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Transcript of Tragedy Timeline
Tragedy in Ancient Greece: (525 - 400 BC)
Greek tragedies based on heroic and legendary themes were perform each spring at the festival of Dionysus (greek god of wine and inspiration).
Audience of 18,000 viewers
Three best playwrights were chosen each year to perform - each showed tradegy and a satyr play (burlesque) and winner was given prize
One of the best playwrights of this period was Aeschylus (525--456 B.C.)
Tragedy in Ancient Greece:
Sophocles was another best playwright of this period
Tragedy in Ancient Greece:
Euipides was another best playwrights of this period
Aristotle and Birth of Literary Crticism: (385--322 BC)
Aristotle studied under Plato and taught Alexander the Great. He wrote Poetics (description of different kinds of literature that existed then in Greece. He mainly talked about characters of the tragic and form of drama and effect on audience)
described as "actions serious and complete"
tragedy achieves a catharsis (purification or purgation of the audiences' emotions) through incidents of pity and terror
protagonist is led into calmity by a hamartia (error), which takes the form of pride and leads to retribution or punishment
poetic is the only record to survive from Greek tragedies
their writing reflects the values of the period in which they lived and often does not include values of women - wriitng was mainly by men
no mention of female playwrights until twentieth century
4 BC--AD 65 (birth of Seneca)
Next important tragedy came from Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca
Even after several hundred years, Greek plays were still central focus of Roman drama.
Seneca’s nine tragedies were based on Greek dramas.
Closet dramas - intervening choruses and long rhetorical speeches.
Important info was given by messengers rather than portrayed through action.
Seneca’s tragedies has blood thirsty plots, ghosts and crimes
Development of English Tragedy: (5th Century)
After Roman Empire was gone in 5th century AD, people of Europe regrouped to form smaller geographical and cultural communities.
Invaders and immigrants entered British isles and shaped culture and language
Development of English Tragedy: (14th century)
English language came in 14th century. Chaucer began writing in English.
Development of English Tragedy: (16th Century)
english has been stabilized.
tragedies written in english were in a format style of that language
three types of tragedies during this period were revenge, Shakespearean and domestic tragedies
Revenge tragedies: (16th century)
writers were not familiar with Greek tragedies and Aristotle’s Poetics but they knew plays of Seneca (influenced the development of revenge tragedies known as tragedies of blood or Jacobean revenge tragedies.
plays of this period were horror movies - ghost, insanity, graveyards, carnage and mutilation.
violence was not reported like Seneca’s - it was shown on stage.
Shakespeare Tragedies (16th century)
Shakespeare had new tragic conventions -
doesnt fit into any previously description of Aristotle’s Greek tragedy
Neoclassical Tragedy: (1500 - 17th century)
Aristotle's Poetic was rediscovered and translated by Castelvetro in 1570 - 1576
did not understand Poetic was a description of tragedy and not rules about time, place and action therefore people followed it solely even to this date.
Neoclassicists saw faults in any tragedy that did not follow the rules
Neoclassical Tragedy: (17th century)
Neoclassicists set rules about all literature. They believed authors of Greece and Rome were perfect so they extracted their rules to guide them
Neoclassicism started in England in last quarter of 17th century.
Wrote about heroic drama, tragicomedy shaped by dramatic unities. exotic settings and lavish scenery. hero was in conflict between love and patriotic duty showing emotional scenes.
women first employed on stage
Tragic Flow and Tragic Hero:
Neoclassic rules were set by Castelvetro’s commentary on Aristotle but Aristotle never mentioned the word “hero” or “tragic flaw” (but referred to as hamartia - error or judgement)
these words entered western literary writing twenty centuries after Aristotle described greek tragedy
Poetics influenced the ideas people get have read into it than those it contains.
Romantic Period: (18th Century)
Neoclassic period did not produce any great plays so it was replaced by romantics.
Romantics focused on catharsis (more emphasis on psychology, on characters like ourselves and hamartia)
This period did not produce great tragedies but valued tragedies from past - beginning of “growing international cult of shakespeare”
Domestic or Bourgeois Tragedy: (18th century)
emphasis on characters like ourselves led to domestic affairs tragedies (bourgeois tragedy - third type to be developed during English Renaissance
characters belong to middle class - private family situations rather than public matters
few Shakespeare plays belong to this but domestic tragedies were not written formally until 18th century
Development of Modern Tragedy: (19th century)
late 19th century
middle or lower class became typical characters - victims of modern society
Henrik Ibsen was first major European dramatist to write about ordinary people - have social and political themes and show interest in women and human rights.
19th century Scandinavia , swedish dramatist August Strindberg wrote domestic tragedies that combined naturalism with extreme behaviour
Three imp playwrights wrote their plays in naturalistic and symbolic style with themes of self destruction, self deception, self realization and redemption.
examples in american tragedies of Eugene O’niell, tennessee williams and arthur miller
“protagonist is an effectual failure who succumbs to the pressure of circumstances”
Later Modern Tragedies: (20th Century)
toward the end of modern era, playwrights took out conventional elements of tragic form
Bertolt Brecht a german playwright refused that drama should create illusion of reality. Irish playwright Samuel Beckett wrote tragic plays without conventions of tragedy. He wrote plays with single characters who give soliloquies or monologues