Six Formative Elements of Tragedy

1.0     Objectives
1.1     Introduction
        Self-Check Questions for 1.1
1.2     Relevance of Classical Criticism
Self-Check Questions for 1.2
1.3     Plato’s Theory of Mimesis and Aristotle’s Defence
        1.3.1    Aristotle's Reply to Plato's Objection
        1.3.2    Aristotle's Objection to the Theory of Mimesis
Self-Check Questions for 1.3
1.4     Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy
        1.4.1     The Definition of Tragedy
        1.4.2     Six Formative Elements of Tragedy
        1.4.3     Plot and Character
        1.4.4     The Tragic Hero
Self-Check Questions for 1.4
1.5      The Three Unities
        1.5.1     Unity of Action
        1.5.2     Unity of Time    
        1.5.3     Unity of Place
Self-Check Questions for 1.5
1.6      Functions of Tragedy
        1.6.1     Why Aristotle had adopted this theory
        1.6.2     The Meaning of Catharsis
        1.6.3     The Relevance of the Theory of Catharsis in the Present                   Scenario
Self-Check Questions for 1.6
1.7      Let us Sum up
1.8      Glossary of Key Terms
1.9      Reading List

    After discussing the definition of tragedy, Aristotle explores various important parts of tragedy. He asserts that any tragedy can be divided into six constituent parts.
    They are: Plot, Character, Thought, Diction, Song and Spectacle. The Plot is the most important part of a tragedy. The plot means ‘the arrangement of the incidents’. Normally the plot is divided into five acts, and each Act is further divided into several scenes. The dramatist’s main skill lies in dividing the plot into Acts and Scenes in such a way that they may produce the maximum scenic effect in a natural development. Characters are men and women who act. The hero and the heroine are two important figures among the characters. Thought means what the characters think or feel during their career in the development of the plot. The thought is expressed through their speeches and dialogues. Diction is the medium of language or expression through which the characters reveal their thoughts and feelings. The diction should be ‘embellished with each kind of artistic element’. The song is one of these embellishments. The decoration of the stage is the major part of the spectacle. The Spectacle is theatrical effect presented on the stage. But spectacle also includes scenes of physical torture, loud lamentations, dances, colourful garments of the main characters, and the beggarly or jocular appearance of the subordinate characters or of the fool on the stage. These are the six constituent parts of tragedy.

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