Different Views Of Tragedy

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Tragedy is known to be an action that is based on the sufferings of human beings. It is said to invoke a pleasure in viewing or the accompanying catharsis in its audiences (1). It is also considered as an act that refers to specific tradition of drama which has been able play a unique role historically in the self-defining of western civilization (Banham, M. (1998, 1118) and Williams (1966, 14-16).


There have been various theories on tragedy including the greats like Aristotle, Hegel, Miller, etc. According to Aristotle, tragedy is characterized by dignity and seriousness and mostly involves a human being who has experienced a reversal of fortune. The definitions of Aristotle involve both good to bad and from bad to good. The fortune change from bad to good is termed as Eumerides and the fortune change from good to bad is defined as Oedipus Rex. Tragedy as a whole is defined as an action which heals the person emotionally through experience.

The best tragedy as defined by Aristotle should arouse fear and pity. The fortune reversal should be caused by Hamartia, which dates back to the ancient Greek times meaning that an archer missing his target. The Oedipus Rex is not caused by a flaw. This event occurs as a result of an action taken by the being. Aristotle further argues that if the downfall is brought by a higher power like law, then it is termed as misadventure and cannot be referred to as tragedy.

Aristotle also states that the tragic being may also receive some sort of revelation about destiny and human fate. This is known to be a diversion from ignorance to awareness of a bond like love or hate. He further argues that tragedy is an action which is admirable ...
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