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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Re: Tragic Flaw; Fun Reading
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 1027.  Tuesday, 27 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Ken Sanderson <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 Dec 94 11:06:40 MST
        Subj:   Tragic flaw
 
(2)     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Dec 94 08:59:43 -0500
        Subj:   More Reading for Fun and Profit & 1017
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ken Sanderson <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Dec 94 11:06:40 MST
Subject:        Tragic flaw
 
A good corrective to much chatter about Tragic Flaw is A.P. Rossiter's _Angel
with Horns_ (1961).  Citing Sidney's line about tragedy teaching "the
uncertainety of this world," Rossiter writes: "This alarmingness of
circumstance is evaded only by the theory of 'tragic flaw' or 'tragic
weakness'. The theory (extracted from Aristotle) says that the hero's nature is
'flawed' and his fate follows from his excess or deficiency. Its effect is to
shift all blame from the universe (or to give that consoling impression), and
it is popular enough: both because of the ease with which 'tragic weakness' can
be diagnosed (or devised)--when we know how the story ends; and, again, because
it re-establishes the comforting belief that the universe is moral, and the
fates of tragic heroes somehow just..."
 
Seasons greetings to all...
 
Ken Sanderson                 
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Dec 94 08:59:43 -0500
Subject:        More Reading for Fun and Profit & 1017
 
Hello again! Well, I finished Judith Cook's historical novel *The Slicing Edge
of Death,* about the murder of Christopher Marlowe and found it very
satisfying. I then slipped immediatedly into Lisa Goldstein's *Strange Devices
of the Sun and Moon,* set in the same time period and including some of the
same characters (Marlowe, Kyd, Greene), but this one is a historical fantasy
(the queen of fairy comes to London in 1590-92 in search of her changeling
son). Also wonderful. Thanks goodness for fiction writers, whose imaginations
can carry us to some very interesting places. On a more scholarly note, I just
finished Bruce Smith's *Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare's England* and found
it interesting, informative, helpful; and I've just started (thanks, I think,
to Bill Godshalk's recommendation a while back) David Bevington's *Action Is
Eloquence.*
 
On another note, I found Roger Gross's description of some young people's
response to Claudio's abuse of Hero in *Much Ado* very disturbing. Yet this
pattern of young men applauding violence (especially against women) is reported
more and more often (I've heard about it in relation to films, especially).
What can we as adults, educators, parents, friends of young people do about
such responses? I certainly try with my own children and with the students with
whom I interact to encourage what I consider basic human values. Where are we
failing? I see much that is good in popular culture, but so much more that is
ugly and frightening. Let us all do what we can to make the upcoming year a
positive one in as many ways as we can. Best wishes to everyone!
 
Chris Gordon, University of Minnesota
 

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