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Aristotelian and Elizabethan Tragedy
Transcript of Aristotelian and Elizabethan Tragedy
Aristotelian and Elizabethan Tragedy
Aristotle's Definition of a Tragedy:
"A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language; a drmatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions."
What does this mean?
A good tragedy deals with one serious and very important issue. The play must stick to this one issue (such as the death of a character) and not bounce around from one idea to the next. This is to keep the audience entertained and interested.
The language should be easy to listen to with a good rhythm and harmony for the lines that are sung. It should be appropriate for each part of the play.
Instead of a narrative form, the play must be dramatized and acted out.
The play should leave the audience feeling sorry and afraid for the tragic hero as he moves toward a destructive end.
A catharsis is a purging or cleansing of the emotions. As the events build up emotions of pity and fear throughout the play, the audience can finally release their tensions as they watch the tragic hero fall.
Six Elements of a Tragedy
Most Important- the action of the play; must be simple or complex
Unity: all actions must relate back to the topic, be pertinent to the story and have to be believable
Reversal (peripeteia) or Recognition (anagnorisis): a sudden turn from one direction to another or a change from ignorance to wisdom
Suffering (pathos): a horrible and evil act
2nd most important: a person played in the play who has an essential nature,
must be good and have a moral purpose
true to type of person they are and acts appropriately to their identity
has realistic and plausible personalities
true to themselves, acting consistently (no acting out of character)
Third important; "where something is proved to be or not to be, or a general maxim in enunciated
The power of saying whatever can be said and should be said at each moment of the plot
The lines the characters are saying have to make sense
We can assume that the themes of the play are included in this category
Fourth important; the actual composition of the lines that are recited
Deals with how the words are said rather than what words they say
A good playwright composes lines that say something extremely well and can leave the audience quoting the lines exactly.
Fifth important; the musical element of the chorus
The chorus should be fully integrated into the play just like an actor would.
The music has to blend in with the play appropriately such as come in at the right time or express the right mood.
It should contribute to the unity of the plot.
Least important; refers to the staging of the play
"The production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
It should be appropriate with the theme of the play.
Focus of spectacle when you want to arouse pity and fear.
It "creates a sense, not of the terrible, but only of the monstruos"
An Elizabethan Tragedy
is a genre that
began during the later
period of the 16th century, in England.
The tragedies were written during Queen Elizabeth’s reign of power (1558-1603).
The tragedies written during this time included the works of William Shakespeare.
The original meaning of the word Tragedy is...
a "goat song."
Elizabethan tragedies usually revolve around one character, who typically ends up dying and is seen as the hero. This character is known as the “tragic hero”
The hero also plays a major role on his downfall by usually trying to right a wrong.
tragedy relies on shock and violence for a lot of its effect.
Elizabethan tragedies are different from Aristotelian tragedies because Elizabethan tragedies started off as warnings against dictatorship and political conflict.
“The distinction between tragedy and comedy, still useful in our age, was particularly important in Shakespeare's time.
Elizabethan tragedy was the still familiar tale of a great man or woman brought low through hubris or fate (though some of Shakespeare's tragic heroes--Romeo, say, or Timon, or Macbeth--do not easily accommodate Aristotle's definition of the type).”