Chapter 6 Notes

Chapter 6 Notes
Genres: Tragedy
• Tragedy is considered by many to be the
highest literary achievement
– Sobering
– Thought
– Based on human emotion
– Achieving catharsis
– Timeless
• Focus of the protagonist
• Ultimately fails in his or her struggle to
achieve a goal
• Conflict- man v. man, man v. nature, man v.
deity, man v. society, man v. self
• Arousal of pathos-the emotional side of
humans—achieving catharsis
• Defines protagonist as “average or better
person who is brought from happiness to
• Acquires sense of awareness—of truth or of
• Alienated from society because of action or
lack of action
• Happens because of hamartia-character
weakness or error in judgment (flaw)
• Most common form is hubris
• Hubris=excessive pride, often the tragic flaw
of the main character in a tragedy
• Why is hubris so detrimental to a character?
5 Characteristics of Tragic Characters
• Has a flaw, makes an error = serious
• No apologies for their actions
• Set goals based on their beliefs
• Know the adage “everything worth having is
worth sacrifice”
• Character makes the sacrifice rather than
asking another person too
• Audience feels pity of character or
experiences fear
• Aristotle thought this connection with the
audience came about in two ways:
– Spectacle (least important)
– Structure and incidents of the play—the plot
• This is the preferred way to get the audience to connect
• Recognition
– Achieving inner awareness or insight to truth
– After the death of a loved one
– Or identifying a loved one after death
• Reversal-the ironic twist of fate
• Basic definition of tragedy-a play that end
unhappily, usually with the death or demise of
the protagonist
• A play that is lighthearted, includes clever
dialogue, and characters in funny situations.
They ultimately have a “happy ending”
• Protagonist overcomes opposing forces or
achieves desired goals or both
• Built around character, situation, and dialogue
Comic Situations
• Mistaken identities
• Rash promises
• Series of events where everything seems to go
Examples: The Importance of Being Earnest, The
Twelfth Night
• Incongruity-out of place, time, or character
• Stock market reference in Flapper!
• Anticipation-looking forward to the laugh, usually
because of dramatic irony or foreshadowing
• Ambiguity-puns and interpretations-Amelia
• Recognition-discovering the hidden meaning
• Protection-Nothing bad really happens-the
cartoon factor
• Relief-pent up emotions are released by laughter
Types of Comedy
• Low comedy-focuses on physical anticsslapstick comedy
– Farce-improbable characters and implausible
coincidences and events
– Burlesque- physical comedy and exaggeration
– Parody-mockery of a certain person or work (SNL
• High Comedy- intellectual humor The
Importance of Being Earnest
– Comedy of Manner-mocks the upper class and
their mannerisms
– Satire-ridicules human folly, social views or
Other types of drama
• Fantasy-unreal characters, dreams, imaginary
times and places—the land of make-believe
– The Wizard of Oz
• Romantic Comedy-the love affair of heroes and
heroines, ups and downs of the relationship, but
it always ends happily
– Taming of the Shrew
• Sentimental Comedy-marked by emotional and
presentation of material, lacks humor
– Short-lived genre
• Melodrama-originating in 19th century
England, use of stock characters, implausible
plots, trite storyline, virtue vs. villain based on
structure of tragedy, presents clear-cut view of
morality, good characters suffer, but unlike
tragedy, they always triumph at the end
• Play of Ideas-problem play or social dramadeals with social problem, racism, classism,
sexism, etc. Questions wrong or right,
philosophical. Solution is usually presented
• Psychological Drama-battles the complexities
of the human psyche and personal
relationships-The Glass Menagerie
• Whodunit-solving a crime-the courtroom
• Allegory-teaches moral concepts through
characters who personify abstract qualities—
truth, justice, love, etc.
Presentational v. Representational
• Representational theatre is what we will
attempt to create on stage. We want the
audience to believe that they are seeing life
the way it is. Actors make the audience
believe that they actually are leading “real
lives” on stage.
• Difficult because we have to work at the
natural action and reaction process
• Actors struggle with this once we know the
play well because our actions are so
• Presentational: This is strictly for the wow
factor. It can be very entertaining for audience
members because they become involved in
the production. Actions are much larger (Cats,
the Lion King) because the purpose is to
present, not represent.