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Shakespearean Tragedy

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Stacey Wigley

on 20 October 2014

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Transcript of Shakespearean Tragedy

Shakespearean Tragedy
What is a Tragedy?
Tragic Hero
Elements of the play
Protagonist is the tragic hero
More Conventions
Tragic hero is of high social standing. Usually from noble birth.
He must basically be a good person
He has a tragic flaw
Often he has a distorted 
perception of, or is blind to, reality
He suffers both outwardly 
(isolation, alienation, attacks) and inwardly (tortured 

He must elicit both pity and fear from the audience (catharsis). 

Usually he recognizes his mistakes. 

He must die
Shakespeare introduces abnormal conditions of the mind: nightmares, delusions, hallucinations, sleepwalking
Pathetic Fallacy
- since the hero’s actions affect the entire Chain of Being, all of Nature appears to react through unnatural happenings in animal behaviour or weather
Shakespeare introduces abnormal mental conditions: hallucinations, delusions, sleepwalking, nightmare.
Much of the plot seems to happen by "chance"
Contrast - ideas or characters are thrown into opposition with each other for clarity or emphasis.
- uncertainty in an incident, situation, or behaviour
- keeps the audience anxious concerning the outcome of the protagonist’s conflict
- two types: that which provokes intellectual curiosity and that which
provokes emotional curiosity
- Shakespeare uses conflict, precarious situations, apparently unsolvable problems, foreshadowing and delay to develop suspense
- speech made by character when he/she is alone on the stage (only audience is privy to the speech)
Purposes include
- revealing mood of speaker and reasons for it
- revealing character
- revealing character’s opinion of someone else in the play
- revealing motives of speaker
- creating suspense
- preparing audience for subsequent developments
- explaining matters that would ordinarily require another scene
- reviewing past events and indicating speaker’s attitudes
- reinforcing theme

- comments intended only for the audience (or occasionally for one other character on stage)
- made in the presence of other characters on stage, but the audience is aware that these other characters cannot hear the asides
- must be short, or would interfere with the course of the play
Purposes include:

- to indicate character of person speaking
- to draw attention to significance of what has been said or done
- to explain plot development
- to create humour by introducing a witty comment
- to create suspense by foreshadowing
- to remind audience of the presence of speaker, while he/she remains
in the background
Soliloquy & Aside
What are the characteristics of tragedy in this scene?
Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Background information that is needed to understand the story: setting, character introduction and basic conflict.
Exciting Force
Also called the "inciting incident". This is the incident without which there would be no story. It is the start of it all.
Rising Action

The basic internal conflict is complicated by the secondary conflicts.
*Marks the turning point or change for the protagonist.
*In a tragedy, things go from good to bad. There is a impending sense of disaster.
Falling Action
The plot is moving towards a conclusion and further developments drive the plot towards the resolution.
Final crisis of action. The tragic hero has met his downfall and is much worse off. In the resolution, the tragic hero is accountable for his action. The hero dies and other characters may also die.

Iambic Pentameter
Write your own line of imabic pentameter. Remember you can rearrange the order of the words like Shakespeare did.
Example: A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse.
Moment of Final Suspense
Moment when the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt. There is a brief glimmer of hope.
Full transcript