[LMB] TSK - Echoes

Joel Polowin jpolowin at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 22 00:39:59 BST 2019


John Lennard (john.c.lennard at gmail.com) wrote:
> NB 2: I teach the Tragedy Paper in the Cambridge English Tripos, &
> so am sensitised to qq. of evil and tragedy. Because of the idiotic
> mistranslation (in the later C19) of the Aristotelian "hamartia" as
> 'tragic flaw', when the root verb, "hamartano", means 'to miss the
> mark, as in archery', many educated in the C20 want to understand
> tragedy as proceeding wholly from individual failing = personal evil ;
> but neither the Greeks nor Shakespeare would agree. Nor Lois, sez I.

Hrm, hoom.  In my high-school English lit, we were taught that tragedy
(in the classical sense) was a result of a protagonist's tragic
flaw... but that said flaw might not be evil, as such.  A moment of
giving in to cowardice, of making a poor choice sometimes based on good
motives, could do it.  A remarkably good man, near the very end of the
Babylon 5 story, yielding to temptation just for a moment, immediately
regretting it and going back to try to fix things, too late; then
spending the rest of his life repenting his failure and trying to make
up for it... the act was arguably evil but his personality anything but.

Joel


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