The similarities and dissimilarities between Greek tragedy and Elizabeth tragedy | Assignment |


The similarities and dissimilarities between Greek tragedy and Elizabeth tragedy: 
As I are going to show the similarities and dissimilarities between Greek tragedy and Elizabethan tragedy .At first, I need to describe about tragedy, Greek tragedy and Elizabeth tragedy.

Tragedy is a serious work of Fiction, especially a Drama. It presents the downfall of its Protagonist. A person“better than ourselves,” who through some error in judgment, weakness of character.
A serious drama in which a central character, the protagonist — usually an important, heroic person — meets with disaster either through some personal fault or through unavoidable circumstances.
 Tragedy originated in ancient Greece in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
In modern times, it achieved excellence with William Shakespeare in such works as Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. Twentieth-century tragedies include Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, and Murder in the Cathedral, by T. S. Eliot.

Definition of Tragedy: 
Aristotle defines tragedy in his different views. According to the Aristotle,
“Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody.” 
“Tragedy is the “imitation of an action” (mimesis) according to “the law of probability or necessity.”
“Plot is the “first principle,” the most important feature of tragedy”.
According to Aristotle’s definition, the following are the requirements of tragedy:
1.Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude. 
2.Tragedy is written in language which is embellished with each kind of artistic ornament; the several kinds begin found in separate parts of the play.
3.Tragedy is written in the form of action, not of narrative. Narrative is employed in the epic. But tragedy has to be represented on the stage, and must therefore be dramatic in form.
4.By arousing the feelings of pity and fear, tragedy effects the catharsis of these emotions.
So, Tragedy is an imitation of an action. Now, action implies agents or doers and so tragedy requires characters.

Greek Tragedy: 
According to Aristotle, Greek tragedy developed out of the improvised speeches of the dithyramb with the satiric drama as an intermediate stage. The word "tragedy" appears to have been used to describe different phenomena at different times. It derives from Classical Greek τραγῳδία, contracted from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat song", which comes from tragos. Tragedy is, then, an enactment of a deed that is important and complete, and of a certain magnitude, by means of language enriched with ornaments, each used separately in the different parts of the play.  It is enacted, not merely recited, and through pity and fear it effects relief to such and similar emotions— Poetics
Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of dance-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE (from the end of which it began to spread throughout the Greek world), and continued to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period.
Athenian tragedies were performed in late March/early April at an annual state religious festival in honor of Dionysus. The presentations took the form of a contest between three playwrights, who presented their works on three successive days. Each playwright offered a tetralogy consisting of three tragedies and a concluding comic piece called a satyr play. The four plays sometimes featured linked stories. Only one complete trilogy of tragedies has survived, the Oresteia of Aeschylus. The Greek theatre was in the open air, on the side of a hill, and performances of a trilogy and satyr play probably lasted most of the day. Performances were apparently open to all citizens, including women, but evidence is scant. The theatre of Dionysus at Athens probably held around 12,000 people.
All of the choral parts were sung to the accompaniment of an aulos and some of the actors' answers to the chorus were sung as well. The play as a whole was composed in various verse metres. All actors were male and wore masks. A Greek chorus danced as well as sang, though no one knows exactly what sorts of steps the chorus performed as it sang. Choral songs in tragedy are often divided into three sections: strophe, antistrophe and epode
Many ancient Greek tragedians employed the ekkyklêma as a theatrical device, which was a platform hidden behind the scene that could be rolled out to display the aftermath of some event which had happened out of sight of the audience. This event was frequently a brutal murder of some sort, an act of violence which could not be effectively portrayed visually, but an action of which the other characters must see the effects in order for it to have meaning and emotional resonance. A prime example of the use of the ekkyklêma is after the murder of Agamemnon in the first play of Aeschylus' Oresteia, when the king's butchered body is wheeled out in a grand display for all to see. Variations on the ekkyklêma are used in tragedies and other forms to this day, as writers still find it a useful and often powerful device for showing the consequences of extreme human actions. Another such device was a crane, the mechane, which served to hoist a god or goddess on stage when they were supposed to arrive flying. This device gave origin to the phrase "deus ex machina" (god out of a machine), that is, the surprise intervention of an unforeseen external factor that changes the outcome of an event.

Principle parts of Greek Tragedy:
A Greek tragedy normally contained the following parts:
1. The prologue the part before the entrance of chorus, in monologue or dialogue setting forth the subject of the drama and the situation from which it starts. In the earliest tragedies the play begins with the entrance of the chorus, who set forth the subject.
2. The song accompanying the entrance of the chorus.
3. The episodes, scenes in which one or more actors took part, with the chorus.
4. These songs were originally reflections or expressions of emotion evoked by the preceding episode. 
Elizabethan Tragedy: "Elizabethan tragedy differs from Aristotelian tragedy in that it originally was didactic (instructional) a warning against the dangers of tyranny, usurpation, and political unrest.” 
“In Elizabethan revenge tragedy, someone (usually the hero) attempts to right a wrong, and in the attempt, brings about his own bloody downfall as well as downfall of the wrong-doer. The desire for revenge often caused the character's madness or death since revenge is rightly the province of God rather than humans.” 
A brief definition of Elizabethan Tragedy: 
“The distinction between tragedy and comedy, still useful in our age, was particularly important in Shakespeare's time. 
Elizabethan tragedy was the still familiar tale of a great man or woman brought low through hubris or fate (though some of Shakespeare's tragic heroes--Romeo, say, or Timon, or Macbeth--do not easily accommodate Aristotle's definition of the type).” 

A lengthy description of Elizabethan Tragedy: 
“Closely connected with the historical plays was the early development of Tragedy. But in the search for themes, the dramatists soon broke away from fact, and the whole range of imaginative narrative also was searched for tragic subjects. While the work of Seneca accounts to some extent for the prevalence of such features as ghosts and the motive of revenge, the form of Tragedy that Shakespeare developed from the experiments of men like Marlowe and Kyd was really a new and distinct type. Such classical restrictions as the unities of place and time, and the complete separation of comedy and tragedy, were discarded, and there resulted a series of plays which, while often marked by lack of restraint, of regular form, of unity of tone, yet gave a picture of human life as affected by sin and suffering which in its richness, its variety, and its imaginative exuberance has never been equaled.” 
“The greatest master of Tragedy was Shakespeare, and in Tragedy he reached his greatest height. Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth are among his finest productions, and they represent the noblest pitch of English genius. Of these, Hamlet was perhaps most popular at the time of its production, and it has held its interest and provoked discussion as perhaps no other play of any time or country has done.” 
“This is in part due to the splendor of its poetry, the absorbing nature of the plot, and the vividness of the drawing of characters who marvelously combine individuality with a universal and typical quality that makes them appeal to people of all kinds and races. But much also is due to the delineation of the hero, the subtlety of whose character and the complexity of whose motives constitute a perpetual challenge to our capacity for solving mysteries. King Lear owes its appeal less to its tendency to rouse curiosity than to its power to awe us with an overwhelming spectacle of the suffering which folly and evil can cause and which human nature can sustain. In spite of, or perhaps because of, its intricacy of motive and superabundance of incident, it is the most overwhelming of all in its effect on our emotions. Compared with it, Macbeth is a simple play, but nowhere does one find a more masterly portrayal of the moral disaster that falls upon the man who, seeing the light, chooses the darkness.” 
“Though first, Shakespeare was by no means alone in the production of great tragedy. Contemporary with him or immediately following came Jonson, Marston, Middleton, Massinger, Ford, Shirley, and others, all producing brilliant work; but the man who most nearly approached him in tragic intensity was John Webster. The Duchess of Malfi is a favorable example of his ability to inspire terror and pity; and though his range is not comparable to that of Shakespeare, he is unsurpassed in his power of coining a phrase which casts a lurid light into the recesses of the human heart in moments of supreme passion.” 
The similarities and dissimilarities between Greek tragedy and Elizabeth tragedy: There are various similarities and dissimilarities between Elizabethan tragedy, particularly through the works of Shakespeare, and Greek Tragedy. Some of these include the mixing of prose and Poetry, the linear formula of a character with a suffer from a tragic flaw, which leads to the character's downfall, versus the Elizabethan idea of the Wheel of Fortune. However, one of the largest dramatic differences between Greek tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy has to be the use of violence on stage. And what it boils down to is that the perfect combination of dialogue and action that Shakespeare uses in Othello can be more powerful than just the allusion, emotion, and metaphor that Sophocles uses in Oedipus the King." 
The structure of Greek tragedy is characterized by a set of conventions. The tragedy usually begins with a prologue, (from pro and logos, "preliminary speech") in which one or more characters introduce the drama and explain the background of the ensuing story. The prologue is followed by the parados, after which the story unfolds through three or more episodes. The episodes are interspersed by stasima. Choral interludes explaining or commenting on the situation developing in the play. The tragedy ends with the exodus, concluding the story. It should be noted however that some plays do not adhere to this conventional structure. Aeschylus' "The Persians" and "Seven against Thebes" for example, have no prologue among his finest productions
Elizabethan Tragedy is simply the genre of theatre originating in England during the latter half of the 16th Century, being written and performed chiefly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558-1603. It includes, but is in no way limited to, the works of William Shakespeare (his historical plays and comedies as well as his tragedies).
The greatest master of Tragedy was Shakespeare, and in Tragedy he reached his greatest height. Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth are

Unity versus variety: 
Greek drama focused on a single theme and plot. The story was one that its audience would recognize and treated upon that single story without any subplots. Shakespeare, on the other hand, wove a wealth of plot threads through his plays with multiple story lines, themes and goals occurring in each play. Each play had secondary story lines that sometimes were directly related to the main plot and other times simply fleshed out the world of the play. 

In Greek drama, the characters had to be considered "great" in order to be the subject of a play. They were military generals, royalty or children of gods. Also, Greek drama tended to have fewer characters with a chorus filling in all of the roles surrounding the three or four main characters. In Shakespeare's plays, characters came from all walks of life. He even used fairy-type creatures and ghosts in several of his works. There was a larger company, and most plays have roles for at least a dozen characters, some many more.

Subject matter: 
Greek drama was almost always instructive and dealt with great matters. The plays were political or religious. Most of the subject matter came from histories or myths that the audience already knew, removing the need for much exposition. The plays explored the meaning behind these great events and focused on the story's moral and ethics. Shakespeare, on the other hand, borrowed widely from as many sources as he could find. His subject matter included the stories of private individuals and lovers as well as kings and nobles. He produced histories, but he also produced pastoral plays, and the subject could be as personal as a love affair or the paying of a bad debt. Shakespeare mixed comedy and tragedy within a single play, and some of his works defy an easy fit into one genre or another.

Greek theater was performed at religious festivals in large outdoor amphitheaters. The stages were large and the audiences even larger. Greek drama made frequent use of masks, in part to amplify the voices of the actors. Shakespearean plays took place on smaller stages. They were performed in courtyards and eventually in more permanent structures such as the Globe. They also were performed in parlors and traveled during parts of the year. There was very little use of masks, though they did use a great number of costumes and wigs.

Some other dissimilarities between Greek tragedy and Elizabeth tragedy: 
There are many important differences between Greek tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy. Greek tragedy was performed as part of a religious festival (like a church Christmas play) - so the stories were already known to the audience, and everyone knew what was going to happen next.  Elizabethan theatre was commercial entertainment. The stories were usually new, and an element of suspense was nearly always present.
Greek actors wore elaborate costumes and masks, and parts of the dialogue was sung (parts were even danced). Murders, fights and battles had to take place off-stage (a character would tell the audience what was happening) - as usually happens in opera or a ballet.
Elizabethan actors wore ordinary clothes (though they might be 'in period' for a historical play). They could scuffle, fight - even 'die' - onstage. (Shakespeare has Tybalt die onstage in Romeo and Juliet, to good effect).
Because Greek drama was semi-official, Greek playwrights tended to be highly respected public servants. Most Greek plays take a broadly politically conservative stance (though the best plays can be quite subtle in the points they make).
Elizabethan players were seen as anti-establishment (they were called 'masterless men'). Many Elizabethan plays are critical of official government positions - though there was rigorous state censorship to make sure they never went too far. Shakespeare's plays, however, consistently adopt a position supportive of the government (and he was far from a "master less man", being one of the King's Men).
Another difference is that in Greek tragedies logic over rules emotions (characters try to find out the truth and how things really happened) and in Shakespearean tragedies emotion over rules logic (characters worry about their emotions and what they think is going on rather than finding out the truth).
In Greek tragedy, the chorus is always present on stage as a commentator; in Shakespeare choruses only introduce the scene or the play (see Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV Part II, and Pericles for examples)
Greek tragedies usually have one continuous simple plot; Shakespeare's plays have complex plots often involving intertwining subplots.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.