Sympathy

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kfrls
Words 2998
Pages 12
Sympathy for the Devil Despite his morally reprehensible lifestyle and personal shortcomings, I like Tony Soprano. Through the entire run of the television show The Sopranos, even when his transgressions became too great for redemption to be an option any longer, I never wished the character ill will, never wanted him to get his comeuppance. It’s hard to pinpoint why I find Tony so endearing; James Gandolfini made the middle-aged Mafioso surprisingly relatable. He was the first and best in a line of male protagonists on television that have been given the title “antihero.” However, this moniker hasn’t stopped fans from viewing Tony and his successors as they would normal heroes, supporting their decisions and sympathizing rather than condemning. Although the idea of an antihero is relatively new to television, the protagonist of questionable morals and heroism has been on the stage for quite some time. In Christopher Marlowe’s play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, the titular doctor is not presented as a particularly heroic man. The aspects we associate with heroism, chiefly voluntary service to others at the cost of personal sacrifice and potential harm, are not displayed by Faustus. Yet if we examine the history of dramatic tragedy as well as morality plays, we can get a better understanding of why Faustus indeed fits into the categorization of hero. While not necessarily a character that gains our initial support, Dr. Faustus is nonetheless the hero of the play. With a word like “tragical” in the title, it’s safe to say that Doctor Faustus isn’t a comedy. Yet comic elements are present throughout the play, so what makes this a tragedy? Aristotle attempted to set the boundaries for tragedy and the tragic hero in his Poetics. According to Aristotle, tragedy is dramatic imitation of man, as is comedy, but it imitates good…...

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