The Concept Of Tragedy

The Concept Of Tragedy


Different terms have borne different meanings in different societies and times. This is the case for the concept of tragedy, whose understanding in ancient Greek is entirely different from the current understanding of the same. The concept of tragedy, according to the Greek, depicted the downfall of a heroine or noble hero usually as a function of a blend of the will of the gods, fate and hubris. The powerful wish of the tragic hero to attain a certain goal inevitably met certain limits especially pertaining to human frailty such as society, hubris and flaws of reason, or nature, or even the gods through fate prophets and oracles. It is required that a tragic hero incorporates a flaw or even makes a mistake. It is not necessary that a hero ultimately dies, but he or she must experience a change of fortune. On the same note, the hero may have a recognition or revelation pertaining to the will of the gods, destiny and human fate, a recognition that has been termed as a modification from ignorance to knowledge or awareness of a love or hate bond.

This definition is different from the one in contemporary human societies where tragedy is seen as an event that results in immense amount of suffering, distress and destruction such as crime, natural catastrophe or serious accident. It may also refer to a play that has an unhappy ending or dealing with tragic events, especially in instances where the main character meets his or her downfall.

Of these two definitions, the ancient Greek concept of tragedy comes as richer as and deeper than that of the contemporary human society. This is especially considering that the biblical teachings pertaining to calamities, where they are viewed as resulting from human weaknesses or as punishment from God for mistakes that an individual has committed in his or her past.

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