealed the “not so perfect” lives of two couples of

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