Tragedy: a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically a great person destined through a flaw of a character or conflict with some overpowering force, such as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.
Aristotle’s View on Tragedy:
Definition: the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions.
Kartharsis: process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
Every tragedy much have six part:
Plot: the arrangement of incidents, not the story itself but the way the incidents are presented to the audience, the structure of the play.
Plot must contain a beginning, middle, and end
Beginning/Incentive moment: start of the cause-and-effect chain, but not dependent on anything outside the compass of the play
Middle/Climax: must be caused by earlier incidents and itself cause the incidents that follow.
End/Resolution: must be caused by preceding events but lead to other incidents outside the compass of the play.
Complication (tying up/desis): cause-and-effect chain leading from incentive moment to the climax
Denouement (unraveling/lusis): more rapid cause-and-effect chain from the climax to the resolution.
Plot must be complete, and have unity of action. Meaning the plot must be structurally self-contained, with the incidents bound together by internal necessity, each action inevitably leading to the next without any outside intervention.
The plot must be of a certain magnitude both in length/complexity and seriousness/universal significance. Plots should not be too brief; the more incidents and themes in the play the greater the artistic value and richness of the play.
Plot may be either simple or complex; however, complex is better.
Simple plots have only a change of fortune (catastrophe).
Complex plots have both reversal of intention (peripeteria) and recognition (anagnorisis) connected with catastrophe. Both lead to surprise.
Peripeteria occurs when a character produces an effect opposite to which he intended
Anagnorisis is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between people destined for good or bad fortune.
Character: supports the plot, personal motivations are connected parts of the cause-and-effect chain of actions that produce pity and fear in the audience.
Good or Fine: relates to moral purpose and is relative to class
Fitness of character (true to type): character traits must suit the character.
True to life: realistic
Consistency (true to themselves): once the character’s personality and motivations are established these should continue throughout the play.
Necessary or Probable: characters must be logically constructed according to law of probability or necessity that governs the actions of the play.
True to life and yet more beautiful: idealized, ennobled.
Thought: found where something is proved to be or not to be, or a general maxim is enunciated. Associated with how speeches should reveal a character.
Diction: the expression of the meaning in words that are proper and appropriate to the plot, characters, and end of the tragedy.
Melody: musical element of the chorus. The chorus should be fully