Origin Of Tragedy

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Aristotle’s definition and elements of tragedy has been modified and evolved through the works of Sophocles, William Shakespeare and Arthur Miller. These playwrights use Aristotle’s formula for tragedy as a base component of their versions of tragedy. The theory of evolution is brought in as a way to explain the survival of tragedy through time. Elements of tragedy can be viewed through several plays written by Sophocles, William Shakespeare and Arthur Miller, namely, Oedipus the King, Othello and Death Of a Salesman These plays can be viewed as the blueprints of tragedy, marking a way for improvement. This research paper consists of origins of Tragedy. To understand the origins, this paper unlocks and unpacks Aristotle’s definition and characteristics…show more content…
Thespis is said to be the inventor of the term Tragedy. He introduced the ‘first actor’ as a dialogue partner for the chorus. The ‘second actor’ was introduced by Aeschylus. Sophocles created the ‘third actor’; this actor was given several roles to portray. Tragedies were performed as a competition; this competition was held during the festival for the God of theatre, wine and fertility (Dionysus). These festivals were held annually every March in the city of Athens. The festival consisted of three playwrights that presented three tragedies; this was in the form of a trilogy. Each tragedy was followed by a satyr. The satyr was used as a comic relief to the seriousness portrayed in the tragedies. Classical Greek tragedy is viewed as method that allows humans to “understand their limitations” (Steiner, 1980). Tragedy can be said to be “a dimension of a divine paradigm” (1980). Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece. His interest in tragedy led him to analysis the formula for a tragedy. This analysis allowed him to create a set of guidelines that are still used today. The foundation of tragedy can be understood through Aristotle’s definition. One must understand that drama was not invented by Aristotle as he used other famous playwrights such as Sophocles to portray his main ideas of tragedy. Tragedy was viewed as the highest form of drama in the Greek era therefore; Aristotle based the idea of tragedy upon this belief. It is believed that Aristotle came very close to defining what makes a tragedy in his passage on Catharsis. Aristotle defines Tragedy

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