This summary breaks down the essentials for a good tragedy including specific requirements for plot, character, thought, dicition, chorus and spectacle. All of these specific requirements can be identified in Sophocles’ play. In Aristotle’s “Theory of Tragedy”, he listed the plot as the first and most important requirement for a good tragedy. The plot must be unified and contain a beginning, middle and end. The beginning, or incentive moment, needs to initiate a cause and effect chain that cannot be dependent on an incident that occurred outside of the time span of the play.
The six parts to Aristotle’s elements of tragedy are: Plot, character, language, thought, spectacle, and melody. According to Aristotle, the most important element is the plot. Aristotle writes in Poetics that, “It is not for the purpose of presenting their characters that the agents engage in action, but rather it is for the sake of their actions that they take on the characters they have” (Aristotle 1150). Plots should have a beginning, middle, and end that have a unity of actions throughout the play making it complete. In addition, the plot should be complex making it an effective tragedy.
Aristotle’s Poetics is often considered the blueprint to a successful tragedy; his outline has been used for hundreds of years. Aristotle defines a tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude… in the form of an action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions” (House 82). Aristotle believed that the most important part of a strong tragedy was the plot, and from that, the other elements such as character, diction, etc. would emerge. Aristotle states, “the principle of tragedy – the soul, if you like – is the plot, and second to that the characters” (Whalley 27).
Subcomponents of a tragic play, they should have six parts plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song. Literature and human nature, according to Aristotle our qualities are determined by our characters. A perfect tragedy should imitate a complex action while leading a good man to misfortune by error this is the tragic flaw. Completeness of work i.e. unity of work and time the key qualities are it should have a beginning middle and an end.
A Survey of Tragedy A modern tragedy of today and a tragedy of ancient Greece are two very different concepts, but ironically, both are linked by many similarities. In “Poetics”, Aristotle defines and outlines tragedy for theatre in a way that displays his genius, but raises questions and creates controversy. Aristotle’s famous definition of tragedy states: “A tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious, and also as having magnitude, complete in itself in language with pleasurable accessories, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form: with incidents arousing pity and fear; wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions.” I believe Aristotle’s meaning of “Imitate” is to play out, as in acting, and with “Magnitude” is to imply great importance or consequence. The phrase “complete in itself in language” is the method in which the drama is delivered to the audience, while “pleasurable accessories” would refer to the costumes, props and stage. Where Aristotle states; “each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work”, I believe he is referring to the different “Scenes” within the different “Acts”.
A tragic play is a combination of dramatic scenes that act out a tragic event and usually labors unhappy endings. The play would usually portray the downfall of the main character. According to Aristotle, “Every Tragedy therefore must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Song.” Based on Aristotle’s definition, Oedipus and Hamlet are a good examples tragedy. They both have been developed with a strong Plot and Characters. According to Aristotle, Plot is considered to be “the soul of tragedy” and very important in a play.
In order to be considered a tragedy, it must include six parts; those being plot, characters, diction, thought, spectacle, and melody. Plot is considered to be the most important since it is essentially the structure of the play. In a tragedy, plot is referred to as the tragic plot and it is considered to to be both single and complex. There are three steps in a tragic plot, reversal, recognition, and suffering. Ultimately, it is the cha... ... middle of paper ... ...orrect to label Othello as a tragic hero as well as to classify Othello, The Moor of Venice an aristotelian tragedy.
. . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Thought, Diction, Spectacle, Melody. (http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html)” Later in history, William Shakespeare wrote tragedies that epitomized Aristotle’s outline of a tragedy. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one such tragedy.
Consequently, this idea of cause and effect must direct the plot of the play until the protagonists have an unfortunate end. Thus, the audience watching the tragedy will experience fear and pity for the characters since their actions will lead to their dramatic downfall. Similarily, William Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet, conveys these fundamental ideas, but it mainly emphasizes on certain tragic concepts. These components, explained by Aristotle, certainly make this play a quintessence of tragedy. They support the chain of events in Romeo and Juliet by using character traits and majors events to connect the plot and illustrate how the characters create their own ending.
Greek mythology and performances are often based off the evidence of calamitous and catastrophic epics, usually called tragedies. An archetypal tragedy is a disastrous play that directly follows the phases of a typical tragedy, and induces a plot revolving around one specific event aimed at one or more protagonists. An archetypal tragedy includes a protagonist that experiences a completion of an ideal, fatal faults, and ardor realizations and intuitions. In Oedipus, an epic written by Sophocles, Oedipus becomes known as the protagonist with harmful circumstances perspiring around his fate. Sophocles introduces Oedipus as a tragic character by inducing hubris and dramatic irony as key components to his downfall.