Seven Basic Plots In literature, movies, theatre, everything there are only 7 basic plots. Really. Which one is All My Sons? • Overcoming the Monster: A great evil threatens the land and a hero sets out to destroy it. • Rags to riches. Hero surrounded by dark forces who suppress him and ridicule him, Hero blossoms through adversity and ultimately receives kingdom, riches and perfect mate. • Quest: Hero hears of some great object, sets out to find it. • Voyage and return: Hero sets out to a magic land, and comes back. • Comedy: Hero and heroine are destined to be together but meet problems. Problems resolved. Couple together. • Tragedy: Protagonist is the villain. We watch his downfall. • Rebirth: Protagonist is the villain, sees his mistake in time, corrects mistake and repents. Happy ending.
Tragedy A form of drama based on human suffering that the audience enjoys watching. Tragedy began in Greece 2,500 years ago. The Romans liked it a lot and included it in their drama. Shakespeare also wrote several tragic plays such as Julius Caesar, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.
Plot in detail. Each kind of plot has set stages that ALWAYS happen. This is the typical tragedy. 1. Anticipation stage. Hero feels unfulfilled. 2. Dream stage. Hero is committed to a course of action. Audience can see he has no escape. 3. Frustration stage. Things start to go wrong. 4. Nightmare stage. Things slip out of the hero´s control. 5. Destruction stage. Tragic hero´s death. The world without him is a happier place.
Look again at the criteria. • How does this match the plot of “All My Sons”?
Tragic hero CV. • Usually of noble birth • Hamartia: the tragic flaw that leads to the hero´s downfall. • Peripeteia: a reversal of fortune brought about by the hero´s tragic flaw. • His actions result in an increase of self-awareness and self-knowledge. • The audience must feel pity and fear for his character. • His downfall is due to excessive pride (hubris.)
The plot of a tragic hero can be likened to the wheel of fortune. • The wheel of fortune is an old image based on the belief that the future is predetermined.
Aristotle: “A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his downfall.” • The hero´s downfall is a result of his own free choice, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. • Usually his death is seen as a waste of human potential.
How is the criteria of tragic hero true for these characters? A tragic hero is a character whose greatest strength becomes their greatest weakness.
Joe Keller: Tragic Hero 1. Anticipation stage. Joe Keller has lost a son in the war. 2. Dream stage. Joe Keller acts like he is not guilty. Everyone believes him. But he is linked to his crime forever because his son wants to marry Ann, Steve´s daughter. 3. Frustration stage. It is clear the neighbourhood believe that Joe is guilty. Joe offers Chris the factory and Steve a job. 4. Nightmare stage. George, Steve´s son arrives. Accuses Joe. 5. Destruction stage. Joe admits the truth to Chris. Chris will not forgive him. Joe shoots himself.
How is Joe Keller not like a typical tragic hero? • Answer: he is not an important person. • Why does Miller write a tragic hero as a normal, everyday man? What is he trying to say?