Elements in Shakespearean tragedies are:
The fatal flaw - a weakness in personality
Fall of the nobleman - extreme wealth and power.
External pressure - from others, such as evil spirits.
Hero - Has opportunities for redemption but never takes advantage of these in time, which leads to death.
The protagonist's tragic flaw causes him to bring about his own downfall; such a flaw may be an overpowering ego.
Shakespearean tragedies follow a five-act structure, ending in chaos.
The five-act structure in Shakespearean tragedies include:
Part 1: The exposition. This is where the main characters are introduced, and the situation is basically outlined.
Part 2: The rising action. This is where obstacles begin to play a role in the characters' lives.
Part 3: The climax. Here, the turning point of the play is set. It generally carries the most suspense in the play.
Part 4: Falling action. There are a lot of revelations here such as plot twists.
Part 5: Denouement or Resolution. At last, the storyline comes to a close. There is usually a lesson learned in this part.
-A Shakespearean tragedy is a five act play ending in the death of most of the major characters.
-The fatal flaw. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes are all fundamentally flawed. It is this weakness that ultimately leads to their downfall.
-The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The Shakespeare tragedies often focus on the fall of a nobleman. By presenting the audience with a man with excessive wealth or power, his eventual downfall fall is all the more tragic.
-External pressures. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes often fall victim to external pressures. Fate, evil spirits and manipulative characters all play a hand in the hero’s downfall.
Shakespearean tragedy is the classification of drama written by William Shakespeare which has a noble protagonist, who is flawed in some way, placed in a stressful heightened situation and ends with a fatal conclusion.
Common Features of the Shakespeare Tragedies
The Shakespeare tragedies share a number of common features, as outlined below:
The fatal flaw. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes are all fundamentally flawed. It is this weakness that ultimately leads to their downfall.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The Shakespeare tragedies often focus on the fall of a nobleman. By presenting the audience with a man with excessive wealth or power, his eventual downfall fall is all the more tragic.
External pressures. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes often fall victim to external pressures. Fate, evil spirits and manipulative characters all play a hand in the hero’s downfall.
All in all, Shakespeare wrote 10 tragedies:
Antony and Cleopatra
Romeo and Juliet
Timon of Athens
Michelangelo was caught up in the spirit of Humanism that was sweeping across Europe and focused on the human form.
Shakespeare = Michelangelo of literature
Similar to Greek tragedy (outlined by Aristotle)
Creates a cathartic effect
- catharsis: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions
Central protagonist undergoes a harrowing experience as he is brought down from his lofty height, inevitably ending up dead.
Protagonist is usually a prince/king with a hubris ("fatal flaw").
Antony and Cleopatra is considered to be a "double tragedy."
- contains no specific shape or form
- focused on the mind and the inner struggle of the protagonist
- Comic effect derives from audience reaction/different points of view
- "...tragic feeling coming out of a comic structure."
Another example: Othello
- protagonist has huge charisma
- "Modern psychological drama"
Shakespearean tragedy follow some common features:
1. The protagonist is someone of high estate
2. They all have a tragic flaw.
3. Protagonist begins to isolate from supporters
4. He recognizes his mistakes too late.
5. Usually results in a sad ending, which mostly involves death.