Tragedy(Dead Poets Society) Essay

1212 Words Oct 17th, 2012 5 Pages
To Be Tragic or Not To Be Tragic: That is the Question.
He was a young boy, probably only sixteen at the time. He had everything going for him. He was on his way to becoming a doctor, he had friends who cared about him, he attended a prestigious preparatory academy. In short, he was successful--or so every body thought until that fateful winter night. Because on that night, tragedy struck. On that night, Neil Perry committed suicide.
That was the story of Neil Perry, the high achieving yet ill-fated young man in Dead Poets Society. Some may argue that Dead Poets Society is not a tragedy because although the death of any human being is sad, it is not necessarily tragic. Others would say there could be nothing more tragic than the loss of
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In Dead Poets Society this goal was accomplished. Through seeing the way Neil lived, how he acted, and what he was involved with, by the end of the film, the viewer felt an emotional tie to him. Neil was no longer just a character in the movie. He instead came to life as someone the viewer knew closely and a friend whom the viewer lost.
Aristotle stated that the effect of inspiring this great emotion of pity or fear is "best produced when the events come on us by surprise." Neil's suicide was a complete surprise to everyone--to the viewer as well as to the other characters in the film. This element of surprise quickly throws the viewer from a feeling of friendship with the character into a state of shock at the loss of this "friend." It leaves the viewer sad, emotionally drained, and empty.
This brings me to Aristotle's next point on tragedies--the Character. Another aspect contributing to the emotional connection between the viewer and the character is the status of the character. Aristotle believed the character should be "highly renown ed or prosperous." At that time, he meant someone of noble status or of great wealth. This point does not hold true today since there is no actual caste system that classifies people in society. However, this point has significance when considering "mo dern" tragedies. Originally the higher the status of the character, the

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