A tragedy, primarily a dramatic component that tends to occur in many plays and movies, can be defined as serious or solemn theme that typically deals with a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force to downfall or destruction. Match Point, directed by Woody Allen, is a movie that deals with conflict within characters that can be reflected upon ending in a tragedy. The captivating events which occur in this movie lead Match Point to be considered as a tragedy due to the fact that this movie falls under three of the nine main points of a tragedy. Furthermore, Match Point deals with the movie consisting of exceptional suffering, a tragic flaw in a person brought by tragic fate, and the reversal of a position of a being which in return proves that this movie is in reality a true tragedy.
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In Match Point, the movie consists of the exceptional suffering of Chris Wilton as he unfolds his created abnormal conditions of his mind. After blowing her audition, Nola Rice, being Tom’s fiancé at the time, and Chris Wilton drink at a bar when the go into a somewhat sexual conversation as Nola says “Men always seem to wonder. They think I’d be something very special” and Chris asks, “And are you?” and Nola replies with an unusual answer, “Well, no one’s ever asked for their money back” (Allen). This quote was significant since Nola was slightly hit from drinking a bit too much and reveals that she slept with other men before which indicated to Chris that she enjoys the pleasure of sex. Evidently, this foreshadows the affair between Chris and Nola in the future. Seeing that this foreshadows the affair between both Chris and Nola, it can be related to proving that Match Point is a true tragedy as this affair is one of the major causes to Chris’s exceptional suffering. Due to this situation, Chris eventually starts seeing Nola secretly under Chloe’s nose and they begin to have a steamy affair, and in time Nola becomes pregnant. Chris keeps promising Nola that he is going to tell Chloe about the pregnancy and that he would leave her to be with Nola. This creates the frustration within his mind where he is faced with leaving wealth and prosperity for a life with nothing besides a woman and her child. Consequently, he starts to suffer exceptionally both mentally, by the severe pain in his head, and emotionally, by crying out his misery. Nola, being interested in having a child, keenly insists that both Chris and she have the child, which as a result only creates more tension within Chris. Chris is at a point where his suffering is so incomparable that he comes to a conclusion to get rid of Lola and the child by killing her. Not only does Chris kill Nola, he also kills an innocent old lady. Subsequently, this slowly develops an abnormal condition of his mind as he starts to hallucinate by seeing the ghosts of both Lola and the old lady. At this point in the movie, the viewer knows that the hallucinations are caused by his exceptional suffering which led him to make those dreadful decisions which in return proves the point that Match Point is in reality a true tragedy.
A point to consider when dealing with tragedies is the fact a tragic fate is brought on a person by his/her tragic flaw. This movie can be compared with assessment as Chris did have a tragic flaw which led him to the downfall of his own mind. Chris’s flaw of hamartia led him to want a woman who he enjoys having sex with but also his wife whom he loved with the amount of money that her parents possessed. “Hamartia is the Greek word for error or failure, used by Aristotle in his Poetics, to designate the false step that leads the protagonist in a tragedy to his or her downfall” (answers.com). This flaw was the very reason that he faced a vast amount of problems and suffered as a result of that. As Chris sees Nola in Chloe’s estate, he is immediately attracted to her and says, “So tell me, what’s a beautiful young American ping-pong player doing here mingling among the British upper class?” (Allen). This quote is significant as it shows his interest in another woman knowing that he is dating Chloe, and the fact that both Chris and Chloe share an interest in getting married. This quote is also significant as it foreshadows the affair between Chris and Lola as they exchange looks and body languages. If not for his flaw, he would not have been attracted to Nola in the beginning, which would not have led to the events that both Chris and Nola shared together. For this reason, this quote proves that Match Point is a true tragedy as it consists of Chris’s tragic flaw, one of the major components in a true tragedy. Comparatively, it was also the tragic flaw that Chris possessed that consequently led him to kill Nola which he thought would get rid of the problems that he faced. After he kills Nola and starts to suffer because of it he says, “To never have been born may be the greatest born of all”(Allen). This quote is significant as it shows character development when Chris quotes Sophocles, a Greek playwright, expressing his feelings towards the off-putting events that have been occurring caused by his tragic flaw which has been a major cause of his suffering. Thus, this quote shows that it was his tragic flaw that led him to his tragic fate which in return proves that Match Point is a true tragedy. It is clear to conclude that his tragic flaw was a clear reason to his “downfall”. In other words, this provides evidence that Match Point is a true tragedy.
Another point in a true tragedy is when the hero undergoes a reversal of fortune. Generally speaking, when someone experiences the reversal of fortune they can either lose everything or gain everything. In the movie Match Point, the main character, Chris Wilton, moves to London and teaches tennis at a country club to make a living where he starts off at the bottom with nothing to his name. Due to his luck, he meets Tom Hewett and they become instant friends. Tom introduces Chris to his shy sister Chloe and in return, Chris and Chloe start dating. Her extremely wealthy parents take an immediate liking to him and Chris respectively admires the wealth of Chloe’s parents. Since Chloe was the daughter of an extremely wealthy man who owned a very large company, Chloe insisted her father to give Chris an executive job. This job not only helped Chris make more money, it changed the status of his fortune where he moves higher from where he originally was, the bottom. As time goes on, Chris and Chloe eventually get married which changed his status to the highest position that he could be where he had money, wealth, power, and everything he desired. After the marriage, Chris starts to secretly see Nola and begins to have an affair with her by telling his wife that he has “business related work”. From having an affair with Nola, Chris has moved down from his highest position to a lower place since he has started to see another woman while being married. He continues to undergo the reversal of his fortune. At this point in the movie, Chris discovers that Nola is pregnant and was torn between being with a woman he is lustfully attracted to or to remain with his “sweet” wife and her successful family who have many connections to the upper class society of London. When Chris and Nola argue whether or not they should have the baby, Chris shouts saying, “Nola! Calm down! Calm the fuck down!”(Allen). This quote shows the frustration that Chris goes through when faced with having a child that he does not want. In addition, this quote shows how Chris is slowly undergoing the reversal of fortune which is proving the fact that Match Point is in reality a true tragedy. Finally, this quote is significant as it foreshadows the event where Chris kills Nola. Accordingly, Chris kills Nola which causes him to create an abnormal condition of his mind which as a whole brings him all the way back down to where he started off, the bottom. As a result, Chris endured the reversal of fortune where he has gone through the full cycle returning to where he originally started. So, with the points mentioned above, it is proven that Match Point is in reality a true tragedy as the hero undergoes the reversal of fortune.
Therefore, Match Point is proven to be a true tragedy according to the points stated above. Match Point can be compared to being a true tragedy as the movie consists of the exceptional suffering of a person. Chris Wilton goes through this suffering both mentally and emotionally and as a result he starts to hallucinate and sees the ghosts of both Nola and the old lady, the two victims that he murdered. In addition, this movie is also proven to be a true tragedy due to the fact that tragedies tend to deal with a tragic fate that is brought by a person’s tragic flaw. In Match Point, Chris’s flaw of hamartia brought him to his downfall where he goes through exceptional suffering and hallucinates in the end. If it was not for this flaw, the ending of the movie would have been the complete opposite. Finally, Match Point is confirmed to be a true tragedy as the hero of the movie, Chris Wilton, undergoes the reversal of fortune. He starts off as a poor Irish man who becomes a very wealthy by marrying his extremely rich girlfriend, but he blows it all and returns to where he started off after killing Lola, the woman whom he has an affair with, and an innocent old. He does not lose his wealth, but he does lose his mind. Overall, it is evident that Match Point is in reality a true tragedy as it comprises three main points out of the nine of a true tragedy in this movie.
Match Point. Dir. Woody Allen. Perf. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alexander Armstrong, Paul Kaye (IV). Dreamworks Video, 2005. DVD.
“hamartia: Definition from Answers.com.” Answers.com: Wiki Q&A combined with free online dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedias. Answers Corporation, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2009.
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