Showing posts from December, 2005

Shakespeare's Tragedy

Shakespeare’s Tragedy

A tragedy is a story of exceptional calamity leading to the death of a man in high estate (A.C. BRADLEY).

Tragedy: The derivation of the word 'tragedy' is uncertain. The word may come from two Greek words tragos (goat) and oide (song).

Shakespeare's plays usually classified as 'tragedies' are:

Titus Andronicus (1592)
Romeo and Juliet (1592)
Julius Caesar (1599)
Hamlet (1600-01)
Othello (1603)
King Lear (1605-06)
Timon of Athens (1605)
Macbeth (1606)
Antony and Cleopatra (1606)
Coriolanus (1608)

All of Shakespeare's tragedies have a tragic hero, or 'protagonist' who is put into a situation of conflict which he must resolve. A combination of bad luck and misjudgement lead to the hero's death. He is often a man of high social standing:

Lear and Macbeth are kings
Hamlet and Othello are princes - Othello is also a military general
Coriolanus and Titus are Roman Generals
Julius Caesar and Antony are rulers of Rome

Timon and Romeo are wealthy citizens


Analysis: The Fifth Stanza of William Blake's "The Tiger"

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

The lines quoted above are the fifth stanza of William Blake’s poem, The Tiger in the Songs of Experience (1794). The Tiger is the most famous and impressive of Blake’s short poem that is the most frequently and elaborately interpreted. The poem is the product of much thoughtful revision, and is a triumph of conscious artistry. William Blake is a poet who gives spirit and motivation to human life in order to make human life better. Blake, in The Tiger, talks about human beings and the spirit that they have. The Tiger may be regarded as the pure poetry of Blake’s trust in cosmic forces. The tiger is Blake’s symbol for the fierce forces in the soul, which are needed to break the bonds of experience. God has created human beings possessing two powers. One is to act in good manner and another one is to act in evil manner. That is why human beings must b…

Definition of Tragedy

Definition of Tragedy

Tragedie is to seyn a certeyn stories,
As olde bookes maken us memorie,
Of hym that stood in greet prosperitee,
And is yfallen out of heigh degree
Into myserie, and endeth wrecchedly
(Geoffrey Chaucer, The Monk's Tale; late 14th century)

The following definitions of tragedy from early modern dictionaries were included in a lecture given to the 2004 RSC Ensemble by Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick.

Tragoedia, A tragedie, being a loftie kind of poetrie, and representing Personages of great estate, and matter of much trouble, a great broyle or stirre.
THOMAS, Latin dictionary, 1587.

Tragedie: a solemne plaie
COOTE, 'hard word list', 1596.

Trag├ędia, a tragedie or moornefull play being a loftie kinde of poetrie, and representing personages of great state and matter of much trouble, a great broile or stirre: it beginneth prosperously and endeth vnfortunatelie or sometimes doubtfullie, and is contrarie to a…

What's Tragedy

What is tragedy

We say that things are tragic all the time, but mostly to mean they are just sad. With images of conflict, terror and strife all over our TV screens and newspapers, have our ideas of tragedy today been pigeonholed and detached from our own experience?

The following topic explores the meaning of tragedy and how Shakespeare represents society's deepest fears on stage.
"The tragic events of September 11": it has become a formula that rolls off every politician's tongue. Meanwhile, almost every day you will find some lesser "tragedy" described in the pages of your newspaper: a child drowns, a car crashes, someone is murdered. The word is used so frequently and sometimes with regard to misfortunes that in the overall scale of things are so commonplace that it has been emptied of its primal force. If the word had been treated with the respect it deserves, kept ready for the truly awesome and the world-historical horrors, then its application to 9/11 …

Origins of Tragedy

Origins of Tragedy
'Tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious, and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself ... with incidents arousing pity and terror, with which to accomplish its purgation of these emotions.' Aristotle, Poetics, 6.

Between 600 and 400 BC, poetry and drama flourished in Greece. The chief playwrights of this era were: Aeschylus (525-456 BC), Sophocles (496-406 BC), Aristophanes (c.448-c.380 BC) and Euripides (484-406 BC).

The origins of drama lie in the songs and dances of ancient rites and religious festivals connected to the seasons. Tragedy was born in ancient Athens and has its roots in choral poetry. Dionysius was the nature god who died and was reborn every year. A chorus 50-strong would perform a hymn in his honour, called a dithyramb. According to Aristotle, tragedy grew out of the dithyramb when a solo actor - Thespis - stepped forward and began a dialogue with the dithyramb. The word tragedy means literally "goat - song". Qui…

Coleridge as the Poet of the Supernatural Depicted in "The Ancient Mariner"

The Ancient Mariner is a tale of a curse which the narrator, the Mariner himself, brings upon himself and his companions by killing an Albatross without reason. Coleridge’s power of handling the supernatural is like the pure music of his verse. The moral of the poem is one of all-embracing love. This poem is full of moral teachings for human beings. Humphry House expresses his agreement with three great critics, Dr. Tillyard, Dr. Bowra, and Robert Penn Warren, that the poem has a very serious moral and spiritual on human life. The moral of the ancient Mariner’s story is that one should love all God’s creatures.

Coleridge is regarded as the greatest poet of the supernatural in English literature and The Ancient Mariner is regarded as a masterpiece of supernatural poetry. His supernatural is controlled by thought and study. Cazamian says, ”The very center of Coleridge art lies in his faculty of evoking the mystery of things, and making it actual, widespread, and obsessing. Even better th…

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales" as a Picture of Contemporary Society


by Purwarno
Fakultas Sastra
Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara, Medan Abstrak
Artikel ini membahas tentang kehidupan sosial dan politik nasional di Inggris pada abad pertengahan yang digambarkan dalam karya terbesar Geoffrey Chaucer, “Prologue to Cantgerbury Tales”. Chaucer yang juga dikenal sebagai bapak puisi Inggris menggambarkan secara detail berbagai aspek sosial, budaya dan politik nasional pada masanya. Gambaran kehidupan masyarakat pada masa itu diramu dengan baik oleh Chaucer melalui presentasi tokoh-tokoh yang ditampilkan dalam karyanya tersebut sehingga dengan membaca artikel ini pembaca akan mendapat gambaran yang baik dan jelas tentang kehidupan dan situasi sebenarnya pada masa itu.

Keywords: contemporary society, Middle Age, ecclesiastical characters, chronicler, medieval chivalry.

Literature reflects the tendencies of the age in which it is produced and there is always a supreme literary a…

Ted Hughes' "Hawk Roosting"


Throughout the poem the Hawk sits at the top of a tall tree, where he either sleeps or ponders on his power. He is self-obsessed, as all his thoughts relate to his own circumstances and the fact that he holds the power of death in his talons.

With that in mind, we can read each stanza to see what aspect of his own power (and of course the power of Nature through him) he is thinking about.

The Voice:
The voice is that of the Hawk himself, and through him, Nature. The voice is a 'thinking' voice; there is no action in the poem. As Hughes has intimated to us that the Hawk is a metaphor for Nature, we can also take it that Nature is thinking these thoughts.

We need to note that Nature with a capital letter means a force or a being, rather than just 'the things you get in the countryside.'

Throughout the poem the Hawk sits at the top of a tall tree, where he either sleeps or ponders on his power. He is self-obsessed, as all his thoughts relate to …

Summary and Analysis of John Milton's "Paradise Lost Book I"

Summary Book I of Paradise Lost begins with Milton describing what he intends to undertake with his epic: the story of Man's first disobedience and the "loss of Eden," subjects which have been "unattempted yet in prose or rhyme." His main objective, however, is to "justify the ways of God to men." The poem then shifts to focus on the character of Satan who has just fallen from heaven. The scene opens in a fiery, yet dark, lake of hell. Satan, dazed, seems to be coming to consciousness after his fall and finds himself chained to the lake.
He lifts his head to see his second in command, Beelzebub,
the Lord of the Flies, who has been transformed from a beautiful archangel into a horrid fallen angel. Satan gets his bearings and, in a speech to Beelzebub, realizes what has just happened: Satan, presuming that he was equal to God, had declared war on the creator. Many angels had joined Satan, and the cosmic battle had shaken God's throne.
Satan and his coh…

"Heart of Darkness" as Conrad's Journey to the Self or Autobiographical Elements in the "Heart of Darkness"

"Heart of Darkness"as Conrad’s journey to the Self
Autobiographical elements in the"Heart of Darkness"

Heart of Darkness is the most famous of Joseph Conrad’s personal novels: a pilgrim’s progress for a pessimistic and psychological age. After having finished the main draft of the novel, Conrad had remarked, “Before the Congo, I was just a mere animal”. The living nightmare of 1890 seems to have affected Conrad quite as importantly as the Andre Gide’s Congo experience 36 years later. The autobiographical basis of the narrative is well known and its introspective bias obvious. This is Conrad’s longest journey into self. But it would do well to remember that Heart of Darkness is also a sensitive vivid travelogue and a comment on “the vilest scramble for lost that ever disfigured the history of human conscience and geographical exploration”. (Albert Gerard).
The novel thus has its important public side as an angry document on absurd and brutal exploitation. In the char…

Essay on Mary Wollstonecraft's "Vindication of The Rights of Woman"

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
by Sarah Kearney

During the early years of the French Revolution, England became a place of new beginnings, where the idea of the individual emerged, the world of literature was reborn and authority was thoroughly questioned and often uprooted. Great poets and philosophers were awakened, and the 'war of pamphlets' began, proclaiming revolutionary theories, arguing social and political change, and urging self-examination. Mary Wollstonecraft, "pioneer of feminist thought" (Jane Moore, 1999) in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was the first to bring the subordinate attitude that society had towards women into the open, arguing that women were men's intellectual equals and therefore affirming a woman's right to a full education. "A profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow-creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore." (Page166) Continuing on from this radical observation, Wollstonecra…