Robert Frost And Poetry Essay

3601 words - 14 pages

Ans:"Tragedy and the Tradition" is the second essay of part one of Raymond Williams 'book "Modern Tragedy". The essay is a discussion on the common and the traditional interpretations of tragedy. Williams has used his power of perception and has come with strong thesis on the evolution of tragedy in the essay. In a previous essay, Raymond tells the basics of tragedy in these words;"We come to tragedy by many roads. It is an immediate experience, a body of literature, conflict of theory, an academic problem."According to Williams, tragedy has not been the death of Princes; it has been at once more personal and more general. He has compared his own sense of tragedy with the conventions of the time. Tragedy is not simply death and suffering, and it is certainly not accident. Nor is it simply any response to death and suffering it is, rather, a particular kind of event, and kind of response which are genuinely tragic, and which the long tradition embodies. In this article, he has tried to examine two questions :(a)a) What is the meaning of tradition?(b) What is the relation between the tradition to tragedy and the kinds of experience that in modern times, we mistakenly call tragic? The writer proposes to examine the tradition, with particular reference to its actual historical development, Williams's remarks,"Tragedy comes to us, as a word, from a long tradition of European Civilization, and it is easy to see this tradition as a continuity in one important way: that so many of the later writers and thinkers have been conscious of the earlier and have seen themselves as contributing to a common idea or form."We usually try to make a contrast between the traditional and the modern, and try to compress and unify the various thinking of the past into a single tradition. The tradition, Williams explaining this point says:"It is a question; rather, of realizing that a tradition is not the past, but an interpretation of the past: a selection and valuation of ancestors, rather than a neutral record. And if this is so, the present, at any time, is a factor in the selection and valuation. It is not the contrast but the relationship between modern and traditional that concerns the cultural historian."Williams further remarks:"To examine the tragic tradition, that is to say, is not necessarily to expand a single body of work and thinking, or to trace various within an assumed totality. It is to look critically and historically, at works and ideas which have certain evident links, and which are associated in our minds by a single and powerful word. It is above all, to see these works and ideas in their immediate contexts as well as in their historical continuity, and to examine their peace and function in relation to other works and ideas, and to the variety of actual experience."According to Williams, out of some three hundred Greek plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and many others, thirty two plays have survived. Yet what survives has an extraordinary...

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