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Drama where the central character(s) suffer disaster/great misfortune

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Presentation on theme: "Drama where the central character(s) suffer disaster/great misfortune"— Presentation transcript:

1 Drama where the central character(s) suffer disaster/great misfortune
Tragedy Drama where the central character(s) suffer disaster/great misfortune

2 Definition: A drama in which a character (usually a good and noble person of high rank) is brought to a disastrous end in his or her confrontation with a superior force (fortune, the gods, social forces, universal values), but also comes to understand the meaning of his or her deeds and to accept an appropriate punishment. (The Norton Introduction to Literature, 7th ed)

3 Tragic Hero The tragic hero is a man of noble stature.
“high position” usually means a king, duke, prince, company owner, etc. He is not an ordinary man, but a man with outstanding quality and greatness about him. He is good—but not “too good”—so the audience can identify with him.

4 Tragic Hero His own destruction is for a greater cause or principle—i.e. it proves a point. It should be noted that the hero's downfall is his own fault as a result of his own free choice, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. Usually his death is seen as a waste of human potential.

5 Characteristics of a Tragic Hero
According to Aristotle: Usually of noble birth Hamartia – a.k.a. the tragic flaw that eventually leads to his downfall; often this leads to a mistake in judgment. Peripeteia – a reversal of fortune brought about by the hero’s tragic flaw; this is often also influenced by “fate” or the gods. His actions result in an increase of self- awareness and self-knowledge…though he may not choose to act on this! The audience must feel pity and fear for this character.

6 The “tragic flaw” The “flaw” in the character is a defect which keeps him/her from being aware of the situation around him/her. The character does not understand (for much of the story) his/her part of creating the situation. Ex: Pride (“Hubris”) Skywalker thinks he is so good, he can take on an experienced Jedi all by himself.

7 Examples of Flaws Greed Obsession with one thing Mistrust Uncertainty
Lack of patience Easily influenced Hesitation Selfishness Ambition

8 The Hero’s Understanding
Aristotle: "A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall.“ The tragic hero has a “moment of enlightenment” near the end of the story. He/she finally understands what he/she has done wrong—how he/she contributed to the tragic situation. The story often ends with the death of the tragic hero. His death usually is not a pure loss, because it results in greater knowledge and awareness.

9 Shakespearean Tragic Plot
Act I: Exposition This is where the setting, characters, and conflicts are introduced. Act II: Rising Action Act III: Turning Point (Climax) This is where the reversal of fortune occurs and it all starts to go badly for the tragic hero. Act IV: Falling Action Act V: Catastrophe/Resolution The conflicts are resolved; chaos returns to order.


11 Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes
Aristotle wrote down these characteristics of a tragic hero for classical Greek tragedy plays. However, Shakespeare plays are often noted for their excellent portrayals of tragic heroes. Macbeth is an example of a principal Shakespeare character who is regarded as a tragic hero. Macbeth's fatal flaw, as seen by Aristotle, would be his lust for power (ambition).

12 Macbeth Unlike classical tragic heroes, however, Macbeth is well aware of his fatal flaw from the beginning - he constantly questions himself on why he continues to delay the fulfillment of his desires. This is slightly different from the Aristotliean classical tragedies such as Oedipus Rex where the hero is not aware of his flaw until the very end.

13 Shakespeare’s Quirks Shakespeare often represents abnormal conditions of mind: insanity, somnambulism, hallucinations (like, perhaps, Macbeth) Shakespeare also introduces the supernatural: ghosts, witches, etc. who have supernatural knowledge Shakespeare, in most of the tragedies, allows "chance" in some form to influence some of the action - e.g. the timing in Romeo and Juliet

14 It’s Like She Read the Classics…
In the Harry Potter series, Sirius Black and could be considered a tragic hero! Sirius Black of the Harry Potter Series, actually suffers from his fatal flaws several times. His hot headiness is what got him framed for murdering his best friend, cause him to serve several years in Azkaban. Who else might be a tragic hero?

15 Modern Tragic Hero In the late 19th and early 20th century, a new kind of tragic hero was created. The modern hero does not necessarily have to be of a high estate, but rather an"ordinary person." The story may not result in an epiphany of awareness or even come to a resolution of catharsis. He or she may not even die! Sometimes, the new tragic hero is also known as the "anti-hero".

16 …well, I won’t spoil the ending!
As you read… Consider: Is Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart is a prime example of a classical tragic hero, or is his tragic end more in line with the definition of a modern tragic hero? Consider these facts: His father is a titleless debtor He is a man of great strength, honor…and a temper He is later exiled because he accidentally killed a man His son leaves him for a life as a Christian and… …well, I won’t spoil the ending!

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