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Tragedy as a concept has its roots in the oral tradition. Stories passed down were not always history. The stage versions, what we now call drama, began with the Greeks. Ancient Greece favored tragedy, and the plays are still performed and studied today. Personally, I prefer Sophocles!
The word tragedy comes from the Greek word "tragoidia" which is a compound word meaning "goat-sing". The word stemmed from the Roman and Peloponnesian satyr plays where the satyrs (goat-like creatures) were bawdy and chased nymphs.
The Greeks were the first to make tragedies very popular...presumably through the festivals to Dionysus...where plays about birth and death were presented in the Spring.
Of course, in your analysis of the word tragedy, you will want to trace how it has become what it means to us today. Aristotle is famous for his writings about tragedy and his presentation of a tragic hero as being a character who has a fatal Achilles heel, normally related to hubris or pride, that results in the character's downfall, who was originally a good person.
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