Catharsis River Thieves

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Catharsis is the most powerful of the tragic terms as it deals with the effect the play had on the audience’s emotions. In Michael Crummey’s River Thieves catharsis is seen through pity, humility, and sadness. In River Thieves by Michael Crummey, catharsis is evident through the pity felt for John Peyton by his secret love Cassie, the humility forced upon Buchan who makes ignorant comments about the Red Indians, and the sadness felt for all women especially Cassie due to the inequality in the 1800’s. Catharsis is first felt for John Peyton because of the pity you feel for him as his secret love pities him as he leaves for his fathers trap line and as she becomes pregnant later on. Peyton is pitied by Cassie because of the kind of man he is and this makes you feel pity for Peyton as he truly loves Cassie, “The naked emotion on his face made her pity him and wash him away. He was a man who always wanted the best for everyone around him, which in Cassie’s mind meant he was fated to be disappointed.”(Crummey 14). You feel pity for John Peyton because he wants the best for everyone around him and this is such a good quality but is seen as a weakness in the eyes of Cassie whom he loves. Cassie later on gets pregnant which is a hard hitting blow to Peyton because he has not had relations with Cassie so it could not be his, “‘There’s just myself and father,’ Peyton said and he stopped himself before he took the thought any further.” (Crummey 63). Peyton says this while being asked if the child could possibly be his and pity is felt for him as he is forced to come to terms with the fact that Cassie had relations with some other man. Catharsis is seen through the pity felt for John Peyton and his unfortunate circumstance with his love interest Cassie. Catharsis is secondly felt through the humility forced upon Buchan by John Senior because of his ignorance to the reality of
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