Tragedy Versus Comedy Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

Emotion. Aside from the occasional exception, one could correctly assume the definite ability of emotional perception humans have. Depending upon the goal of a play, or other literary work, the plot of the aforementioned work is designed to evoke a specific, or a range of emotions. The manner in which the literary work in question, achieves a certain emotional response can be characterized by the specific literary elements the work contains. For 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.

In every society ever molded by the hands of man, an unquestionable though sometimes overlooked fact of such societies is the distinction between groups of individuals based upon their perceived worth. This distinction is a fundamental difference between a tragedy and a comedy. In a tragedy, a protagonist is "a prominent and powerful hero,(1),a king, or even a god (4). The hero tends to be stubborn, traditional, and experiences emotions strongly (2). The probability of an audience member having the ability to empathize with such an esteemed character, is low. A comedic protagonist tends to be quite the opposite. The protagonist of a comedy must display at least the minimum amount of personal charm to gain the audience's basic approval and support (1). The protagonist also tend to be more adaptable (2) than a tragic protagonist. The comedic protagonist has morals that are "average to below average" (1). Respect for authority or individuals in a position of authority, tends be less in a comedic play (2). Essentially, a protagonist from a tragedy and a protagonist from a comedy are found on different ends of a spectrum. A tragic protagonist values tradition, and the concept of throwing all of one's self into any given emotion or action. A comedic protagonist is more adaptable and is more focused on adjusting to circumstances through luck or will.

The circumstances surrounding any individual at any given point in their lives is unique for every individual. Whilst the same concept applies to both tragedies and comedies, there is a general struggle that pertains specifically to a tragedy, and in a distinctively different way to a comedy. In a tragedy, the protagonist has a struggle between man and fate/destiny (3), or in some cases, a struggle against social forces that are beyond man's control (2).Their struggle is dominated by fate or necessity (3). The struggle they face, is tantamount to, or even surpasses the aesthetic worth of the protagonist. Their struggle results in actions that will lead to certain and occasionally peculiar outcomes. In the beginning, the...

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