Aristotle defined tragedy in his respected piece Poetics that defined the tragedy and many other forms of literature. Many tragic heroes such as Oedipus Rex and Romeo and Juliet fit well into this mold of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle. For example, they were flawed but well intentioned and their lives ended in a catastrophic death. Those plays, and many others in the genre, had all the elements of a tragedy: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. They were fantastic displays of misery that aroused pity and fear in the audience.
Aristotle defines tragedy in his respected piece Poetics and many other forms of literature. Many tragic heroes such as Oedipus Rex and Romeo and Juliet fit well into this mold of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle. For example, they were flawed but well intentioned and their lives ended in a catastrophic death. Those plays, and many others in the genre, had all the elements of a tragedy: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. They were fantastic displays of misery that aroused pity and fear in the audience.
If we seek to justify Shakespeare's King Lear as a tragedy by applying Arthur Miller's theory of tragedy and the tragic hero, then we might find Lear is not a great tragedy, and the character Lear is hardly passable for a tragic hero. However, if we take Aristotle's theory of tragedy to examine this play, it would fit much more neatly and easily. This is not because Aristotle prescribes using nobility for the subject of a tragedy, but, more importantly, because he emphasizes the purpose of tragedy -- to arouse pity and fear in the audience, and thus purge them of such emotions.
Aristotle's definition of a tragedy consists of several points. "A tragedy, then 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, where-with to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions." (Introduction to Aristotle p 631) Aristotle also claims that a tragedy must have six parts, in order of importance: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. Aristotle goes on to say that a tragedy is imitation not of persons, but of action, life, misery and happiness. The action should be a continuous whole. A tragedy must also contain peripety which is defined by Aristotle as "the change of the kind described from one state of things within the play to its opposite..." (Introduction to Aristotle p 637)
A world without comedy would be similar to a butter knife, it's dull, useless, and achieves very little. The world would be filled with impolite and obnoxious people. Comedy helps keep the flow of the world going. It allows people to laugh at one another and shrug off rude comments at the same time. It also creates a casual environment. Comedy is everywhere and it helps the world be a little less boring. Comedy can be found on televisions, the internet, and books, only to name a few. Comedy creates the illusion that things will get better; however, comedy gets better by making the situation worse. There are many types of comedy and some are: satire, farce, and one-liners. The definition of comedy is any story or event of a light, humorous nature that has a happy ending. One place where there was a reoccurring theme of comedy was in the movie Pure Luck. Three characteristics of comedy found in the movie were that logic and standard solutions do not always work in comical plots, comedy focuses on the irregularities in an otherwise orderly world, and comical characters consider the abnormal to be very normal.
Most readers are aware of the many famous deaths or acts of death within the Shakespearean plays. And when the main characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, indeed, the readers would categorize the play as a tragedy. The problem with any tragedy definition is that most tragic plays do not define the tragedy conditions explained or outlined by Aristotle. According to Telford (1961), a tragedy is a literary work that describes the downfall of an honorable, main character who is involved on historically or socially significant events. The main character, or tragic hero, has a tragic fault, the quality that leads to his or her own destruction. In reading Aristotle’s point of view, a tragedy play is when the main character(s) are under enormous pressure and are incapable to see the dignities in human life, which Aristotle’s ideas of tragedy is based on Oedipus the King. Shakespeare had a different view of tragedy. In fact, Shakespeare believed tragedy is when the hero is simply and solely destroyed. Golden (1984) argued the structure of Shakespearean tragedy would be that individual characters revolved around some pain and misery.
Aristotle states that "For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality. Now character determines men's qualities, but it is by their actions that they are happy or the reverse. Dramatic action, therefore, is not with a view to the representation of character: character comes in as subsidiary to the actions. Hence the incidents and the plot are the end of a tragedy; and the end is the chief thing of all.
Laughter and humor are ongoing topics amongst philosophers to ponder and to determine what makes one laugh, what’s funny? Thomas Hobbes’ theory, though short, is one that is a central point of reference, to date, when analyzing what makes us laugh. According to Hobbes “the passion of laughter is nothing but sudden glory arising from sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others” (Hobbes 458). Hobbes believes that it’s one’s superior feelings over another person’s inferiorities that the superior finds humorous, which result in laughter. He also theorizes on Wit. Wit, by the comedic definition, is natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor. Hobbes also views wit as being natural and consisting of: “celerity of imagining – that is swift succession of one thought to another – and steady direction to some approved end. (Hobbes 458). Wit, or one’s quick wittedness, can be put back into Hobbes’ equation that suggests what we find funny is that which one can experience from an unsympathetic distance allowing him to laugh at another’s infirmities.
“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.”
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play in three acts by Tom Stoppard, is a behind the scenes look at what happens in Shakespeare's Hamlet and how the events in the play may have seemed to other fringe characters. These characters are of very little relevance and even if they are removed from the scene of action, with the grotesque act of hanging by death, the impact on the actual play is minimal
Aristotle sees tragedy of being made of pity and fear. When tragedies occur in people’s lives it appears fear and pity is always an accompanying trait. Aristotle finds these two emotions to be staples in creating the perfect tragedy play. A tragic hero is the direct spawn of creating a tragic play.
Comedy differs in the mood it approaches and addresses life. It presents situations which deal with common ground of man’s social experience rather than limits of his behaviour – it is not life in the tragic mode, lived at the difficult and perilous limits of the human condition.
According to Aristotle, the importance of tragedy as a genre is to represent action. Thus unity of action purportedly has the strongest implications for the effectiveness of the work itself. Aristotle posits “a story, since it is the representation of action, should concern an action that is single and entire, with its several incidents so structured that the displacement or removal of any one of them would disturb and dislocate the whole.” (Aristotle 27) and deems this claim imperative. A good plot, and thereby an effective tragedy, does not include events, which are not connected to each other or specifically the main plot. In theory, these unconnected events are distracting from the main action and dissipate the tragic effect. With Aristotle’s definition, no sub-plot should exist in tragedy. For all events to be “necessary or [have] probable connection with each other.” (Aristotle 27) none should exist not directly related to the main action. Again, unity allows for the tragic effect to be concentrated, intending to allow for increased feelings of pity and
If there is one way to bring a smile to someone’s face, it is laughter. Funny jokes, comical stunts, sarcasm- Every person is different when it comes to what makes them laugh. Some find dry humor comical. Others think sarcasm or joke-filled ranting are the best. ‘Comedy’ is such a broad term, broad enough to allow everyone to find something they find comical. In fact, ‘comedy’ includes a specific type of drama, one where the protagonist is joyful and happy endings are expected. Comedy is like a drug; it allows you to escape reality. When we say the word ‘comedy’ in the present, we are generally referring to a type of performance which provides humor. However, in its broadest sense, comedy has only one purpose: comedy makes people smile and