Shakespearean tragedy


Shakespearean tragedy

Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. One of his earliest plays was the Roman tragedy "Titus Andronicus", which he followed a few years later with "Romeo and Juliet". However, his most admired tragedies were written in a seven-year period between 1601 and 1608. These include his four major tragedies "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear" and "Macbeth", along with "Antony & Cleopatra" and the lesser-known "Timon of Athens" and "Troilus and Cressida".

Tragedies

Many have linked these plays to Aristotle's precept about tragedy: that the protagonist must be an admirable but flawed character, with the audience able to understand and sympathize with the character. Certainly, all of Shakespeare's tragic protagonists are capable of both good and evil. The playwright always insists on the operation of the doctrine of free will; the (anti)hero is always able to back out, to redeem himself. But, the author dictates, they must move unheedingly to their doom.

Love tragedies

"Romeo and Juliet", "Antony & Cleopatra" and "Othello" could all be considered love tragedies. [Charney, Maurice: Shakespeare on Love & Lust, page 106. Columbia University Press, 2000] These tragedies differ from the other tragedies in that the lovers are not doomed through any fault of their own, but because of some barrier in the world around them. In these tragedies, death is completely a kind of consummation of their love -- as if love can not properly succeed in a tragic world.

List of tragedies by William Shakespeare

* "Romeo and Juliet"
* "Macbeth"
* "King Lear"
* "Hamlet"
* "Othello"
* "Titus Andronicus"
* "The Tragedy of Julius Caesar"
* "Antony and Cleopatra"
* "Coriolanus"
* "The History of Troilus and Cressida"
* "The Life of Timon of Athens"
* "Cymbeline" was listed in the First Folio as a tragedy although most modern readers regard it as a romance.

Footnotes

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