"Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude" Aristotle's famous definition of tragedy is the best as he defines exactly tragedy with such a few words. Since the ancient Greek drama, all tragedies have the element of "suffering" in common, without any exceptions. Shakespeare preserves the core elements of Greek tragedy.
The tragic hero experiences peripeteia, a reversal of fortune, often caused by hamartia defined as a tragic flaw in character or an error in judgement. Through the end of the play, the hero goes through anagnorisis which is the realization of the critical situation the character is in. As a consequence, the audience experiences catharsis, an emotional cleansing, because the tragic end of the hero evokes pity and fear in the audience."The Shakespearian concept of character is dependent upon the vivid apprehension of the unreality of life compared to eternity. His characters are not defined by their actions nor are their personalities rigid constructs which control their capacity for action. His personages are not involved in a search for identity, but search for ways to transcend that identity, which is transitory, and free the spirit, which is made in God's likeness, eternal and immutable.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
One of the ways of freeing the spirit from the trammels of its earthly role is to replace the fleshly mask with another, the mask of art, which more faithfully portrays the soul beneath. The feigned image of poetry speaks directly to the apprehension of the soul." (Greer, 1986) Most of Shakespeare's tragedies have five acts and there is a deathbed scene in every fifth act but the essence of Shakespearean tragedy is the expression of the paradox of disappointment as defeat, shattered hopes, and ultimately death which we all face soon. (David Chandler) "A Shakespearean tragedy as so far considered may be called a story of exceptional calamity leading to the death of a man in high estate." says A.C. Bradley.
In the end, the hero can't survive in a Shakespearean tragedy. Calamities are caused by the actions of men instead of being caused by a supernatural force like they were in the ancient Greek drama, though Shakespeare, too, uses supernatural beings like ghosts and witches."Come, you spiritsThat tend on mortal thoughts!.