Shakespeare’s plays have been grouped into three categories: Tragedies Histories Comedies
Of the four great tragedies that Shakespeare wrote ( Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and MacBeth) all of them follow the Aristotiliean definition of tragedy: A tragic hero of noble birth whose tragic flaw leads to his demise.
A tragic hero is a man of noble status. He is not an ordinary man. He has a greatness about him or an outstanding quality. The tragic flaw eventually leads to his downfall Harmatia There is a reversal of fortune brought about by the hero’s tragic flaw Peripeteia
A commonality in all of Shakespeare’s tragedies is the death of most of the major characters, including the protagonist by the end of the play. There is a tragic hero. The hero’s fate arouses emotion of pity or fear from the audience. There are elements of the supernatural. The ultimate power in the tragic world is the struggle between good and evil; evil is destroyed and good re-established.
Good Evil Chaos Death Re-assertion of Good
Shakespeare used a five-act structure to develop and resolve plot: ACT 1: Introduction sets out the essential information about characters, setting, background, and the core problem ACT 2: Rising Action a further plot event influences the protagonist to make a fateful decision to take a specific action. ACT 3: Climax The protagonist makes/fails to pursue a course of action that determines the outcome of the plot. ACT 4: Falling action Main plot and sub-plots are brought together and the action advances quickly. ACT 5: Conclusion Conflicts are resolved, but not always in the way the audience expects/ wants.
Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in iambic pentameter. This meter refers to a line consisting of five iambic feet. Iamb: unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable Foot: two syllables One iambic foot: da DUM One line of iambic pentameter: da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM
1) Illumination of the Human Experience Shakespeare’s ability to summarize the range of human emotions in simple yet profoundly eloquent verse is perhaps the greatest reason for his enduring popularity 2) Great Stories Shakespeare's stories transcend time and culture. Modern storytellers continue to adapt Shakespeare’s tales to suit our modern world, whether it be the tale of King Lear on a farm in Iowa or Romeo and Juliet on the mean streets of New York City
3)Compelling Characters Shakespeare invented his share of stock characters, but his truly great characters – particularly his tragic heroes – are unequalled in literature, dwarfing even the sublime creations of the Greek tragedians. 4) Language Shakespeare is responsible for inventing 1700 of our commonly used words today such as: Tranquil, Obscene, Bedroom, Assassinate.