Classic Tragedy In Modern Perspective Essay

6078 words - 24 pages

Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji, No. 49, Special Issue, English, Winter 2009, pp. 5-22 5
Ibsen's The Wild Duck and Chekhov's The Seagull: Classical
Tragedy in Modern Perspectives
Maryam Beyad*
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran, I.R. Iran
Mahsa Moradpour **
M. A. in English Language and Literatures, , Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran, I.R. Iran
(Received: 11/08/2008, Accepted: 31/01/2009)
Abstract Since its birth in ancient Greece, tragedy as an important dramatic form has always
attracted the attention of those who have a tragic sense of life. Although many scholars of tragedy put forward a bleak view regarding the possibility for the continuance of tragedy in modern times, two great dramatists, Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov, showed that tragedy can still be created in modern times provided that writers can adjust their tragic visions with the spirit of their age. This paper is an attempt to analyze the ways in which Ibsen and Chekhov portrayed the tragedy of man in the modern world in plays like The Wild Duck and The Seagull which deal with new tragic themes and concepts. The present article would also offer a brief glance at Greek tragedy to examine the relationship between these modern works and those of the ancient past.
Key Words: Modern Tragedy, Classical Tragedy, Ibsen, Chekhov, The Wild Duck, The Seagull.
___________________________________________________________________ * Tel: 021-61119053, Fax: 021-88634500, E-mail: msbeyad@ut.ac.ir ** Tel: 021-61119053, Fax: 021-88634500, E-mail: __

6 Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji, No. 49, Winter 2009
Introduction
Tragedy, as a dramatic genre, came to existence in ancient Greece, a civilization
which built the foundation for the development of western drama in general. This
highest form of dramatic art has attracted the attention of authors and critics alike for
many centuries, and attempts to create and interpret tragic works of art have never
ceased since its birth in ancient Greece. One of the periods in which significant
tragic drama emerged was around the late nineteenth-century when the Norwegian
Ibsen and the Russian Chekhov created dramatic works worthy of being defined by
the name of tragedy. Their tragic works, however, do not conform to the classical
standards of tragic drama; standards which, being mostly derived from Greek
examples, were dominant for many centuries. These dramatists knew that ancient
tragedies, despite their significance, no longer offered satisfactory solutions to the
problems of modern man's existence; hence, they helped to develop a new form of
tragedy which presents new perspectives on man and life. The present work is an
attempt to analyze the ways in which Ibsen and Chekhov have expressed tragedy of
man in the modern age. It also tries to indicate the tragic themes and concepts with
which they have dealt in The Wild Duck and The Seagull. In order to...

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