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Greek Tragedy

Elements of a Greek Tragedy

Jennifer Curtis

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Greek Tragedy

Tragedy and the Tragic Hero "A man cannot be a hero until he can see the root of his own downall" -Aristotle What is a tragedy? Aristotle developed his definiton of a tragedy after Sophocles wrote Oedipus. He used it as his model, and all tragedy written after this point has been judged according to these standards. A literary work in which the main character goes from having everything to having nothing through a series of events that result from his own actions There are 6 main aspects of a tragedy as defined by Aristotle. Elements of a Tragic hero A Tragic Hero follows a typical path from riches to rags Hubris is excessive pride or vanity. If a character thinks he's perfect, he's definitely wrong! Peripeteia The hero's luck changes. He suffers a reversal of fortune, or a streak of bad luck brought about by his hamartia (tragic flaw). The tragic hero, because of his own actions, is forced to see himself for who he really is. He recognizes his own tragic flaw. Catharsis A tragedy is meant to be a sort of emotional roller coaster. If we think of it like this, catharsis is the point at which the audience gets off the ride. It is the release of emotional tension at the end of the play. At this point, the audience is no longer afraid for the tragic hero, and does not bear the burden of the many emotions and tensions of the story. Anagnorisis Plot refers to the main events of a story. This is important because the plot of a tragedy is meant to imitate life and follows a particular pattern. A tragedy tells a story that intends to convey a message to its audience. This is like a grown-up moral (remember Fables?) Theme Plot Music Music adds emphasis and emotion to important plot points. Think about the structure of the greek theatre. This is why the Orchestra occupied such a large space. Language Word choice is an important part of how an audience interprets a performance. Spectacle Images and visual presentation evoke desired emotions in an audience. Sets, props, and costumes all contribute to this. Characters The characters in a tragedy frequently meet a depressing end. The main characterin a tragedy meets with the most disaster and is called the tragic hero. Despite the fact that the tragic hero is well known and loved, he has some sort of tragic flaw that will eventually cause his downfall. This is a part of his personality, and very often it is hubris, or some form of it. Hamartia The main character starts the story with some sort of high status. Usually it is a king, but any highly respected figure can qualify. He has everything, and he knows it. Magnitude Aristotle developed his definition of tragedy by looking at the elements in Oedipus the King by Sophocles. All tragedies after this point are judged according to these standards. Here are Some Examples of Modern Tragic Heroes. Can you think of more? Tiger Woods Amanda Bynes Michael Vick Lindsay Lohan
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