What Is the Genre of Woyzeck?

Topics: Tragedy, Poetics, Tragic hero Pages: 4 (1631 words) Published: November 30, 2009
By examining what is meant by the concept of theatrical ‘genre’, how would you characterize the genre of Woyzeck?

Today, whenever somebody is asked to think of a typical Tragedy, his or her immediate answer would be; Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, possibly even King Lear. This is because these plays constitute what is conventionally known as a Tragedy. They mostly follow the conventions outlined in Aristotle’s Poetics, and have characteristics recognisable of a Tragedy, for example, the tragic hero being of upper class or noble background, and the tragic hero’s actions leading to inevitable consequences. As Buchner’s Woyzeck does not solely fit into this template, its genre can be deemed as a little confusing. However, Woyzeck is undoubtedly a Tragedy, with the play dealing with issues of death, and there also being clear parallels between the character Woyzeck and other tragic heroes such as Othello. Woyzeck also has his own downfall, similarly to the likes of other tragic heroes, and the audience react with “pity and fear” towards this play like we do to other tragedies like Hamlet or Othello. Woyzeck, although not completely similar to other tragedies can be deemed as a “working class tragedy”.

In Tragedies, the tragic hero, in this case Woyzeck, always has a downfall. For example, at the start of Othello, he is the leader of his bla bla bla, has the love of his woman Desdemona and is respected by his peers; by the end he has lost all that. Although Woyzeck does not have a great deal because he is “poor, that’s what I am”, he has the best in which he can hope to strive for and achieve. He has a woman and a child in which he loves, and he brings home money for Marie, “ here’s some more money, Marie, me wages and a bit from me officer”, so that she can provide for their child. By the end of Buchner’s play, Woyzeck has appeared to have lost the little he had at the beginning of the play. Woyzeck’s fall is evident in the last few scenes of Buchner’s play,...
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