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What is Tragedy?

By Oxford University

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Tragedy has been around for over 2500 years, from its earliest manifestations in the huge open-air gathering-places of Athens and other Greek city-states, to the theatres of Renaissance England, Spain and France, right through to the twentieth century with its cinematic tragedies, and the disturbing works of Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett. In four dialogues, Oliver Taplin, Emeritus Professor, and Joshua Billings, a graduate student in the Oxford Classics Faculty, ask and discuss what tragedy is, what tragedy does for people, whether tragedy teaches, and if tragedy is still alive today.

Customer Reviews

Catharsis as Purgation or Vaccination

In the second episode, the host mentions that he dislike the notion of purgation as interpretation of Aristotle’s catharsis. Instead, he thinks the metaphor of vaccination is better. Namely that a tragedy functions a small douce of undeserved misfortune which would be catastrophic in real life, but since it is only in a theatre, it is not real therefore easier to handle. Then the function of tragedy is not to purge the emotions caused by fragility of good but to strengthen immunity to the such a possibility

What is Tragedy?
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  • Free
  • Category: Courses
  • Language: English

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