Throughout centuries, movies have been defined as either a comedy or a tragedy. It is easy to define a comedy, but a tragedy is much more complex. So the question is what defines a tragedy? According to the great philosopher, Aristotle, a tragedy consists of six defining elements. He says a tragedy must consist of certain characteristics among a movie’s plot, characters, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle for it to be a true tragedy. Woody Allen, a phenomenal movies director, states that, “Without any question I think life is tragic. There are oases of comedy within it. But, when the day is done and it's all over, the news is bad. We come to an unpleasant end." This sums up exactly how his drama film, Crimes and Misdemeanors, plays out. The movie, crimes and demeanors, is a dramatic story that explores whether justice exists among the characters presented in the film. It is a classic drama that does not displays all the defining characteristics of a tragedy yet still ends a tragedy.
According to Socrates the first most important out of the six components of a tragedy is the plot. He said, “All human happiness or misery takes the form of action....Character gives us qualities, but it is in our actions--what we do--that we are happy or miserable.” So it is primarily in the plot where we see tragedy unfold. Socrates claims that a true tragedy consists of a few defining features among the plot. There must be either a discovery or a peripety. A discovery is the transformation from ignorance to enlightenment. This usually happens to the main character that starts out naïve and oblivious but then slowly discovers how he has no one but himself to blame for the predicaments he has gotten himself into. A peripety is when the state of things at the conclusion are ironically the opposite of how they were at the beginning of the story. In this case, the main character should go through a change that brings him from happiness to misery. In crimes and misdemeanors, both peripety and discovery is displayed through the protagonist’s life. The character, Clifford goes from a content yet oblivious man who is happy making his films even though they will never be successful or profitable. But by the end of the movie he has been enlightened and realizes his marriage is failing and so are the films he makes. Along the way he ends up losing the girl he has been chasing to his condescending brother in law whom he hates. Clifford goes from blissfully ignorant to miserably enlightened. Of course, the plot of true tragedy must have some horrible or even evil deed done in the movie. To make it really horrible for the audience, Aristotle suggested that the evil deed should be done to someone important to the tragic hero. This is clearly displayed in the plot of Crimes and Misdemeanors. There is the tragic hero, Judah, who is being threatened by his mistress, Dolores, who intends to tell his wife about their affair which would completely ruin his marriage. As a result, Judah has his mistress murdered, a tragic incident that is done to someone who was once dear to him.
The second most important element of a tragedy according to Socrates is shown among the charters. Socrates claims that each charter in a tragedy has an essential quality to their personality that must be revealed in the plot. The moral purpose of each character must be clear to the audience in order for there to be conflicting feelings among the audience. In Crimes and Misdemeanors, each characters’ demeanor is very clear to the audience. Socrates also argues that there are certain characteristics that must exist among the characters. He exclaims that first, no matter who the character is, they must be good in some way. All the characters in Crimes and Misdemeanors have redeeming qualities that makes the audience feel for them. For example, although Judah has his mistress murdered, the audience does not see him as evil. His