An Analysis and Comparison of Modern Tragedy in Drama

Good Essays
Aristotle thoroughly describes his understanding of the tragedy in the Poetics and bases this conception on certain requirements. According to Aristotle the three most important variables that define a tragedy are plot, characters, and theme. Using Oedipus Rex as a sort of ideal, this philosopher demonstrates how a tragedy functions in order to evoke catharsis while exploring themes and human flaws, or mistakes. In Oedipus Rex, the main figure, Oedipus the King is a subject of fate, unable to escape himself and his desire to uncover the truth. In essence, this drama demonstrates the fall of a prominent figure brought down by his inescapable fortune and self-destruction. I definitely believe it is difficult to find a modern day tragedy that functions on the same level as Oedipus Rex while fulfilling the stipulations laid out by Aristotle. However, to me, the movie Shutter Island sets itself apart from other contemporary works as it mirrors many of the structural and thematic characteristics of Sophocles’ play. In this film, directed by Martin Scorsese, we are introduced to Edward “Teddy” Daniels, a U.S. Martial who experiences the same sort of trauma and downfall as Oedipus the King. Though these characters share many similarities and differences, I think it is most important that we begin by analyzing the plots of these two works in order to divulge their tragic components. As Aristotle states, the argument, or plot, of a tragedy must contain three vital elements: the incentive moment, the climax, and the resolution or dénouement1. The incentive moment represents the initial stage of the drama where the cause and effect chain of events begins its inevitable course. Here, the audience observes the main character as a figure of great importance in his society and setting, though, as the play progresses, this stature will diminish into nothingness. The onset of Shutter Island mirrors that of Oedipus Rex in various manners.
1

Barbara F. McManus, Outline of Aristotle’s

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Modern Drama

    • 1997 Words
    • 8 Pages

    ------------------------------------------------- Restoration literature Restoration literature is the English literature written during the historical period commonly referred to as the English Restoration (1660–1689), which corresponds to the last years of the direct Stuart reign in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. In general, the term is used to denote roughly homogeneous styles of literature that center on a celebration of or reaction to the restored court of Charles II. It is a literature…

    • 1997 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Modern Drama

    • 270 Words
    • 2 Pages

    I look at modern drama from a thematic perspective. Part of what defines modern drama for me is an emphasis on experiences and predicaments that have applicability to as many people as possible. Modern drama speaks loudly and lucidly to multiple parties, and can articulate struggle and redemption in a manner that makes it understandable to all in the modern setting. Its relevancy is effective in real time. For example, a reason I consider Beckett's Waiting for Godot modern drama because it speaks…

    • 270 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Modern Drama

    • 1313 Words
    • 6 Pages

    What is Realism? Realism is the movement toward representing reality as it actually is, in art. Realistic drama is an attempt to portray real life on stage, a movement away from the conventional melodramas and sentimental comedies of the 1700s. It is expressed in theatre through the use of symbolism, character development, stage setting and storyline and is exemplified in plays such as Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. The arrival of realism was indeed good…

    • 1313 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    Modern Drama

    • 2863 Words
    • 12 Pages

    Sharareh Rafieipour Dr. Agnes Yeow Swee Kim Drama of the Modern Era 2 December. 2012 Modern Drama; The spectacle of language breaking down and the explosion of the hysteria underlying the polite banalities of social intercourse To be modern is to be, in many important ways, different from anyone who ever lived before. This idea does not mean that human being has undergone a change; man’s nature is always the same, but his perception of himself has distorted in a way that is significantly…

    • 2863 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    Realism in Modern Drama

    • 18884 Words
    • 76 Pages

    A Summer Project On “REALISM IN MODERN DRAMA” In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English Submitted by: BISMA IRFAN BA (Honors) English ll A0706110036 ENROLL. NO. Submitted to: DR DEEPANKAR SUKUL Asst. Professor AMITY INSTITUTE OF ENGLISH AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATION AMITY…

    • 18884 Words
    • 76 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Tragedy and Drama In a range of dramatic works from Agamemnon to Hamlet, one sees the range of development of the tragic form, from the earliest Greek to the later Shakespearean tragedies. There are two basic concepts of tragedy: the concept introduced by Aristotle in his Poetics, and the concept developed by Frederick Nietzsche in his "The Birth of Tragedy." Many dramas can be reviewed to reveal the contrast between these two concepts of tragedy, and demonstrate the development of the tragic…

    • 1743 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The essence of this paper is to list and discuss characteristics of modern period drama. These characteristics are realism, naturalism and interaction between characters and the readers. They will be discussed along with Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ and Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Sales man’. Realism and naturalism are considered to be the cornerstones of modern drama as we know it today. They are the major influencers of the modern drama. Henrik Ibsen is considered to be the founding father of these two…

    • 1328 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Rise of Modern Drama

    • 674 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The Rise Of Modern Drama It is known as one of theatre's greatest periods today. The modern drama period is shaped by world-changing forces, such as industrial-technological revolution, democratic revolutions, and an intellectual revolution that would disrupt earlier conceptions of time, space, the divine, human psychology, and social order. As a result, a theatre of challenge and experimentation emerged. Realism, the movement with the most pervasive and long-lived effect on modern theatre, was…

    • 674 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tragedy in the Modern Age

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Tragedy in the Modern Age: A Short Note Arpan Adhikary The genre of tragedy as a form of dramatic art developed in the ancient Greece out of the ritualistic performances in the honour of the pagan deity Dionysus. Aristotle formulated his theory of tragedy on basis of the plays composed by the then Greek tragedians like Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, and he regarded these plays as the most comprehensive instances of this genre. Plays by Roman tragedian Seneca, and those by such Elizabethan…

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Henrik Ibsen is considered to be the father of modern drama. His objectives were to "see accurately and recreate poetically the world and its people, beliefs, ideas, conflicts, and correspondences" (Mergentha). The essence of modern drama is to remake, or mirror the society in which the authors lived in. However, at times, these realistic concepts are introduced in an environment that is completely absurd and surreal. It can be explained as the author trying to gear our attention on the plot or the…

    • 1442 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays