What does tragedy mean in a level litWatch
What does the term tragedy mean, I have to pick out and annotate parts of extracts from books, “annotate any tragic features you may spot “ in a few extracts from different books, any help would be appreciated 🙂
Let's start at the beginning with the 'father' of tragedy Aristotle. In his book Poetics he outlined the following:
- Greek philosopher and scientist
- A student of Plato for nearly 20 years
- He was a polymath (good at a large variety of subjects)
- His famous work was called Poetics- it was a book about tragedy
Tragedy is ‘a mimesis (imitative representation of the real work in art and literature) of a high, complete action… in speech pleasurably enhanced… in dramatic, not narrative form, effecting through pity and fear the catharsis of such emotions’
- The tragic protagonist: this was a man of high status who also possessed megalopsychia or greatness of soul- inherently morally good
- Peripeteia: the action of the tragedy focuses on the tragic protagonist’s downfall from this initial high status. Peripeteia is Aristotle’s term for this reversal of fortune
- Hamartia and hubris: downfall wasn’t by chance, it was brought on by an error of judgement committed by the protagonist. This hamartia was brought on by hubris or excessive pride. It sets in motion a chain of events that led to the inevitable death of the protagonist
- Anagnorisis: crucially, at some period before his death the protagonist realises what he has done wrong. This results in an increase of self-knowledge and a new understanding of the truths of existence, especially the relationship between humans and gods.
- Catharsis: effect on audience is a purging of emotions, drawing out emotions and bringing about a new sense of clarity
- Unity of plot: focus on one plot, with no sub-plot to complicate the action
- Unity of place: a single location in which all the action of the play takes place
- Unity of time: limiting the action of the play so it takes place on a single day
- Comes in to comment on events, explain them ad break the fourth wall
That's the beginning so you want to look for that initially. Then it evolves through classical tragedy, to senecan tragedy (bloodthirsty tragedy), to medieval tragedy (wheel of fortune) to jacobean (shakespeare sort of!) to modern domestic (anti-hero etc). I would go ahead and research those. I have made really detailed notes on all of them, but they won't be useful to you because they're more related to my texts. So look for some on yours.
Then also worth a look at Hegel, Schopenhauer and Camus all of whom have tragic theory which is really interesting and great at A level.
Feel free to reply with any questions!