Where does tragedy come from? • The Greek philosopher Aristotle first defined “tragedy” in his book Poetics written in about 330 B.C.
Aristotle’sdefinition of tragedy had SIX parts: • Plot (Dramatic Structure) • Character • Thought • Diction (delivery/elocution) • Spectacle (visual demonstration) • Melody (musical/fluidity)
What Defines Shakespearean Tragedy? • A Tragic Hero • The Tragic Flaw or Hamartia • Reversal of Fortune • Catharsis (emotion) • Restoration of Social Order
The Tragic Hero • The tragic hero is someone we, as an audience, look up to—someone superior. • The tragic hero is a character that the audience can identify with • The tragic hero features a fatal flaw that exposes his/her weakness. What makes each of these figures a tragic hero?
Tragic Flaw • The hero is nearly perfect • The hero has one flaw or weakness • We call this the ‘tragic flaw’, ‘fatal flaw’, or hamartia. Ex: Pride
Reversal of Fortune • The ‘fatal flaw’ brings the hero down from his/her elevated state. (Frankenstein? Winston?) • Renaissance audiences were familiar with the ‘wheel of fortune’ or ‘fickle fate’. • What goes up, must come down. • Cycle of life
Catharsis • We get the word ‘catharsis’ from Aristotle’s katharsis. • ‘Catharsis’ is the audience’s purging of emotions through pity, fear, anger, etc. • The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall. • This is why we cry during movies!
Restoration of Social Order • Tragedies include: • a private element (within a family or small group) • a public element (society or governmental order) • The play cannot end until society is, once again, at peace.