Tragedy in Theatre

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In a drama, a tragedy is the occurrence of unfortunate and consequently, disastrous events or circumstances that fall upon the protagonist in the play. Looking back hundreds of years ago we come across playwrights like Shakespeare and Euripides. Both have written some very tragic pieces, but which one wins for writing the most tragic play? A comparison between Hamlet and The Bacchae shows many similarities but also, many differences. This two pieces show very revealing characters enduring human struggle and death. By looking at three vital components in each play, it is easy to see that Hamlet is the more tragic of the two. I will be defining the tragic hero, both mothers in the plays, and looking at irony and how it is used.

In a tragedy, according to Aristotle, a tragic hero is “watching a good man coming to a bad end.” More specifically, a tragic hero consists of one noble man who meets his unfortunate and untimely death. With this knowledge when comparing the tragic heroes in both plays it is clear that Hamlet fits the criteria for a tragic hero more than Dionysus. The first criteria for a tragic hero is that he is a good man who is highly respected among his community, Hamlet was the king’s son, while Dionysus was not even considered a God in Thebes and the townspeople were forbidden to worship him. Although Hamlet seeks revenge against his uncle, he is not impulsive with his actions. He contemplates quite a bit about the idea of killing Claudius, showing real human struggle that the audience can relate to. At the end of the play Hamlet dies, creating pathos because he was just a man trying to save his family from the evil that killed his father. Unfortunately things go terribly wrong for him as others plot to kill him. Therefore the audience feels bad for him because his tragic flaw leads him to his untimely death. As for Dionysus, he does not even die in the end. Sympathy is not created for him because he gets what he wants in the end, and destroys...
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