Comedy and Tragedy: Karl Guthke Essay

Comedy and Tragedy: Karl Guthke Essay

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Attributes of comedy and tragedy blend into a new form of drama – tragicomedy. Not to be confused with black comedy or dark humor, tragicomedy is not a “parody of tragedy”(Roche) Tragicomedy, according to Karl Guthke, is “an ambiguous work that integrates tragic and comic moments simultaneously and in tension with one another.” (Roche) While other sources consider tragicomedy as a “loose mix of succeeding moments of tragic and comedic moments.”(Roche) Nonetheless, the definition of what a tragicomedy is lies in the literary elements of tragedy and comedy elements and how both draw in complexity of human emotions and actions. When evaluating tragicomedy, it is important to note that tragicomedy is not juxtaposition to one another but are in a synthesis often using irony as key. (Roche)
Comparing the definition of tragedy from the times of Aristotle to the times of modern age, modern tragedy tends to be a drama with an unfortunate ending, whereas ancient tragedy was just a serious drama with no need to have an unhappy ending. (Roche). Tragedy brings insight into human irrationality. C.S. Lewis describes tragedy as a means of “bring[ing] people out of petty and into awareness” (Wheeler) Tragedy is depicted by the harshness in decisions and actions made by people. It is often related to suffering, severity, and fear. Works that use tragedy as a main device often develop characters that embody tragic elements. Typically, the tragic character develops hubris, which is the character’s “desire to reach beyond what is possible” (Wheeler). As a result, the tragic character ends up suffering due to misjudgments. Leading to describe tragedy as “a way to antidote human foolishness”. (Wheeler) As the character progresses, th...


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...ublishing, 1991.
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2008.










Works Cited:
• "Comedy and Tragedy." Comedy and Tragedy. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. .
• Cook, Christian. "What Is Comedy and What Makes Something Funny?" :: Language Foundry. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.
• Wheeler, Kip, Dr. Some Thoughts About Tragedy. N.p.: Carson-Newman University, Mar. 2014. PDF.< http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Tragedy.pdf>
• "Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy." NeoEnglish. WordPress, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. .
• Roche, Mark William. "Tragicomedy." Tragedy and Comedy: A Systematic Study and a Critique of Hegel. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1998. 255-57. Print.





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