Evolution Of Modern Tragedy

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There is no doubt that tragedy has changed considerably since Aristotle first wrote the definition of tragedy in his Poetics in Ancient Greece, but these changes raise the question of whether modern tragedy still fits the classical definition of tragedy. Tragedy has evolved greatly since the times of the classical tragedies, including Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, to the more modern forms of tragedy, as seen in The Hairy Ape and Death of a Salesman. Despite its evolution and deviation from Aristotle’s definition, modern tragedy holds by the same principles, and retains the same power and message expressed by Aristotelian tragedy. Aristotle clearly defined the tenants of a tragedy in his Poetics. Some of the more important tenants play a large role…show more content…
While this change, as well as the changes in play production and the culture in the audience that views these plays, has had a great impact on the evolution of the tragedy, the basic ideas laid down by Aristotle remain adhered to, if not always in the way he wrote them. The tragic hero, Willy Loman, is of little virtue, being in financial trouble and growing more and more reminiscent in his old age. His fall is aided by his tragic flaw, that his pride in “selling yourself” will get one anywhere hey need to be in life, slowly tears his life apart, as well as creating unrealistic expectations of his son, thus bringing his demise. The play arouses fear and pity just as well as any classical work, possibly even more effectively due to the reatability of the “common man.” Just as in The Hairy Ape, the tragic hero dies, forcing the underlying evil on to the audience. This evolution to the common man can be explained through the evolution of society alongside tragedy. In the time of Aristotle, the best way to make a commentary on both societal and familial issues was through the eyes of nobility, which dealt with both. As time went on, however, the emergence of new societal and social issues such and women’s or worker’s rights led to the more effective tragic hero to be that of the “common man,” for they saw these issues in a was the aristocracy never could. These societal changes combined with the readability of the common man led to a shift in the tragic hero, yet never changed the underlying meaning of tragedy laid down in Aristotle’s
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