This is topic Have we lost our sense of tragedy? in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by PrometheusBound (Member # 10020) on :
Or did Americans never have it, or what?

Sitting through one of the innumerable classes in which I have studied some work of tragic literature (I've taken alot of English and theatre), I have noticed that many of my fellow students seem to react with a sort of "good riddence" attitude. Faustus and Oedipus are not sympathetic charecters, becouse they deserve what they got. What was once called tragedy now seems to be called

I find this kind of scarry. I mean, I am certainly a very flawed person (arn't we all?), in some ways very much like Faustus and especialy like Hamlet. If they who are like me deserved to suffer greatly, then do I not also deserve this? And if I do, then do we all?

Maybe, but I would think and hope that this would make us sympathetic.
Posted by SoaPiNuReYe (Member # 9144) on :
Oedipus never appealed to me. I guess it was just the fact that I had to write like 10 essays on him, but hey if you like that stuff its cool with me. I think the difference between most people and the tragic heroes in the plays that we read about is that most people try their sincere best to fix those flaws. I know I try to, and I'm pretty sure that everyone around me does too. That's why people give up stuff for Lent and things like that. Even if they don't really believe in God, they realize that it's a good opportunity to exercise more or cut down on junk food or whatever. I think the same applies for character traits as well. If a person comes across as too cocky or overconfident, many times they will try and work on it. There are very few people I can think of that are just immature like that, and if they are, they aren't very popular.
Posted by Joldo (Member # 6991) on :
I've written most of my portfolio of essays on tragic heros. Oedipus, I feel, fails as a tragic hero, as does Faustus. Macbeth as well.

But Hamlet, Juliet, Desdemona, and Othello are wonderful and tragic. Antigone too.

I feel choice is an important factor for a tragic hero, and many lack this.
Posted by Will B (Member # 7931) on :
How old are the people in your class? It may also be age-related -- being willing to look past the flaws in the story. (Although I get *less* patient with things like that as time goes by.)

Or maybe you're going to school with a bunch of Cardassians.
Garak: I'm sorry, doctor, I just don't see the value of this man's work.

Bashir: But Garak, Shakespeare is one of the giants of human literature!

Garak: *I* knew Brutus was going to kill Ceasar in the first act, but Caesar didn't figure it out until the knife was in his back.

Bashir: But that's what makes it a tragedy! Caesar couldn't conceive that his best friend would plot to kill him.

Garak: "Tragedy" is not the word I'd use. "Farce" would be more appropriate.

-- Deep Space Nine, "Improbable Cause"

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