What defines what a true tragedy is? A tragedy is often referred as a situation in life where someone has suffered severe misfortune and even death. “Match Point” directed by Woody Allen, stars Chris Wilton, Nola Rice and Chloe Hewett. A. C Bradley, one of the renowned literacy authorities on Shakespearean tragedies made a list of points that defines what a Shakespearean tragedy truly is. With that being said, if “Match Point” was to share similar concepts with Shakespearean tragedies, then it would also be considered a tragedy.
Match Point satisfies the elements of tragedy through the concept used in Shakespearean tragedies. This is shown through Chris’ sudden reversal in fortune, the fact that most of his life is hinged upon chance and how Chris himself has a tragic flaw; greed. Throughout the film, Chris is put through a sudden reversal of fortune. The movie starts off with Chris working at a tennis court as a tennis instructor. Chris earns just enough to live by and is able to buy himself a very little apartment in which he pays two hundred and fifty pounds a week. His reversal in fortune starts when he begins to teach Tom Hewett.
After going to the opera with Tom and his family Chris starts to date Chloe; Tom’s sister. Chloe gets Chris a job at her father’s firm and Chris starts to become wealthy. This sudden change in Chris’ fortune changes his personality which in turn leads to slow downfall as he starts to realize that with money he is able to do and get whatever he wishes. This is shown through the quote “I can buy us lunch. Put it on the expense account” (Woody Allen- writer/director of modern day films). Here the viewer is shown that Chris does not care about money and that he knows he is able to do what he wishes with it.
A. C Bradley’s list of concepts that defines a Shakespearean tragedy includes reversal of fortune as the increase in money causes the mind to change in ways that will lead to the character; in this case Chris to a tragic fall. This is proven as his increase in money leads to him choosing between the one he loves and money and at the end Chris kills the one he loves in order to have money. Most of life is not hinged upon luck or chance but in film the plot, which in turn is a portion of Chris’ life was all based upon luck and chance. “Very nice to meet you. How do you do.
Good Morning, Tom. Pleasure. ” (Allen). In reality the chances of meeting someone and suddenly becoming wealthy is low. Although in the movie, Chris is introduced to Tom, in which Chris ends up marrying his sister Chloe and becoming wealthy. “I knew Wilton didn’t do it. He’s another poor schmuck who cheated on his wife” (Allen). To continue Chris lives a life where is able to have an affair, as well as kill two people and still not be caught as shown in the quote. Chris is able to get off all charges as the police found someone else that the prime suspect.
In reality the chances that someone was to get off murder are very low and Chris is very lucky. By having most of the plot based upon luck makes this film a tragedy as Chris’ life is never determined, things happen out of the blue and change situations very fast. This luck makes the film a tragedy because there is minimal chance that Chris is able to get Nola pregnant but not his own wife pregnant. Due to Chris getting Nola pregnant he in the end has to kill her and the baby as he doesn’t want anyone to know. With this we are able to say that Chris’ life which is based upon sheer luck represents that of a tragedy.
In most tragic plays, films and books the main character has a tragic flaw that causes the play, book or film to be tragic. Just like in “Hamlet” a play written by most famous English play write William Shakespeare, Hamlet’s tragic flaw was that he was unable to act as shown through his inability to kill his uncle to avenge his father’s death. In “Match Point” main character has a tragic flaw as well. In this case Chris’ tragic flaw was greed, he wanted too much and this resulted in him losing the one he loved Nola. Chris couldn’t be happy with just one thing; he needed more as shown through his affair with Nola. We can’t do this. I know” (Allen) Here the viewer to shown that even though Chris knows it is wrong to kiss Nola, he does it anyway. This shows that Chris is greedy as he wants to be with both Nola and Chloe but he do not want anyone to know. “At first you may find the assignments a little challenging but that’ll change. Yes, yes this office seems is very big” (Allen). Here Chris mention that the office he works in is very big, but later on Chris mentions that his office is very small and tiny. The room that Chris works in is a symbol for his greed.
At the start of the film, Chris is not very greedy in turn this is reflected in him saying that his office is big. As the film progresses Chris feels small in his office showing how his greed is increasing and how it is unable to fit in the room. This greed leads to him killing Nola as he is unable to control his greed. This tragic flaw in Chris adds to his tragic life as now he is stuck with a woman he does not love as well as the guilty mind that he killed his one true love. With that in mind the film does have a sense of tragedy.
To conclude, “Match Point” directed by Woody Allen, contains serious moments and a sense of loss. Although the film may not follow the dictionary definition of a tragedy, it does follow those concepts of a Shakespearean tragedy therefore making “Match Point” a tragedy. Chris Wilton, the main character goes under a reversal of fortune; he lives a life of chance and has a major tragic flaw. From Chris’ rise and fall this reminds us that with every action come consequences that are able to open and close many doors, but in the end the decision is made by you.