200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    Tragedy is one of the oldest and most resilient forms of narrative. Considering texts from ancient Greece to the present day, this comprehensive introduction shows how tragedy has been re-imagined and redefined throughout Western cultural history.

    Tragedy offers a concise history of tragedy tracing its evolution through key plays, prose, poetry and philosophical dimensions. John Drakakis examines a wealth of popular plays, including works from the ancient Greeks, Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Sarah Kane and Tom Stoppard. He also considers the rewriting and appropriating of ancient drama though a wide range of authors, such as Chaucer, George Eliot, Ted Hughes and Colm Tóibín. Drakakis also demystifies complex philosophical interpretations of tragedy, including those of Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Benjamin.

    This accessible resource is an invaluable guide for anyone studying tragedy in literature or theatre studies.




    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Myth and tragedy

    Tragedy, myth and ritual

    Tragedy and pleasure


    Chapter 2. Histories, archaeologies and genealogies

    Aristotle’s Poetics

    Fate, fortune and providence


    Chapter 3. Ontology and dramaturgy

    Radical tragedy

    Tragedy after the Renaissance


    Chapter 4. The philosophy of tragedy

    The sublime

    Schiller on tragedy

    Hegel on tragedy

    Bradley on Hegel

    Nietzsche on tragedy

    Beyond Nietzsche


    Chapter 5. From action to character

    Freud, Oedipus and Hamlet

    Tragedy and the linguistic turn


    Chapter 6. Tragedy: gender, politics and aesthetics

    Tragedy and violence



    Chapter 7. Rethinking the tradition

    Dismantling tragedy

    Brecht against Aristotle

    Saint Joan of the Stockyards. Mother Courage and Gallileo


    Chapter 8. Tragedy, the post-modern and the post-human

    Anti-humanism and post-humanism

    Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot

    Sarah Kane: Phaedra’s Love (1996)

    Twenty-first century tragedy: Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt


    Chapter 9. Conclusion





    John Drakakis is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Stirling. His publications include Shakespeare’s Resources (2022), Alternative Shakespeares, Second Edition (2002), and Tragedy (co-edited with Naomi Conn Liebler 1998).