I need to finalize my paper, please give me a grade and tell me if there is anything i can do to make it better.  out of 85 points. Thank-You. Prompt- Is Romeo and Juliet an Aristotelian tragedy?...

I need to finalize my paper, please give me a grade and tell me if there is anything i can do to make it better.  out of 85 points. Thank-You.

Prompt- Is Romeo and Juliet an Aristotelian tragedy?


Introduction and Thesis- (10 points)

-A single controlling point is made by thesis.

-Thesis must have two divisions, must be defensible and challenging.

-Cohesive bridge is present

-Broad to narrow focus.


-Topic sentence with division and two aspects with transition.

-Subtopic sentence number one with transition

-Explanation and expansion of 1st aspect

-Quote is relevant and correctly formatted.

-Subtopic sentence number two with transition.

-Explanation and expansion of 2nd aspect.

-Quote is relevant and correctly formatted.

-Transition Sentence.

---Same for 2nd body paragraph--- (20 points)

Conclusion: ( 10 points)

Restates, not repeat thesis.

Summarizing major points

Offers insight and reflection on topic

does not make new points

Narrow to broad focus.

Style (10 points)


-Strong utilization of transitional words or phrases throughout the essay

-Usage of variety of words and sentence structures to enhance FLUIDITY

-Skillful integration of textual evidence. 

Mechanics and convention: (10 points)
-Evident control of grammar, mechanics, spelling usage, and sentence formation.

-Maintains point of view (NO FIRST OR SECOND PERSON)

Correct MLA ( 5 points)

Essay as follows:

Romeo and Juliet as an Aristotelian Tragedy

Tragedy is what binds humans in an infinite circle, encompassing the complexity of emotions, enriching that which one holds closest to his heart, and able to stimulate the melody of life. This infinite circle is the nature of an exceptional tragedy, the very essence Aristotle describes in his book, Poetics. He states that tragedies must have six main elements: plot, character, thought, diction, melody and spectacle; however, an Aristotelian tragedy must contain at the very least plot and character. Authors and playwrights have attempted to incorporate these points for hundreds of years. One example of a play that incorporates them is Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet emulates an Aristotelian tragedy specifically through the exploration of the elements of plot and character.

First and foremost, Aristotle states that a tragedy must consist of a plot exhibiting “unity of action” and also hold magnitude. To begin, Romeo and Juliet plays with action revolving around the story or fate, not the characters. Thus, the drama is composed of “unity of action” because the characters are at the mercy of fate, rather than themselves. Scattered throughout the play are examples proving unity of action. In the prologue, the reader is told that Romeo and Juliet are “star- cross’d lovers” (Prologue.6). Consequently, the reader can infer that the characters are fated to be together, and due to the inevitability of fate, die together. Also contained within the prologue is that fact that the families have bred an “ancient grudge…to new mutiny” (Prologue.3), so they too are fated to bereavement and tragedy. This concrete example further emphasizes the commanding role of fate throughout the play, and the passive role of the characters. An abstract piece of evidence lies in the nature of the characters. As Romeo and Juliet grow through their adolescence, it is required “that they separate themselves from their parents by forming with a member of the opposite sex” (Coppelia. 62). This statement emphasizes the inevitability of fate, proving that the choice to be passive when it comes to love is not within the lover’s control. As a result, Romeo climbs the wall and proposes to Juliet under her balcony, and the servants feel as if they too are part of the feud. Fate drives the drama of the play, exerting the greatest force in the book no matter of outside forces, fate is inevitable. Secondly, an Aristotelian tragedy must expose “magnitude” or complexity. There is no doubt that this twenty-five thousand eight-hundred fifty-two word play has magnitude in terms of length, but also in terms of universal meaning. Firstly, the complexity of the plot can be revealed through the thoughts and diction of the characters. For example, Romeo is in a state of unclear tangled emotions evident through his monologue “O brawling love, O loving hate, … O heavy lightness, serious vanity,” (I.i.181-183). Through his thoughts and diction, Romeo comes to exhibit the complexity of emotions and impulsiveness. In addition, “Love, in its many forms, is an important theme in the play.” (Novel Guide.1). What this means and how it applies to the universal meaning of the play is made clear by the many ways Shakespeare utilizes characters to emphasize the role of fate and violence. Mercutio and the Nurse speak in crude terms of love, often referring to its physical side. Romeo’s love represents simple childish infatuation. The love Paris displays toward Juliet is an independent love, he is not marrying Juliet, rather her fortune. These examples exhibit the complexity of the plot and its universal meaning. While it’s true that plot is the most important part in a tragedy, it is not complete without character.

Although the play contains “unity of action” in accordance with the theme as well as the plot, there is, then, the criterion of tragic character: the protagonists fall from good to bad fortune, and bring about their own untimely deaths. Initially, the protagonists effect their own untimely deaths, this change “should come about as the result, not of vice, but of some great error or frailty in a character.” (McManus. 1999). In other words, the reason the character falls is due to a “tragic flaw” the character imposes. For example, Romeo is wealthy because of his family, as the play progresses he falls in love with Juliet. Because of the inevitability of fate, he dies by her side. This example brings to light the falling of a character, from good fortune to bad fortune, thus Romeo is an Aristotelian character. In addition, Romeo admits he is “fortune’s fool!” (III.i.42), and the reader is able to infer that Romeo is alluding to the traps set by fate he keeps falling into. As a result of Tybalt’s death, more inevitable complications arise, which descend Romeo into despair. This example goes to further prove that no matter how Romeo chooses to live, he is a pawn of fate. In the second place, the protagonist must bring about their own untimely downfall. This will not happen because the character is morally weak, but because “he does not know enough” and because of “the inevitability of its consequences” (Barbara. 1999). As was previously stated, bad fortune (such as death) should come because of some great “error” or “frailty in the character”: in terms of Romeo, this “error” is impulsiveness. With that in mind, the greatest episode in the play proving this point is when Balthazar reports to Romeo carrying erroneous information of Juliet’s death. Because of Romeo’s tragic flaw, impulsiveness, and because Romeo “does not know enough”, he travels to Verona to die by his love’s side.  As Juliet lays unconscious, Romeo remarks “Thou art not conquered… and death’s pale flag is not advanced there.” (V.iii.104-105). This quote adds meaning to the point earlier bringing to mind that the reason the protagonist falls is not because they are “ morally weak” but because “ they do not know enough.”

A masterpiece created by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet has endured throughout the decades. It is full of instances that are inevitable and characters that arouse pity and fear in the audience. Throughout the play, Shakespeare acknowledges fate as a terrific adversary, thus the plot turns complex, and because no outside force can influence fate, the plot also becomes united. In respect to the play containing pity and fear arousing characters, as well as a united complex plot, Romeo and Juliet is an Aristotelian tragedy. All exceptional tragedies are like a clock: all clocks contain a face, which give one time plain and simple; however, what lays under, the gears, the effort, the screws, the complexity, the underlying work, and the true beauty. Without understanding what lies at the heart, and its connections to one’s life, a tragedy holds no meaning.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

70/85  More development of ideas is needed; writing needs to be more coherent. Revision needed. Here are suggestions on the introduction and paragraph 1. (This may be a harsher criticism than that of your instructor, but the object here is to get you to improve what you have)

RE: Introduction:

Revise 2nd and 3rd sentences: This infinite circle is the essence of an exceptional tragedy as defined in Aristotle's Poetics in which he states that tragedies must have the elements of plot, character, thought, diction, melody and spectacle; in the least, an Aristotelian tragedy must contain plot and character. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet satisfies this definition of tragedy specifically through the exploration of plot and character.

NOTE: Since your instructor writes that the thesis must have 2 divisions, your 2 divisions, then, are (1) plot and (2) character. SO...Paragraph 1 should just be about plot. The 2 divisions of the topic sentence are simply 2 aspects about plot that you discuss. Paragraph 2, then, will be about character with 2 divisions.

Therefore, you need to revise the first paragraph to include ONLY a discussion of plot.


Your topic sentence does have 2 aspects: "unity of action" and magnitude. **RE: [1st aspect of Par. 1] Unity of action is brought about by the presence of fate throughout the drama. [Remove the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sentences of body par. 1; they are superfluous]

Begin your supporting detail sentences with "In the Prologue... and end with "passive role of characters."

Remove the sentences about "An abstract piece of evidence...all the way to "feud." [delete these--they ruin the cohesiveness of this paragraph]

Instead, you need much more of what your instructor calls, "Skillful integration of textual evidence." So, return to the play because you need more evidence. Go through each act and find passages. (You've only mentioned the Prologue) Remember, the more proof, the stronger your argument. Here are some passages to use as you develop the paragraph, typing ideas together with transitions. Incorporate them into the first paragraph:

  • Act I, Scene 4 -after the Queen Mab monologue by Mercutio, Romeo tells his friends of his fateful premonition near the end of the scene:

I fear too early, For my mind misgives
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars.
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date....

  •  Act II, Scene 2 - Juliet is anxious about the fate of their love:

Although I joy in thee,(l.128)
I have no joy of this contract tonight.
It is too like the lightning, which ceases to be....

  • Act II, Scene 3 Romeo speaks with Friar Laurence, who is concerned about Romeo's sudden change from mourning Rosalind to his love for Juliet. Romeo reminds him that he told Romeo to "bury" his love for Rosalind, but the friar counters, 

Not in a grave
To lay one in, another out to have....

  • Act II, Scene 6  "love-devouring death"
  • Act III, Scene 1 - Benvolio urges Romeo to run, and Romeo cries,

"Oh, I am fortune's fool!" (l.137)

  • Act III, Scene 3 - Romeo senses fate

He falls on the ground, as I do now
Taking the measure of an unmade grave. (3.3 69-70)

  • Act III, Scene 5 - After Romeo has been with Juliet, he says fatalistically, "let me be put to death"
  • Act V, Scene 1 - After talking to Balthasar, who tells him Juliet has died, Romeo cries out against fate, "Then I defy you stars."

**RE: [2nd aspect of Paragraph 1] Magnitude. (Don't discuss character. Character discussion goes in Paragraph 2)

Eliminate this sentence: "There is no doubt that this twenty-five thousand eight-hundred fifty-two word play has magnitude in terms of length, but also in terms of universal meaning." 

Suggestions: Since this is an essay, not a paper, you may wish to limit your discussion of magnitude to the thoughts, diction, and spectacle of Romeo, Juliet, and Mercutio. 

Begin your 2nd aspect of Paragraph 1 with something like this transition that uses words from a previous sentence: Along with unity of action, there is a certain magnitude to the thoughts and diction of the characters, lending much spectacle to the drama. For instance,[another transition] in Act I, Romeo speaks in terms of courtly love [note to you: this is a style used in formal love poems] exclaiming in oxymorons:

O brawling love, O loving hate,
(put all the rest and indent)

Further in Act I, Mercutio launches into a monologue that becomes a pivotal point of theme, character, and plot development.

Hint: Read the discussion of this speech at this link and in your own words mention what pertains to your 2nd aspect:



Another example [another transition] of beauty of thought is in the light/dark imagery of Act II, Scene 2, and the poetic language employed. [Here point to the use of "light" and "sun" in Romeo's opening lines; then, cite his courtly love passage that begins "Would through the airy region..../That I might touch that cheek!" Quote all lines and indent]


Within this tragedy of magnitude and fateful plot, there are, indeed, tragic characters. [Transitional sentence] The two "star-crossed lovers," Romeo and Juliet, fall from good to bad fortune and meet "untimely" deaths because of their tragic flaws, their "frailities."

-----Revise, revise this second paragraph to include an explanation of Romeo's impetuosity that is his tragic flaw. Consider these points and find textual support that you can cite.

  • Romeo is so impulsive that he climbs the orchard fence and proposes to Juliet on the first night that he has met her. He then rushes to Friar Laurence, asking him to perform the marriage ceremony. When Balthasar tells him that he thinks Juliet is dead, Romeo assumes this information is correct and plans suicide. Key words: impulsive(ness) and assume(assumptions)
  • Juliet goes against her intuition that they are "too rash." She, too, panics and commits actions that are impulsive.

Suggestions:  You need to revise the 2nd paragraph, exemplifying your 2 aspects--(1) the protagonists fall from good to bad fortune, and (2) they effect their own untimely deaths. Cite passages and use much support from the text.

Why not discuss the influence of fate for aspect 1 and their irrational impulsiveness for aspect (2)?


Just restate the thesis and add a "clincher"--that is all.

Throughout the drama of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare acknowledges fate as a terrific adversary, and, thus, the plot turns complex and united, as well, since no outside force can influence fate. [What you wrote--excellent!] In addition, the characters of Romeo and Juliet are tragic, tragic in their impulsive actions and tragic in their perceptions.(Here's your clincher:) Without understanding what lies at the heart and its connections to one's life,[what you wrote] tragedy occurs. 


You have some insightful and well-expressed ideas, some lovely phrases, too. Just organize better and use much, much more supporting details, demonstrating that you have read closely and critically the play. Instructors look for coherency, analytical thinking, and proof of having read closely the text. By the way, some of your sentences are thoughtful and insightful. Your last line is wonderful.