how is a farewell to arms a tragedy genre? I'm having a little problem here. My essay question is to justify whether To Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a tragedy or romantic novel in nature. In my opinion, this novel is a tragedy. But at the same time, its also an romance genre. I'm using the setting, and the characters to justify my answer. My issue is how can i justify my answer without giving away too much information; without  re-telling the story. thanks for the help :)

Expert Answers

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According to Aristotle's Poetics, a

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody.”

You must find language in A Farewell to Arms that would argue these points, and prove it based on how it evokes "katharsis." Some factors you may want to focus on include characters - Catherine always discusses, from the beginning, how she fears the rain; her fear foreshadows her eventual death in the rain. You could also discuss how their love is one that is out of wedlock, thus not following the societal rules especially pertaining to sex, and thus creates the spectacle that makes them lose the baby. You may focus on diction -- such as the title -- "Arms" may be viewed as Catherine's arms, and military armament, which create an ironic twist because one is so positive, but at the cost of what is negative.

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