Characteristics Of Shakespearean Tragedy

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2. SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY

Shakespearean tragedy is the title given to most tragedies written by the playwright William Shakespeare. “Shakespearean tragedy began, roughly speaking, with marked indebtedness to the tragic writing of Marlowe and Kyd: poetry, character, and style from Marlowe; motive, plot, and tragic intensity from Kyd. No evidence suggests Shakespeare was ever particularly aware of or influenced by, Aristotelian theories of tragedy”. (Bevington, 1980) The plays we usually have in mind when we think about Shakespearean tragedy are the classics like Titus Andronicus (written between 1590-94), Romeo and Juliet (1594-96), Julius Caesar (1599), Hamlet (1599-1601), Othello (1603-04), King Lear (1605), Macbeth (1606-07), Antony and Cleopatra (1606-07), and Coriolanus (1608) derived from Plutarch. Troilus and Cressida, Timon of Athens, and Cymbeline were listed as tragedies in the First Folio. Characteristics of a Shakespearean tragedy are found in many of his histories, but since they are from real figures throughout England’s history, they were classified as “histories” in the First Folio. Exceptions from this are the Roman histories, also from historical figures: Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus.
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(Gredina, forthcoming) I am most interested in the human nature of the characters and I chose these three tragedies because their protagonists attracted my attention the most. “Is Macbeth tempted to sin by the weird sisters and his wife, or is the choice to murder Duncan ultimately his? To what extent is man responsible for his tragic fate?” (Bevington, 1980) The psychological aspect in his tragedies is impressive. I think the most impressive thing is that even after more than 400 years we can still study his characters and their decisions from different
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