Oh, don't stop!!!!
Posted by Laraine on May 04, 1998 at 14:42:32:
In response to I can't believe..., written by Erin on May 04, 1998 at 00:03:25
This is a very interesting discussion! Some of us will listen to you both with deep pleasure--you have a very receptive audience!
Isn't Aristotle describing tragedy (as any good philosopher would) as a way of describing the human condition? As a realistic novelist, isn't JA doing the same thing? While I agree that we can't forget JA is comedy, what makes is ageless is how robust she has made it. Darcy is very much like a tragic hero--he's just redeemed because he can change. It's what makes him one of the great heroes of literature: he has flaws but he grows to be a better person. He defeats the character flaws; they don't defeat him.
Helen, about this:
]"But it is an illustration of the common belief that Christians can't produce real tragedy - it has to take place in a pagan society, which has no possibility of redemption. JA doesn't believe that "as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods" - instead she conceives of a perfectly sensible universe in which people are always given a chance to make something good of their lives"
I agree, and would add that the other element (in addition to redemption) that divides the Greek tradition from the Christian is free will. By free will I mean that we are more than what the gods chose to do with us; we are not predestined to succeed or fail; we can make what we chose of our lives--which is what makes Charlotte so interesting.
Charlotte choses her lot in life, but within what set of choices? Being dependent on her brothers? Marrying someone far worse than Collins (hard to admit, but such people definitely existed) out of desperation? Or is it simply true that Charlotte doesn't believe in romantic love, and her choice is not at all unethical? (By this I mean that if she a) doesn't actually find Collins repulsive (again, hard to believe, but who can account for taste?), b) doesn't love him, but doesn't expect to love anyone romantically, and c) looks on marriage as a partnership more than a union (i.e., doesn't expect to find a soul mate so much as a mate), then how can we say she's selling out?)
This got long--sorry!
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