1st Edition

Tragedy: The Basics

ISBN 9781138798915
Published November 1, 2016 by Routledge
190 Pages

USD $28.95

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Book Description

Tragedy: The Basics is an accessible and up-to-date introduction to dramatic tragedy. A comprehensive guide for anyone undertaking a study of the genre, it provides a chronological overview and history of tragic theory. Covering tragedy from the classics to the present day, it explains the contextual and theoretical issues which affect the interpretation of tragedy, examining popularly studied key plays in order to show historical change. Including a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading, Tragedy: The Basics is an ideal starting point for anyone studying tragedy in literature or theatre studies.

Table of Contents


1. Greeks and Romans: Classical Tragedy

    Contexts: The Festival of Dionysus at Athens

    Aeschylus, The Oresteia

    Sophocles, Oedipus the King

    Sophocles, Antigone

    Euripides, Medea

    Euripides, Bacchae

    Contexts: Seneca and Roman Tragedy

    Seneca, Phaedra

2. ‘When the bad bleed’ ? Early Modern English Tragedy

    Contexts: Elizabethan Tragedy

    Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy and Revenge Tragedy

    Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus

    William Shakespeare, Hamlet

    Contexts: Jacobean Tragedy

    William Shakespeare, Othello

    William Shakespeare, King Lear

    William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

    John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

3. Neo-Classicism, Restoration Tragedy and Sentimentality


    Jean Racine, Phaedra

    John Dryden, All for Love

    Thomas Otway, Venice Preserv’d

4. ‘From Hero to Victim’: Romantic Tragedy and After


    Heinrich von Kleist, The Prince of Homburg

    Georg Büchner, Woyzeck

    Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

5. Modernism and Tragedy


    Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

    Eugene O’Neill, Mourning Becomes Electra

    Federico Garcia Lorca, Blood Wedding

    Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and her Children

    Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

    Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

    Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

6. The Survival of Tragedy


Edward Bond, Lear

Howard Barker, Victory

Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Caryl Churchill, The Skriker

Sarah Kane, Blasted.






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Sean McEvoy teaches Literature at Varndean Sixth Form College in Brighton and the University of Cambridge, UK.