definition of tragedy

The tragedy is a theatrical representation in which the characters are faced with mysterious forces that operate against them, inevitably causing their destruction.. It is one of the variants that the dramatic genre can have. Its origin is in ancient Greece.

One of the earliest analyzes that can be noted on this subject is attributed to Aristotle. In the Poetics it is dedicated to defining the tragedy and establishing what are the themes that are touched on in them. But more striking is the social function that it holds, which is called catharsis. This consists of the purgation of feelings that are experienced in the course of the work.

Little information reaches us from the authors of the first tragedies. Some relevant names are Tespis, Querilo, Pratinas and Phrynicus. However, the main author who marked the course of the genre, is without a doubt Aeschylus. Thus, he established that the composition be divided into three parts, introduced a second actor who made a representation of the text and used masks and coturns for the first time. His biggest rival was Sophocles, who beat him in a refereed contest. This one also introduced some important changes, such as the monologue and the scenery. Other changes were provided by Euripides, the last author who stands out at this stage; Among them, the psychological complexity of the characters stands out, which evolves according to the events that follow one another.

After the aforementioned classical stage, the tragedy continued its course, introducing variants that made it very different from its origins in regard to the form. However, it always preserved the thematic elements that refer to an unfortunate destiny against which it is fought unsuccessfully.. These recurring aspects made the term “tragedy” be used beyond literature, mainly to account for undesirable and painful situations.