Tragedy depicts a character’s downfall or destruction, usually as a result of their own actions or flaws. Tragic narratives often involve a central character who possesses admirable qualities but is ultimately undone by their own hubris, ignorance, or circumstance. Tragedies typically evoke feelings of pity, sorrow, and even fear in the reader or audience, as the character’s fate is often seen as inevitable or unavoidable. The use of tragedy in literature can serve to explore universal themes such as morality, fate, and human nature, and to prompt reflection on the complexities of the human experience.

Examples of tragedy:

William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” is a classic example of tragedy. The main character, Prince Hamlet, seeks revenge for his father’s murder, but his obsession with vengeance ultimately leads to his own downfall and the deaths of those around him.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby,” the character of Jay Gatsby is a tragic figure who is undone by his own idealism and romanticism. Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream and his love for the married Daisy Buchanan ultimately lead to his death.

Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” is a modern tragedy that portrays the downfall of the protagonist, Willy Loman. Loman’s unrealistic expectations and his sense of inadequacy lead to his disillusionment and eventual suicide.

Sophocles’ play “Oedipus Rex” is a classic Greek tragedy that depicts the tragic hero Oedipus, who unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother. Oedipus’ attempts to uncover the truth about his past and his role in the prophecy ultimately lead to his own destruction.

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