Shakespeare wrote eleven tragedies such as Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, etc… But, there are some chiefly Characters in Shakespearean tragedies. That’s what we are going to draught down one by one.
- Shakespeare’s tragedies are based on stories and incidents taken from history or legends. Some of the stories are borrowed from previous playwrights. He has recreated these stories giving them a sense of unity and ordering them into closely-knit plots. The essence of a Shakespearean tragedy is that action issues from character and plot. Generally, two groups of people and ideas are brought face to face leading to conflict. In a Shakespearean tragedy, the plot is composed of several parts like Exposition, Conflict, Crisis, Denouement, and Catastrophe. He did not observe the unities always.
- In a Shakespearean tragedy, the suffering of the hero is exceptional. A hero is a man of a high estates like Hamlet or King Lear. The hero identifies himself with a dominant passion from which he cannot deliver himself and which finally works out his destruction.
- Every tragic hero suffers from a ‘tragic flaw’ that leads him to the tragic end. Like, Othello
- The essence of a Shakespearean tragedy is conflict. The catastrophe rises out of the unsolved conflict. The conflict releases energy in the form of uncontrollable spiritual forces causing a violent disturbance in the moral order of the world. Thus, a Shakespearean tragedy in its final analysis is highly spiritual.
- There is a kind of fatality and inevitability in Shakespearean tragedy. All calamities come from a character in action. We feel helpless of man before the force he release. the tragic hero striking at himself. The hero’s character involves his fate.
- Shakespearean tragedy is not pessimistic. It gives us an insight into the possibilities of the human soul.
- Shakespeare presents abnormal states of mind like insanity, hallucination, and somnambulism in some of his tragedies like King Lear and Macbeth. Eg, supernatural agents like King Lear and Macbeth. Ghost’s in Macbeth.
- Shakespeare introduces accidents, chances, and prophecies in his tragedies. The most well-known among these are the incidents of the handkerchief in Othello and the witches in Macbeth.
- Shakespeare presents a moral world order in his tragedies. His concern was with the conflict causes a commotion in the moral world. Shakespeare’s tragedies show the successful emergence of good is destroyed but it survives. Thus, the tragedy is a presentation of ‘morality in emergence’. As Dowden says it is true that good can survive only at the expense of so much of the virtuous force of the world still it is well to be assured that evil, even at the expense of good can be subdued, such an assurance buoys us above despair.
- There is no poetic Justice in Shakespearean tragedies. But evil characters do not prosper. Iago goes away with a stern warning. Shakespeare was concerned with a stern warning. Shakespeare was concerned with the moral and spiritual order of the world and so his art refuses to recognize individual punishment or reward.
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