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Literature & Language
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Tragedy (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
- needs to include extensive ten references - The references should be to materials we have discussed in the class throughout the term Things covered in class are: Books Hamlet, Macbeth Movies: Natural born killers, deal alive, twilight the (first one), black swan, Amadeus and the night of living dead Additional source: Poetic: Aristotle Tragedy –action: that is serious, must represent the action not the story. - Complete and of a certain magnitude - Artistic - Form of action not narrative - Arousing pity and fear - Accomplish KATHARISIS(cleaning or purifying) of emotion - Must include 6parts: plot, characters, diction, thoughts, spectacles and melody - Mimesis(basic theoretical principle in the creation of art): intimation of action(though in the sense of “re-presentation” rather than of “copying”) - Superior to history 1. Plot is the most important component of tragedy – The plot should follow the three unities: – Unity of Action – it should be complete and show cause and effect; – Unity of Time – it should take place in real time – i.e. the period of one day – Unity of Space – it should take place in the same amount of space that can be travelled during the course of the play 2. Character – Should support plot – Characters should be elevated above reality, but still believable – Peripeteia – set of self desctructive actions taken in ignorance – Anagnorisis – the gaining of knowledge from experiences – Hamartia – tragic flaw connected to the world 3. Thought – The collection of items that make up the play should involve an important message or theme that is imparted to the audience – Diction – The way that the play is written should make use of stylistic techniques, the chief of which is metaphor 4. Song (melody) – The choral sections should be fully integrated into the story so as to create a more musical whole 5. Spectacle – The final – and least important – component are the special stage effects used to help tell the story ***** According to Plato, all artistic creation is a form of imitation: that which really exists (in the “world of ideas”) is a type created by God; the concrete things man perceives in his existence are shadowy representations of this ideal type. Therefore, the painter, the tragedian, and the musician are imitators of an imitation, twice removed from the truth. **** ***** According to Aristotle, the reason that we do Tragedy is to achieve katharsis – a cleansing or cleaning***** **** Aristotle believes that the experiencing of these stories will help to make us better people, by helping us with our decision making source..
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On Tragedy
Contrary to popular belief, tragedy is not a literary or an artistic genre. Indeed, this prevalent misconception is a product of a practical and lexical misuse of the term, wherein the adjective ‘tragic` for instance denotes something of a sad event. Due to this linguistic aberration, it not quite rare to hear something about TV melodramas as being ‘tragic` to evaluate their emotional impact, especially if their outcomes are unpleasant, sorrowful or depressing.
Aristotle, however, classified tragedy as an artistic form or theme. In his seminal work Poetics, he ventured to do one of the first serious analysis of the classical Greek tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles, among others) to illustrate its essential aesthetic concepts and theorize a general outline of the tragedy, emerging of course from the earlier Platonian concept of mimesis.
Hence, in light of Aristotle`s theory of the tragedy, this paper will try to demonstrate how elements of the tragic form operate within the different types of narratives. Moreover, it will also illustrate how these elements continue to emerge in different forms of art even from the earliest literary works up to the most popular contemporary form of film.
Plot: the soul of tragedy
In contrast to other literary forms, tragedy regards the plot as it most vital element. In modernist literature, for instance, the stream of consciousness technique gives primacy to the internal thoughts of the protagonists, its capacity to spill over and distort the supposedly stable narrative structure, making it an exercise on alienated subjectivity and character development (Carlson 1993).. However, in tragedy, mimesis functions as an aesthetic tool to represent the very worldliness of everyday life, and hence targets not the unreliable ‘sensual` perceptions of characters to their circumstances, because it may commit another lie, making the work an illusion to the extreme degree. Rather, the tragedy according to Aristotle:
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…is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality. Dramatic action, therefore, is not with a view to the representation of character: character comes in as subsidiary to the actions. Hence the incidents and the plot are the end of a tragedy; and the end is the chief thing of all.
While tragic works also employ extensive character development, the action remains situated to the conflict beyond the rational faculties of the tragic hero. These entities that are beyond the power of the hero, however, are not of mystical and unexplainable nature: these are completely rational, expected but nonetheless tense and shocking, and comply with a single tragic master plan that the tragic hero cannot bypass and therefore must be full-facedly endured.
Tragedies are rationally consistent; a tragedy must come full circle, and through its course from t...
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