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Explain how Chris in Match Point  does not portray Shakespearean tragic hero...

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danielb77 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted July 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM via web

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Explain how Chris in Match Point  does not portray Shakespearean tragic hero characteristics, thus proving the movie Match Point is not a Shakespearean tragedy. 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM (Answer #1)

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I don't think that Chris represents the qualities of the Shakespearean tragic hero.  He lacks the reflective qualities of the Shakespearean tragic hero that are demonstrated upon recognizing their role in the perpetuation of a deformed moral and ethical order in the world.  Othello recognizes what he has become at the end of the drama before he takes his own life.  Macbeth's response to Lady Macbeth's death is an acknowledgement of the "sound and fury" in being in the world that ends up "signifying nothing." He demonstrates a reflective quality at this critical moment.  King Lear's trajectory of characterization involves him actively embracing the transformation and reversal that his tragic predicament has thrust upon him.  In each of these settings, the Shakespearean tragic hero accepts their responsibility in what they did, faces the consequences, and is more reflective as a result of their experience.  There is a sense of the cathartic moment in these protagonists, and they have come to understand more of themselves, moving closer to the restoration that is such an integral part of the Shakespearean tragedy.  The reader recognizes a sense of acceptance and change in the protagonist.  It might have come late. Yet, it arrived and was potent.

Chris does none of this. He shows little in way of reflective qualities. He does see ghosts of Mrs. Eastby and Nola, but he rationalizes this.  He tells them that he "had to" do what he did.  He offers justification for his actions rather than accepting them.  These ghosts are not the visions of Hamlet's father, either. They show up and then go.  They are not recurring, indicating some aspect of reflection.  Chris does not accept what he has done as wrong. He merely continues living his life, profiting from what he has done.  Even on a personal level, Chris ends up rationalizing and denying what he has done emotionally and physically when his wife gives birth.  Terrence's birth is welcomed with the blessing of luck, reflecting even in this moment a lack of reflection.  There is no acceptance, tacit or otherwise, of what Chris has done.  He does not have to face the consequences for the order that he has broken with his actions.  He does not have to answer for what he has done and thus, he takes no steps towards restoration of that order.  In this, Chris fails to demonstrate the heroic characteristics of the protagonist in a Shakespearean tragedy.  It can be for this reason why Allen's work does not necessarily fit the qualities of a Shakespearean tragedy.

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