Prisons We Choose to Live Inside Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 21 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Prisons We Choose to Live Inside.
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The Tragic Flaw

In literature, tragedy arises when an individual with qualities of greatness is brought low by one character flaw. Prisons We Choose to Live Inside extrapolates this tragic flaw to the entire species. In arguing that humans have gathered the information necessary to understand their barbaric behavior but have done nothing to alter that behavior, Doris Lessing points out our tragic flaw: we have failed to learn from our mistakes. Tragic heroes are punished, and our punishment as a race is to continually repeat our woeful past of war, prejudice and other manifestations of unthinking, destructive conduct. Implicit in this tragic view is that the hero is capable of greatness, because a character flaw in someone who is small and petty is not tragic, but merely sad. That is why Lessing's criticism of human beings does not indicate that she has given up on the species or...

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This section contains 813 words
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