Art and Artifice of Shakespearean Tragedy: A Critical Approach
Nafi’, Jamal Subhi Ismail
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The dramatists of ancient Greece fixed the character and features of tragedy, and the Greek philosopher Aristotle analyzed and defined its nature. But Shakespeare, as a romantic playwright in Elizabethan England, violated the rules set and propagated by the classics for the sake of being truer to nature. Shakespeare‟s concept of tragedy may be illustrated from three main points of views, which distinguish him as a dramatist, they are: Tragic Hero, Tragic Action (Tragic Plot) and Tragic Appeal (Tragic Catharsis), aspects which this paper attempts to stress and analyze. Through critical analysis of Shakespeare‟s four major tragedies, this paper attempts also to highlight the features that constitute a Shakespearean tragedy. The paper also tries to show how a Shakespearean tragedy is different from the classical tragedy of ancient Greece. The researcher concluded that a Shakespearean tragedy moves on several plans all at once. It reflects the contradictions of social life during the Renaissance culture; it anticipates the development of realism and romanticism in the nineteenth century, and it reveals the hidden depths of the human mind unknown to literature before. Thus it is of universal appeal. Above all, it is the finest evidence of Shakespeare‟s humanism which shows such a profound understanding of the human soul in pain.