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The Tragedy Archetype. What is Tragedy?. The idealized world of Romance is replaced by the real world of Tragedy where greatness can be crushed and goodness defeated.

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The Tragedy Archetype

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what is tragedy
What is Tragedy?

The idealized world of Romance is replaced by the real world of Tragedy where greatness can be crushed and goodness defeated.

While Romance glorifies the beauty and power of youth and innocence, tragedy presents the problems and challenges of adulthood.

types of tragedy
Types of Tragedy
  • The Pure Hero
  • Loss of Innocence
  • Sacrificial Victim
  • Classic Tragic Hero
  • Spiritual Death
the pure hero
The Pure Hero

1. An innocent victim of tragic events:

--an accident

--a natural catastrophe

--an innocent bystander

2. An innocent person who is unjustly accused of a crime

  • We empathize, feel pity, and dignify this tragedy.
loss of innocence
Loss of Innocence

• Innocent, young hero faces harsh world of experience

• Innocence is left behind

• Hero recognizes maturing significance of event

• Hero gains wisdom or is crushed

sacrificial victim
Sacrificial Victim
  • Hero willingly suffers or dies for a just cause, or a scapegoat is sacrificed to rid world of evil
  • There is victory in defeat--cause is strengthened
  • Destiny singles out this person for greatness
classic tragic hero
Classic Tragic Hero
  • Important person brings about his/her own downfall due to a “tragic flaw” (greed, ambition, cowardice, lust, hatred)
  • Hero destroyed by outside force
  • Catharctic experience for audience
spiritual death
Spiritual Death
  • Hero is trapped, humiliated, ridiculed, or tortured
  • Hero can not control his destiny
  • Frequently set in prisons, war, asylums
  • Some hope is left but very little
typical plot
Typical Plot
  • Hero accepts “the call to adventure” and embarks on perilous physical or psychological journey to achieve his goal
  • Destiny intrudes: fate, bad luck, the hero’s flaw, a stronger enemy blocks the hero
  • Hero is defeated
  • The audience experiences catharsis
typical tragedy themes
Typical Tragedy Themes
  • Tragedy is part of REAL WORLD experiences and events
  • Innocence may lose; evil may triumph
  • All people have the capacity for wrong-doing
  • People suffering tragic events and emerge wiser and stronger--hope remains
  • People can feel pity and learn from the tragic events of others (empathy and catharsis)
  • Tragic events occur to both the lowly and the high and mighty
common motifs and settings
Common Motifs and Settings
  • Cold, harsh world--gloomy settings, autumn, rain storms
  • Isolation
  • Cruelty--unintentional or intentional
  • Dark colors