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Tragedy: Fact Or Fiction? Essay

2269 words - 9 pages

Throughout time theatre has evolved and underwent so many metamorphosis that it is almost impossible to compare and discuss Tragedy as a theatre form in one essay. I have chosen to compare 20th Century Tragedy with Elizabethan Tragedy and how they vary from each other and even where they are the same in some areas.Renaissance drama developed in England during the reign of Elizabeth I in the latter part of the 16th century. Some academic neoclassical tragedies and comedies were being written and performed at the universities, but most Elizabethan poets tended to ignore neoclassicism or use it selectively. English drama drew on popular forms, a vital medieval theater, and the demands of a popular audience. Under the influence of England's changing political and economic status and the evolution of a fresh language, such playwrights as Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe gave birth to the epic, dynamic, unrestrained drama that culminated in the diverse and complex work of English theater's greatest genius, William Shakespeare.The plays used a classical act and scene structure, employed verse (although often mixed with prose). The subjects of tragedy tended to be historical rather than mythical, and the history was often used to make a contemporary point.Plays were presented during the warmer months in circular, open-air public theaters. The acting style for the early Elizabethan plays was heroic and exaggerated like the plays themselves, but by Shakespeare's time such actors were changing to a more restrained, natural style, as reflected in the famous speech to the players in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Scenery was minimal, consisting of little more than a few props or set pieces. The settings were probably created more vividly in the minds of the spectators by the suggestive, descriptive poetry of the plays.Modern English drama not only came into being in Elizabethan times, but also developed so rapidly and brilliantly that the Elizabethan era is the Golden Age of English drama. Elizabethan tragedy dealt with heroic themes, usually centering on a great personality who is destroyed by his own passion and ambition. The comedies often satirized the fops and gallants of society.Throughout all of literary history there have been two basic types of characters the protagonist, or hero, and the antagonist, or villain. Perhaps the greatest villain of all time is most greatly expressed in Shakespeare's tragedy Othello. By the time, Othello was produced, Elizabethan theatregoers were accustomed to the conventional elements of comedy and knew what to expect from a comic play: a story of love and courtship with some deceptive twist of plot, all worked out to a happy conclusion through good fortune and human ingenuity. However, in Othello, comedy appears as a precursor to tragedy. It presented the audience with the expected comic conventions gone twisted. The villain, Iago, expresses evil, deceit, and wickedness in the purest of forms. These are the qualities that make...

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