A-Z: General definitions: Tragedy


A  genre of drama which ends in unhappiness, usually death, and which deals with the darker side of human nature. Although many of its devices are similar to comedy, such as mistaken identity and co-incidences, the outworking of these is negative rather than positive. Classical tragedy, described by Aristotle, demands a plot centring round the fall of a noble person, whose fall may be attributed to some specific failure or sin. Modern drama, however, sees the death of even a low-born person tragic, as in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and sees the failure as societal as well as personal.

Related Topics

Impact of classical literature: Tragedy, comedy and the unities

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