Tragedy

Tragedy

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Tragedy is a form of art
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 based on human suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

 that offers its audience pleasure. While most culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s have developed forms that provoke this paradox
Paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

ical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition
Poetic tradition
Poetic tradition is a concept similar to that of the poetic or literary canon...

 of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilisation
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 and historical continuity—"the Greeks
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 and the Elizabethans
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

, in one cultural form; Hellenes
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 and Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

 puts it. From its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 2,500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, through its singular articulations in the works of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega
Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio was a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature...

, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

, and Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

, to the more recent naturalistic
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 tragedy of Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

, Beckett's
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 meditations on death, loss and suffering, and Müller's
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller was a German dramatist, poet, writer, essayist and theatre director. Described as "the theatre's greatest living poet" since Samuel Beckett, Müller is arguably the most important German dramatist of the 20th century after Bertolt Brecht...

 postmodernist
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change. A long line of philosophers—which includes Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, Saint Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

, Diderot
Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent person during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder and chief editor of and contributor to the Encyclopédie....

, Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

, Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

, Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

, Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, Benjamin
Walter Benjamin
Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish intellectual, who functioned variously as a literary critic, philosopher, sociologist, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist...

, Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

, Lacan
Jacques Lacan
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who made prominent contributions to psychoanalysis and philosophy, and has been called "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud". Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced France's...

, and Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

—have analysed, speculated upon, and criticised the tragic form. In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 in general (where the tragic divides against epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 and lyric
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

) or at the scale of the drama (where tragedy is opposed to comedy). In the modern
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

 era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

, the tragicomic
Tragicomedy
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...

, and epic theatre
Epic theatre
Epic theatre was a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners, including Erwin Piscator, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold and, most famously, Bertolt Brecht...

.

Origin of tragedy


The word "tragedy" appears to have been used to describe different phenomena at different times. It derives from (Classical Greek ), contracted
Sandhi
Sandhi is a cover term for a wide variety of phonological processes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries . Examples include the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words...

 from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

 song
Ode
Ode is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist...

", which comes from tragos = "he-goat" and aeidein = "to sing" (cf.
Cf.
cf., an abbreviation for the Latin word confer , literally meaning "bring together", is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts, such as in academic or legal texts...

 "ode"). Scholars suspect this may be traced to a time when a goat was either the prize in a competition of choral dancing
Greek dances
Greek dance is a very old tradition, being referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian. There are different styles and interpretations from all of the islands and surrounding mainland areas. Each region formed its own choreography and style to fit in with their own ways...

 or was that around which a chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 danced prior to the animal's ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 sacrifice
Animal sacrifice
Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing of an animal as part of a religion. It is practised by many religions as a means of appeasing a god or gods or changing the course of nature...

. In another view on the etymology, Athenaeus of Naucratis
Athenaeus
Athenaeus , of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD...

 (2nd–3rd century CE) says that the original form of the word was trygodia from trygos (grape harvest) and ode (song), because those events were first introduced during grape harvest.

Writing in 335 BCE (long after the Golden Age
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

 of 5th-century
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 Athenian
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 tragedy), Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 provides the earliest-surviving explanation for the origin of the drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

tic art-form
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 in his Poetics, in which he argues that tragedy developed from the improvisation
Improvisation
Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new structures or symbols, and/or...

s of the leader of choral
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

s (hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s sung and danced in praise of Dionysos, the god of wine and fertility):
Anyway, arising from an improvisatory beginning (both tragedy and comedy—tragedy from the leaders of the dithyramb, and comedy from the leaders of the phallic processions which even now continue as a custom in many of our cities), [tragedy] grew little by little, as [the poets] developed whatever [new part] of it had appeared; and, passing through many changes, tragedy came to a halt, since it had attained its own nature. Poetics IV, 1449a 10-15


In the same work, Aristotle attempts to provide a scholastic definition of what tragedy is:
Tragedy is, then, an enactment of a deed that is important and complete, and of [a certain] magnitude, by means of language enriched [with ornaments], each used separately in the different parts [of the play]: it is enacted, not [merely] recited, and through pity and fear it effects relief (catharsis
Catharsis
Catharsis or katharsis is a Greek word meaning "cleansing" or "purging". It is derived from the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, "to purify, purge," and it is related to the adjective καθαρός, katharos, "pure or clean."-Dramatic uses:...

) to such [and similar] emotions. Poetics, VI 1449b 2-3


There is some dissent to the dithyrambic origins of tragedy, mostly based on the differences between the shapes of their choruses and styles of dancing. A common descent from pre-Hellenic
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 fertility and burial rites has been suggested. Nietzsche discussed the origins of Greek tragedy in his early book, The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism ...

 (1872).

Performance of Greek tragedies



Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE (from the end of which it began to spread throughout the Greek world), and continued to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

. No tragedies from the 6th century and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in during the 5th century have survived. We have complete texts extant
Extant literature
Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, translations of non-extant...

 by Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

.

Athenian tragedies were performed in late March/early April at an annual state religious festival in honor of Dionysos. The presentations took the form of a contest between three playwrights, who presented their works on three successive days. Each playwright offered a tetralogy consisting of three tragedies and a concluding comic piece called a satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

. The four plays sometimes featured linked stories. Only one complete trilogy of tragedies has survived, the Oresteia of Aeschylus. The Greek theatre was in the open air, on the side of a hill, and performances of a trilogy and satyr play probably lasted most of the day. Performances were apparently open to all citizens, including women, but evidence is scant. The theatre of Dionysus at Athens probably held around 12,000 people.

All of the choral parts were sung (to the accompaniment of an aulos
Aulos
An aulos or tibia was an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted often in art and also attested by archaeology.An aulete was the musician who performed on an aulos...

) and some of the actors' answers to the chorus were sung as well. The play as a whole was composed in various verse meters. All actors were male and wore masks. A Greek chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 danced as well as sang, though no one knows exactly what sorts of steps the chorus performed as it sang. Choral songs in tragedy are often divided into three sections: strophe ("turning, circling"), antistrophe ("counter-turning, counter-circling") and epode ("after-song").

Many ancient Greek tragedians employed the ekkyklêma
Ekkyklema
An ekkyklêma was a wheeled platform rolled out through a skênê in ancient Greek theatre. It was used to bring interior scenes out into the sight of the audience...

 as a theatrical device, which was a platform hidden behind the scene that could be rolled out to display the aftermath of some event which had happened out of sight of the audience. This event was frequently a brutal murder of some sort, an act of violence which could not be effectively portrayed visually, but an action of which the other characters must see the effects in order for it to have meaning and emotional resonance. A prime example of the use of the ekkyklêma is after the murder of Agamemnon in the first play of Aeschylus' Oresteia
The Oresteia
The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have been performed following the trilogy; it has not survived...

, when the king's butchered body is wheeled out in a grand display for all to see. Variations on the ekkyklêma are used in tragedies and other forms to this day, as writers still find it a useful and often powerful device for showing the consequences of extreme human actions. Another such device was a crane, the mechane
Mechane
A mechane or machine was a crane used in Greek theatre, especially in the fifth and fourth centuries BC.Made of wooden beams and pulley systems, the device was used to lift an actor into the air, usually representing flight. This stage machine was particularly used to bring gods onto the stage...

, which served to hoist a god or goddess on stage when they were supposed to arrive flying. This device gave origin to the phrase "deus ex machina
Deus ex machina
A deus ex machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.-Linguistic considerations:...

" ("god out of a machine"), that is, the surprise intervention of an unforeseen external factor that changes the outcome of an event.

Roman tragedy



Following the expansion of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 (509–27 BCE) into several Greek territories between 270–240 BCE, Rome encountered Greek tragedy
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

. From the later years of the republic and by means of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 (27 BCE-476 CE), theatre spread west across Europe, around the Mediterranean and reached England. While Greek tragedy continued to be performed throughout the Roman period, the year 240 BCE marks the beginning of regular Roman drama
Theatre of ancient Rome
The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca...

. Livius Andronicus
Livius Andronicus
Lucius Livius Andronicus , not to be confused with the later historian Livy, was a Greco-Roman dramatist and epic poet of the Old Latin period. He began as an educator in the service of a noble family at Rome by translating Greek works into Latin, including Homer’s Odyssey. They were meant at...

 began to write Roman tragedies, thus creating some of the first important works of Roman literature
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

. Five years later, Gnaeus Naevius
Gnaeus Naevius
Gnaeus Naevius was a Roman epic poet and dramatist of the Old Latin period. He had a notable literary career at Rome until his satiric comments delivered in comedy angered the Metelli family, one of whom was consul. After a sojourn in prison he recanted and was set free by the tribunes...

 also began to write tragedies (though he was more appreciated for his comedies). No complete early Roman tragedy survives, though it was highly regarded in its day; historians know of three other early tragic playwrights—Quintus Ennius, Marcus Pacuvius and Lucius Accius
Lucius Accius
Lucius Accius , or Lucius Attius, was a Roman tragic poet and literary scholar. The son of a freedman, Accius was born at Pisaurum in Umbria, in 170 BC...

.

From the time of the empire, the tragedies of two playwrights survive—one is an unknown author, while the other is the Stoic philosopher
Stoicism
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early . The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.Stoics were concerned...

 Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

. Nine of Seneca's tragedies
Senecan tragedy
Senecan tragedy is a body of ten 1st century dramas, of which eight were written by the Roman Stoic philosopher and politician L. Annaeus Seneca . Rediscovered by Italian humanists in the mid-16th century, they became the models for the revival of tragedy on the Renaissance stage...

 survive, all of which are fabula crepidata (tragedies adapted from Greek originals); his Phaedra
Phaedra (Seneca)
Phaedra, sometimes known as Hippolytus, is a play by Seneca the Younger, telling the story of Phaedra and her taboo love for her stepson Hippolytus...

, for example, was based on Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

' Hippolytus
Hippolytus (play)
Hippolytus is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC and won first prize as part of a trilogy....

. Historians do not know who wrote the only extant
Extant literature
Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, translations of non-extant...

 example of the fabula praetexta (tragedies based on Roman subjects), Octavia, but in former times it was mistakenly attributed to Seneca due to his appearance as a character
Character (arts)
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 in the tragedy.

Seneca's tragedies rework those of all three of the Athenian tragic playwrights whose work has survived. Probably meant to be recited at elite
Elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

 gatherings, they differ from the Greek versions in their long declamatory, narrative accounts of action, their obtrusive moralizing, and their bombastic rhetoric. They dwell on detailed accounts of horrible deeds and contain long reflective soliloquies. Though the gods rarely appear in these plays, ghosts and witches abound. Senecan tragedies explore ideas of revenge, the occult, the supernatural, suicide, blood and gore. The Renaissance scholar Julius Caesar Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger was an Italian scholar and physician who spent a major part of his career in France. He employed the techniques and discoveries of Renaissance humanism to defend Aristotelianism against the new learning...

 (1484–1558), who knew both Latin and Greek, preferred Seneca to Euripides.

Influence of Greek and Roman tragedy


The classical Greek and Roman tragedy was largely forgotten in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the beginning of 16th century, and theatre in this period
Medieval theatre
Medieval theatre refers to the theatre of Europe between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. and the beginning of the Renaissance in approximately the 15th century A.D...

 was dominated by mystery play
Mystery play
Mystery plays and miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song...

s, morality play
Morality play
The morality play is a genre of Medieval and early Tudor theatrical entertainment. In their own time, these plays were known as "interludes", a broader term given to dramas with or without a moral theme. Morality plays are a type of allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of...

s, farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

s and miracle plays. As early as 1503 however, original language versions of Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

, and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, as well as comedic writers such as Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

, Terence
Terence
Publius Terentius Afer , better known in English as Terence, was a playwright of the Roman Republic, of North African descent. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him and later on,...

 and Plautus
Plautus
Titus Maccius Plautus , commonly known as "Plautus", was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. His comedies are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin literature. He wrote Palliata comoedia, the genre devised by the innovator of Latin literature, Livius Andronicus...

 were all available in Europe and the next forty years would see humanists
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and poets translating and adapting their tragedies. In the 1540s, the European university setting (and especially, from 1553 on, the Jesuit colleges) became host to a Neo-Latin theatre (in Latin) written by scholars. The influence of Seneca was particularly strong in its humanist tragedy. His plays—with their ghosts, lyrical passages and rhetorical oratory—brought a concentration on rhetoric and language over dramatic action to many humanist tragedies.
The most important sources for French tragic theatre in the Renaissance were the example of Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

 and the precepts of Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

 and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (and contemporary commentaries by Julius Caesar Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger
Julius Caesar Scaliger was an Italian scholar and physician who spent a major part of his career in France. He employed the techniques and discoveries of Renaissance humanism to defend Aristotelianism against the new learning...

 and Lodovico Castelvetro
Lodovico Castelvetro
Lodovico Castelvetro was an important figure in the development of neo-classicism, especially in drama. It was his reading of Aristotle that led to a widespread adoption of a tight version of the Three Unities, as a dramatic standard....

), although plots were taken from classical authors such as Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Suetonius
Lives of the Twelve Caesars
De vita Caesarum commonly known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire written by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus.The work, written in AD 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, was the most popular work of Suetonius,...

, etc., from the Bible, from contemporary events and from short story collections (Italian, French and Spanish). The Greek tragic authors (Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

) would become increasingly important as models by the middle of the 17th century. Important models were also supplied by the Spanish Golden Age
Spanish Golden Age
The Spanish Golden Age is a period of flourishing in arts and literature in Spain, coinciding with the political rise and decline of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. El Siglo de Oro does not imply precise dates and is usually considered to have lasted longer than an actual century...

 playwrights Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño usually referred as Pedro Calderón de la Barca , was a dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age. During certain periods of his life he was also a soldier and a Roman Catholic priest...

, Tirso de Molina
Tirso de Molina
Tirso de Molina was a Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and a Roman Catholic monk.Originally Gabriel Téllez, he was born in Madrid. He studied at Alcalá de Henares, joined the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy on November 4, 1600, and entered the Monastery of San Antolín at Guadalajara,...

 and Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega
Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio was a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature...

, many of whose works were translated and adapted for the French stage.

Britain



In the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the most famous and most successful tragedies are those of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and his Elizabethan
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

 contemporaries. Shakespeare's tragedies include:
  • Antony and Cleopatra
    Antony and Cleopatra
    Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony...

  • Coriolanus
    Coriolanus (play)
    Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.-Characters:*Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus...

  • Hamlet
    Hamlet
    The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar (play)
    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against...

  • King Lear
    King Lear
    King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The title character descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological...

  • Macbeth
    Macbeth
    The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

  • Othello
    Othello
    The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the Italian short story "Un Capitano Moro" by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565...

  • Romeo and Juliet
    Romeo and Juliet
    Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular archetypal stories of young, teenage lovers.Romeo and Juliet belongs to a...

  • Timon of Athens
    Timon of Athens
    The Life of Timon of Athens is a play by William Shakespeare about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon , generally regarded as one of his most obscure and difficult works...

  • Titus Andronicus
    Titus Andronicus
    Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and possibly George Peele, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy, and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were...



A contemporary of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

, also wrote examples of tragedy in English, notably:
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
    The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
    The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge...

  • Tamburlaine
    Tamburlaine (play)
    Tamburlaine the Great is the name of a play in two parts by Christopher Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur 'the lame'...



John Webster
John Webster
John Webster was an English Jacobean dramatist best known for his tragedies The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, which are often regarded as masterpieces of the early 17th-century English stage. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare.- Biography :Webster's life is obscure, and the dates...

 (1580?–1635?), also wrote famous plays of the genre:
  • The Duchess of Malfi
    The Duchess of Malfi
    The Duchess of Malfi is a macabre, tragic play written by the English dramatist John Webster in 1612–13. It was first performed privately at the Blackfriars Theatre, then before a more general audience at The Globe, in 1613-14...

  • The White Devil
    The White Devil
    The White Devil is a revenge tragedy from 1612 by English playwright John Webster . A notorious failure when it premiered, Webster complained the play was acted in the dead of winter before an unreceptive audience. The play's complexity, sophistication and satire made it a poor fit with the...


Opera as tragedy


Contemporary with Shakespeare, an entirely different approach to facilitating the rebirth of tragedy was taken in Italy. Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera...

, in the preface to his Euridice
Euridice (opera)
Euridice is an opera by Jacopo Peri, with additional music by Giulio Caccini. The libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini is based on books X and XI of Ovid's...

 refers to "the ancient Greeks and Romans (who in the opinion of many sang their staged tragedies throughout in representing them on stage)." In creating the new artistic genre of opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, he and his contemporaries were striving to recreate ancient tragedy. Some later operatic composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

s have also shared this aim. Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's concept of Gesamtkunstwerk
Gesamtkunstwerk
A Gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so...

 ("integrated work of art"), for example, was intended as a return to the ideal of Greek tragedy in which all the arts were blended in service of the drama. Nietzsche, in his The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism ...

 (1872) was to support Wagner in his claims to be a successor of the ancient dramatists.

Neo-classical tragedy


For much of the 17th century, Pierre Corneille
Pierre Corneille
Pierre Corneille was a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine...

, who made his mark on the world of tragedy with plays like Medée (1635) and Le Cid (1636), was the most successful writer of French tragedies. Corneille's tragedies were strangely un-tragic (his first version of Le Cid was even listed as a tragicomedy), for they had happy endings. In his theoretical works on theatre, Corneille redefined both comedy and tragedy around the following suppositions:
  • The stage—in both comedy and tragedy—should feature noble characters (this would eliminate many low-characters, typical of the farce, from Corneille's comedies). Noble characters should not be depicted as vile (reprehensible actions are generally due to non-noble characters in Corneille's plays).
  • Tragedy deals with affairs of the state (wars, dynastic marriages); comedy deals with love. For a work to be tragic, it need not have a tragic ending.
  • Although Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

     says that catharsis
    Catharsis
    Catharsis or katharsis is a Greek word meaning "cleansing" or "purging". It is derived from the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, "to purify, purge," and it is related to the adjective καθαρός, katharos, "pure or clean."-Dramatic uses:...

     (purgation of emotion) should be the goal of tragedy, this is only an ideal. In conformity with the moral codes of the period, plays should not show evil being rewarded or nobility being degraded.


Corneille continued to write plays through 1674 (mainly tragedies, but also something he called "heroic comedies") and many continued to be successes, although the "irregularities" of his theatrical methods were increasingly criticized (notably by François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac
François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac
François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac was a French author who was born in Paris.His father practised at the Paris bar, and his mother was a daughter of the great surgeon Ambroise Paré...

) and the success of Jean Racine from the late 1660s signaled the end of his preeminence.

Jean Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

's tragedies—inspired by Greek myths, Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

—condensed their plot into a tight set of passionate and duty-bound conflicts between a small group of noble characters, and concentrated on these characters' double-binds and the geometry of their unfulfilled desires and hatreds. Racine's poetic skill was in the representation of pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

 and amorous passion (like Phèdre
Phèdre
Phèdre is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677.-Composition and premiere:...

's love for her stepson) and his impact was such that emotional crisis would be the dominant mode of tragedy to the end of the century. Racine's two late plays ("Esther" and "Athalie") opened new doors to biblical subject matter and to the use of theatre in the education of young women. Racine also faced criticism for his irregularities: when his play, Bérénice
Bérénice
Berenice is a five-act tragedy by the French 17th-century playwright Jean Racine. Berenice was not played often between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Today it is one of Racine's more popular plays, after Phèdre, Andromaque and Britannicus.It was first performed in 1670...

, was criticised for not containing any deaths, Racine disputed the conventional view of tragedy.

For more on French tragedy of the 16th and 17th centuries, see French Renaissance literature
French Renaissance literature
For more information on historical developments in this period see: Renaissance, History of France, and Early Modern France.For information on French art and music of the period, see French Renaissance....

 and French literature of the 17th century
French literature of the 17th century
17th-century French literature was written throughout the Grand Siècle of France, spanning the reigns of Henry IV of France, the Regency of Marie de Medici, Louis XIII of France, the Regency of Anne of Austria and the reign of Louis XIV of France...

.

Bourgeois tragedy


Bourgeois tragedy (German: Bürgerliches Trauerspiel) is a form that developed in 18th-century Europe. It was a fruit of the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 and the emergence of the bourgeois class
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 and its ideals. It is characterized by the fact that its protagonists are ordinary citizens. The first true bourgeois tragedy was an English play, George Lillo
George Lillo
George Lillo was an English playwright and tragedian. He was a jeweler in London as well as a dramatist. He produced his first stage work, Silvia, or The Country Burial, in 1730. A year later, he produced his most famous play, The London Merchant...

's The London Merchant; or, the History of George Barnwell, which was first performed in 1731. Usually, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature...

's play Miss Sara Sampson, which was first produced in 1755, is said to be the earliest Bürgerliches Trauerspiel in Germany.

Modern development of tragedy


In modernist literature
Modernist literature
Modernist literature is sub-genre of Modernism, a predominantly European movement beginning in the early 20th century that was characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional aesthetic forms...

, the definition of tragedy has become less precise. The most fundamental change has been the rejection of Aristotle's dictum that true tragedy can only depict those with power and high status. Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

's essay "Tragedy and the Common Man" (1949) argues that tragedy may also depict ordinary people in domestic surroundings. British playwright Howard Barker
Howard Barker
Howard E. Barker is a British playwright.-The Theatre of Catastrophe :Barker has coined the term "Theatre of Catastrophe" to describe his work...

 has argued strenuously for the rebirth of tragedy in the contemporary theatre, most notably in his volume Arguments for a Theatre. "You emerge from tragedy equipped against lies. After the musical, you're anybody's fool," he insists.

Aristotle


The philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 said in his work Poetics that
tragedy is characterized by seriousness and dignity
Dignity
Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical treatment. It is an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights...

 and involving a great person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

 who experiences a reversal of fortune
Luck
Luck or fortuity is good fortune which occurs beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense...

 (Peripeteia
Peripeteia
Peripeteia is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature. The English form of peripeteia is peripety. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic...

). Aristotle's definition
Definition
A definition is a passage that explains the meaning of a term , or a type of thing. The term to be defined is the definiendum. A term may have many different senses or meanings...

 can include a change of fortune from bad to good as in the Eumenides, but he says that the change from good to bad as in Oedipus Rex is preferable because this effects pity
Pity
Pity originally means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and was once used in a comparable sense to the more modern words "sympathy" and "empathy"...

 and fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

 within the spectators. Tragedy results in a catharsis
Catharsis
Catharsis or katharsis is a Greek word meaning "cleansing" or "purging". It is derived from the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, "to purify, purge," and it is related to the adjective καθαρός, katharos, "pure or clean."-Dramatic uses:...

 (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama.

According to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, "the structure
Structure
Structure is a fundamental, tangible or intangible notion referring to the recognition, observation, nature, and permanence of patterns and relationships of entities. This notion may itself be an object, such as a built structure, or an attribute, such as the structure of society...

 of the best tragedy should be not simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

 and pity
Pity
Pity originally means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and was once used in a comparable sense to the more modern words "sympathy" and "empathy"...

--for that is peculiar to this form of art." This reversal
Reversal
Reversal can refer to:* In drama, "reversal" refers to Aristotle's concept of Peripeteia* Reversal film, a type of photographic film also known as slide or transparency film* The Reversal, a novel by Michael Connelly* Reversal of polarity...

 of fortune must be caused by the tragic hero's hamartia
Hamartia
Hamartia is a term developed by Aristotle in his work Poetics. The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark and covers a broad spectrum that includes ignorant, mistaken, or accidental wrongdoing, as well as deliberate iniquity, error, or sin...

, which is often mistranslated as a character flaw
Character flaw
In the creation and criticism of fictional works, a character flaw is a limitation, imperfection, problem, phobia, or deficiency present in a character who may be otherwise very functional. The flaw can be a problem that directly affects the character's actions and abilities, such as a violent temper...

, but is more correctly translated as a mistake (since the original Greek etymology traces back to hamartanein, a sporting term that refers to an archer
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

 or spear
Spear
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

-thrower missing his target). According to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, "The change to bad fortune
Luck
Luck or fortuity is good fortune which occurs beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense...

 which he undergoes is not due to any moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 defect or flaw, but a mistake of some kind." The reversal is the inevitable but unforeseen result of some action taken by the hero. It is also a misconception that this reversal can be brought about by a higher power (e.g. the law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, the god
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

s, fate
Destiny
Destiny or fate refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual...

, or society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

), but if a character’s downfall is brought about by an external cause, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 describes this as a misadventure
Misadventure
Misadventure can refer to:* Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Mis-Edventures, a 2005 video game* The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, a 1964 Walt Disney film* The Misadventures of P.B...

 and not a tragedy.

In addition, the tragic hero may achieve some revelation or recognition (anagnorisis
Anagnorisis
Anagnorisis is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for...

--"knowing again" or "knowing back" or "knowing throughout") about human fate, destiny, and the will of the gods. Aristotle terms this sort of recognition "a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate."

In Poetics, Aristotle gave the following definition in ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 of the word "tragedy" (τραγωδία):

Ἐστὶν οὖν τραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας καὶ τελείας, μέγεθος ἐχούσης, ἡδυσμένῳ λόγῳ, χωρὶς ἑκάστῳ τῶν εἰδὼν ἐν τοῖς μορίοις, δρώντων καὶ οὐ δι'ἀπαγγελίας, δι' ἐλέου καὶ φόβου περαίνουσα τὴν τῶν τοιούτων παθημάτων κάθαρσιν.

which means Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is admirable, complete (composed of an introduction, a middle part and an ending), and possesses magnitude; in language made pleasurable, each of its species separated in different parts; performed by actors, not through narration; effecting through pity and fear the purification of such emotions.

Common usage of tragedy refers to any story with a sad ending, whereas to be an Aristotelian
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 tragedy the story
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

 must fit the set of requirements as laid out by Poetics. By this definition social drama cannot be tragic because the hero in it is a victim of circumstance and incidents which depend upon the society in which he lives and not upon the inner compulsions — psychological or religious — which determine his progress towards self-knowledge and death. Exactly what constitutes a "tragedy", however, is a frequently debated matter.

Hegel


G.W.F. Hegel, the German philosopher most famous for his dialectical approach to epistemology and history, also applied such a methodology to his theory of tragedy. In his essay "Hegel's Theory of Tragedy," A.C. Bradley first introduced the English-speaking world to Hegel's theory, which Bradley called the "tragic collision", and contrasted against the Aristotelian notions of the "tragic hero
Tragic hero
A tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.-Aristotle's tragic hero:Aristotle...

" and his or her "hamartia" in subsequent analyses of the Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy and of Sophocles' Antigone. (Bradley, 114–156). Hegel himself, however, in his seminal "The Phenomenology of Spirit" argues for a more complicated theory of tragedy, with two complementary branches which, though driven by a single dialectical principle, differentiate Greek tragedy from that which follows Shakespeare. His later lectures formulate such a theory of tragedy as a conflict of ethical forces, represented by characters, in ancient Greek tragedy, but in Shakespearean tragedy the conflict is rendered as one of subject and object, of individual personality which must manifest self-destructive passions because only such passions are strong enough to defend the individual from a hostile and capricious external world:

"The heroes of ancient classical tragedy encounter situations in which, if they firmly decide in favor of the one ethical pathos that alone suits their finished character, they must necessarily come into conflict with the equally [gleichberechtigt] justified ethical power that confronts them. Modern characters, on the other hand, stand in a wealth of more accidental circumstances, within which one could act this way or that, so that the conflict which is, though occasioned by external preconditions, still essentially grounded in the character. The new individuals, in their passions, obey their own nature...simply because they are what they are. Greek heroes also act in accordance with individuality, but in ancient tragedy such individuality is necessarily... a self-contained ethical pathos...In modern tragedy, however, the character in its peculiarity decides in accordance with subjective desires...such that congruity of character with outward ethical aim no longer constitutes an essential basis of tragic beauty..." (Hegel, ed. Glockner, vol XIV pp567–8).

Hegel's comments on a particular play may better elucidate his theory: "Viewed externally, Hamlet's death may be seen to have been brought about accidentally ...but in Hamlet's soul, we understand that death has lurked from the beginning: the sandbank of finitude cannot suffice his sorrow and tenderness, such grief and nausea at all conditions of life...we feel he is a man whom inner disgust has almost consumed well before death comes upon him from outside."(Hegel, ed. Glockner,XIV,p572)

Nietzsche



Nietzsche, another German philosopher, dedicated his first full-length book, The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism ...

 (1872), to a discussion of the origins of Greek tragedy. He traced the evolution of tragedy from early rituals, through the joining of Apollonian and Dionysian forces, until its early "death" in the hands of Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

. In opposition to Schopenhauer, Nietzsche viewed tragedy as the art form of sensual acceptance of the terrors of reality and rejoicing in these terrors in love of fate (amor fati
Amor fati
Amor fati is a Latin phrase loosely translating to "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good...

), and therefore as the antithesis to the Socratic Method
Socratic method
The Socratic method , named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas...

, or the belief in the power of reason to unveil any and all of the mysteries of existence. Ironically, Socrates was fond of quoting from tragedies.

Nietzsche in "What I Owe to the Ancients" in his Twilight of the Idols
Twilight of the Idols
Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, written in 1888, and published in 1889.-Genesis:...

 wrote: "The psychology of the orgiastic as an overflowing feeling of life and strength, where even pain still has the effect of a stimulus, gave me the key to the concept of tragic feeling, which had been misunderstood both by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and even more by modern pessimists. Tragedy is so far from being a proof of the pessimism
Pessimism
Pessimism, from the Latin word pessimus , is a state of mind in which one perceives life negatively. Value judgments may vary dramatically between individuals, even when judgments of fact are undisputed. The most common example of this phenomenon is the "Is the glass half empty or half full?"...

 (in Schopenhauer's sense) of the Greeks that it may, on the contrary, be considered a decisive rebuttal and counterexample. Saying Yes to life even in its strangest and most painful episodes, the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustible vitality even as it witnesses the destruction of its greatest heroes — that is what I called Dionysian, that is what I guessed to be the bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet. Not in order to be liberated from terror and pity, not in order to purge oneself of a dangerous affect by its vehement discharge — which is how Aristotle understood tragedy — but in order to celebrate oneself the eternal joy of becoming, beyond all terror and pity — that tragic joy included even joy in destruction."

Ancient Indian drama


The writer Bharata Muni
Bharata Muni
Bharata was an ancient Indian musicologist who authored the Natya Shastra, a theoretical treatise on ancient Indian dramaturgy and histrionics, dated to between roughly 400 BC and 200 BC. Indian dance and music find their root in the Natyashastra...

, in his work on dramatic theory
Dramatic theory
Dramatic theory is a term used for works that attempt to form theories about theatre and drama. Examples of ancient dramatic theory include Aristotle's Poetics from Ancient Greece and Bharata Muni's Natyasastra from ancient India.- External links :...

 A Treatise on Theatre
Natya Shastra
The Natya Shastra is an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music. It was written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD in classical India and is traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata.The Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope...

 (Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

: Nātyaśāstra, नाट्य शास्त्र, c. 200 BCE – 200 CE), identified several rasas (such as pity, anger, disgust and terror) in the emotional responses of audiences for the Sanskrit drama
Sanskrit drama
The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.Its...

 of ancient India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

. The text also suggests the notion of musical mode
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

s or jati
Jati
Jāti is the term used to denote clans, tribes, communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Indian society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe, although religious beliefs Jāti (in Devanagari: जाति Tamil:சாதி) (the...

s which are the origin of the notion of the modern melodic structures known as raga
Raga
A raga is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made...

s. Their role in invoking emotions are emphasized; thus compositions emphasizing the notes gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 or rishabha
Rishabha
Rishabha also spelled as Rsabha or Vrsabha may refer to:* Rishabha , the first Jain tirthankar* Rishabha , a sage mentioned in the Vaishnava texts, incarnation of Visnu, the son of King Nabhi and Merudevi; father of the great king - BharatIn Sanskrit, Rishabha may also mean:* The bull* The great one...

 are said to provoke "sadness" or "pathos" (karuna rasa) whereas rishabha
Rishabha
Rishabha also spelled as Rsabha or Vrsabha may refer to:* Rishabha , the first Jain tirthankar* Rishabha , a sage mentioned in the Vaishnava texts, incarnation of Visnu, the son of King Nabhi and Merudevi; father of the great king - BharatIn Sanskrit, Rishabha may also mean:* The bull* The great one...

 evokes heroism (vira rasa). Jatis are elaborated in greater detail in the text Dattilam
Dattilam
Dattilam is an ancient Indian musical text ascribed to the sage Dattila. It is believed to have been composed shortly after the Natya Shastra of Bharata, and is dated between the 1st and 4th c. AD....

, composed around the same time as the Treatise.

The celebrated ancient Indian epic
Indian epic poetry
Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya . The Ramayana and Mahabharata, originally composed in Sanskrit and translated thereafter into many other Indian languages, are some of the oldest surviving epic poems on earth and form part of...

, Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, can also be related to tragedy in some ways. According to Hermann Oldenberg
Hermann Oldenberg
Hermann Oldenberg was a German scholar of Indology, and Professor at Kiel and Göttingen .His 1881 study on Buddhism, entitled Buddha: Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde, based on Pāli texts, popularized Buddhism and have remained continuously in print since their first publication. With T. W...

, the original epic once carried an immense "tragic force". It was common in Sanskrit drama to adapt episodes from the Mahabharata into dramatic form.

While early Sanskrit drama often had unhappy endings, as was the case with Bhāsa
Bhasa
Bhāsa is one of the earliest and most celebrated Indian playwrights in Sanskrit. However, very little is known about him.Kālidāsa in the introduction to his first play Malavikagnimitram writes -...

's plays, later Indian drama
Theatre in India
The earliest form of the theatre of India was the Sanskrit theatre. It began after the development of Greek and Roman theatre and before the development of theatre in other parts of Asia...

 tended to stick to happy endings. By the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, considered the classical period of Sanskrit drama, there were very few Indian plays with unhappy endings being produced. By then, it became a general rule in Sanskrit drama to avoid unhappy endings.

See also


  • Classicism
    Classicism
    Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

  • Comedy
  • Domestic tragedy
    Domestic tragedy
    In English drama, a domestic tragedy is a play in which the tragic protagonists are ordinary middle-class or lower-class individuals. This subgenre contrasts with classical and Neoclassical tragedy, in which the protagonists are of kingly or aristocratic rank and their downfall is an affair of...

  • Hamartia
    Hamartia
    Hamartia is a term developed by Aristotle in his work Poetics. The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark and covers a broad spectrum that includes ignorant, mistaken, or accidental wrongdoing, as well as deliberate iniquity, error, or sin...

  • Peripeteia
    Peripeteia
    Peripeteia is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature. The English form of peripeteia is peripety. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic...

  • Shakespearean tragedy
    Shakespearean tragedy
    Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy Titus Andronicus, which he followed a few years later with Romeo and Juliet. However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608...

  • She-tragedy
    She-tragedy
    The term she-tragedy refers to a vogue in the late 17th and early 18th centuries for tragic plays focused on the sufferings of an innocent and virtuous woman...

  • Tragic hero
    Tragic hero
    A tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy. Tragic heroes appear in the dramatic works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Marston, Corneille, Racine, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Strindberg, and many other writers.-Aristotle's tragic hero:Aristotle...

  • Tragicomedy
    Tragicomedy
    Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...


Sources


  • Aristotle. 1974. "Poetics". Trans. S.H. Butcher. In Dukore (1974, 31-55).
  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0521434378.
  • Barker, Howard
    Howard Barker
    Howard E. Barker is a British playwright.-The Theatre of Catastrophe :Barker has coined the term "Theatre of Catastrophe" to describe his work...

    . 1989. Arguments for a Theatre. 3rd ed. London: John Calder, 1997. ISBN 0719052491.
  • Benjamin, Walter
    Walter Benjamin
    Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish intellectual, who functioned variously as a literary critic, philosopher, sociologist, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist...

    . 1928. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne. London and New York: Verso, 1998. ISBN 1859848990.
  • Bradley, A. C.. 1909. Oxford Lectures on Poetry. Reprint ed. Atlantic, 2007. ISBN 8171563791.
  • Carlson, Marvin. 1993. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present. Expanded ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP. ISBN 0801481546.
  • Deleuze, Gilles
    Gilles Deleuze
    Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

     and Félix Guattari
    Félix Guattari
    Pierre-Félix Guattari was a French militant, an institutional psychotherapist, philosopher, and semiotician; he founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy...

    . 1972. Anti-Oedipus. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 . New Accents Ser. London and New York: Methuen. ISBN 0416720609.
  • Felski, Rita, ed. 2008. Rethinking Tragedy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. ISBN 0801887402.
  • Janko, Richard, trans. 1987. Poetics with Tractatus Coislinianus, Reconstruction of Poetics II and the Fragments of the On Poets. By Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

    . Cambridge: Hackett. ISBN 0872200337.
  • Hegel, G. W. F.
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

    . 1927. "Vorlesungen uber die Asthetik." In 'Samlichte Werke. Vol 14. Ed. Hermann Glockner. Stuttgart: Fromann.
  • Miller, Arthur
    Arthur Miller
    Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

    . 1949. "Tragedy and the Common Man." In Dukore (1974, 894-897). Originally published in The New York Times February 27, 1949.
  • Pfister, Manfred. 1977. The Theory and Analysis of Drama. Trans. John Halliday. European Studies in English Literature Ser. Cambridige: Cambridge UP, 1988. ISBN 052142383X.
  • Rabinowitz, Nancy Sorkin. 2008. Greek Tragedy. Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World ser. Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN 1405121610.
  • Rehm, Rush
    Rush Rehm
    Rush Rehm is an Associate Professor of Drama and Classics at Stanford University, California, in the United States. He also works professionally as an actor and director. He has published many works on classical theatre.- Bibliography :...

    . 1992. Greek Tragic Theatre. Theatre Production Studies ser. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415118948.
  • Schlegel, August Wilhelm. 1809. Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature. Available online.
  • Speirs, Ronald, trans. 1999. The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings. By Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

    . Ed. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy ser. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0521639875.
  • Taxidou, Olga. 2004. Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. ISBN 0748619879.
  • Williams, Raymond
    Raymond Williams
    Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

    . 1966. Modern Tragedy. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0701112603.


External links