Tragedy: Elements, Structure, and Conflict

January 18, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Shakespearean Tragedy Structure and Conflict

What is Tragedy?

What is Tragedy?  What’s the difference between a Tragedy

and a Sad Story?

Origins of Tragedy  The Greek

philosopher Aristotle first defined tragedy in his book Poetics written in about 330 BCE.

Tragedy is when bad stuff happens to good people – who kind of deserve it.

Elements of Tragedy  A Tragic Hero  Hamartia

 Peripeteia  Anagnorisis  Catharsis  Restoration of Social

Order

The Tragic Hero  The tragic hero is

someone we, as an audience, look up to— someone superior.  The tragic hero is nearly perfect, and we identify with him/her

Hamartia  Although he is nearly

perfect, the hero has one flaw or weakness  We call this the “tragic flaw,” “fatal flaw,” or hamartia.  The most common form of hamartia is hubris, or excessive pride.

Peripeteia  Also called Reversal of

Fortune  The “fatal flaw” brings the hero down from his/her elevated state.  Renaissance audiences were familiar with the “wheel of fortune” or “fickle fate.”  What goes up, must come down.

Anagnorisis  Anagnorisis is the moment when a character makes

a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for. It was the hero's sudden awareness or realization of things as they stood, and finally, the hero's insight into a relationship with an often antagonistic character in Aristotelian tragedy.

Catharsis  “Catharsis” is the

audience’s purging of emotions through pity and fear.  The spectator is purged as a result of watching the hero fall.  Vicarious lesson

 A story that evokes these emotions in the audience

has successfully taught a vicarious lesson.

Restoration of Social Order (Dénouement)  Tragedies include a private and

a public element  The play cannot end until society is, once again, at peace.

Structure of Tragedy William Shakespeare wrote many tragedies in his prolific career. In each, he adhered to a rigid structure that has proven to be successful in capturing an audience’s attention. This structure has been used as a formula for hundreds (thousands?) of plays and movies over the past four centuries.

The Structure of Tragedy 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Exposition Exciting Force Rising Action Climax Falling Action Catastrophe

Exposition  The exposition

describes the mood and conditions existing at the beginning of the play. The time and place will be identified as well as the main characters and their positions, circumstances, and relationships to one another.

Exciting Force  Also sometimes

called the complication or initial incident, the exciting force is what “gets things going.” The exciting force thus begins the conflict which will continue throughout the play.

Rising Action  The series of events leading

to the climax comprise the rising action. These events provide a progressive intensity of interest for the audience. The rising action will involve more than one act.

Climax  The climax represents

the turning point of the play. From this point on, the Shakespearean hero moves to his inevitable (often grisly) end.

Falling Action  The falling action includes

those events occurring from the time of the climax up to the hero’s death. The episodes will show both advances and declines in the various forces acting upon the hero.

The Catastrophe  The catastrophe

concerns the necessary consequences of the hero’s actions (death). The catastrophe will be characteristically simple and brief.

Tragedy Structure  Act I: Exposition, Exciting Force, Rising

Action  Act II: Rising Action  Act III: Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action  Act IV: Falling Action  Act V: Falling Action, Catastrophe

A. Exposition B. Exciting Force C. Rising Action D. Climax E. Falling Action F. Catastrophe B

A

D C

E

F

Conflict Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot.

Types of Conflict There are two categories: Internal Conflict Man vs. Self

External Conflict Man vs. Man Man vs. Society Man vs. Nature

Internal Conflict: Man vs. Self In this type of conflict, the main character is torn between two or more ideas/courses of action. “Should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble, But if I stay it will be double.” -- The Clash

External Conflict: Man vs. Man This type of conflict finds the main character in conflict with another character. The conflict can be physical, psychological, or even philosophical.

External Conflict: Man vs. Society This type of conflict has the main character in conflict with a larger group: a community, society, culture, etc.

External Conflict: Man vs. Nature This type of conflict finds the main character in conflict with the forces of nature, which serve as the antagonist.

The End

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