Ali Salami

Ian McEwan: The Underlying Tragedy of Joe Rose in Enduring Love

Ian McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in its list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture.”

In Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, the calm, organized life of science writer Joe Rose is shattered when he sees a man die in a freak hot-air balloon accident. Enduring Love is evidence that Ian McEwan is one of the most talented contemporary authors in the English language.

Studies of Ian McEwan’s novels have demonstrated his engagements with modernist form and neuroscience, but they have not attended to how McEwan draws these two together with a specific purpose: to put the novel to work for secularizing ends, understood as challenging and surpassing religion and the supernatural as sources of meaning.

enduring love
An adaptation based on Enduring Love

A stranger named Jed Parry joins Rose in helping to bring the balloon to safety.

But unknown to Rose, something passes between Parry and himself on that day—something that gives birth to an obsession in Parry so powerful that it will test the limits of Rose’s beloved rationalism, threaten the love of his wife, Clarissa, and drive him to the brink of murder and madness.



While the tragedy of Enduring Love’s plot might seem obvious, the significance of Ian McEwan’s novel’s tragic elements is that they could be found in several layers and do not merely lie in the unfortunate incident with which the first chapter commences or even its aftermath.

The life of Joe Rose, the novel’s protagonist, changes drastically after the traumatic experience, and the neglected elements in his life reappear as tragic elements.

In this study, modern tragedy and Joe Rose’s situation as a modern tragic hero caught in uncertainties are discussed to point out the inevitability of John Logan’s tragic fall, and Joe’s failure in the time of crisis and his own life.

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