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The Impact of Tragedy in the Film “Unfaithful”, Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1828

Essay

Introduction

Human relationships specifically involve different emotional ups and downs that often involve the people into situations they might not actually want to be in. There are instances when a person who might seem to be practically contented with his or her life makes a bold move of going against what is expected and makes a particular mistake that shakes the relationship that he or she might have with another. In marriages, it is often imposed that one will always have to cheat one way or another. They say that even that of the couples who say they have strong binds of marriage are often confronted with particular issues that at some point are causing family ties to rotten.

In the movie “Unfaithful” the three main characters were presented to have been involved in a triangle that ended up tragically. In the discussion below, the conflicts that lead to the point of the tragic event shall be presented. Using Aristotle’s philosophical explanation on what “tragedy” is all about, this discussion shall explore how the conflicts lead to emotional imbalances that later on results to the tragic ending of the film.

The Film’s Theme

Cheating, being the most common course of failure that marriages are in need of facing today is the primary theme that is tackled within the movie “unfaithful”. Showing how a typical married couple begins to lose interest with each other due to the day-to-day routine of activities they have to do, this movie hoped to explain why one partner cheats and how the other might respond to the situation. Edward and Connie Summer were presented in the movie to be both in their mid-years of marriage. Having one son, it could be realized how busy both individuals might have been in the process of furthering their married years, imposing that they have little time for each other than what is actually expected from them.

Edward’s regular lifestyle that he chose to stick to feeds his family and gives them the comfort that they need. Undeniably though, the focus he had at work made him a lot less interesting to his wife. Connie then accidentally crossed paths with Paul. Paul, unlike Edward seems to have all the life that the other lost to his responsibilities a long time ago. Connie at first did not give this fact a thought and decides to stay loyal to her mate. However, the passionate call for differing her desire to be more lively is far much stronger compared to her desire of remaining clean for her husband. She then falls into the temptation and decides to share an affair with the young man.

Edward, upon knowing about the affair did not quite know what to do. Apparently, his love for his wife and his family has caused him to react uncontrollably against Paul who he intended to deal with properly and yet, at the turn of events, he eventually kills. Keeping the crime for some time, Edward knew he had to face the situation one way or another, which later on ended up in creating a point of confusion between the couples involved.

Understanding Tragedy in the Movie

The tragic end of the movie was obviously sourced out from the different conflicts that occurred during the process of developing the connection of the married couples towards each other. Often times, married individuals begin to put their partners aside with the idea that they are already doing their part as they get married to their mate. However, this on the other end creates a sense of illusive worth for the other whereas the one left in plain wondering comes to a realization that there might be others who can give them the attention that they need. Connie’s desire to be noticed by her husband has been channeled into a different individual with whom she felt the worth that she was looking for. In turn though, this gets her focus on her family off track.

In the idea of losing track of her familial responsibilities as well as that of her role as a wife to Edward, she begins to take a definite indication on how she begins to lose control about her being and gets into the course of accepting her sinful plight. The resulting event was horrifying imposing on the helpless situation of Edward which Aristotle mentions to be a supposed part of a tragic story. In the presentation of Edward’s character, he was imposed as a loving and responsible husband and father to his family. Being a noble individual, it seems like he will never be able to do a dreadful matter causing grief to other individuals.

In line with Aristotle’s description of “tragedy”, he mentions how the hero must be considered noble in all his activities. Being a tragic hero though, he needs to have one specific source of “stress”. Mentioning that, it could be observed how his family and his desire to have a good relationship with his wife seem to be both his strength and his weakness. This could be identified as he specifically pushes through with his life utilizing his family as his inspiration. Seemingly, taking that meaning away from him makes all his efforts worthless. Believably, it could be analyzed through this reasoning why Edward responded to the situation the way that he did. Being challenged with the idea of taking his source of life’s meaning away from him questions his capability to live. Completely unknowing on how to deal with the dilemma, Edward appears to have been involved in the course of being calm towards losing his sanity during the process of the confrontation.

Killing Paul was a remarkable answer to his problems. Aristotle imposes that hamartia [or the weakness of the character] should be the primary reason why he undergoes the need to take the unconventional course of revenge. Did Edward actually plan to kill his rival with his wife? The answer is no, it was that specific point of losing control and losing his sanity due to the escalation of stress and pressure that caused him to put the situation in his hand. Take note that Edward tried to deal with the matter calmly. He asked several questions about Paul being connected to his wife, however, upon seeing the snow globe which he gave to his wife and receiving an unexpected response from Paul, he begins to lose course of what he actually wanted to happen with his visit to Paul. His source of pride was that of his family. According to Aristotle, when the hamartia becomes the source of pride, the perpetrator of the crime or the hero begins to lose sight of his sanity and often decides to take on unconventional solutions to respond to his frustrations. In this case, challenging the source of Edward’s pride was the cause behind the ideal realization that of the need to defend his position from Paul.

Another implication on the furthering the worth of the tragic event that has been incurred by the hero is that the end of the hero himself should be cathartic. Aristotle employs the idea that the protagonist’s response to stress or pressure should result to a more destructive matter on himself. Edward did experience this factor as he intended to realize how he should face the crime that he has committed against Paul. Even though Paul was elementally considered to be the innocent character in the story, Edward’s taken course puts him in an uncanny position that makes him the source of pity in the story. At first, take note how Edward was in a definite position of innocence. He specifically did not expect that Connie, his loving wife, would actually get into an affair. The being of the person she chose to have an affair with even increased the source of frustration on Edward’s part. He specifically understood that Paul was the complete opposite of who and what he has become after his marriage with Connie and being engaged in the ideal desire to provide for his family. This imposes on his supposed ‘weakness’ as a man and as the head of his family. It is as if the one that has been challenged in the affair was his practical being as a person, as a father and as a man.

How has his acts resulted to the development of his life in the future? Observe how Aristotle places the “outcome” of the tragedy should be on the life of the tragic hero. He points out that the resulting outcome on the hero should be more than what he deserves. This insists on the idea that the pity or the concern for the protagonist’s reputation should be escalated accordingly. The audience ought to feel more concerned about how the protagonist faces the outcomes of his acts. In this movie, Edward decides to turn himself in to the police. Even though he did gain his family and his wife back, he loses his life to a murder case that is sure to ruin him forever. An unmanaged approach to the source of his frustration has been the cause of his life being jeopardized while not actually enjoying the fact that he has already regained the attention of his wife.

Conclusion

The story of tragedy often involves the need to question ethical measures on who are supposed to be questioned in consideration with different issues involving concern on innocence and imposed uncontrolled retaliations to certain sources of frustrations. Believably, it could be analyzed that people tend to face frustrations radically. This often happens with individuals who do not expect any particular wrong actions from the people that they have been loyal to for a long time. The onset of that unexpected source of frustration escalates the weight of the emotional pressure that it causes on the individuals involved. Responding immediately to this matter as they are governed by their strong emotions actually come in handy but later on causes them to lose the most important aspects of their life due to that unprecedented act of anger enforced by frustration. In the movie Unfaithful, it was clear enough how Edward’s bold move on dealing with this problem with his wife and her affair with Paul did help him gain his family and his wife back, but in return took his life away as he is to answer the consequences of his act under the course of the law.

Aristotle simply defines tragedy based on the common response of human beings to elements of frustration. Often defined as an immediate response to pressure, human individuals become someone that they are not and involve themselves in situations they never imagined to be involved in. As a result of the tragedy, they bring more destruction to themselves than what they have caused the others.

References

Aristotle. 1974. “Poetics”.Trans. S.H. Butcher. In Dukore (1974, 31-55).

Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Carlson, Marvin. 1993. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present. Expanded ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP.

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