Tragedy And Comedy Essay

1007 words - 4 pages

Some of the earliest traces of tragedy and comedy date back to Greek festivals honoring their gods. Among all the gods, Dionysus was honored with a festival called City Dionysia. This festival took place in Athens which was a preeminent core of theatrical performances at the time. The dithyramb, an ancient Greek hymn, was sung in honor of this god. In fact, tragedy and comedy almost originated as one. John Morreall of State University of New York wrote, “the great dramatists wrote both tragedies and comedies”(Morreall 3). While this statement is quite valid, there is far more to the origins of comedy and tragedy than what meets the eye. Comedy and tragedy, though once quite the same, eventually began to grow apart as the differences between them strengthened. As this culture developed and went through the Shakespearean Era, tragedy and comedy have evolved into what they are today.
Early Greek tragedies were made to be performed upfront of an audience in a theater and were never truly intended to be written in the forms of novels. In fact, the origins of comedy and tragedy can be traced back to the great three tragedians: Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles. These great three composed some of the best plays of all time. Each generation re-invented the same myths from a different perspective and this sort of kept the myths alive because they seemed more valid. For example, Sophocles was a, “definitive innovator in the drama, he added a third actor—thereby tremendously increasing the dramatic possibilities of the medium—increased the size of the chorus, abandoned the trilogy of plays for the self-contained tragedy, and introduced scene painting”(Columbia E.E. 1). The Greeks divided their theatre into three genres: tragedies, comedies, and satyr plays. Satyr plays were part of the ritual to Dionysus and provided comic relief between tragedies during Greek theatre sessions. In particular, invective, a type of libel used in Greek polemical verse which was basically bad language used to express blame, could’ve been seen in tragedies and comedies, even though it gives off a negative connotation. Satyr plays basically bridged tragedy and comedy. Surely, this later changed as tragedy and comedy began to grow apart.
Shakespearean comedies, in their Elizabethan usage, tended to be more separate from tragedy. Shakespeare utilized satire which is a way for him to use witty language to convey insults. In fact, Shakespeare’s style made him unique which is why he is studied in classrooms even today. Still, Shakespeare wrote numerous problem plays such as Measure for Measure where an unusual tone insists that there is humor and tragedy together. In her section of a drama-based journal, Jennifer Wallace writes that, “the performance history of both Greek and Shakespearean tragedy involved the king of blurring of distinctions that Socrates presumably had in mind when he argued, at the end of a long evening of drinking, that ‘the same man could have the knowledge...

Find Another Essay On Tragedy and Comedy

Shakespeare In Love -Combination of Romantic Comedy and Shakespearean Tragedy

1491 words - 6 pages Shakespeare In Love -Combination of Romantic Comedy and Shakespearean Tragedy William Shakespeare once told us, "All the World’s a Stage" —and now his quote can be applied to his own life as it is portrayed in the recent film, Shakespeare In Love. This 1998 motion picture prospered with the creative scripting of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman and direction of John Madden. The combined effort of these men, on top of many other elements

Shakespeare's Treatment of Women in Comedy and Tragedy

1367 words - 5 pages Linda Bamber differentiates between Shakespeare’s treatment of women in comedy and tragedy. In tragedy his women are strong because they are coherent – ‘certainly none of the women in the tragedies worries or changes her mind about who she is’ – and the attacks which are made on them are the product of male resentment at this strength – ‘misogyny and sex nausea are born of failure and self doubt’ . The comic feminine on the other hand, is

How Modern Literature and Shakespeare Rebelliously Demonstrate Nonconformity Toward Traditional Definitions of Tragedy and Comedy

1470 words - 6 pages of language includes colorful insults, dramatic irony and poetic monologues. His plays, best divided into three categories, tragedy, comedy, and historical, are appreciated internationally. In Shakespeare’s tragedies, many or even most characters will die. However, some of his most famous works do not actually meet the requirements of their respective genres when held against classical definitions laid by Aristotle. Aristotle defines tragedy and

Tragedy versus Comedy

1189 words - 5 pages example, two of the most popular literary styles are tragedies and comedies. The two evoke different responses, and each style can be distinguished by its specific attributes. One could argue that a comedy is the complete opposite of a tragedy, and vice versa, since the two tend to have stark differences. The key differences between a tragedy and a comedy are the character of the protagonist,the struggle of the protagonist, and the conclusion

Comedy vs. Tragedy

930 words - 4 pages polar opposites appealed to many because of the way they brought the story to life. The same story written in both of these styles could have a completely different effect on the audience based on the style used. Although completely dissimilar, the two styles did have some similarities, which kept them in the Shakespearian style. Shakespeare’s more widely known comedy and tragedy, The Twelfth Night and Macbeth, respectively, are great examples to

Shakespeare's Comedy vs. Tragedy

984 words - 4 pages Shakespeare's Comedy vs. Tragedy- Certain parallels can be drawn between William Shakespeare's plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "Romeo and Juliet". These parallels concern themes and prototypical Shakespearian character types. Both plays have a distinct pair of 'lovers', Hermia and Lysander, and Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Both plays could have also easily been tragedy or comedy with a few simple changes. A tragic play is a play in

Shakespeare's Comedy vs. Tragedy

891 words - 4 pages Certain parallels can be drawn between William Shakespeare'splays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "Romeo and Juliet". Theseparallels concern themes and prototypical Shakespearian charactertypes. Both plays have a distinct pair of 'lovers', Hermia andLysander, and Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Both plays could havealso easily been tragedy or comedy with a few simple changes. A tragicplay is a play in which one or more characters is has a

Tragedy or Comedy

1157 words - 5 pages courted by Baron Tuzenbach and Solyony. While all of the love triangle continues, a very destructive fire collapses all the town and so three sisters face their unimportant and simple lives. The main question is that this is a tragedy or not.In some ways, it can be said that this is a comedy. Because vershinin and tuzenbach are sophisticated men; they are intelligent, educated. And their favorite hobby is philosophy. They are very serious and pride

"Comedy of Errors": a tragedy that leads to a comedy

2241 words - 9 pages from this comedy to a tragedy might have been the relationship between Antipholus of Syracuse and Luciana, since this passage, full of erotic connotation, could have been extracted perfectly from Romeo and Juliet:Antipholus of Syracuse: Sweet mistress-what your name is else I know not,Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine,-Less in your knowledge and your grace you show notThan our earth's wonder, more than earth divine.Teach me, dear creature

Defining Tragedy by Comparison to Comedy

1088 words - 5 pages Greece at around 5th century BC was the cradle of theatre. It was fundamental within the ancient Greek society in various aspects: theatres were built, players performed, large audiences gathered, and many Greeks practiced their skills of playwriting. Plays were written in two distinct genres – comedy and tragedy (Bishop 63). Up until our time, the theatre was represented by a pair of masks – one smiling, the other frowning. This symbol offers

The tragedy of Romeo & Juliet vs the Comedy of "Midsummer Night's Dream"

1737 words - 7 pages importantly Puck and Oberon who are both mischievous without hurting anyone physically. With a little effort these plays could be changed, MND turning to tragedy and R&J turning to comedy but it's a good thing that they are left as they are, otherwise the movies would be different.

Similar Essays

Comedy And Tragedy: Karl Guthke Essay

1869 words - 7 pages Background intro Attributes of comedy and tragedy blend into a new form of drama – tragicomedy. Not to be confused with black comedy or dark humor, tragicomedy is not a “parody of tragedy”(Roche) Tragicomedy, according to Karl Guthke, is “an ambiguous work that integrates tragic and comic moments simultaneously and in tension with one another.” (Roche) While other sources consider tragicomedy as a “loose mix of succeeding moments of tragic and

The Relation Between Comedy And Tragedy

631 words - 3 pages The Relation between Comedy and Tragedy   On the surface, comedy and tragedy seem to be complete polar opposites of each other. In terms of the actual narrative, examining the consequences of the character's actions reveals the biggest contrast. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' 'sin' of not listening to the Gods and trying to avoid his fate assisted in his downfall. Not only does his internal blindness result in him marrying his mother

Comedy And Tragedy In Alan Moore's "Watchmen"

939 words - 4 pages "The world is a tragedy to he who feels and a comedy to he who thinks," was one of the main sentiments voiced by Dramatist Mark Cole--he tied it into irony and tried to illustrate how the same event, given a change in time or perspective, can seem very different.The first thing I thought of when I heard this was The Comedian.In Alan Moore's brilliant graphic novel Watchmen, cited in Wizard: The Comics Magazine as the best American comic of the

Love: The Tragedy And The Comedy

863 words - 3 pages join him, was in death.Romeo and Juliet is a perfect comedy and tragedy. It portraits the love for friends, "love" for enemies and love between lovers. All of these may have led to tragedy, but it was all for a greater good. The Capulet family and the Montague family realized their mistakes and their needless fighting. It took just two family member to show them their faults.