Tragic Pleasure

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Beyond Bounds

Consider one of the most classical and famous tragic plays written by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, where two star-crossed lovers fought against all odds to protect their love from a family feud. They faced numerous obstacles, struggled immensely, and loved each other so much that they actually sacrificed themselves for this love… Why do we enjoy the story despite all the suffering and negative emotions that Romeo and Juliet feel throughout the tragedy?

Scottish philosopher David Hume was particularly interested in this paradox: why do negative emotions felt by characters in tragedies evoke positive emotions felt by the audience?

Hume believes that the way a well-written tragedy presents events allows the audience to identify emotionally with the characters, whose suffering arouses the possibility of pleasure. Moreover, he believes that the stronger the negative emotions are, the greater the pleasure. This is evident in Romeo and Juliet, especially when Romeo felt…

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Watched

It’s not made of matter
More like the feeling of being watched
The feeling of an empty hand on your shoulder with no warmth and no touch
Like the feeling that I’m missing something
And that things could have been different

 


-Ben

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Photography by Jakson Martins

Passing names

In all the passing names I’ve been called
I’ve never been called that
That little something that lingers on the lips
Chips by the tip of your tongue
Touch it, but never quite make it
Like food that you can taste without sustenance
Because you hate the fact that you can’t swallow
What deep down in the pit of your stomach, under the vine leaves,
Might be called the truth

 


Ben

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