In Literature tragedy is a serious play of the downfall of a dignified and superior hero who
participates in events of great importance. The old Greeks, used tragedy to communicate about human’s
relation to gods as suffering, duty and fate. These basic ideas were developed by the motifs, themes,
concepts and ideas through which important incidents accrue. The tragedy is all opposite of comedy and
is marked by its acute seriousness. It depicts reality its inner contradictions and profound conflicts in a
highly concerned symbolic form as tragedy.
Important part of the Greek tragedy is hero; a person of high stature accepts his failure with full
responsibility. The person is not good neither bad but decent fellow yet flawed.
The purpose of the tragedy is to arouse the feelings of fear and pity in the audience as they watch
the downfall of a great hero in front of their eyes.
Aristotle’s definition of tragedy
The imitation of an action, serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in a language
beautified in different parts with different kinds of embellishment, through action and not narration,
and through scenes of pity and fear bringing about the Catharsis of these emotions.
Structure of Greek tragedy:
Greek tragedy usually starts with a prologue, where a character or many characters set a stage to
play. The play has almost three scenes. In between scenes there comes chorus that was used to explain the
elements of the play which the characters were unaware or act as if they are not known to these facts.
Chorus is made up of the common people of the society, a group of seven to eight people commenting on
Five parts of Greek Tragedy:
? Prologue: The presentation of the tragedy’s topic to the audience.
? Parados: Explanation of what has happened through the
? Episode: This is the most important section of the tragedy where the characters interacted with
? Stasimon: This section is presented by the chorus by commenting on the plot and incidents of
? Exode: This is the final part of the tragedy where chorus sung its last song and deliver the moral
of the tragedy.
Development of Greek Tragedy:
The Greek tragedies has great dealings with religious aspects and developed from religious rituals
associated with god Dionysus and survived as religion oriented throughout history. The Greek tragedies
were recreated of myths about the conflicts of generations as the conflicts of hero or gods. Greek
tragedies brought the spectator to the problems of reality that is why this genre is perfect in its
harmonious work of literature and arts. As seen in the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles. Greek
tragedy because of its realism has got the power to affect the audience directly as physically as well as
psychologically. It arouses the feelings of pity and fear and then resolved the conflicts by the catharsis of
Oedipus as a Greek Tragedy:
Oedipus Rex is a typical Greek tragedy as it has all the tragic elements in it, like, tragic setting,
mood and tone, tragic hero with tragic hamartia and tragic plot. The dialogues and language of the
characters also reflects the tragic mood of the play. Corus emphasizes on the tragic message of the ill-
fated Oedipus. Oedipus Rex is ancient Greek tragedy which depicts tragic plot along with the hero of high
stature as he is the great man with great commitment to find out the truth and conflict of the people of his
country. His tragic flaw is that he becomes over confident in the matter of facts that he knows and can
know by the time and he becomes too careless towards gods. The fate that oracles has described to him,
he defies the inner voice and wisdom with fate. The other tragic element is the atmosphere of the tragedy
from start to end. The atmosphere from start to end was serious throughout and the tension between
characters and dramatic never settles down.
One of the Sophocles important tragedy was Antigone in which the main character pays the price
of buying her brother Polynices in opposition of the king Kreon of Thebes. It is a classic tragedy and
presenting all the Greek Tragedy’s elements.
The other Greek tragedy writer was Euripides known for his tragic plots and characters. He was
unique in presenting the awkward questions in front if the audience to make them settle by the common
themes. His famous work was Medeia in which Jason of the golden fleece fame, disturb the title character
of the play for the daughter of king Corinth and Medeia kills her own children in revenge. Another
tragedy is Hecuba which is about the earlier queen of Troy, as well as her grief over the death of
children’s death and hatred against the murderer.