Plaintiff Attempts to Overcome Adversity


Aristotle tells us tragedy is the imitation of actions and of life. Well-being (health) and ill-being (injury) “reside in action” with the goal of life being activity. “People achieve well-being or its opposite on the basis of how they fare.” Poetics (The Primacy of Plot). The “plot” in tragedy concerns the action and how the hero fares.

There are two types of plot according to Aristotle- “simple” and “complex.” Complex plot is a higher level tragedy. In a simple plot there is only a change of fortune. In a complex plot there is  a change of fortune and reversal or recognition or both. Reversal is a change to the opposite. Recognition is a change from ignorance to knowledge.

According to Aristotle when the audience identifies with the hero seeing him in a cause and effect series of action, and the action involves reversal with accompanying recognition, the audience relates to the plot by having pity for the hero and  fear the type of change of fortune can happen to them. This is tragedy at the highest level.

In a personal injury case the change of fortune to the hero is the injury. The recognition is the injury can be overcome. Applied to the personal injury case this means the injured plaintiff must do everything possible to overcome his injury. This means the plaintiff must diligently seek treatment  to attempt to get back to his pre injury condition.

The audience (jury) seeing the fact that injury is a reversal of fortune, and that the plaintiff recognizes he must do everything possible to overcome, wants the injured plaintiff whom they pity to overcome the injury. There is a correlation between the plaintiff striving to dig out of his injuries and the jury relating to him and having pity for him.

In the next post we explore the last prong of the personal injury tragedy-inability to overcome adversity.

    2 Responses to “Plaintiff Attempts to Overcome Adversity”

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