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Greek theory ofTragedy: Aristotle"s Poetics

The classicdiscussion that Greektragedy is Aristotle"s Poetics. He defines tragedy together "theimitation of an activity that is major and likewise as havingmagnitude, complete in itself." that continues, "Tragedy is a formof drama amazing the emotions that pity and fear. Its action shouldbe solitary and complete, presenting a reversal that fortune, involvingpersons renowned and also of exceptional attainments,and it must bewritten in city embellished with every kind of artisticexpression." The writer presents "incidents arousing pity andfear, wherewith come interpet that catharsis of together of together emotions"(by catharsis, Aristotle way a purging or scan awayof the pity and also fear aroused by the disastrous action). The basicdifference Aristotledraws in between tragedy and other genres,such as comedy and also theepic, is the "tragic pleasure of pity and also fear" the audience feelwatching a tragedy. In order because that the tragic hero come arouse thesefeelings in the audience, he cannot be one of two people all good or all evilbut should be someone the audience deserve to identify with; however, if heis remarkable in some way(s), the tragic pleasure is intensified. Hisdisastrous end results from a mistaken action, i m sorry in turnarises indigenous a tragic flaw or from a tragic error in judgment. Oftenthe tragic defect is hubris, an too much pride that causesthe hero to overlook a divine warning or to rest a moral law. Ithas been suggested that because the tragic hero"s suffering isgreater 보다 his offense, the audience feels pity; due to the fact that theaudience members perceive the they might behave similarly, theyfeel pity. Click below for excerpts native Aristotle"s Poetics.

Medieval Tragedy and also The Wheel ofFortune

The medievaltagedy is a prose orpoetic narrative, no a drama. Tragedy was regarded as a reversalof fortune, a fall from a high position. This watch of tragedyderives native the Medieval ide of fortune, which to be personifiedas Dame Fortune, a blindfolded woman that turned a wheel in ~ whim;men to be stationed at various areas on the wheel--the optimal of thewheel stood for the best fortune, gift under the wheel the worstfortune. However, the wheel can turn suddenly and the male on topcould unexpectedly be under the wheel, without warning.

Elizabethan and ShakespeareanTragedy

A patent Englishform the tragedybegins with the Elizabethans. The translate into of Seneca and also thereading the Aristotle"s Poetics were major influences. Manycritics and playwrights, such as Ben Jonson, insisted on observingthe classical unities that action, time and also place (the action shouldbe one whole and take place in one day and also in one place). However,it to be romantic tragedy, which Shakespeare composed in RichardII, Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear, whichprevailed. Romantic tragedy disregarded the unities (as in the useof subplots), combined tragedy and also comedy, and also emphasized action,spectacle, and--increasingly--sensation. Shakespeare violated thethe unities in these means and additionally in mixing poetry and also prose andusing the device of a play-within-a-play, as in Hamlet. TheElizabethans and their Jacobean successsors acted on stage theviolence that the Greek dramatists reported. The Elizabethan andlater the Jacobean playwright had actually a varied audience to please,ranging from Queen Elizabeth and also King James I and their courtiersto the shortest classes.

ChristopherMarlowe"s tragediesshowed the sources of the English language v his magnificent blank verse, as in the Tragedyof Dr. Faustus, and also thepowerful results that might be achieved by focusing on a toweringprotagonist, as in Tamburlaine. In Elizabethan tragedy, theindividual leads to violence and conflict. Adistinctly non-Aristotelian form of tragedy arisen during thisperiod to be thetragicomedy. In a tragicomedy, the activity and subject issue seemto need a catastrophic ending, yet it is avoided by a reversal whichleads to a happy ending; occasionally the tragicomedy alternatesserious and comic actions transparent the play. Because it blendstragedy and comedy, the tragicomedy is sometimes referred to as a"mixed" kind.

The problem Play orDrama the Ideas

The problem playor beat of ideasusually has a catastrophic ending. The driving pressure behind the play isthe expedition of some social problem, favor alcoholism orprostitution; the characters are used as examples of the generalproblem. Typically the playwright see the problem and itssolution in a method that defies or rejects the standard view; notsurprisingly, some trouble plays have actually aroused anger and also controversyin audiences and critics. Henrik Ibsen, who helped to revivetragedy from its artistic decline in the nineteenth century, wroteproblem plays. A Doll"s House, because that example, mirrors theexploitation and denigration of middle class women by culture andin marriage.


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The tragedy frequently springs from the individual"sconflict v the laws, values, traditions, and also representatives ofsociety.

Adapted from A guide to theStudy ofLiterature: A Companion text for Core studies 6, Landmarks ofLiterature, ©English Department, tennis2007.org College.

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