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Friday, 30 December 2022

Aristotle’s concept of ‘Ideal Tragic Hero’_BA III_Spl English_Semester V

 (e-content developed by Dr N A Jarandikar)

Aristotle’s concept of ‘Ideal Tragic Hero’

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)  wrote the Poetics nearly a century after the greatest Greek tragedians had already died. The Poetics contains much valuable information about the origins, methods, and purposes of tragedy. In addition, Aristotle's work had an overwhelming influence on the development of drama long after it was compiled. The ideas and principles of the Poetics are reflected in the drama of the Roman Empire and dominated the composition of tragedy in western Europe during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

The action of tragedy is generally dominated by the hero or the heroine. A tragic hero of the Aristotelian description is a man who enjoys prosperity and renown, but he is found involved in misfortune and suffering out of some great flaw in him or a fatal error in his judgement. Aristotle gives the example of Oedipus and other similar figures as the ideal specimen of the tragic hero.

The tragic hero, according to Aristotle, must have four characteristics. The first and the foremost thing is that he should be ethically good. A bad man does not enjoy our sympathy. But a perfectly blameless character is not fitted to be a tragic hero because unmerited suffering does not rise pity and fear.

Aristotle also insists that the tragic hero must be appropriate. The character should not be at variance with that of the class to which he belongs. By ‘appropriateness’, Aristotle presumably means the classification of human characters and these characters are mostly drawn from the epics and legends.

The third point to be considered in the tragic character is ‘likeness’. Aristotle says, “The third is to make them like.” But like what? It has been suggested that the hero should be like the reality. If the characters are to be ‘true to life’, they are accepted to be natural.

The fourth characteristic of the tragic hero is that there must be consistency. The characters must develop strictly according to certain principles. This consistency is based upon what Aristotle calls probability and necessity.

All these characteristics are applied to all the tragic heroes as well as all the tragic characters. The tragic hero may not be an embodiment of virtue and nevertheless, he must have an element of greatness. He must enjoy greater reputation so that his misfortune may be regarded as natural calamity. This also evokes our sense of pity.


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Function of CRITICISM_BA III_english Spl_Semester V

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Function of CRITICISM

1.   Judgement:

  • In its strict sense, criticism means judgement. The literary critic, therefore, is primarily an expert who uses his special faculty and training to examine the merits and defects of a piece of literary art or the work of a given author and pronounce a verdict upon it.
  •  The primary function of a literary critic is to arrive at and pronounce a meaningful judgement of value.
  • I. A. Richards says: “To set up as a critic is to set up as a judge of values.”
  • Literary criticism, says Rene Wellek, “is judgement of books, reviewing and finally the definition of taste, of the tradition, of what is a classic.”

2.   Evaluation:

  • When a critic attempts to judge the value of a work of art or literature, he can be said to have evaluated the work.
  • T. G. Williams says: “The function of a literary critic is the evaluation of what has been written, in terms of aesthetic principles appropriate to literature.” (English Literature, a Critical Survey)

3.   Interpretation:

  • If judgement be the real end of criticism, interpretation may be employed as a means to that end.
  • Poetry is a ‘criticism (interpretation) of life’. Criticism is an interpretation of that interpretation.
  • The chief function of criticism is to enlighten and stimulate by the proper interpretation of the works of literature.
  • If a great poet makes us partakers of his larger sense of the meaning of life, a great critic may make us partakers of his larger sense of the meaning of literature.
  • Walter Pater aptly says: “Criticism is the art of interpreting art.”
  • Matthew Arnold defines criticism as “a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.”

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Nature of Criticism_BA III Spl English_Semester V

 (E-content developed by Dr N A Jarandikar)

Nature of Criticism

The term criticism derives from the Greek term ‘kritikos’, which was used in the 4th century B.C. It means “a judgement of literature”. In the 2nd century A.D. its place was taken by the term ‘criticus’, aimed at the interpretation of texts of writers in Greek or Latin. In English, Dryden used it in the modern sense in his preface to ‘The State of Innocence’ (1677). He writes: “Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant a standard of judging well.” Today, the term literary criticism aims at the study of works of literature with emphasis on their evaluation.

  • To some people criticism appears to be secondary, parasitic and inferior to creation.
  • It is stated that the creative artist is personal and subjective, whereas a critic is impersonal, dispassionate, and detached.
  • Though the creative and critical faculties are logically distinct, psychologically they are interfused with each other.
  • There is a kind of criticism which exists before art itself just as there is a kind of criticism which follows art, taking art as its subject-matter.
  • Thus, there is no antipathy but close affinity between the critic and the creative artist. “Both poet and critic draw their light from the sun of beauty and truth, and we may be glad of both.” (Grierson)
  • A good critic has the same interest at heart as the artist possesses. His never failing sympathy and intuition qualify him to speak on behalf of the artist. Alexander Pope beautifully says, “Both must alike from Heaven derive their light, These born to judge, as well as those to write.”
  • Is literary criticism an art or an exact science? Critics like I. A. Richards and Prof. Moulton aim at scientific accuracy and scientific impartiality in their literary criticism.
  • According to D. H. Lawrence, criticism can never be a science. In first place, criticism is ‘much too personal’, and secondly, it is concerned with ‘values that science ignores’.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2022

The Sun Rising by John Donne

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The Sun Rising

-John Donne

John Donne was best known for his metaphysical poetry. His poems revolve around the themes of love and appreciation. Love has never-ending power, and it is not bound to any restrictions of nature.

In ‘The Sun Rising’ he uses different images like sun, windows, curtains, country ants, and so on. The poet maintains his traditional way of putting the first line very striking and odd to capture the attention of readers.  He is addressing directly to the sun. Love and friendship are not bound with the motion of the sun. He praises the beauty of his beloved. The poem is divided into three stanzas. Each stanza has ten lines.

In the first stanza, the tone of the poet is striking and angry. The poet addresses the sun by saying; you are a fool, busy and uncontrollable. When we (lovers) on bed why you disturbed us through your rays and peep into my room. He raises a question here. Do you want lovers to go according to your motions? No, and never, love is not associated with such barriers. Go and wake up late schoolboys, hunts-man, and farmer, to go on work.  Love is bound with climate and neither seasons nor it is connected with the pieces of times hours, days, and months.

 The second stanza is about the wholehearted appreciation of the beloved. The poet is exaggerating and orders the sun to shine them and no need to go anywhere. He can fade the sun in the cloud in one second by closing his eyes but he does not want to do so. He does not lose sight of his beloved. The poet exaggerated in the fifth line by saying that my beloved’s eyes are more shiner than you.  He says whether east India or west all the things are laying with me. In order to enjoy it you go and come yesterday.

In the 3rd stanza, the poet continues the direct addressing toward the sun. He says my beloved is my state and I am the king of that state.  All the princes imitate how to love with honor. The poet argues that we shrink the world and it is easy for you that you do not shine and warm the entire world. All the world and its geographies and beauties are with me. Just shine is the completion of your duty. Our bed is your center and the walls of this room are your spheres.

The poet in short highlights the importance and significance of love. Love is more powerful and brighter than the sun. This is the way John Donne addresses something or someone direct.

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Sweet Warrior by Edmund Spenser

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Sweet Warrior by Edmund Spenser

About the poet: Edmund Spenser (एडमंड स्पेन्सर) is an important English poet. He belonged to the 16th century England. At that time, Queen Elizabeth was ruling over England. So the period in history is known as the Elizabethan period (एलीझाबेदन पिरीयड). Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe (ख्रिस्टोफर मार्लो), Ben Jonson, and Philip Sidney are the major writers of the Elizabethan period.

Edmund Spenser is considered as the first important poet of the modern English language. Spenserian stanza (स्पेन्सेरीयन स्टँझा) (स्टँझा: कडवे) and Spenserian sonnet (स्पेन्सेरीयन सॉनेट) (सॉनेट: सुनीत/१४ ओळींची कविता) are the unique gifts given by Spenser to the English language. The Faerie Queene (फेअरी क्वीन) is his longer poem dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Amoretti (अॅमोरेटी) is his famous sonnet sequence and Epithalamion (एपिथॅलेमिअन) is an ode (ओड: कवितेचा एक प्रकार). Spenser’s both these works are addressed to his beloved and wife Elizabeth Boyle (एलिझाबेथ बॉइल).   

About the poem: “Sweet Warrior” is a poem written by Edmund Spenser. The poem is written in a sonnet form. The poem is a part of the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The poem is 57th sonnet in the collection. The poem is addressed to his beloved Elizabeth Boyle.

The speaker in the poem addresses his beloved as “Sweet warrior” (वॉरियर: योद्धा). The speaker requests the beloved to stop the war of love. He appeals her that it is the high time to end this war. Due to continuous fight with her, his powers have become weak, and his wounds (वुन्ड्स: जखमा) have become very painful. His heart (हार्ट: हृदय) has been pierced (पिअर्स्ड: भेदणे) by thousand arrows (अॅरोज: बाण) that have been shot through her eyes. And yet she is not ready to stop this war. So according to him his beloved is very cruel (क्रुएल: निष्ठुर). He asks her “What joy do you get in defeating him”. He repeatedly asks her to stop this war so that his wounds will be healed (हील: जखम भरून येणे).

Thus in the poem, the beloved is a warrior and the lover is a defeated soldier (डिफिटेड सोल्जर: पराभूत सैनिक). The speaker is asking her not to play with him the cruel games of love. His appeal is to accept his love.

Form of the poem: There are fourteen lines in the poem, so the poem “Sweet Warrior” is a sonnet. In the Spenserian sonnet 14 lines are divided into three stanzas (08lines each) followed by a couplet (two lines). Love is a major theme of a sonnet form.

Question Bank:

1.   The poem “Sweet Warrior” is written by _____.

2.   The poem “Sweet Warrior” is in the form of _____.

3.   The poem “Sweet Warrior” is addressed to _____.

4.   The poem “Sweet Warrior” is taken from the collection _____.

5.   Edmund Spenser is ______.

6.   In the poem, _____ is addressed as “a sweet warrior”.

7.   The speaker/poet appeals his beloved _____.

8.   The speaker’s heart is torn due to thousand arrows shot through _____.

9.   According to the speaker, his beloved is _____.

10.                The speaker asks the beloved to _____ so that all his wounds will heal.


(Answers: 01. Edmund Spenser; 02. sonnet/Spenserian sonnet; 03. a beloved/ Elizabeth Boyle; 04. Amoretti; 05. an Elizabethan poet; 06. the beloved; end the war; 08. The beloved’s eyes; 09. Cruel; 10. make peace) 




Sonnet to the Moon by Sir Philip Sidney

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Sonnet to the Moon

-      Sir Philip Sidney

Sir Philip Sidney   was born in 1554 and died in 1586. He was an English poet, scholar, soldier, and courtier. He is remembered as one of the main literary figures of the Elizabethan age. His most notable works include: Astrophel and Stella and The Defence of Poesy.

‘Sonnet 31’ is featured in Astrophil and Stella. It is a sonnet sequence that has 108 sonnets and 11 songsAstrophil and Stella was probably written in the 1580s and it narrates the story of Astrophil and his hopeless passion for Stella. Particularly, ‘Sonnet 31’ conveys Astrophil’s thoughts while seeing the moon at night.

The poem is a Petrarchan sonnet. It has 14 lines and it is written in iambic pentameter‘Sonnet 31’ can be divided in an octet and a sestet and it has an ABBA ABBA CDCDEE rhyme scheme. Moreover, the poem has love and nature as the main themes. The tone is reflective.

The octet depicts the poet’s perception of the moon. The poem starts by describing how the moon rises in the sky at night. The poet personifies the moon (“O Moon, thou climb’st the skies!) and projects his own sorrows in the moon (“With how sad steps”). The poet describes the moon carefully, as an individual being: “How silently, and with how wan face!”. There is a repetition of the word “how” in order to emphasize the lyrical voice’s attention to the object that he is describing. The poet questions about the moon’s sadness, and figures that it must be because of “What, may it be that even in heav’nly place /That busy archer his sharp arrows tries” (cupid). The poet’s connection of his feelings to those of the moon is an example of a “pathetic fallacy”, where elements of nature appear to have human emotions.

The sestet presents a series of questions that are crucial to the lyrical voice. The focus of the poem shifts from the description of the moon to the poet’s reflections about love. This is the typical volta, turn, that occurs in the Petrarchan sonnet. The poet asks the moon whether, in the sky, love is treated as “want of wit”. Moreover, he asks if women are as proud as they are on earth This series of questions project problems that the poet is dealing with.

The poet is questioning and thinking about his own sentimental struggles and his relationship with Stella. He feels that love is a virtue, but it sounds like his beloved one, Stella, doesn’t feel the same way about the virtue and constant love.

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Full Many A Glorious Morning by William Shakespeare

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Full Many A Glorious Morning

"Sonnet 33" is part of a group of Shakespeare's sonnets sometimes known as the "Fair Youth" sequence. The sonnet sequence consists of poems addressed to a beautiful and beloved young nobleman. The poem is dedicated to a mysterious "Mr. W.H." (whose identity remains uncertain to this day). The speaker of this sonnet is suffering from some serious disillusionment: the young man he loves has betrayed him. But the speaker is also doing his best to forgive his beloved friend. Even the almighty sun, the speaker reflects, is sometimes marred by clouds—so why should I be surprised that his lover, the sunshine of his life, has proven less than perfect, too? This complex, conflicted poem expresses both mature forgiveness and bitter disappointment.

The poet says he has been fortunate to see beautiful mornings where the sun rises over the mountaintops making them even more beautiful and appear like royalty “with sovereign eye.” The morning sun kisses the green meadows with its golden color and turns pale looking streams into the color of gold.  In the second quatrain, he says ugly clouds overshadow the sun. He is actually comparing his friend to a beautiful sun about to set.

Again comparing the friend to the sun he recalls how they shared a beautiful friendship that shone like a blessing “my sun one early morn did shine” with a splendid glow on his forehead. But unfortunately that moment he feels was very short-lived. And then he expresses hope saying that all these things do not weaken his love for the friend. Just like the sun sets and rises again or is shadowed by clouds temporarily, the same thing is happening to his friend whom he compares to a sun of heaven.

‘Sonnet 33’ by William Shakespeare is a fourteen-line sonnet that is structured in the form known as a “Shakespearean” or English sonnet. The poem is made up of three quatrains, or sets of four lines, and one concluding couplet, or set of two rhyming lines. They follow a consistent rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG and are written in iambic pentameter

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Aristotle’s concept of ‘Tragedy’

 (e-Content developed by Dr N A Jarandikar)

Aristotle’s concept of ‘Tragedy’

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)  wrote the Poetics nearly a century after the greatest Greek tragedians had already died. The Poetics contains much valuable information about the origins, methods, and purposes of tragedy. In addition, Aristotle's work had an overwhelming influence on the development of drama long after it was compiled. The ideas and principles of the Poetics are reflected in the drama of the Roman Empire and dominated the composition of tragedy in western Europe during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

In the Poetics, Aristotle compares tragedy to comedy and epic. He mentions that tragedy, like all poetry, is a kind of imitation (mimesis). However, according to him tragedy has a serious purpose and uses direct action rather than narrative to achieve its ends.

Aristotle defines tragedy in Book VI of Poetics as "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; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions".

This definition makes clear much of Aristotle's arguments throughout the Poetics:

  • A tragedy is the representation of human action.
  • The actions represented in tragedy have serious consequences.
  • The characters in tragedy are of higher social status.
  • The plot of tragedy is a complete, coherent and whole.
  • The language in tragedy is a mixture of different poetic meters.
  • The mode of imitation in a tragedy is drama as opposed to narrative;
  • Tragedy arouses pity and fear in the viewer and brings about ‘catharsis’.

According to Aristotle, the aim of tragedy is to bring about a "catharsis" of the spectators. Catharsis arouses in spectators the feelings of pity and fear. Due to catharsis the spectators leave the theatre feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men.

According to Aristotle, tragedy has six main elements: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle , and song, of which the first two are primary. Most of the Poetics is devoted to analysis of these elements, with examples selected from many tragic dramas, especially those of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides.

About plot, Aristotle says that it must be a complete whole. Plot must have a definite beginning, middle, and end. The length of plot should be such that the spectators can understand the whole without any difficulty.

Since the aim of a tragedy is to arouse pity and fear through the downfall of the hero, he must be a figure with whom the audience can identify and whose fate can trigger these emotions. In addition, the hero should not offend the moral sensibilities of the spectators. The hero must be true to life.

The remainder of the Poetics is given over to examination of the other elements of tragedy and to discussion of various techniques, and devices.

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Sunday, 27 November 2022

Preface to Shakespeare

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“Preface to Shakespeare”

Dr Samuel Johnson’s “Preface to Shakespeare” was published in 1765. It is an important contribution to English literary criticism. Johnson was a neo-classical critic and writer, and Shakespeare is considered as the romantic writer. But Dr Johnson is completely impartial when he judges Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Merits according to Dr Johnson: 

1.   Truthfulness to nature: According to Johnson, the fundamental necessity of artistic greatness is truthfulness to nature. This guides Johnson to make a number of observations about Shakespeare’s greatness. For instance, the characters of Shakespeare  speak in the language of everyday life. Johnson states that Shakespeare’s characters are not affected by the practices of certain places or by the incidents of short-lived trends.

2.   Blending of tragedy and comedy: Shakespeare has blended tragedy and comedy in most of his plays. Johnson defends this blending of tragic and comic on the grounds of the neoclassical theory. For the neoclassicist, art is a realistic portrayal of mankind. On this ground, one can defend Shakespeare’s exercise of blending comic and tragic elements, for such a blending shows real human life which partakes good and bad, delight and sadness. Through his plays, Shakespeare presents a world where all human efforts and activities have similar significance.

3.   Negligence of unities: Johnson supports Shakespeare’s negligence of the unities of time, place, and action. The neo-classicists emphasised the three unities. Supporting Shakespeare Johnson states that the action of his dramas is dependent on some conventions which the spectator takes gladly. For example, if the audience can accept that the person standing on the stage is Julius Caesar or Antony, then the spectators can also approve of moving scenes from one place to another.

Johnson on Shakespeare’s Demerits in the Preface to Shakespeare:

1.   Negligence of virtue: Johnson says that Shakespeare’s biggest defect is that he abandons virtue to pleasure. According to Johnson, Shakespeare didn’t write his plays because he wanted to convey any moral purpose. Instead, he wanted to convey delight and pleasure through his plays.  Johnson also states that Shakespeare did not pay much attention to ‘poetic justice’; he develops his characters regardless of their right and wrong actions and at the end expels them casually.

2.   Loose plots: The second defect that Johnson points out about Shakespeare’s plays is the plot. Johnson’s complaint is that Shakespeare’s plots are loosely knit and if he had paid a little more attention and time, he could have improved. Johnson also implies that the end part of Shakespeare’s plays is promptly rounded off. And for this reason, the end parts of his plays do not seem as artistically ordered as their earlier sections.

3.   Anachronism: Another defect that Johnson points out about Shakespeare’s plays is an anachronism. Johnson says that in Shakespeare’s plays the conventions, ideas, and manners of one age or country are used randomly for another age or country. This creates a sense of impossibility within a play. For example, on one occasion in Shakespeare’s play, Hector quotes the words of Aristotle, which is unrealistic on a historical basis. 

4.   Shakespeare’s dialogues: Another defect that Johnson points out about Shakespeare’s plays is his dialogues. Johnson claims that the manner in which the comic characters indulge is generally gross and immoral. Because most of his characters are guilty of this, it often becomes hard to differentiate between refined characters and low characters.

5.   Shakespeare’s conceits and word-play: Johnson turns critical about Shakespeare’s tendency to use conceits and word-play. Johnson states that Shakespeare’s love for conceit and puns ruins many paragraphs which are otherwise sorrowful and warm. Shakespeare’s unrestrained love for quibbles and puns guides him to produce meaningless just as will-o-the-ship deceive a traveler. For Shakespeare his excessive love for pun proved to a fatal Cleopatra.


Aristotle’s concept of ‘Ideal Tragic Hero’_BA III_Spl English_Semester V

 (e-content developed by Dr N A Jarandikar) Aristotle’s concept of ‘Ideal Tragic Hero’ Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)   wrote the  Poetics  near...