Post #2: Narrative Traditions I

In the movie Fargo, the plot moves forward in a domino effect of bad decisions and actions. At the beginning of the movie, it is revealed that Jerry Lundegaard is in some sort of financial trouble. In order to escape this financial trouble Jerry wants to obtain his father-in-law’s money. To do this he contacts Shep Proudfoot who then sets up a meeting with Carl Showalter which ended up being a meeting with Carl and his partner Gaear. Jerry discussed a plan with Carl and Gaear to kidnap his wife Jean Lundegaard and demand a ransom of $80,000. Carl and Gaer would receive a tan Ciera in addition to half the ransom, $40,000. A seemingly simple plan that quickly turned sideways. In the process of kidnapping Jean and taking her to the cabin, Gaear killed a Minnesota State Trooper and two seemingly innocent bystanders who drove by the dead Trooper. As a kidnapping that was intended to have no physical harm to anyone quickly turns into a triple homicide Carl quickly becomes overpowered by stress and begins to panic, requesting $1 million as the new ransom which Jerry now gets no cut in the ransom. As tensions run high and Sheriff Marge Gunderson begins asking questions reckless decisions are made which lead to catastrophic consequences. Ultimately resulting in the death of Jean, her father Wade Gustafson, and Carl. As well as the arrests of Gaear and Carl.

When comparing Aristotle’s Poetics and the movie Fargo, the first connection I made was with Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. In chapter 6, Aristotle defined tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude…” This stands true because Fargo is based on a true story that took place in Minnesota in 1987. So, it is therefore an imitation of an action (the kidnapping leading to a string of murders) that are serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude because it shows how one bad decision led to another which ultimately lead to a great deal of sadness with many innocent lives taken.

The second connection I made between the two was when Aristotle said, “Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action; and an action implies personal agents, who necessarily possess certain distinctive qualities both of character and thought; for it is by these that we qualify actions themselves and these – thought and character – are the two natural causes from which actions spring, and on actions again all success or failure depends.” This is something that I connected to Fargo because each of the characters had different personality traits that affected their decision-making. However, once the first person was murdered things started to spiral out of control which demonstrates an action that sprung, resulting in further actions which eventually led to failure.

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