Essay Topic: Tragedy in Frankincense To some people Frankincense might be considered a tragedy while for others It might not. For Aristotle, tragedy was a word to describe a certain situation, especially in plays and literature. According to Aristotle, In order for a poetic work to be considered a tragedy It had to have several requirements. For Frankincense, only four parts will be mentioned as the other parts applied more to plays rather than literature. First, it should have a plot where the outcome depends almost entirely on a cause and effect set of reactions.
Each action unavoidably leading to the next action thou any outside intervention. In Frankincense, the very first cause would most likely be that Victor loved natural philosophy. Therefore, the very first event that set the whole chain of cause and effect off is when Victor first found a book concerning the works of Cornelius Grippe at an inn near Thong. Since Victor loved studying natural philosophy, he did not listen to his father and instead read the book that started him on his spiral of misfortune. Even Victor believes that this point might have been where his descent started. “l should certainly have thrown Grippe aside…
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It Is even possible that the train of my Ideas would never have received the fatal Impulse that lead to my ruin. ” (pig. 40) Throughout the rest of the tale the story says many times that because of something another thing happened, specifically to Victor. Such as when he first entered the university. Because he had a professor that he did not like he went to another professor that he did like. Because he went to the professor he did like he got back into his old studies of Grippe and Paralegals. Because he got back into his old studies he thought about reanimating the dead, etc. Second, speech should reveal character.
Throughout the story, Victor reveals himself as he tells his tale. Though he seems like a good man he does have some bad qualities. One such quality is blaming other things for his behavior. He doesn’t like to take responsibility for his own actions. “Such were the professor’s words- rather let me say such the words of fate, announced to destroy me. ” (pig. 53) He heard a speech by professor Walden and was convinced by It to continue to keep studying the ancient chimerical natural philosophy. As you can see In the quote, he says It Like he never had a choice in the matter to begin with, that he was forced down that path by ate.
This quote and several other passages in the text shows his narcissistic nature. Third, the character has to support the plot, not the other way around. Ideally, the character should mistakenly bring about his own downfall through lack of knowledge. Personal motivations should be intertwined with the cause and effect chain that leads the character from good to bad. Later on in the story, when Victor is in college, Victor gets taken over by a fiery passion to be able to reanimate the dead. In this pursuit, Victor does not think about the consequences of his actions or what might append in the future. Unfortunately he realizes his mistake a little too late. “l had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of Infusing life Into an Inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired It with an ardor that far exceeded moderation: but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. ” (Pig. 67) continues to get worse and worse for Victor as the story progresses. Even though he does not seem like a hero he is a tragic hero of the story. He ends up creating a raging victim in the process.
The monster itself becomes the tragic victim as soon as he comes to life. He was Just recently given new life and Victor runs away. The monster Just wants his creator to care for him and later on it gets its own set of sorrows instead. Lastly, at the end of the story there is a catharsis of the tragic emotions. It should evoke a sense of not only pity or fear but a mix of both, as this situation should feel like it can happen to anyone. Normally in a tragedy though this is where a monologue would appear and the protagonist would realize what their laws were and they did wrong.
Both Victor and his monster do this which leads to their final ends. Overall, the story of Frankincense seems to fit these definitions that Aristotle has placed. Though the tragic hero seems less like a hero and more like a narcissist, until the end, Aristotle would agree that this story is a tragedy. But what would a tragedy be without teaching the audience a moral lesson. There would be no pity or fear evoked if that was the case. The moral lesson of this tragedy is that there are some things that humans are not meant to do, and one of those is to try to play