Presentation on theme: "Shakespearean Tragedy"— Presentation transcript:
1 Shakespearean Tragedy The Substance of a Tragedy - from A.C. Bradley
2 Tragedy Concerned primarily with one person Essentially a tale of suffering and calamity leading to deathThe suffering and calamity are exceptional. They befall a significant person.They are also, as a rule, unexpected, and contrasted with previous happiness and/or glory.Attended by tragic pity.When he falls suddenly from the height of earthly greatness to the dust, his fall produces a sense of contrast, of the powerlessness of man, and of the omnipotence - perhaps the caprice - of Fortune or Fate.
3 Tragedy Continued…The centre of the tragedy may be said with equal truth to lie in action issuing from a major character flaw, or a character flaw issuing from action (from the common ingredients such as:abnormal conditions of mindThe supernaturalA chance or accidentThe action can be defined as conflict:Between two personsBetween two passions or tendencies, ideas, principles, forces…There is also a conflict in the hero’s soul
4 The Tragic Hero Is an exceptional being. His nature is also exceptional: in his nature there is an intensification of ordinary qualities.In almost all, we observe a marked one-sidedness, a predisposition in some particular direction; a total incapacity, in certain circumstances, or resisting the force which draws in this direction; a fatal tendency to identify the whole self with some interest, object, passion, or habit of mind.In the circumstances where we see the hero placed, his tragic trait, which is also his greatness, is fatal to him.In most cases the tragic error involves no conscious breach of right; in some, it is accompanied by a full conviction of right.It is necessary that he should have so much of greatness that in his error and fall we may be vividly conscious of the possibilities of human nature.And with this greatness of the tragic hero is connected, secondly, the centre of the tragic impression: that of tragic waste.
5 The Notion of TragedyThe following definition has been pieced together from Aristotle’s Poetics:Tragedy is an imitation of action. It is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude. It treats of events which are pitiful and terrible and concerns the reversal from good fortune to bad of a great man who, by reason of some weakness or defect of character, is thus the cause of his own downfall. Because this man is great, either by birth or position, his downfall seems more terrible than if he were an ordinary man; it has also far-reaching effects in the lives of others. Because morally he is a man like ourselves- neither eminently virtuous nor viciously depraved- h is misfortune arouses in us the emotion of fear. Because his downfall is partly his own fault, and because it seems to be far out of proportion to the evil of his actions, we experience a feeling of pity for him. Through our sympathies with this tragic hero we undergo a catharsis or purgation of the emotions.
6 The Notion of Tragedy Cont’d Some technical Greek vocabulary of drama (from Aristotle):Mimesis- the art of representationAnagnorisis- moment of critical discoveryCatharsis- relief or purgingDianoia- knowledge or themeOpsis- visual elementsHamartia- a mistake, or taking a flawed pathHubris- pride, arrogance, out of touch with realityMythos- myth- story, the plotLexis- dictionPeripeteia- reversalNemesis- arch-enemyEthos- charactersMelos- musicAristotle’s 6 elements include Lexis, Ethos, Melos, Opsis, and Mythos
7 Modern Definition of Tragedy A tragedy is a drama of a protagonist who commands our earnest good will and is impelled in a given world by a purpose, or undertakes an action, of a certain seriousness and magnitude; and by that very purpose or action, subject to that same given world, necessarily and inevitably meets with grave spiritual or physical suffering.
8 Another Modern Definition Tragedy, in its pure idea, shows us a mortal will engaged in an unequal struggle with destiny, whether that destiny be represented by the forces within or without the mind, the conflict reaches its tragic issue when the individual perishes, but through his ruin the disrupted order of the world is restored and the moral forces reassert their way.
9 Shakespearean Tragedy A tragedy is a drama of a significant person who, because of a flaw in his character, experiences a fall that leads to suffering and earth, the whole experiences producing pity and fear in the audience.Drama: This means there is ACTION o a serious magnitude involving a number of people interacting on a stage.Significant Person: this is usually a king or prince, or a person of high standing in the community. More than this, the person is significant in that he is noted for being a noble in character in some way that raises him above ordinary people.
10 Shakespearean Tragedy PlotA. The Story of a Heroi) Leads up to andincludes the deathof the heroii) A tale of sufferingand calamityleading to deathShakespearean TragedyB. Sufferingi) Severeii) Unexpected andcontrast to presvious glory
11 Shakespearean Tragedy Cont’d… A Flaw: there is a serious problem or imperfection or predisposition in his character that causes him to err in his actions. The tragic hero, because of his flaw in character, is responsible for his actions and for his own death. The very character trait that makes the person exceptional may be also his flaw.A Fall: the tragic hero “falls” physically to his death, but also falls in the sense of not realizing his true potential. There is a sense of waste at the end of the drama, of the person not having achieved what he should have achieved.Pity and Fear- these are emotions instilled in the audience. The audience identifies with the hero (we put ourselves in his shoes) and we thus feel pity for the hero when he falls to his death. The audience also fears that such things can happen to us if we are not careful enough in real life.
12 THE HERO’S ACTION CAUSES HIS DESTRUCTION PlotThe Story of a HeroLeads up to and includes the death of the heroA tale of suffering and calamity leading to deathc. Concerned with person of high degreeA leader or head of stateHis fate affects the nationHis fall suggests the powerlessnessof man and the power of fateb. SufferingSevereUnexpected and contrast to previous glory2. ActionThe tragedy proceedsfrom the action of peopleMain source of actionis characterHero contributes to hisown demiseShakespeareanTragedy6. Good vs. EvilVillainy is defeated in the end.3. Elements ofthe StoryThe Hero hasAbnormal conditions ofthe mindEncounters with thesupernaturalEncounters with chanceand accident4. Conflictoutward- betweenpersons or groupsInward - betweenthe hero and himself5. The HeroExceptional natureDesire, passion, willTragic Trait- a marked one-sidedness, fatal to the heroA great waste of potentialTHE HERO’S ACTION CAUSES HIS DESTRUCTION
13 HAMLET AS A TRAGIC HERO PAGAN WORLD (ANCIENT- POLYTHEISTIC) CHRISTIAN WORLD(MODERN)-REVENGE-FORTINBRASSENIOR ANDKING HAMLET-NORWAY(NORTH)-MORALITY-LAERTES,HORATIO-PARIS,WITTENBERG(HEART OFMODERN EUROPE)HAMLETDENMARKHamlet (and his soul?) is at a crossroads of a divided world. He moves back and forth between the two worlds and the heroic types within them.i.e. King Hamlet, Laertes, Fortenbras, Horatio.