The tragedy is a theatrical work whose origin goes up with the ancient Greek Théâtre. One opposes it to the Comédie. Contrary to this one, it puts in scenes characters of high row and is often untied by the death of one or several characters. The purpose of it is to inspire " terror and pitié".
OriginThe tragedy appears in Athens at sixth century BC. It is represented within the framework of the festivals of Dionysos (at the end of January and at the end of March).
The word τραγῳδία / tragôidía is composed of τράγος / trágos , “goat” and ᾠδή / ôidế , “song”, he wants to say the “song of the goat”. But the reasons of such a term are not very clear. The tragedy could have been initially related to the satyr, companion of Dyonisos, semi-man semi-goat. This assumption seems supported by Aristote which affirms in its Poétique that the tragedy is of satirical and light origin., It raises however difficulties: the satyr is never called “goat” in the Greek texts and well few things seem to connect the preserved Greek tragedies and the kind satyric. Another assumption was also formulated: the word goat would come, not of the subject of the tragedy but of the sacrifice of this animal before the representation. The ancient sources do not make it possible to confirm this assumption.
Some see in the " song of the bouc" the expression of the complaint of the animal led to the sacrificial furnace bridge, put in parallel with the confrontation of the tragic hero at his destiny during a fight which it can be lost in advance.
The Greek tragedy
See also: Greek Tragedy
Institutional frameworkThe Archonte S (governors of the city) annually organized a contest between three playwrights, each one presenting three tragedies and a Drame satyric. The best of them was then rewarded, and its preserved works; very few not rewarded tragedies reached us. The social function of these representations was important because the richest citizens supported the expenses of the spectacle whereas the least fortunate received an allowance to assist to with it.
UnfoldingCharacters of noble row are impotent vis-a-vis the higher forces (Gods generally) which handle them. The sequence of the events and the necessarily dramatic outcome concern a fate relentless, which can seem unjust, iniquitous and well beyond the human endurance.
The tragedy thus touches the public by terror and the pity (in the case of Oedipus, incestueux character and parricide) which it gives birth to. That makes a kind with of it carried edifying. For Aristote the tragedy has a didactic vocation, i.e. it aims at teaching a moral or metaphysical truth with the public. One calls that the Catharsis, thanks to which the heart of the spectator would be purified of his excessive passions.
The tragedy starts with a prolog ( ο προλογος ) in which one or two actors makes a statement on the situation.
The chorus enters then in scene; it is the parodos ( ο παροδος ). It takes seat in the orchestrated that it will not leave any more until the end.
There is then an alternation of dialogs between two or three actors: episodes ( οι επεισοδοι ) and of parts sung choral societies, stasima ( τα στασιμα ). There were in general three or four episodes and stasima.
The last part is called the exodos ( η εξοδος ). The chorus leaves the theater then.
The Greek Littérature has three great authors of tragedy: Eschyle, Sophocle and Euripide. The Roman Théâtre does not seem enough to have appreciated the tragedy so that develops an important tragic literature. Sénèque, however, adapted in Latin Greek tragedies like Phèdre or Médée .
The tragedy élisabéthaineImportant English authors write tragedies at the end of the 16th century and at the beginning of 18th: Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. It takes again certain features of the ancient tragedy but is characterized some by the absence from unit and by a mixture of let us tons, in particular by the comic insertion of passage in the text.
The French traditional tragedyIn France, at the time traditional, the two most important playwrights are Jean Racine and Pierre Corneille. When its part, Bérénice , was criticized because it did not contain a fatal outcome, Racine answered by disputing the conventional treatment of the tragedy. Crow practiced also a tragedy with nonfatal outcome or Tragi-comédie, kind appreciated before but left manners of the public since. At the same time, Jean-Baptiste Lully develops with Quinault the hybrid shape of spectacle, the tragedy in music or lyric Tragédie . The French traditional tragedy was to respect the Règle of the three units.
Tragedy and modernityIn the more recent literature, the literature declines like codified kind. The tragedy however seems to remain in certain outstanding works a Doll's house (1879) of the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen, the Bad shepherds , proletarian tragedy of the French Octave Mirbeau (1897), or, of the American Arthur Miller, the Witches of Salem and Mort of a commercial traveller …
In the Death of the tragedy (1961), George Steiner affirms that rationalism changed the design which the men are made of the world at the point remove the tragedy as well as the romanticism .
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