"Tragic heroes in modern English literature"

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"Tragic heroes in modern English literature":


CONTENT INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I. SOCIAL A CULTURAL CONTEXT IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTY CENTURE AS A BACKGROUND FOR A NEW TRAGIC HERO 1.1 Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being 1.2 The last generation as a new representatives of the tragic hero CONCLUSION CHAPTER II. THE TRAGIC HEROES OF ARTHUR MILLER BOOKS 2.1 The image of tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller 2.2 E. Heminqways Fiesta as a new approach to the tragic hero 2.3 The tragic hero as representation prob lem in the works E. Heminqway and Arthur Miller CONCLUSION GENERAL CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


INTRODUCTION

Our work is devoted to the analysis of the novels by Arthur Miller and E. Heminqway. The plots of there novel generally revolve around the subject of tragedy of the main heroes and lay emphasis especially on its tremendous importance.

The aim of our work is to reveal the tragedy of people in the novels by A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

The hypothesis of our work is that the writers in their books represent the tragic hero.

The aim has defined the next tasks:

- to research the Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being; - to investigate the last generation as a new representatives of the tragic hero; - to investigate the image of tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller and E. Heminqways Fiesta as a new approach to the tragic hero; - to research the tragic hero as representation prob lem in the works E. Heminqway and Arthur Miller. Object of research in the given work is A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

Subject is the tragedy of the main heroes in A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

The practical value is that it can be useful for anybody who is interested in life and work of the novels by A. Miller and E. Heminqway.

While making our research we used the works of such linguists as Vinokur G. O., Suvorov S. P., Arnold I. V. and many others. During our work we used the works on the translation theory of such linguists as Levitskaya T. R., Fiterman A. M., Komissarov V. N., Alimov V. V., Shveytser A. D., Garbovskiy N. K., Dmitrieva L. F., Galperin I. R., Arnold I. V., Yakusheva I. V., van Deik, Kolshanskiy and others. We used also the articles from the the periodical editions.

Concerning the aim and the tasks we have used such method as a descriptive one, the method of the experience, the contextual method and the comparative method. These methods werent used as the isolated methods, they were used in their complex to satisfy the aim and the task in the best way.


CHAPTER I. SOCIAL A CULTURAL CONTEXT IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTY CENTURE AS A BACKGROUND FO RENEW TRAGIC HERO

1.1.  Social and litery theories explaning place of the human being

The term Tragedy is used in a common parlance, and yet it cannot be reduced to a formula, for it has so many shades that it actually defies a logical analysis. An American critic has admirable summed up Tragedy in a few words: Courage and inevitable defeat. Now-a-days we can never think of a Tragedy without an unhappy ending. But the Greeks did. Philoctetes by Sophocles, for example, has no unhappy ending. There is a similarity between the ancient Greek Tragedy and a modern Tragedy. The hero and certain other characters are caught in a difficult situation.

Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity "the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams puts it.[3] From its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens 2500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its singular articulations in the works of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, or Schiller, to the more recent naturalistic tragedy of Strindberg, Beckett's modernist meditations on death, loss and suffering, or Müller's postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change.[4] A long line of philosophers--which includes Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin and Deleuze--have analysed, speculated upon and criticised the tragic form.[5] In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry in general, where the tragic divides against epic and lyric, or at the scale of the drama, where tragedy is opposed to comedy. In the modern era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama, the tragicomic and epic theatre. The character and plot in most of Tragedies are linked up. In Greek Tragedies fate played a very important part, but after the Renaissance character became more and more prominent. In some of Shakespearian Tragedies, despite the importance of character, the motivation of action comes from the supernatural forces or even external circumstances. In modern Tragedies, the hero is often the victim of social forces.

The origins of tragedy are obscure, but the art form certainly developed out of the poetic and religious traditions of ancient Greece. Its roots may be traced more specifically to the chants and dances called dithyrambs, which honoured the Greek god Dionysus (later known to the Romans as Bacchus). These drunken, ecstatic performances were said to have been created by the satyrs, half-goat beings who surrounded Dionysus in his revelry.

Phrynichus, son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, was one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. "The honour of introducing Tragedy in its later acceptation was reserved for a scholar of Thespis in 511 BCE, Polyphradmon's son, Phrynichus; he dropped the light and ludicrous cast of the original drama and dismissing Bacchus and the Satyrs formed his plays from the more grave and elevated events recorded in mythology and history of his country", and some of the ancients regarded him as the real founder of tragedy.[7] He gained his first poetical victory in 511 BCE. However, P. W. Buckham asserts (quoting August Wilhelm von Schlegel) that Aeschylus was the inventor of tragedy. "Aeschylus is to be considered as the creator of Tragedy: in full panoply she sprung from his head, like Pallas from the head of Jupiter. He clad her with dignity, and gave her an appropriate stage; he was the inventor of scenic pomp, and not only instructed the chorus in singing and dancing, but appeared himself as an actor. He was the first that expanded the dialogue, and set limits to the lyrical part of tragedy, which, however, still occupies too much space in his pieces. Aristotle is very clear in his Poetics that tragedy proceeded from the authors of the Dithyramb.[9] There is some dissent to the dithyrambic origins of tragedy mostly based in the differences between the shapes of their choruses and styles of dancing. A common descent from pre-Hellenic fertility and burial rites has been suggested. Nietzsche discussed the origins of Greek tragedy in his early book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872).

Aristotle defined Tragedy as a representation of an action, which is serious; complete in itself, and of a certain length; it is expressed in speech made beautiful in different ways in different parts of the play; it is acted, not narrated; and by exciting pity and fear it gives a healthy relief to such emotions. [12, 121].

Tragedy must be spoudaious i. e. noble, serious, and elevated. The Greek root for Tragedy is tragoidia, which means something serious, but not necessarily a drama with an unhappy ending. Plato has called Homers Odyssey a Tragedy, though it is not drama. Seriousness of subject is what really matters.

Tragedy, F. L. Lucas maintains, had three different meanings in the three periods of literary history. In ancient times, a Tragedy meant a serious drama; in medieval times, a Tragedy meant a story with an unhappy ending; and a modern Tragedy is a drama with an unhappy ending.

Tragedy is an imitation of an action. And action again gives rise to a lot of troubles. A novel or an Epic is narrated, while a drama, be it a Tragedy or a Comedy, is acted. Can there be action without narration? The answer is obvious. The Greek Dramaturgy did not allowed any act of violence on the stage. Even a romantic playwright like Shakespeare had some of the murders reported by messengers. Lucas rightly points out, Not everything permits itself to be acted. Let not Medea slay her sons before the audience: things like that, at least, on the Greek stage were relegated to a Messengers speech.

With regard to an action which is complete in itself, the controversy has been raging for a long time. What is actually meant by completeness? An action having a beginning, a middle, and an end is said to be complete. T. R. Henn defines completeness as totality which Matthew Arnold later called architectonice. Aristotle himself, in different chapter of the Poetics, has saught to define completeness. If the play begins abruptly, the reader or the audience may not understand what it is about. Let not the reader ask What happens then? The work of art should be rounded off. The Greek art, whether plastic or non-plastic, always insisted on symmetry [12, 127]. Along with symmetry there is frugality. The details are not extraneous. On the contrary, it is an organic unity. If there are details, they are not ornamental, but functional, Aristotle means by completeness the organic unity.

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The organic unity is linked up with the size of the work of art. If the art has no appropriate limit or size, it loses its symmetry. Whatever is beautiful, whether it be a living creature or an object made up of various parts, must necessarily not only have its parts properly ordered, but also be of an appropriate size for beauty is banned up with size and order. If a thing is a thousand miles long, that will also not be beautiful, for the whole thing cannot be taken in all at once, and the unity of the art will be lost sight of Aristotle while speaking of the Plot, again emphasis that the plot of a play, being but representation of an action, must present it as an organic whole. Aristotle says that the Tragedies should center upon a single action, whole and complete, and having a beginning, a middle and an end, so that like a single complete organism the poem may produce a special kind of pleasure.

Aristotle emphasizes that the Tragedy should be expressed in speech made beautiful. But in the modern age, Tragedies have become realistic, and therefore, the language has become drab and colourless. Another part of Aristotles definition of Tragedy is that it should be acted, not narrated. This also is a bone of contention.

In modernist literature, the definition of tragedy has become less precise. The most fundamental change has been the rejection of Aristotle's dictum that true tragedy can only depict those with power and high status [13, 78]. Arthur Miller's essay 'Tragedy and the Common Man' exemplifies the modern belief that tragedy may also depict ordinary people in domestic surroundings. British playwright Howard Barker has argued strenuously for the rebirth of tragedy in the contemporary theatre, most notably in his volume Arguments for a Theatre. "You emerge from tragedy equipped against lies. After the musical, you're anybody's fool," he observes.[13]

Although the most important American playwrights - Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller - wrote tragedies, the rarity of tragedy in the American theater may be owing in part to a certain form of idealism, often associated with Americans, that man is captain of his fate, a notion exemplified in the plays of Clyde Fitch and George S. Kaufmann. Arthur Miller, however, was a successful writer of American tragic plays, among them The Crucible, All My Sons and Death of a Salesman.

1.2.  The last generation as a new representatives of the tragic hero

Tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy who makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.

Some common traits characteristic of a tragic protagonist: [10, 117]

- The hero discovers his fate by his own actions, not by things happening to him.

- The hero sees and understands his doom, and that his fate was revealed by his own actions.

- The hero's downfall is understood by Aristotle to arouse pity and fear.

- The hero is physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often resulting in his death.

- A tragic hero is often of noble birth, or rises to noble standing (King Arthur, Okonkwo, the main character in Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart.)

- The hero learns something from his/her mistake.

- The hero is faced with a serious decision.

- The suffering of the hero is meaningful.

- There may sometimes be supernatural involvement (in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Caesar is warned of his death via Calpurnia's vision and Brutus is warned of his impending death by the ghost of Caesar).

- The Shakespearean tragic hero dies at some point in the story, for example Macbeth. Shakespeare's characters illustrate that tragic heroes are neither fully good nor fully evil. Through the development of the plot a hero's mistakes, rather than his quintessential goodness or evil, lead to his tragic downfall.

- The hero of classical tragedies is almost universally male. Later tragedies (like Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra) introduced the female tragic hero. Portrayals of female tragic heroes are notable because they are rare.

Famous tragic heroes

Macbeth is the main character in Shakespeares Macbeth (1607?). The character was based upon accounts found in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of Britain. Macbeth is a Scottish noble and a valiant military man. At the urging of his wife, he commits regicide and becomes King of Scotland. He thereafter lives in anxiety and fear, unable to rest or to trust his nobles. He leads a reign of terror until defeated by the rightful heir to the throne in the final act.

Othello is a character in Shakespeare's Othello (c.1601-1604). The character's origin is traced to the tale, "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. There, he is simply referred to as the Moor.

Othello is a brave and competent soldier of advanced years and Moorish background in the service of the Venetian Republic. He elopes with Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of a respected Venetian senator. After being deployed to Cyprus, Othello is manipulated by his ensign, Iago, into believing Desdemona is an adultress. Othello murders her before killing himself.

Othello was first mentioned in a Revels account of 1604 when the play was performed on November 1 at Whitehall Palace with Richard Burbage almost certainly Othello's first interpreter. Modern notable performers of the role include Paul Robeson, Orson Welles, Richard Burton, James Earl Jones, and Laurence Olivier.

King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606, and is considered one of his greatest works. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman king. It has been widely adapted for stage and screen, with the part of Lear being played by many of the world's most accomplished actors.

There are two distinct versions of the play: The True Chronicle of the History of the Life and Death of King Lear and His Three Daughters, which appeared in quarto in 1608, and The Tragedy of King Lear, which appeared in the First Folio in 1623, a more theatrical version. The two texts are commonly printed in a conflated version, although many modern editors have argued that each version has its individual integrity.[1]

After the Restoration the play was often modified by theatre practitioners who disliked its dark and depressing tone, but since the 19th century it has been regarded as one of Shakespeare's supreme achievements. The tragedy is particularly noted for its probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.

Oedipus (pronounced /ˈɛdəpəs/ in American English or /ˈiːdəpəs/ in British English; Greek: Οἰδίπους Oidípous meaning "swollen-footed") was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. He fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family. This legend has been retold in many versions, and was used by Sigmund Freud to name the Oedipus complex.

Marcus Junius Brutus (8542 BC) or Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, often referred to simply as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. He is best known in modern times for taking a leading role in the assassination conspiracy against Julius Caesar in an attempt to take control of the Republic.[1]

Prince Hamlet is the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius and son of the previous King of Denmark, Old Hamlet. Throughout the play he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and struggles with his own sanity along the way. By the end of the tragedy, Hamlet has caused the deaths of Claudius, Polonius, Laertes and his two childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He is also indirectly involved in the deaths of his love Ophelia (drowning) and of his mother Gertrude (poisoned by mistake). Hamlet himself is the final character to die in the play.

Antigone (pronounced /ænˈtɪɡəni/; Greek Ἀντιγόνη) is the name of two different women in Greek mythology. The name may be taken to mean "unbending", coming from "anti-" (against, opposed to) and "-gon / - gony" (corner, bend, angle; ex: polygon), but has also been suggested to mean "opposed to motherhood" or "in place of a mother" based from the root gonē, "that which generates" (related: gonos, "-gony"; seed, semen).

Romeo Montague is one of the fictional protagonists in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. He is the heir of the Montague family of Verona, and falls in love and dies with Juliet Capulet, the daughter of the Capulet house.

Juliet Capulet is one of the title characters in William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet. The story has a long history that precedes Shakespeare himself. The heroine's name was Giulietta in some earlier versions. It had become Juliet by the time Arthur Brooke wrote his narrative poem. Juliet is the beautiful daughter of a generous and very wealthy family in Verona, headed by Lord and Lady Capulet. She was their oldest child. She apparently had younger siblings at some point, but by the time of the play, she was their only surviving child. Juliet is the sole heir to the Capulets. As a child, she was cared for by her Nurse, who is now her confidante, or Juliet's caretaker. As the story occurs, Juliet is approaching her fourteenth birthday (her sixteenth in Arthur Brooke's poem). She was born on "Lammas Eve at night," so Juliet's birthday is July 31 (1.3.19). Her birthday is "a fortnight hence", putting the action of the play in mid-July (1.3.17).

Shakespeare's Juliet was very young; her father states that she "hath not seen the change of fourteen years" (1.2.9). In many cultures and time periods, women did and do marry and bear children at such a young age. However, in Shakespeare's England, most women were at least 21 before they did so. Romeo and Juliet is a play about Italian families. The average English playgoer in Shakespeare's audience had never met an Italian person, and it was commonly thought that they were quite exotic, the Italian male passionate and emotional, and the Italian female precocious and quite ready to become a mother by thirteen. Lady Capulet had given birth to Juliet by the time she had reached Juliet's age: "By my count, I was your mother much upon these years that you are now a maid" (1.3.74-75).

The play celebrates youth while pointing out its impulsiveness, passion, and idealism; qualities which contribute to the tragedy. The adolescent infatuation of the lovers becomes elevated to the status of sacred love. The sacred lovers were reunited on the same deathbed. Their families had both realized what they had done by separating the two unborn star crossed lovers. The Capulets and Montagues were reunited and their fighting discontinued. [21, 132].

In Greek mythology, Heracles or Herakles (pronounced /ˈhɛrəkliːz/ HER-ə-kleez) meaning "glory of Hera", or "Glorious through Hera" Alcides or Alcaeus (original name) ("Ἥρα + κλέος, Ἡρακλῆς)" was a divine hero, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson (and half-brother) of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman Emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.

Extraordinary strength, courage, ingenuity, and sexual prowess with both males and females were among his characteristic attributes. Although he was not as clever as the likes of Odysseus or Nestor, Heracles used his wits on several occasions when his strength did not suffice, such as when laboring for the king Augeas of Elis, wrestling the giant Antaeus, or tricking Atlas into taking the sky back onto his shoulders. Together with Hermes he was the patron and protector of gymnasia and palaestrae. His iconographic attributes are the lion skin and the club. These qualities did not prevent him from being regarded as a playful figure who used games to relax from his labors and played a great deal with children. By conquering dangerous archaic forces he is said to have "made the world safe for mankind" and to be its benefactor. Heracles was an extremely passionate and emotional individual, capable of doing both great deeds for his friends (such as wrestling with Thanatos on behalf of Prince Admetus, who had regaled Heracles with his hospitality, or restoring his friend Tyndareus to the throne of Sparta after he was overthrown) and being a terrible enemy who would wreak horrible vengeance on those who crossed him, as Augeas, Neleus and Laomedon all found out to their cost.

In Greek mythology, Achilles (Ancient Greek: Ἀχιλλεύς) was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.

Achilles also has the attributes of being the most handsome of the heroes assembled against Troy,[1] as well as the best.

Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the first century AD) state that Achillies was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Legend states that Achilles was semi-immortal, however his heel was vulnerable. Since he died due to a poisoned arrow shot into his heel, the "Achilles' heel" has come to mean a person's principal weakness.

CONCLUSION

We came to a conclusion that the term Tragedy is used in a common parlance, and yet it cannot be reduced to a formula, for it has so many shades that it actually defies a logical analysis. An American critic has admirable summed up Tragedy in a few words: Courage and inevitable defeat. Now-a-days we can never think of a Tragedy without an unhappy ending. But the Greeks did. Philoctetes by Sophocles, for example, has no unhappy ending. There is a similarity between the ancient Greek Tragedy and a modern Tragedy. The hero and certain other characters are caught in a difficult situation.

Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. The origins of tragedy are obscure, but the art form certainly developed out of the poetic and religious traditions of ancient Greece. Its roots may be traced more specifically to the chants and dances called dithyrambs, which honoured the Greek god Dionysus (later known to the Romans as Bacchus). These drunken, ecstatic performances were said to have been created by the satyrs, half-goat beings who surrounded Dionysus in his revelry.

Tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy who makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.

CHAPTER II. THE TRAGIC HEROES OF ARTHUR MILLER BOOKS

2.1 The image of tragic hero in the works of Arthur Miller

Act one begins with Reverend Parris praying over her daughter, Betty Parris, who lies unconscious on her bed. Through conversations between Reverend Parris and his niece Abigail Williams, and between several girls, the audience learns that these girls, including Abigail and Betty, were engaged in occultic activities in the forest lead by Tituba, Parris slave from Barbados. Parris caught them and jumped from a bush startling the girls. Betty fainted and had not recovered. During this session, Abigail drank chicken blood to kill Elizabeth Proctor. She tells the girls that she will kill anyone who mutters a word about what happened. The townspeople do not know exactly what the girls were doing but there are rumors of witchcraft.

John Proctor enters the room where Betty lies faint. Abigail is still in there and she tries to seduce him. Proctor is a farmer who has had an affair with Abigail a while ago, but now he wants to forget it [11, 127].

Reverend John Hale is summoned to look upon Betty and the research the incident. He is an expert in occultic phenomena and he is eager to show his knowledge. He questions Abigail who accuses Tituba as being a witch. Tituba, afraid of being hanged, confesses faith in God and accuses Goody Good and Goody Osborne of witchcraft. Abigail and Betty, who has woken up, claim to have been bewitched and confess faith in God. They name several other people whom they claim they saw with the Devil.

Act two begins eight days after the discussion at Parris house. Between act one and act two, Deputy Governor Dansforth came to Salem to oversee the court proceedings. Fourteen people have been arrested for witchcraft, and there is talk of hanging. Elizabeth Proctor asks John to go to the court and testify against Abigail and the other girls. John doesnt want to get involved. There is tension between Elizabeth and John since Elizabeth has not forgiven John for the affair. Marry Warren enters. She was in court testifying against the townspeople. She gives Elizabeth a doll which she has made in court. In the middle of their discussion, Hale enters to question John and Elizabeth, suspicious of witchcraft. Later, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse enter to seek advice after both their wives had been arrested. Next, the marshal arrives with a warrant for Elizabeths arrest. Elizabeth was accused by Abigail for stabbing Abigail with a needle through a doll. John Proctor protests but Elizabeth is taken away in chains. Proctor demands Mary that she goes to court and testify against the girls. He vows that he will fight the proceedings, even if it means confessing his own adultery.

 Act three takes place in court. Francis Nurse, Giles Corey, and John Proctor present their case against the girls to Deputy Governor Dansforth and Judge Hathorne. Proctor presents a petition signed by 91 people testifying to the good character of their wives, and Dansforth issues warrants for the questioning of all of them. Corey charges Putnam on inciting his daughter to accuse Corey of witchcraft in order get his land. Corey has a witness but will not name him for fear of getting the man arrested. Corey is arrested because of contempt of the court.

 Proctor presents his case and a deposition by Mary Warren saying that she never saw the devil or any spirits. Abigail says that Mary is lying and she and the girls pretend to be bewitched by Mary. Proctor, frustrated at the gullibility of the court, grabs Abigail by the hair and exclaims to everyone that she is a whore confessing that he had an affair with Abigail. Elizabeth is brought in to be questioned about whether this is true. Elizabeth tells the court that John Proctor never had an affair with Abigail in order to save his name, however, this destroys Proctors testimony. Mary crumbles under the peer pressure and returns to Abigails side, accusing Proctor of being a witch [11, 139].

The girls pretend to be bewitched by Proctor. Proctor accuses Danforth of being afraid to reveal the truth. Dansforth acts more to keep the reputation of the court rather than for justice. Reverend Hale now sees the evil in the court and denounces the proceedings. Proctor is arrested.

Act four begins in prison where Sarah Good and Tituba wait to be hanged. They have gone insane and believe that Satan will take them both to Barbados.

 There is rumors of an uprising in a nearby town due to similar witch trials. The townspeople are afraid of a similar riot in Salem.

Hale and Parris are now terrified. They go to visit the innocent people in the jail and beg them to make false confessions in order to save their lives. Hale believes that the blood of the people who are being hanged is on his hands. He asks Elizabeth, who is now pregnant, to tell John to confess to save his life but Elizabeth will not. While Elizabeth is talking to John, she tells him that she has forgiven him of his affair and tells his that he can do as he will. John Proctor confesses that he is a witch, but will not say the others are. After a few moments, Proctor is fed up with the court, tears up his confession, and goes out to be hanged with Rebecca Nurse. Hales pleads that Elizabeth ask Proctor to confess, but she says, He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!

In The Crucible all the event flow naturally from one event to the next. Everything happens naturally from the natures of the characters. The fact that the story isnt contrived, and even more that it is based on a true story is interesting. The result is so unbelievable. The incident begins with the girls dancing in the forest and snowballs into a huge witch hunt. The plot was exciting. There was sufficient conflict to keep my interest aroused. There are a lot of tension and suspense in the story [14, 56]. It covers basic human instincts and qualities. It shows the human necessity for survival, and the lengths at which a person will go to save his life. There is the idea of honor and truth. Proctor tries to keep his reputation but gives it up to reveal the truth. Through his struggle he achieves righteousness. All these things keep the plot moving. Proctors relationship with Elizabeth can be seen to grow and mature. He continually grows more pure in Elizabeths sight until she is able to forgive him in act four. Proctor character also improves. He doesnt want to get involved in the court proceedings in act two but stands up for the truth in act four.

Each character has his own distinct quality. Most characters are distinctly good or evil though few characters are really developed. The reader is only able to see one side of each character. Even John Proctor, the main character isnt as developed as it could be. This is probably due to the restrictions of time and narration of this particular genre.

Parris - A minister in Salem who is more worried about his own reputation than the town or the truth.

Betty - Parris daughter. She is faint in the beginning of the play and later accuses various people for witchcraft.

Abigail - Parris niece and Proctors mistress. She is the leader of the girls who accuses people of witchcraft during the trial.

Tituba - Parris slave from Barbados. She is the first accused with being accused by Abigail.

Mrs. Putnam - Wife of Thomas Putnam. She first plants the idea of Betty being bewitched.

Ruth - Daughter of the Putnams. She is one of Abigail's friends who accuses people at the trial.

Mercy Lewis - Putnams servant. She is also involved in the accusations of the witches.

John Proctor - Main character. He is a good man, but has committed adultery with Abigail.

Elizabeth Proctor - John Proctors wife. She is an upright woman who is accused of being a witch. She couldnt forgive Proctor for adultery until just before he died.

Mary Warren - Proctors servant. She is one of Abigails friends and plants evidence on Elizabeth.

Reverend Hale - Self proclaimed expert on witchcraft. He is a minister who at first believes the girls accusations but eventually sees the evil in the court.

Deputy Governor Dansforth - Deputy Governor of Massachusetts who believes the testimony of the girls despite evidence to the contrary. He works more to keep the reputation of the court than to seek justice.

Judge Hathorne - Judge presiding over the witch trials.

Rebecca Nurse - Respected, upright wife of Francis nurse. She is accused of witchcraft.

Francis Nurse - Rebeccas Husband. He had land disputes with the Putnams.

Giles Corey - Old cranky villager who accidentally causes his wife to be accused.

Sarah Good - She is an accused witch who becomes insane while awaiting her hanging.

Susanna - One of Abigails friends who takes part in accusing the villagers.

Cheever - He arrests the witches.

Herrick - Also arrests the witches. Is the jail keeping.

Hopkins - Messenger.

The play takes place in Salem, Massachusetts during the 17 century. Since this story is based on a true story, the setting is real. The fact that the story takes place during the 17 century is important. The community needed to be superstitious and gullible in order for this incident to actually happen. Also, the event needed to be in a Puritan society to have such an aversion to witches. People in the twentieth and even the nineteenth centuries would be too skeptical about the supernatural to believe the girls [14. 78]. Also, they would be likely to dismiss the act of dancing in the forest as just a little game.

Millers style is very simple. He uses simple sentences and words which are easy to understand. He brings out the evil quality of Abigail and the other girls and also the gullibility of the judges. His style is easy to understand and should be in order to be successful as a play. While using the simple style, Miller doesnt take anything away from the suspense in the plot. The dialogues of his character are like actual speech. His words are used effectively and doesnt include anything not necessary for making a good play. Many clever figurative devices are used. For example, Abigail says that John sweated like a stallion. The writing is really that memorable since it was not really written as prose or poetry. However, certain images as the one previously mentioned are hard to forget.

The theme of the story was rising over adversity, and standing for the truth even to death. This is the theme for many stories and is always an exciting one. John, in the beginning, wanted to keep distant from the trials. He did not want to have a part, whether good or bad. When Elizabeth was arrested, he was forced to become part of it [3, 145]. He went to court first to set his wife free but after watching the proceedings, he saw that the evil was not only being done to his own wife but many others like his wife. As a result, he worked even harder to free the other innocent people, getting himself arrested. Despite this drawback, he did not give up. He had the chance to free himself if he testified against the others but he realized that this would be wrong, and even though he wanted to free himself, he would not if it meant bringing trouble upon others. He cleansed himself at the trial, standing for what he knew was right and died a righteous person. Though he stayed away from church, he became more pure than the common Puritans, dying as a martyr like the original apostles. He learned what truth meant through his suffering.

Through Proctors struggle, Miller displays the struggles within each of our own hearts. Many times we have witnessed some wrong happening to some other person and wished not to get involved. However, sometimes, like Proctor, there might be something that forces us in. Would we be quit after only saving our wife like Proctor could have done, or would we go for the entire community as Proctor did?

The action of the play is set in August 1947, in the mid-west of the U. S.A. The events depicted occur between Sunday morning and a little after two o'clock the following morning.

Joe Keller, the chief character, is a man who loves his family above all else, and has sacrificed everything, including his honour, in his struggle to make the family prosperous. He is now sixty-one. He has lost one son in the war, and is keen to see his remaining son, Chris, marry. Chris wishes to marry Ann, the former fiancée of his brother, Larry. Their mother, Kate, believes Larry still to be alive. It is this belief which has enabled her, for three and a half years, to support Joe by concealing her knowledge of a dreadful crime he has committed.

Arthur Miller, the playwright, found the idea for Joe's crime in a true story, which occurred during the second world war: a manufacturer knowingly shipped out defective parts for tanks. These had suffered mechanical failures which had led to the deaths of many soldiers. The fault was discovered, and the manufacturer convicted. In All My Sons, Miller examines the morality of the man who places his narrow responsibility to his immediate family above his wider responsibility to the men who rely on the integrity of his work.

Three and a half years before the events of the play, Larry Keller was reported missing in action, while flying a mission off the coast of China.

His father, Joe Keller, was head of a business which made aero engine parts. When, one night, the production line began to turn out cracked cylinder heads, the night foreman alerted Joe's deputy manager, Steve Deever as he arrived at work. Steve telephoned Joe at home, to ask what to do. Worried by the lost production and not seeing the consequences of his decision, Joe told Steve to weld over the cracks. He said that he would take responsibility for this, but could not come in to work, as he had influenza. Several weeks later twenty-one aeroplanes crashed on the same day, killing the pilots.

Investigation revealed the fault in the cylinder heads, and Steve and Joe were arrested and convicted. On appeal, Joe denied Steve's (true) version of events, convinced the court he knew nothing of what had happened, and was released from prison. Before his last flight, Larry wrote to his fiancée, Ann, Steve's daughter. He had read of his father's and Steve's arrest. Now he was planning suicide [6, 122].

Three and a half years later, Ann has told no-one of this letter. Kate Keller knows her husband to be guilty of the deaths of the pilots and has convinced herself that Larry is alive. She will not believe him dead, as this involves the further belief that Joe has caused his own son's death, an intolerable thought. She expects Larry to return, and keeps his room exactly as it was when he left home. She supports Joe's deception. In return she demands his support for her hope that Larry will come back. Ann and her brother, George, have disowned their father, believing him guilty. But George has gone at last to visit his father in jail, and Steve has persuaded him of the true course of events.

The play opens on the following (Sunday) morning; by sheer coincidence, Ann has come to visit the Kellers. For two years, Larry's brother, Chris, has written to her. Now he intends to propose to her, hence the invitation. She is in love with him and has guessed his intention. On the Saturday night there is a storm; a tree, planted as a memorial to Larry, is snapped by the wind. Kate wakes from a dream of Larry and, in the small hours, enters the garden to find the tree broken [4, 111].

Western drama originates in the Greek tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides, all of whom wrote in Athens in the 5th century B. C. In these plays the tragic hero or protagonist ( = first or most important actor) commits an offence, often unknowingly. He (occasionallly she) must then learn his fault, suffer and perhaps die. In this way, the gods are vindicated (shown to be just) and the moral order of the universe restored. (This is a gross simplification of an enormous subject.)

These plays, and those of Shakespeare two thousand years later, are about kings, dukes or great generals. Why? Because in their day, these individuals were thought to embody or represent the whole people. Nowadays, we do not see even kings in this way. When writers want to show a person who represents a nation or class, they typically invent a fictitious ordinary person, the Man in the Street or Joe Public. In Joe Keller, Arthur Miller creates just such a representative type. Joe is a very ordinary man, decent, hard-working and charitable, a man no-one could dislike. But, like the protagonist of the ancient drama, he has a flaw or weakness. This, in turn, causes him to act wrongly. He is forced to accept responsibility - his suicide is necessary to restore the moral order of the universe, and allow his beloved son, Chris, to live, free from guilt.

The play has two narrative strands which finally meet. These are:

- Chris's and Ann's attempt to persuade Kate that Larry is dead, so they can marry. Joe wishes to support them, but sees that he cannot;

- the attempt by George, then by Chris, to find out the truth of what happened in Joe's factory in the autumn of 1943.

A slip of Kate's tongue tells George of Joe's guilt, but he leaves without persuading Chris. Chris and Ann insist on marrying and Joe supports them. This drives Kate (who sees this as a betrayal) to tell Chris the truth. Ann's showing Larry's letter to her convinces Kate that Larry is dead. The letter also answers Joe's repeated question about what he must do, to atone for his crime. He cannot restore life to the dead, but he can give life (free from a sense of moral surrender) back to his living son, Chris.

Joe Keller is not a very bad man. He loves his family but does not see the universal human "family" which has a higher claim on his duty. He may think he has got away with his crime, but is troubled by the thought of it. He relies on his wife, Kate, not to betray his guilt.

Chris Keller has been changed by his experience of war, where he has seen men laying down their lives for their friends. He is angry that the world has not been changed, that the selflessness of his fellow soldiers counts for nothing. He feels guilty to make money out of a business which does not value the men on whose labour it relies.

Kate Keller is a woman of enormous maternal love, which extends to her neighbours' children, notably George. Despite her instinctive warmth, she is capable of supporting Joe in his deceit. To believe Larry is dead would (for her) be to believe his death was a punishment of Joe's crime (an intolerable thought), so she must persuade herself that Larry still lives. Joe sees this idea to be ridiculous, but must tolerate it to secure Kate's support for his own deception.

Ann Deever shares Chris's high ideals but believes he should not feel ashamed by his wealth. She disowns her father whom she believes to be guilty. She has no wish to hurt Kate but will show her Larry's letter if she (Kate) remains opposed to Ann's marrying Chris.

Dr. Jim Bayliss is a man who, in his youth, shared Chris's ideals, but has been forced to compromise to pay the bills. He is fair to his wife, but she knows how frustrated Jim feels. Jim's is the voice of disillusioned experience. If any character speaks for the playwright (Arthur Miller), it is Jim.

Sue Bayliss is an utterly cynical woman. Believing Joe has pulled a fast one, she does not mind his awful crime, yet she dislikes Chris because his idealism, which she calls phoney, makes Jim feel restless. She is an embittered, rather grasping woman, whose ambitions are material wealth and social acceptance. She does not at all understand the moral values which her husband shares with Chris.

George Deever is a soul-mate of Chris. When younger, he greatly admired him. In the war, like Chris, he has been decorated for bravery. He follows Chris in accepting that Steve is guilty. Now he reproaches Chris for (as he sees it) deceiving him. He is bitter because he has grown cynical about the ideals for which he sacrificed his own opportunities for happiness.

Lydia Lubey is a rather one-dimensional character: she is chiefly in the play to show what George and Chris (so far) have gone without. She is simple, warm and affectionate, rather a stereotype of femininity (she is confused by electrical appliances). Her meeting with George is painful to observe: she has the happy home life which he has forfeited [4, 76]. We understand why George declines her well-meant but tactless invitation to see her babies.

Frank Lubey (unlike George, Larry, Chris and Jim) is a materialist. He lacks culture, education and real intelligence, but has made money in business, and has courted Lydia while the slightly younger men were fighting in the war. His dabbling in quack astrology (horoscopes) lends support to Kate's wild belief that Larry is still alive.

Throughout literature works of tragedy have been significant, for example, Hamlet or King Lear. Their plots were generally tragic, but the themes introduced such as the tragic hero brought up deep ideas that could be discussed and thought about extensively. One problem with modern literature is that very few tragedies have been written. One of the few authors that did write tragedies was Arthur Miller. He even wrote an essay commenting on the lack of modern tragedies, believing this to be because people thought they were fit only for the very highly placed, the kings or the kingly . He believed that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were. From this belief he wrote several tragedies that won him awards and respect from his peers. One such tragedy was All My Sons, which was about the lies and immorality of a man and the resulting actions and consequences. The themes presented-dishonesty and immorality-intensify the tragic mood of the play. These themes are developed due to the actions of one man, Joe Keller, who could be a considered a tragic man. These negative themes that are brought up by the actions of Joe Keller, the tragic man, prove why this play is a modern tragedy.

The themes in All My Sons are mainly derived from the concept of morals, the laws that man follows through our conscience. One of the themes that branches out from this is morality, the principles about human life. This theme is evident when related to the Keller family, where a conflict between morality and the loss of it takes place. Joe Keller, the father of the Keller family, was responsible for sending out faulty cylinder heads during World War 2, which resulted in the deaths of 21 fighter pilots. He believed those deaths were justified, because he kept his business, which in turn kept his family fed and healthy You lay forty years into a business and they knock you out in five minutes, what could I doChris, I did it for youFor you, a business for you! (All My Sons, pg. 69,70). His wife, Kate Keller, supported him because if he was responsible for those deaths then he could have been responsible for his sons death, Larry Keller, a fighter pilot Your brothers alive, darling, because if hes dead, your father killed him. (All My Sons, pg. 68). Just like Joe, she did not see the full scope of his crime, only caring about the family. Joes justification and Kates ignorance of murder for the benefit of the family causes the loss of morality to be evident in the Keller household.

The two children of the family, Chris and Larry Keller, have views on morality that contrast those of their parents [2, 99]. Once Chris found out about his fathers crimes, he demanded an explanation for his actions Then you did it. To the othersyou killed twenty-one menYou killed them, your murdered them! (All My Sons, pg. 68,69).

He was disgusted that his father did this, and when his father tried to justify it, he was shocked and furious:

For me!-I was dying every day and you were killing my boys and you did it for me?Youre not even an animal, no animal kills his own, what are you?I ought to tear the tongue out of your mouth.

Chris views on morality began the conflict with his father, but once Larrys views were revealed, this conflict escalates I read about DadHow could he have done that?if I had him here now I could kill himI cant bear to live any more. (All My Sons, pg. 83). Due to his embarrassment of his father's crime Larry committed suicide. The sons of the Keller family had different views on morality from their parents, holding them to a very high standard. These conflicting views between the parents and children resulted in the suicide of Joe Keller. His morals encompassed only his family, therefore when he realized his actions resulted in the death of his son, he committed suicide not being able to bear the moral crime he committed. This conflict resulted in suicide, making this a tragic theme.

Another theme that branches from morals is honesty. This theme is significant because it involves mostly every character from the play. One character that is significant is Joe Keller. He lied to all his friends, even to parts of his own family, stating that he was not involved with the production of the faulty cylinder heads. The truth about his crime was revealed when his wife did not go on with the lie about being sick during the war Well, sureI meant except for that flu. Well, it slipped my mind, dont look at me that way.(All My Sons, pg. 65). Only when Chris interrogated Joe did he reveal the truth about his crime. He even lied to Herbert after telling him he would take the blame for the faulty cylinder heads. When the time came to admit he was the one that ordered the shipment of the faulty cylinder heads, he denied involvement and resulted in Herbert going to jail. The loss in honesty spread to other characters. Dr. Jim Bayliss was not fond of Chris, but he never told him this. It was revealed to the audience because Sue, Jims wife, told Ann, Chriss fiance My husband is unhappy with Chris aroundEvery time he has a session with Chris he feels as though hes compromising by not giving up everything for research.(All My Sons, pg. 44). The neighbours dishonesty was primarily directed at Joe, believing he was responsible for the faulty cylinder heads, from Sue Everybody knows Joe pulled a fast one to get out of jail(All My Sons, pg. 45) to Jim Whatd Joe do, tell him?Dont be afraid, Kate, I know. Ive always known.(All My Sons, pg. 74). This dishonesty encompassed most of the characters in the play, making this theme tragic.

Joe is described as a bad character with no sense of morality or honesty, but he once was a good and honest worker and was a very friendly person. His flaw is tragic because it turned a good and honest man into a killer. This is called a tragic flaw, present in the tragic hero in tragedies. Miller believes that tragedy does not only befall a hero, but the common man as well I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kinds werei. This belief lead him to create the tragic man, and with the creation of the tragic man came Joe Keller. He is seen as a polite man through his personality, a man who likes to socialize and keep everyone on a positive spirit Without Frank the stars wouldnt know when to come outTake it easy, Frank, youre a married man.(All My Sons, pg. 28). This is true for the common man and hero as well, who by Aristotles definition has good and bad characteristics. Joe had bad characteristics as well, which ended up being his tragic flaw. Miller believed the tragic flaw was the flaw, or crack in the character and was really nothingand need be nothingbut his inherent unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignityi. Joes unwillingness to let his company go bankrupt forced him to decide whether his familys wealth or the lives of fighter pilots was more important to him. Unfortunately, he chose wrong, loving his family so much he would do anything for them Chris, I did it for youFor you, a business for you!(All My Sons, pg. 70). This was his tragic flaw because due to his decision, his son committed suicide, which in turn caused Joe to commit suicide realizing his guilt in the matter Sure, he was my son. But I think to him they were all my sons. And I guess they were, I guess they were(All My Sons, pg. 83). The tragic hero is meant to create sympathy because of the lost potential. Due to Joe Kellers tragic decision with the faulty cylinder heads, he went from a polite and friendly man into a disrespected man among his neighbours and his own family.

Great tragedies have always focused on the tragic hero, like Hamlet in Hamlet, Macbeth in Macbeth and Oedipus in Oedipus Rex. These plays show that focusing the story on the tragic hero is not a bad idea, giving good reason why Arthur Miller did this in All My Sons. Millers purpose was to bring the beauty of tragedy to modern literature, proving it wasnt only meant for the upper classes of aristocracy. He succeeded, making a modern tragedy partially based on the form of past Shakespearean masterpieces, leaving the death of the tragic hero towards the end of the play for example. The conflicts between the Keller family and between all the characters brought up tragic themes. These themes, in conjunction with the plot, made a tragic hero out of Joe Keller, or in Millers case, a tragic man. This tragic man fits the play perfectly with the themes associated with him. All My Sons can be considered a modern tragedy because of the creation of the tragic man and how his actions created several tragic themes. These actions resulted in his death, which occurs to most tragic men and heroes in great tragedies

2.2 E. Heminqways Fiesta as a new approach to the tragic hero

Ernest Miller Heminqway (July 21, 1899 July 2, 1961) was an American writer and journalist. He was part of the 1920s expatriate community in Paris, and one of the veterans of World War I later known as "the Lost Generation." He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Heminqway's distinctive writing style is characterized by economy and understatement, and had a significant influence on the development of twentieth-century fiction writing. His protagonists are typically stoical men who exhibit an ideal described as "grace under pressure." Many of his works are now considered classics of American literature.

The Sun Also Rises (Later Fiesta) is the first major novel by Ernest Heminqway.[1] Published in 1926, the plot centers on a group of expatriate Americans in Europe during the 1920s. The book's title, selected by Heminqway (at the recommendation of his publisher) is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5: "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." Heminqway's original title for the work was Fiesta, which was used in the British, German and Spanish editions of the novel.

The novel explores the lives and values of the so-called "Lost Generation," chronicling the experiences of Jake Barnes and several acquaintances on their pilgrimage to Pamplona for the annual fiesta and bull fights. After serving in World War I, Jake is unable to consummate a sexual relationship with Brett Ashley because of either psychological or physical damage that leaves him impotent. However, he is still attracted to and in love with her. The story follows Jake and his various companions across France and Spain. Initially, Jake seeks peace away from Brett by taking a fishing trip to Burguete, deep within the Spanish hills, with companion Bill Gorton, another veteran of the war. The fiesta in Pamplona is the setting for the eventual meeting of all the characters, who play out their various desires and anxieties, alongside a great deal of drinking.

Jake Barnes: The narrator of the story, Barnes is an American World War I veteran who suffers from physical injuries and psychological damage that renders him, which leads him to become unable to pursue a sexual relationship with Brett. Having lost direction of his life as a result of his experiences during the war, Barnes attempts to satisfy himself through hard work, drinking, and bull fights.

Lady Ashley, or Brett: Brett is the object of lust for most of the male characters of the book. Portrayed as elusive and promiscuous, Brett, like Barnes, also lacks direction in life and finds emptiness in activities that she would have normally enjoyed during pre-war times. She is engaged to Michael.

Robert Cohn: His status as an outsider as a result of being Jewish has caused Cohn to develop an inferiority complex. Despite attempts to be civil and courteous, Cohn is the object of scorn from other characters. The novel's plot turns on his attempt to recover a brief affair he had with Brett, leading him to tag along with the group of expatriates, much to their collective vexation.

Michael Campbell, or Mike: A Scottish veteran of the war, Michael is close friends with Jake and Bill, and engaged to Brett. Though he attempts to hide his contempt for Cohn, his fiery temper usually manifests itself during periods of heavy drinking. Also, he is bankrupt as a result of his excessive borrowing.

Bill Gorton: An old friend of Barnes, Bill is also a veteran of the war and is less cruel than Michael in his attitudes towards Cohn. Despite also being a heavy drinker, Bill is often more light-hearted than the rest of his peers.

Pedro Romero: The star bullfighter of the fiesta, Romero is introduced to Jake and his friends, falls in love with Brett, and then they split up when they recognize her inability to commit to a sustained relationship. His autonomy, steadfastness, and commitment make him a model for Jake, who possesses none of these qualities even though he aspires to them. Furthermore, the younger Pedro Romero having been born in 1905 represents the younger Civic Generation, often referred to as the Greatest Generation. This served to further demonstrate the Lost Generation's feelings of insecurity and disillusionment compared to their next-younger Generation.

The novel has heavy undercurrents of suppressed emotions and buried values. Its weary and aimless expatriates serve as metaphors for society's lost optimism and innocence after the war. The topic of war is rarely discussed explicitly by any of the characters, but its effects are alluded to through the sexual impotence of Jake and his war wound, and the behavior of the other characters, whom Carlos Baker described as "floundering in an emulsion of ennui and alcohol." The war is also present as the tragedy that affects the way characters are able to deal with themselves, and post-war society. The themes of the novel are cast against the background of the Biblical quotation the book opens with: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever"[2] .

The Sun Also Rises is considered one of Heminqway's best novels alongside A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls.[citation needed] It is considered ground-breaking in its economic use of language for creating atmosphere and recording dialogue. Upon its publication, many U. S. critics denounced its focus on aimless, promiscuous, and generally licentious characters. On the other hand, it was extremely popular with a young and international readership. Since then, the novel has gained general recognition as a modernist masterpiece.

While most critics tend to take the characters seriously, some have argued that the novel is satirical in its portrayal of love and romance. It shows Jake and Cohn, the two male protagonists, vying for the affections of Brett, who is clearly unworthy of the naive praise they heap on her (Cohn openly, Jake implicitly). This could be true in the sense that all of Heminqway's writing "pokes fun at" humans, their vulnerabilities and foibles. However, Heminqway is usually considered too dismayed with the human condition to have been anything but serious, and the situations of his characters so pathetic as to have moved well beyond simple sarcasm.

In The Sun Also Rises, gender issues are dealt with very seriously by critics, though there is little consensus among them. Some critics charge that the depiction of Brett as a 'liberated woman' is intrinsic to her divisiveness in relationships throughout the novel, and therefore that Heminqway saw strong women as causing trouble, particularly for the men who otherwise dominate the novel [21, 156]. The reading of Brett as a 'strong' or 'liberated woman' is itself debatable, however, as she seems unable to live outside a heterosexual relationship. Twice divorced, she has a sexual relationship with almost every man she meets, which suggests a neurotic and necessarily unsuccessful craving for security rather than independence from men. In this reading, Brett is as much a victim of the war and its destruction of social mores as are the male characters. Other critics have argued that Brett signifies the castration of Jake, meanwhile defenders suggest that Brett actually becomes the main character by being the only person Jake is truly interested in. Although the reasons vary significantly from critic to critic, the majority of critical opinion still labels Brett's character as an expression of misogyny [16, 182].

Another point of criticism is Heminqway's depiction of character Robert Cohn, a Jewish man who is often the subject of mockery by his peers. Though some critics have interpreted this as anti-Semitism on the part of Heminqway, defenders of the book argue that Cohn is depicted in a sympathetic manner, mocked not due to his religion but due to his failure to serve during World War I. Interestingly, Heminqway is reported to have said that Cohn was the "hero" of the book, and Harold Loeb, the Jewish writer who served as a model for Cohn, defended Heminqway from charges of anti-Semitism.

Rises Jake Barnes is the character who maintains the typical Code Hero qualities; while Robert Cohn provides the antithesis of a Code Hero.

Jake Barnes, the narrator and main character of The Sun Also Rises, is left impotent by an ambiguous accident during World War I. Jake's wound is the first of many code hero traits that he features. This physical wound, however, transcends i

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