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What makes a work a tragedy? What are some examples of tragedies?Please provide some...

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malen | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2009 at 8:00 PM via web

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What makes a work a tragedy? What are some examples of tragedies?

Please provide some video examples of tragedies.

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 15, 2009 at 9:46 AM (Answer #2)

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"The term "tragedy" has been interpreted as “missing the mark,” an idea that suggests tragedies occur when characters simply misunderstand their place in the world. Whatever the case, works labeled as tragedies are some of literature's most profound explorations of the human condition."

“The Patriot” - a tragedy because it shows how families were torn apart by the Revolutionary War.

 “Titanic” - The real tragedy of the movie and the actual events of April 14, 1912, is that the entire thing could have been prevented. The unnecessary loss of life was due to the arrogance of man in ignoring iceberg warnings and setting the ship to full speed, and the notion of class that allowed more men from first class to live than children from third class.

“Swing Kids” - During World War II, swing music was outlawed in Germany because it was primarily written by blacks and Jews.  This is the story of a group of Swing Kids as Germany grows in power.

“Anna Karenina” is one of the great tragic heroines of literature – torn between love for her man and love for her son. All she wants is to have them both at her side, but a loveless marriage and the social expectations of the Russian aristocracy force the tragic denouement.

“Hamlet” the complete and utter fall of Hamlet and the rest of the royal family of Denmark has become a universally told and treasured story, and this is a faithful yet entertaining version of it.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 15, 2009 at 7:35 PM (Answer #3)

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What makes a work a tragedy? What are some examples of tragedies?

Please provide some video examples of tragedies.

In Shakespeare's works, a tragedy included some specific elements that set it apart from just a really sad story. His famous tragic heroes, such as Hamlet and Macbeth, all share some definite characteristics.

In the beginning, they are men of high political/social position. They are men of power and good character, well respected and often admired. The problem is that each of these heroes suffers from a "fatal flaw" which will lead to his own destruction. (Hamlet's flaw was his inability to make a decision, take action and accept responsibility for both. Macbeth's flaw was ambition.)

In Shakespeare's tragedies, an essentially good man falls, destroyed by his own doing. The tragedy is that the seeds of his destruction lie within, and he doesn't even realize it until it is too late.

Some other interesting tragic heroes are Othello, King Lear, and Brutus. I believe there are numerous video productions of each of Shakespeare's tragedies. Mel Gibson playing Hamlet is really well done.

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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 24, 2009 at 6:36 AM (Answer #5)

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In addition to #3, Aristotle said that tragedy should also invoke pity and fear in a reader-- pity that someone of such a high station was brought to disaster, and fear because tragic flaws tend to be traits found in everyone in some form or another (pride is a favorite of authors).

Examples:

Tristan and Isolde

Braveheart

Dead Poets Society

Streetcar Named Desire

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cookiemonster96 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 24, 2012 at 7:42 PM (Answer #6)

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What makes a work a tragedy? What are some examples of tragedies?

Please provide some video examples of tragedies.

In Shakespeare's works, a tragedy included some specific elements that set it apart from just a really sad story. His famous tragic heroes, such as Hamlet and Macbeth, all share some definite characteristics.

In the beginning, they are men of high political/social position. They are men of power and good character, well respected and often admired. The problem is that each of these heroes suffers from a "fatal flaw" which will lead to his own destruction. (Hamlet's flaw was his inability to make a decision, take action and accept responsibility for both. Macbeth's flaw was ambition.)

In Shakespeare's tragedies, an essentially good man falls, destroyed by his own doing. The tragedy is that the seeds of his destruction lie within, and he doesn't even realize it until it is too late.

Some other interesting tragic heroes are Othello, King Lear, and Brutus. I believe there are numerous video productions of each of Shakespeare's tragedies. Mel Gibson playing Hamlet is really well done.

wow this really helped me on my essay! :D Excellent interpretation.

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thewanderlust878 | TA , Grade 12 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:13 PM (Answer #7)

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I personally believe that tragedies are one of my favorite works of literature, theater, and even video games. What makes a work a tragedy is usually if it has some very sad or awful situation in it, in most cases towards the end. For example:

Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare in theater

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy in literature

The Halo series in video games

Hope this helps!

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