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Elements of Shakespeare's Tragedies

Elements of Shakespeare's Tragedies

Author: Camren Crose

CCSS Grade 9, Reading Standard 10 

"By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range."

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Elements of a Tragedy

Elements of a Shakespearean Play

Tragic Hero: A main character cursed by fate and possessed of a tragic flaw.

A Struggle Between Good and Evil: This struggle can take place as part of the plot or exist within the main character.

Hamartia: The fatal character flaw of the tragic hero.

Tragic Waste: The good being destroyed along with the bad at the resolution of the play. Often played out with the unnecessary loss of life, especially of "good guy" characters.

External Conflict: This can be a problem facing the hero as a result of the plot or a "bad guy" character.

Internal Conflict: The struggle the hero engages in with his/her fatal flaw.

Catharsis: The release of the audience's emotions through empathy with the characters.

Supernatural Elements: Magic, witchcraft, ghosts, etc.

Lack of Poetic Justice: Things end poorly for everyone, including the "good guys."

Comic Relief: One or more humorous characters who participate in scenes intended to lighten the mood.

Big Question: How is "Romeo and Juliet" an example of a Shakespearean tragedy? Choose and discuss three elements that make "Romeo and Juliet" a tragedy.