Dramatic Terms Shakespeare, Drama, and the Tragic Hero Protagonist Main characters of a play Drive the action of the play by striving to achieve a goal Antagonists/Obstacles Antagonist: a character who interferes with a protagonists reaching his/her goal
Obstacle: a non-human force which interferes with a protagonist reaching his/her goal Nature Fate Dramatic Question Will the protagonist reach his/her goal? This creates suspense
Makes a story interesting Conflict Conflict occurs when a protagonist runs into an antagonist or an obstacle Two types External: between two separate forces Internal: within one character Elements of Shakespearean Plot
Rising action Things get more interesting In Shakespeare, something occurs to put the natural order out of balance Elements of Shakespearean Plot Turning Point When the protagonist is irrevocably sent on his or her way to either achieving or failing to achieve his/her goal Always 3rd act of Shakespeares plays Climax
When the dramatic question is answered Always in 5th act of Shakespeares plays Denoument/Resolution Act 5 Ties up loose ends Natural order reestablished in Shakespeare The Natural Order: Elizabethan Age The ways the universe was intended to be:
The Great Chain of Being God Angels Mankind King Nobles Peasants Beggars
Animals Plants Inanimate Objects: dirt, rocks, etc. The Natural Order: Elizabethan Age A benevolent, wise, king/queen in power All are loyal to this king/queen No chaos or anarchy because the Great Chain of Being is adhered to
All people play their designated roles roles designated by God The Natural Order: Elizabethan Age Tragedy occurs when the natural order, the chain, is somehow disrupted For example: King is corrupt A rightful king is overthrown God is disobeyed Results of the chain being disrupted
Tremendous social/political upheaval Suffering, death, destruction Anarchy, chaos, and loss of stability The Natural Order: Elizabethan Age Basic Structure of Shakespearean plays: Natural order is somehow upset Comedies: nothing terribly awful happens Tragedies: lots of very bad things occur Many complications occur as a result
In the end, the order is always reestablished, at tremendous cost in a tragedy Other Common Elements in Shakespeare Foreshadowing When an event hints at something to come later in the play Dramatic Irony Audience and at least one character knows something a different character in the play does
not Situational Irony When something occurs very different or opposite of what you would expect The Tragic Hero Character of great political/social standing Must fall from a great height to get the desired effect
Neither totally evil or totally good If too good, we are angered If too evil, we feel justice The Tragic Hero Tragic Flaw Hero is destroyed due to some tragic character flaw A personal error or frailty Not an innocent victim of fate
Hero is responsible for own destruction Hero suffers greatly as a result of his/ her mistakes The Tragic Hero Suffering leads to enlightenment It is not pointless suffering Character grows and changes Downfall arouses pity and fear Pity: we see how far they have fallen and how much they suffer
Fear: if it could happen to someone of great importance, it could happen to us Purpose of Tragedy Why watch a play that ends with great sadness and pain? How is this entertainment? Catharsis: an emotional purging Allows audience an outlet for negative, toxic emotions that build up Thus, relief or even satisfaction is often the paradoxical effect of watching a tragedy
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