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Tragic Notes. What is a tragedy?. A dramatic work that presents the downfall of a dignified character involved in historically or socially significant events. Greek Origins. Comedies and tragedies both originate from Greece, where they were performed as part of elaborate outdoor festivals.

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what is a tragedy
What is a tragedy?
  • A dramatic work that presents the downfall of a dignified character involved in historically or socially significant events
greek origins
Greek Origins
  • Comedies and tragedies both originate from Greece, where they were performed as part of elaborate outdoor festivals.
  • Tragedies were called the “dying ones”
  • Tragedies produce catharsis- a cleansing or purging of emotions
  • The tragic flaw was Hubris- excessive pride that leads a tragic hero to challenge the gods
  • They featured a Chorus – a group of performers who stood outside the action and commented on characters and hinted at events to come
  • NO comic relief – following a serious scene with a lighter humorous one
tragic flaw
Tragic Flaw
  • A fatal error in judgment or weakness in character that leads to his or her destruction
tragic plot
Tragic Plot
  • Events are set in motion by a decision that is often an error in judgment caused by the tragic flaw
  • Succeeding events linked in a cause-and-effect relationship that leads inevitably to a disastrous conclusion, usually death.
  • In the end, readers and viewers feel a sense of waste, because humans who were in some way superior have been destroyed
tragic hero
Tragic Hero
  • Protagonist or main character in a tragedy
  • Evokes pity and fear;
  • Pity for the hero because of his sufferings
  • Fear for all human beings subject to character flaws and an unknown destiny or fate because the problems and struggles faced by the tragic hero are perhaps a necessary part of human life.
  • He or she faces defeat with great courage and dignity
  • He or she usually recognizes his or her tragic flaw
revenge tragedy
Revenge Tragedy
  • Its plot centers around the tragic downfall or untimely demise of a protagonist caused by his or her pursuit and enactment of revenge
  • Deals with personal vendettas and revenging murders
elements of a tragedy both greek and shakespearean
Elements of a Tragedy(both Greek and Shakespearean)
  • The tragic hero comes to an unhappy or miserable end.
  • The tragic hero is generally a person of importance.
  • The tragic hero exhibits extraordinary abilities and a tragic flaw.
  • Outside forces or people, known as antagonists, may contribute to the hero's downfall.
  • A series of casually related events inevitably leads to the catastrophe involving the death of the tragic hero and others.
  • The tragic hero usually recognizes his or her tragic flaw and gains the audience's sympathy.
  • The tragic hero meets his or her doom with uncommon courage and dignity, reaffirming the grandeur of the human spirit.
shakespeare s major tragedies
Shakespeare’s Major Tragedies

Here are a few things you may want to know about some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

romeo and juliet
Romeo and Juliet

A tale of teenaged lovers from two feuding families in Medieval Verona, Italy.

julius caesar
Julius Caesar

focuses on the Roman Emperor Brutus, a close friend of Julius Caesar who reluctantly joins the plot to assassinate him.

hamlet
Hamlet

tells the story of a prince of Denmark whose procrastination leads to disaster.

othello
Othello

focuses on a North African soldier whose great flaw is "the green-eyed monster" known as jealousy.

king lear
King Lear

tells of an aged monarch who fails to distinguish honesty from flattery.

macbeth
Macbeth

a powerful drama about ambition and murder

important vocabulary to remember
Important Vocabulary to Remember
  • Tragedy
  • Tragic Hero
  • Tragic Flaw
  • Hubris
  • Chorus
  • Catharsis
  • Comic Relief
  • Catastrophe
  • Antagonist
  • Protagonist