During the epilogue of Invisible Man, the narrator’s invisibility “placed [him] in a hole” (Ellison 572). This leads the reader to ask questions. Why did the narrator descend underground? Will he ever emerge? By examining his reasons for going underground, comparing and contrasting his emergence versus his staying below, why he would want to emerge, and the importance of social responsibility, one will see that Invisible Man will clearly emerge (Parker ).
Before one can determine whether or not the narrator will emerge from his proverbial hole, he must asses Invisible Man’s reasons for going underground (Parker ). The literal reason for his initial descent was to escape two white men chasing after him. It is at this point that he says, “I felt myself plunge down, down; a long drop that ended upon a load of coal… and I lay in the black dark upon the black coal no longer running” (Ellison 565).
If the reader then thinks back to the prologue, where Invisible Man introduces his living quarters, he sees some irony. During the prologue Invisible Man says, I doubt if there is a brighter spot in all New York…In my hole in the basement there are exactly 1,369 lights, I’ve wired the entire ceiling, every inch of it (Ellison 6-7).
This extreme lighting contrasts with the darkness and blackness that is shown in the hole that he falls into. According to one critic, the brightness connotes an optimistic viewpoint that is new to Invisible Man (Parker ).
He believed that “[his invisibility] placed [him] in a hole- or showed [him] the the [he] was in” (Ellison 572). He remained in the cellar to get away from “it all” (Ellison 573), and to contemplate his life and his grandfather’s words- to po…
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…ng] the foul air out” (Ellison 581). It is here that he wants to put his past behind him and move forward. He says:
I’m shaking off the old skin and and I’ll leave it here in the hole. I’m coming out, no less invisible without it, but coming out nevertheless. And i suppose it’s damn well time (Ellison 581).
Works Cited and Consulted
Bellow, Saul. “Man Underground” Review of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Commentary. June 1952. 1st December 2001
Available: http://www.english.upeen.edu/~afilreis /50s/bellow-on-ellison.html
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: The Modern Library, 1994.
O’Meally, Robert, ed. New Essays on Invisible Man. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Parker, Robert Dale “Black Identity and the Marketplace of Masculinity” 30 January 2002 Available: http://www.english.cmu.edu/~ Parker/50s/ellison.htm
Shakespeare’s Macbeth does not Follow Aristotle’s Standards for a Tragedy
Macbeth does not Follow Aristotle’s Standards for a Tragedy
There have been many great tragic authors throughout history: Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles from ancient Greece; Corneille and Hugo from France; Grillparzer and Schiller from Germany; and Marlowe, Webster, and Shakespeare from England. From this long list of men, Shakespeare is the most commonly known. Many Shakespearean critics agree that Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are great tragedies. Many critics also claim that Macbeth is a tragedy, but if one follows Aristotle’s standards for a tragedy, Macbeth would not be a tragedy
To really determine if Macbeth is a tragedy according to Aristotle, one must first look at his guidelines. The majority of Aristotle’s standards relate to the downfall of the central character. To set the character up for a downfall, Aristotle thought he or she should be of the middle class. This was because he felt the poor had nothing to lose. He also felt the downfall should be caused by a fatal flaw. Another characteristic Aristotle believed was important, was a conflict between the central character and a close friend or relative. According to him, the main character should also have an enlightenment at the moment of his or her downfall. Aristotle also believed that the feelings of pity and fear should be felt by the audience during the play. He thought that these feelings would lead to a catharsis, or release of emotions. Although most of Aristotle’s characteristics of a tragedy had to do with the downfall, he had two that did not. First, he thought the central character should not be totally good or evil. This was based on the belief that the ruin of a totally good character would be too painful, and the ruin of a totally bad char…
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… not even thank is wife for the plan that made him king. Due to Malcolm’s final speech, the reader is left with positive, not negative feelings.
Overall Macbeth is not a tragedy according the Aristotle’s standards. Macbeth’s downfall does follow the guidelines: he has something to lose, he has a downfall, and he has conflicts with his friends and relatives during his downfall. But, the heart of the play, which is the emotions created, just do not follow Aristotle’s standards. The reader should feel pity, and grieve. Yet, there is no reason to feel this way because Macbeth is all evil, and in the end, the “good guy” is restored to power. Shakespeare put forth good effort in trying to make Macbeth a tragedy, but he came up too short.
Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth.” The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Ed. David Bevington. New York: Longman, 1997.