I was researching Aristotelean tragic recognition yesterday and found something interesting in "Hegel's Ethics of Recognition" (google books). It proved to be an a-ha experience in relation to the story I'm writing. Remember Macbeth was blinded by ambition and killed Banquo?
"Despite his murder of Banquo, Macbeth has not really finished him off. Banquo reappears as a ghost. This tragic self-recognition in other makes Macbeth's guilt manifest. Macbeth's illusions are stripped away: he as not gained anything, instead he has forfeited his own right to life and life itself. "
In the modern day novels I enjoy most, it seems the heroes are no longer 'traditionally tragic' in that they do not go through this Aristotelean ingredient of recognition. Oftentimes, they hardly even change. Perhaps this is a more general 21st C truth: people refuse to recognize it was they themselves who brought upon them a certain misfortune in their lives.We may have become more fatalistic than our Greek and Shakespearean ancestors. Yet at the same time we do not aspire to the notion of fate. So how does that translate? "Something negative happens to me. Bad luck. I'll suffer and perhaps even go insane. But I won't be to blame."