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 Tragedy • 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 Aristotle • Defines protagonist as “average or better person who is brought from happiness to misery” • Acquires sense of awareness—of truth or of self • 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 consequences • 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 Comedy • 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 wrong Examples: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Twelfth Night Getting the Laugh Exaggeration-overstating • • 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 Bedelia • 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 skits) • 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 individuals 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 drama • 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 choreographed. • 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.