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Aristotle on Tragedy.

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Presentation on theme: "Aristotle on Tragedy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aristotle on Tragedy

2 Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy
“Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament. . . in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions.” Aristotle

3 Tragedy must be about a Serious Subject
The stuff of tragedy must be serious – must be something monumental such as the assissnation of a President which significantly alters all our lives; it must have profound consequences involving people whose fate affects many beyond themselves; it is a public event rather than a private event.

4 Tragedy must have a Tragic Figure
The Tragic Figure Must excite pity and fear – one who is neither evil nor extremely virtuous; misfortune for the Tragic Figure is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty – his Tragic Flaw. Be of High Stature Be extraordinary, not typical

5 The Tragic Figure must have a Tragic Flaw
Some error or frailty which brings about the Tragic Figure’s misfortune Might be: ambition, pride, rashness, passion External circumstances can also contribute to the downfall

6 Tragedy must have an Effective Plot
Plot must be: Complete & Complex with a beginning, middle, & end Events must lead naturally to what follows and point toward the end End must follow naturally from what has gone before and conclude the action Complex – moves in various directions by means of reversal and recognition Reversal – accuser becomes the accused & the prosecuter becomes the defendant Recognition – change from ignorance to knowledge; increases the tragic effect of the drama

7 Tragedy must have a “Certain Magnitude”
Action in a tragedy must have magnitude Must be a convincing chain of events that change a situation from good to bad fortune

8 Tragedy must have “Embellished Language”
Aristotle says tragedy should be expressed in poetry – the highest form of expression in Aristotle’s time

9 Tragedy must take “the form of action, not of narrative”
Aristotle believes the lines should be acted, not simply read or told Audience must see the drama unfold before them

10 Tragedy must “Evoke Pity & Fear”
Tragedy makes the audience fear that such events could happen to them Tragedy makes the audience feel pity for the Tragic Figure Audience feels pity in part because the Tragic Figure accepts his/her fate

11 Tragedy must evoke “Catharsis”
Catharsis is the process of purging the audience’s pity and fear Catharsis allows the audience to leave uplifted because their emotions have been expended in the theater and they are purged for the time being The Tragic Figure’s acceptance of his/her fate is an affirmation of human values The audience receives solace through the insight provided by the Tragic Figure’s suffering

12 Tragedy includes Dramatic Irony
Dramatic Irony occurs when the audience knows things that the characters on stage do not; therefore, the audience has insight and can interpret actions and information differently than the characters.

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