tragoed The Changing Tragedy of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire under the Elms

890 Words4 Pages
The Changing Tragedy of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire under the Elms

Tragedy can easily be considered the greatest of all genres due to the fact that it has withstood the test of time. Formally, tragedy employs something more complex than other genres. It is not part of a life full of happy endings. It is part of a bigger system of things. It is part of who we are. Perhaps tragedy is simply the art that truly imitates life.> Historically speaking, the great rises of tragedy have occurred during times of exceptional affluence. The Greeks, the Renaissance, and the early twentieth century are periods that enjoyed this type of security. Extreme cultural and technological advances marked each of these periods. The Greeks had practically conquered what was known of the world. The Renaissance period was marked by the reign of arguably the greatest monarch in English history, and the early twentieth century saw the rise of some of the greatest technological advances on record. Even though some would argue that we now live in one of the periods of great prosperity, there is not much room for a true tragedy in our society. We have tragedy in the form of the news every day. [more like spectacle]

In addition to the historical and formal facets of tragedy, the use of plot is key. Oedipus Rex is considered to be the most true to the form laid out by Aristotle. <Tragedy is marked by a problem of great proportions that must have a resolution. While the problem may seem wholly due to external forces, such as the death of King Hamlet or Eban's mother, spiritual and psychological factors come into play. This is especially evident in Desire of the Elms. The reader knows that there are extreme inte...

... middle of paper ...

...ating the play. In Desire under the Elms, comic relief is noticed in each scene in which the oafish brothers are characters. It should be noted that while there is a general descent towards comedy, the comedy is quite dark in nature. The underlying theme of "fate versus free will" constantly pops up and in each play a mixture of both is exhibited. Finally, the use of spectacle is seen only in Hamlet, especially in the end of the play. Spectacle is even used in the play within a play. Alternately, Oedipus Rex and Desire under the Elms suppress spectacle. O'Neill possibly felt that to show the lovemaking and murder would diminish the message of the play. It would certainly diminish the use of imagination. Overall, the deeper elements of this genre will continue to fascinate the human mind for the centuries to come, just as it has for centuries past.

    More about tragoed The Changing Tragedy of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire under the Elms

      Open Document