Gone with the wind as a tragedy.

According to Aristotle a tragedy is defined as a “the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language;… in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.”

He also goes on to say that there are six distinctive elements of tragedy: i) plot, ii) characters, iii) diction, iv) song, v) thought and vi) spectacle.

In class I raised the question…does there have to be death to have something be a tragedy?  I used the example of Gone with the Wind. Branching off of that, I will go through the steps that determine whether or not Gone with the Wind is.

i) plot.  There certainly is a plot in this film and it revolves around big moments and themes — marriage, death, longing, loathing, and of course the Civil War.

ii) characters. There are relatable and strong characters in this film, but maybe this film would have a different outcome if the characters are different.

iii) diction. The diction of the film is that of the time, and there is very dramatic language and tones, which correlates with Aristotle’s idea of diction.

iv) song. There’s a score to the film.

v) thought. Many speeches and monologues reveal the inner nature of the main characters (namely Scarlett).

vi) spectacle. Gone with the Wind is easily one of, if not, the most highly regarded spectacles of all time. It draws viewers in with its flashy sets and costumes, and the amount of people it took to produce such a film.

After going through the pieces that create a tragedy, and the fact the film ends on a heartbreaking/melancholy (yet hopeful) note, I would say that Gone with the Wind is a tragedy.

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