Essay No. 51:
Life Is Tragedy To Those Who Feel And Comedy To Those Who Think: It is a quotation that sums up the importance of human attitude towards life. Life is a mixture of comedy and tragedy. There is a proverb that there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. It is the way one looks at things that makes them beautiful or ugly. In other words, human attitude counts a lot in life.
There are different types of men in the world who have contrasting views on life. There is no unanimity of views among philosophers, poets, playwrights, novelists regarding life. Some think that life is a comedy to be enjoyed under all conditions. Most of them belong to the Epicurean philosophy of life, revolving around pleasure and enjoyment. They subscribe to the hedonistic pleasure of life. According to them, man is never to visit the world after his death and as such he should enjoy life through the pursuit of pleasure. They are of the view that life under all shades – tragic or comic, is to be enjoyed. It is a gift of God and man should enjoy it under all conditions.
Thomas Hardy, a great British Novelist, has written a number of novels, which present a tragic end. The reader is aghast to put up with tragedy, which could fail his mental shock absorbers. Hardy takes an overall pessimistic view of life and thrust a tragedy on the reader. He is of the view that happiness is an occasional episode in the painful drama of life. His tragic feeling about life is injected into his top-notch tragedies. Likewise, Fani Badayouni in Urdu poetry presents a pessimistic view of life. He compares life to a big storm at whose hands man bleeds and dies. As against Hardy, Robert Browning is an optimist, in whose poems run optimism. The reader is exposed to the influence of optimism by reading Robert Browning’s poems. Life is neither all pessimism nor all optimism. It is a combination of both.
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Shelley also is of the view that our sweetest songs are those that tell us saddest thoughts. A man by nature is tragedian and is moved greatly by tragedy. Great works of art rest on tragedy. Tragedy is a part of human life. Tragedy appeals to man. But if he is to remain overwhelmed with tragic feelings, he cannot move forward in any walk of life. Those who are too much rooted in sadness, develop inaction, lethargy in life. They are removed away from realism. They cannot face courageously the stark realities of life.
One should develop an attitude of optimism in life. One should, however, be ready to face grim realities of life with determination and strong will. One should not passively give in to the cruel forces of life. One should hope for the best. One should act on Shelley’s recipe that sooner or later darkening forces would be dispelled, yielding place to light. If a man is in the midst of winter today, tomorrow he would enjoy the spring. That calls for bringing about an optimistic change in one’s attitude towards life.