In literature, the concept of tragedy refer to a series of unfortunate events by which one or more of the literary characters in the story undergo several misfortunes, which finally culminate into a disaster of ‘epic proportions’. Tragedy is generally built up in 5 stages: a) happy times b) the introduction of a problem c) the problem worsens to a crisis or dilemma d) the characters are unable to prevent the problem from taking over e) the problem results in some catastrophic, grave ending, which is the tragedy culminated.

In the play Julius Caesar, the lead character is an ambitious, fearless and power hungry king who ignores all the signs and does not heed the advice of the well-meaning: finally being stabbed to death by his own best friend and advisor Brutus. This moment has been immortalized by the phrase “Et tu Brute?”, wherein Caesar realizes that he has finally been defeated, and that too through betrayal.

13 thoughts on “Tragedy”

  1. “Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?”
    “I thought not. It’s not a story the Jedi would tell you. It’s a Sith legend.”

    The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise was a “Sith legend”[1] that was relayed to Anakin Skywalker by Palpatine, telling of his master, Darth Plagueis. Plagueis, the legend went, was “so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life,” and even saved others from dying. “He became so powerful, the only thing that he was afraid of was losing his power.”

  2. A Tragedy that’s sad and happy?
    In The Jungle Book (the original version of the story, not the movie version), the book ends with Mowgli realizing that he must go to live with other humans and forever leave the jungle and all his jungle friends (spoilers!). The ending feels sort of happy because it has a sense of finality and because Mowgli finally finds where he belongs. But it also feels really sad because Mowgli’s leaving his friends and family, and he’ll never see them again. Does this qualify as a tragedy or a tragic ending?
    The novel as a whole isn’t entirely sad or tragic; it’s just the ending really that’s sad.

  3. Traditionally the lead must have a tragic flaw which eventually is the cause of their downfall – eg Macbeth’s ambition

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