Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tragic Flaw: In the Play and In Ourselves

On Tuesday we talked about the literary term tragic flaw. We decided that the definition of tragic flaw is “a personality trait or an action that leads to a character’s downfall”.

We also decided that we would definitely see Antonio and Shylock struggle with their tragic flaws in The Merchant of Venice.

Below are two quotes that show each character’s tragic flaw. Pick one quote to write more about and answer the questions at the end of the blog. Write your answers in your own class blog.

After Bassanio has concerns about the loan agreement, Antonio says:
“Don’t worry about it, man, I won’t have to pay any penalty. In two months – a month before this loan is due – I expect to earn more than three times that much from my investments.”
– page 39


This quote shows us a lot about the way that Antonio expects too much or "counts his chickens before they hatch".


Shylock, after being asked why he won’t show mercy and take money instead of a pound of flesh:
“… so I can’t give a reason, and I won’t give a reason (other than the simple hate and loathing I feel for Antonio) why I’m pursuing this unprofitable case against him. Does that answer your question?”
– page 167


This quote shows us a lot about how Shylock seems to let his emotions get the better of him and how those emotions may stop him from thinking clearly about decisions.

Questions for you to answer:

Look at the quotes from Shylock and Antonio and pick ONE question to respond to.
1.) How do Antonio’s expectations lead to his downfall?
OR
2.) How do Shylock’s emotions lead to his downfall?

Now think about your own personal life and your own tragic flaws. Pick ONE question to respond to.
1.) How has counting your chickens too soon ever gotten you in trouble or led to your downfall?
OR
2.) How have you let your emotions get in the way of your judgment and led to trouble or to your downfall?

If you can’t think of how you fit into either of these categories, think about your tragic flaw and write about that. Feel free to ask Mrs. DeRaps or Ms. G. for help!

For the last question, take a look at your tragic flaw.
1.) What can you do to make sure your tragic flaw doesn't lead to your downfall?

When you’re done with your answers, find a picture to attach to your blog that represents something you wrote about.

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