Greek Tragedy the goat’s song…
Greek Tragedy • Defining Tragedy • Tragic Hero • Tragic Flaw • Hamartia • Hubris • Catharsis
1. Defining Tragedy • Aristotle’s Poetics (c. 330 b.c.) • A serious and often somber drama that typically ends in disaster • A dramatic imitation of real life • Evokes (stirs up) fear and pity in the audience • Written in elevated language • Protagonist a.k.a. Tragic Hero • According to Aristotle, in tragedy the hero has a goal, but fails to reach that goal through some flaw or harmartiain his character.
2. Tragic Hero • Protagonist • Usually elevated in rank and/or ability • Neither unusually good nor unusually bad • What results from high stature and mixed character? • Has a trait that causes his fall known as a Tragic Flaw
3. Tragic Flaw • A character trait in the tragic hero that brings about his downfall • Not necessarily “bad” character traits • Courage OR jealousy
4. Hubris • Greek word for “insolence” • Disrespectfully arrogant • A tragic flaw • Causes a protagonist to ignore a wise warning from a god or other important figure
5. Hamartia • From the Greek word for “error” • An error in judgment resulting from a lack of knowledge or a moral flaw • What’s the difference between hamartia and hubris?
5. Hamartia (continued) • What is the difference between hamartia and hubris? • Hubris- character trait • Hamartia- results from ignorance or an accident
6. Catharsis • From the Greek word for “purgation” or “purification” • The feeling of relief felt by the audience after the catastrophe in the play. • Fear + Pity = Relief • Fear of falling victim to the same catastrophe • Pity for the height of the fall
6. Catharsis (continued) • How is the audience “purified”? • By relating to the protagonist, possibly even learning by example • By getting so caught up in the story that you forget your own problems
Structure • Aristotle felt that a tragedy should have a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. • In the beginning we are introduced to the hero and his goal • In the middle we get a peripetia, or turning point when it looks like the hero will reach his goal but something happens to cause him to fail.
Structure, continued • After the peripetia or turning point, the hero has an anagorsis, or realization of how his flaw caused him to fail • Finally, at the end of the play we get the catastrophe, or death of the hero
Fraytag’s Pyramid • Freytag was a Norwegian critic who took Aristotle’s principles and broke them down into five parts • 1. the play or work opened with the expositionwhere the reader is introduced to the hero and his goal. We often become aware of his flaw here. • 2. The complication then follows, where things are going well for but there is an underlying problem for the hero that will eventually cause him to fail.
3. We then get the turning point in the work, a point or a recognizable incident in the work that causes things to go from good to bad for the hero and his goal • 4. This is followed by the reversalwhere a series of bad things happens for the hero. • 5. The works ends with the catastropheor death of the hero or a similar event.
Oedipus • Tragedy? • Tragic hero? • Tragic flaw? • Hamartia? • Hubris? • Explain Catharsis.
Using a tragedy you are familiar with (like Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, or Titanic for example) identify the following within that tragedy: 1. The exposition 2. the peripetia 3. The anagorsis 4. The catastrophe An example of: 5. Hubris 6. Hamartia 7. Explain how the protagonist is both elevated and morally neutral Assignment (due at the end of class):