The Evolution of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms

The Evolution of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms

Length: 1411 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Evolution of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms


There are many genres of literature. Because of the age of this genre, it stands to reason that many variations have occurred throughout the years to make it reflect that time period. The genre of tragedy tends to be considered great because it occurs during great periods of history, it is about great men, and it is written by great writers.> The evolution of tragedy and the characteristics of tragedy are exemplified in the comparison of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms.

In the comparison of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms the characteristics of tragedy are revealed. One characteristic is that tragedy appears during great times in history. It is thought that tragedy only occurs during great times in history because the people during those times have a sense of confidence that they can handle the horror of tragedy. Oedipus Rex was written during ancient Greece, which is considered the birthplace of the western culture. Ancient Greece is a time of great enlightenment in all of the arts, so it is not surprising that this is one of the beginnings of the tragedy. During this time Greece is rising in power so the people could enjoy watching others face hard times. Hamlet was written during another great period of history, the Renaissance. During this time people are moving out of the Middle Ages into a time of enlightenment, where a rebirth of interest in the arts occurs. This time also is marked by a confidence in one having a prosperous future and the country as a whole looking toward a good life. Finally, Desire Under the Elms appeared during what is called the Modern period. The Modern period is anot...


... middle of paper ...


...e determined. All three of these plays are great tragedies even if not all of them follow the characteristics of tragedy. It further proves that each period must make their own personal mark on the ideas of the arts in order to establish themselves as a distinct and great time period. [very good pick-up of earlier point] Without the evolution of these ideas, cultures would be stifled in the creative process and not stand out as an individual expressing the feelings of their time period.

Works Consulted:

O'Neill, Eugene. Desire Under the Elms. In Nine Plays by Eugene O'Neill. New York: Modern Library, 1941.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet. ca. 1600-1601. Ed. Edward Hubler. A Signet Classic. New York: Penguin Publishers,1963.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. The Oedipus Cycle. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald, trans. San Diego: Harvest, 1976

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

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

- 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....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Powerful Essays
890 words (2.5 pages)

tragoed Metamorphosis of the Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms

- Metamorphosis of the Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms Tragedy is considered by many to be the greatest of the genres. Often something goes wrong and exposes something great. Characters generally have more depth as evidenced by Hamlet. Tragedy shows up in the great periods of history: Classical Greece, Renaissance, and the early 20th century. It is a far more complex genre than comedy or romance. It teaches people to think since the storylines never have a simple answer or resolution....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Powerful Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

Transformation of the Tragedy in Oedipus, King Lear, and Desire Under The Elms

- Transformation of the Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, King Lear, and Desire Under The Elms           Over the course of time, many things tend to transform significantly. Such is the case of tragic literature and the cathartic effect it has on the reader, which has deteriorated a great deal from Sophocles' writing of the true tragedy, Oedipus Rex. King Lear exemplifies partial decomposition of catharsis, whereas Desire Under The Elms epitomises an almost total collapse of the cathartic effect. It is assumed that the lower the social status of the tragic hero, the weaker the ability of the 1990's audience to identify with the character's flaw....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
4722 words (13.5 pages)

Essay about Compare and Contrast Tragedy and Comedy

- Compare and Contrast Tragedy and Comedy A tragedy is defined as beginning with a problem that affects everyone, i.e. the whole town or all the characters involved, the tragic hero must solve this problem and this results in his banishment or death [run-on sentence]. A comedy is defined as also beginning with a problem, but one of less significant importance. The characters try to solve the problem and the story ends with all the characters uniting in either a marriage of a party. Although these two genres are seen as being complete opposites of each other, through further analysis one can gather that though they are different certain similarities can also be seen....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1019 words (2.9 pages)

The Tragedy Of Oedipus Rex Essay

- Greek theater is known for its tragedies, to the point that there is a formula for how to produce them. Catharsis is the end result of an ideal tragedy, and is a primary reason for why Aristotle views Oedipus Rex as the best Greek tragedy; even viewers today can feel catharsis from the play. Catharsis is a metaphor for emotional cleansing during a tragedy. Along with catharsis, Aristotle believes Oedipus Rex is a leading example of tragedy because of its simple plot, rational storyline and use of tragic essentials....   [tags: Tragedy, Drama, Poetics, Sophocles]

Powerful Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

The Tragedy Of Oedipus Rex Essay

- Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy is defined by six major parts which consist of plot, character, imagery, diction, melody, and spectacle. All these traits come together to create a fiction which dramatizes the events that may happen in the near future in order to purge emotions from the audience. Aristotle uses Sophocles OEDIPUS REX as a form to describe what a tragedy should have to be considered a tragedy. Knowing that OEDIPUS REX is the embodiment of a tragedy in Aristotle’s view, To Build A Fire would not fall under Aristotle’s view of a tragedy, but of a modern tragedy....   [tags: Tragedy, Poetics, Character, Sophocles]

Powerful Essays
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Desire Under the Elms Essay

- "Desire Under the Elms" takes place on the Cabot farm in rural New England. The people in the play are low on the social ladder and not of noble birth or royalty. The subject matter is not mythological and the plot is serious and complex and throughout the play there is evidence of harsh and cruel treatment of the individuals by the Puritan society. The play shows unity of action and the events follow in a logical sequence. The play is based on the struggles of family members possessed by greed and revenge....   [tags: Eugene O'Neill]

Powerful Essays
626 words (1.8 pages)

The Tragedy of Oedipus Rex Essay examples

- The Tragedy of Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is a tragedy that illustrates a man's sense of justice. The same man is also paranoid and impulsive. In the text, he overcomes his negative characteristics and succumbs to his greater sense of justice and responsibility. The king of Thebes is shown as a just ruler who cares about the suffering of his people. After saving the city from the Sphinx and her riddle, King Oedipus learns that a plague has beset upon the population. After consulting with the oracle at Delphi, Oedipus realizes that an unsolved crime is the cause for the suffering of the people....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
525 words (1.5 pages)

Desire Under The Elms Essay examples

- “Desire Under the Elms” In “Desire Under the Elms”, by Eugene O’Neill, many uses of both biblical and mythological allusions can be seen. These allusions help add depth to the plot of the play by linking the play to other similar, well-known stories. Three of the best allusions are seen in Cabot’s talk about how God is a strong god, his talk about God being in the stones, and his telling Eben that he is blind as a mole. Cabot’s talk about God being a strong god is important to the story. He tells about how hard he had to work to make the farm a good place to live....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
683 words (2 pages)

Tragedy in A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

- A tragedy is a genre of a play, a form of drama that portrays the suffering of a heroic individual who is often overcome by the very obstacles he is struggling to remove. A tragedy excites terror or pity. Each tragedy can be considered a tragedy because it involves a tragic ending to the play as a whole and a tragic hero. However, there are three main different types of tragedies. Firstly, in Greek tragedies, everything is deterministic. For example in the story of Oedipus (where he kills his father and marries his mother), fate is said to be responsible for all the events....   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Powerful Essays
1485 words (4.2 pages)