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This is gorgeous. This piece really captures the mischief-logic of kids, and I love that. Sometimes people (even in nonfiction) manage ...


This is a really neat poem! It has a lot of imagery that I like, and some of the line breaks really work for me. I think my favourite i...

Sometimes I try to give constructive advice.

I usually accomplish being a jerk. A jerk with jargon.

Uhg, even worse.

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Goldfish-In-Space
Alex
Artist | Literature
Canada
Warning: "I-Statements" ahead!

I try to make up for my lack of genuine genius with a lot of obsessive work on my writing. I think it's turning out to be a pretty good plan so far. I tend to think anything that lets me sit hunched over my computer chain tea-drinking as the sun beams down outside is pretty good.

I will critique any writing, you just have to ask me!
Interests

Is it a cogent and helpful critique if the main focus is on the philosophy of the piece? 

54%
7 deviants said Yes
23%
3 deviants said No
23%
3 deviants said What the hell
What is "Tragedy"?

Tragedy is a genre most people are familiar with. Hamlet is a tragedy. Movies labelled as ‘tear jerkers’ are often tragedies. If you pare it down enough, it can be as simple as 'a story where a lot of bad things happen to the protagonist'. This would fit almost every tragedy ever written, but it's not very helpful for understanding the complexities of the genre, or what it contributes to storytelling. There are almost countless sub-genres of tragedy, and every one has specific rules and tendencies that further define it from 'tragedy' as a whole. This is a construct of ages of evolution in the genre, which started, alongside comedy, with the Greeks.

What is 'Greek' tragedy?

Greek Tragedy is something that grew along with the very idea of theatre as we know it. Theatre emerged out of the worship of the god Dionysus (Roman name Bacchus), which involved singing and performance-like rituals. The narrative verses sung by the participants, called Dithyrambs, are arguably the very origin of Tragedy as a genre. Other Characteristics of Dionysian rituals that survived the switch from worship to theatre are the chorus and the masks, though the latter became more characteristic of comedy than tragedy.

Thespis is the man credited with starting this transition because he was the first recorded person to take these ritual narratives and make them scripted. This introduced the concept of a solo ‘actor’, and paved the way for the rituals to evolve into the Festival Dionysia. Along the way, other people modified it, adding more actors, changing the way the stage was constructed, reducing the chorus and adding in (for their times) contemporary subject matter to their plays until they more resembled a stage play one might see today.

Forms and Famous Plays:

The plays performed at the Dionysia were subject to certain rules in their formatting. Each Playwright would write three related tragedies, followed by a humorous, and often unrelated, play. Inside were further fomatic rules.

Some famous surviving Greek Trilogies include Oresteia, by Aeschylus, and the pieced together trilogy of Oedipus by Sophocles. Though Sophocles’ version of the Oedipus Myth does not quite follow the general rules because it is assembled out of different festival years, the plays still follow the inner structures of the genre.

Inner Forms in Sophocles Oedipus Rex: The Play in As-Short-As-I-Can-Make-It

Brace yourself, Freudians:

Oedipus Rex by ZachSmithson

Most Greek Tragedies start with a prologue, called the prologos. This is a device that gives us the setting, background and gives the current story a little bit of context.

In Oedipus Rex the prologue sets up that Oedipus is the king of Thebes, and has to deal with a plague upon his city. We learn he has sent Creon, his brother in law, to the Oracle at Delphi, and has returned with news-- which he thinks Oedipus should hear in private. Oedipus declines, and tells him to speak publicly. Creon tells the citizenry that the murderer of the previous king is in Thebes, and must be driven out for the plague to end.

The Chorus then enters the scene for the first time. This is called the parados. They call upon many gods, and in general function as the voice of the people. The Greek Chorus (usually) had twelve members, who spoke to the main characters or amongst themselves, moving the plot along and sharing aspects of the drama the other actors could not. Oedipus swears to the chorus, that he will find the killer, and then curses the man and all of his family. the chorus suggests that Oedipus call on the Prophet Tiresias.

An episode in this context means almost exactly what it means in the context of modern television. It is a part or sequence in a larger body of work, in this case the sequences between choruses. This episode continues with Tiresias entering, and confronting Oedipus with riddles. Oedipus becomes angry and insults the Prophet, who then accuses Oedipus of being the former king’s murderer. Further enraged, Oedipus accuses Creon and Tiresias of conspiring to overthrow him. The chorus-leader tries to reason with him, but is unsuccessful. Tiresias then hints at the mysteries behind Oedipus’s parentage and past, which makes him even angrier. The prophet says that the person who murdered the former king will be the husband of his mother, and the father and brother of his children. The episode ends when the chorus takes the stage, uncertain who to believe.

There are three more episodes in Oedipus Rex, all which break away and return to the chorus. In them we meet Oedipus’s wife, Jocasta, who calms him by telling him all prophets are fake. She says her first husband was prophesied to be murdered by his son, who was thrown out as a baby. Instead he was killed at a crossroads just before Oedipus came to Thebes. Hearing this, Oedipus asks for more information, and is no longer certain he is innocent of the murder. Having heard he was not the real son of his parents, he had gone to Delphie to speak to the oracle, who told him he was doomed to marry his mother and kill his father. Instead of returning home. He and Jocasta rush to find the other people involved at the crossroads killing-- a shepherd. The chorus takes the stage again, and muses on the workings of the world. Is everything ruled by fate, or can a man cheat the gods? The shepherd is sent for and a messenger takes the stage, announcing the death of Oedipus’s father. Jocasta rejoices in this further proof that all prophecy is fake, until the messenger reveals that Oedipus was not the natural child of his parents. He was given to them by a shepherd, who was given the baby by one of the former King’s servants. Oedipus wants to find out who his real parents are, but Jocasta begs him to drop the subject and exits. The shepherd who saw the murder enters, and turns out to also be the servant who gave the baby to the messenger. He says that the infant was the son of the King and Jocasta, cast out to ward off prophecy. Rattled by the realization that his prophecies were true-- Oedipus unknowingly killed his father, and married his mother-- he leaves to find her.

One unnamed element of Greek Tragedy comes into play at this point. There is never any overt violence on stage. All of this kind of action takes place ‘elsewhere’, and must be related to the audience by the actors not taking part in it. In this instance, a messenger appears onstage with tragic news. Jocasta has hanged herself, and Oedipus taken the pins from her robes and gouged out his eyes. Just as the messenger is finished speaking, a blinded Oedipus enters. He curses fate and his life and asks to be exiled. The chorus and Creon enter. The last chorus is called the Stasima, and in it the chorus speaks of restoring order. Creon as the new, tenuous leader, grants his friend exile and his last wish, to see his daughters.

The last scene is called the exodos. In it Oedipus embraces his two weeping daughters, until Creon sends him away. The chorus laments the fate of Oedipus, and the curtain closes.

That was a lot of stuff. In extra short:

The basic structure of any ancient tragedy will follow this trajectory: Prologos, Paraodos, Episodes, Stasima and Exodos.

Key Aspects:

Hubris, hamartia  and catharsis are all key aspects in Greek Tragedy that escape the formatic rules of the genre.

Hubris is an excessive amount of pride, with an unhealthy dose of self-confidence. It’s an element that is required in protagonists, because it drives the plot forward. It keeps the protagonists driven, against all odds and sense, to go for unreachable goals. Oedipus has this in droves.

Hamartia is a fatal flaw in a character. There is no specific issue that will be the hamartia in any play, but it is the tragic error in judgement. It can, as in Oedipus’s case, be the lack of knowledge of his past, or something else entirely. The nature of the error depends on the nature of the play, and it doesn't exactly have to be the protagonist's fault. 

Catharsis is the emotional release the audience feels when the tragic play (or book, or movie) is over. Similar to the idea of ‘having a good cry’, the catharsis brought by tragedy is supposed to purge and rebalance the audience.

These conventions are arguably the more defining features of the genre. Without them, even with the prologos, episodes and exodos, we do not have a Greek Tragedy. These are some of what makes up the substance of the genre, rather than just the form of it, and what wold define a play as acceptable or excellent. They are ideas that have taken root in the wider genre of "Tragedy", as well. It's easy to see the ghosts of hubris and hamartia in the protagonists of modern tragedy, changed by the years, but still very alive.

Recources:

These videos explain everything here and more, in ways that are funnier and more concise than me! Give them a try.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQOPFx…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSr6mP…

Comments


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:icongoldfish-in-space:
This is embarrassing, but I was poking around and my touch screen went a little wonky. I'm not actually watching you. Sorry. :( (Sad) 
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:iconsilversongwriter:
Well I'm a great musician, so consider it a plus
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:iconrhetoricism:
I challenge you to start a critique without using the words "This is"! Also hello there, how goeth life? 
Reply
:icongoldfish-in-space:
DEAL. I just need something to critique, now. Feel free to help me out there.

Hello! Life goes. I have been working so much that I haven't really been finishing anything writing related. Also who knew commercial fishing vessels were so against having blueprints on the internet? How am I supposed to know what they do on the inside? I can't keep basing these things off of Haven. I did finish reading Embassytown by China Mieville the other day though. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

How's things for you? What are you reading?
Reply
:iconrhetoricism:
Anything by SgtPossum should be an interesting read: this fav.me/d6v8x0r might be something to look at :3 

I've never really considered commercial fishing blueprints, but you know what can be a pain? Working out the schematics for a country-sized skyscraper. Absolutely maddening. There's not enough non-complicated engineering data out there. I don't want to take a degree in civil engineering, I want to know if it's feasible to turn the Vatican State into a skyscraper! *flails wildly* 

Life is hectic, as usual. Moving down-country soon, next few weeks. Leaving my tropical lair behind me, sadface sadface. 
Plowing through the final chapter of The Talisman by Straub/King. It's a heck of a read. 
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:icongoldfish-in-space:
I wish I had a tropical lair. I wish I could wear a sarong all year round and have little lizards on my wall instead of little spiders. Or conduct a lizard and spider war on my wall. Or that.

Now I'm thinking about being woken up by a bird eating spider and I might like my temperate climate again.

Slightly more relevant; if you can bullshit your way through the weight distribution and stability issues I think you can probably make any superstructure convincing. I mean, they put Great Britain on top of a space-whale in doctor who. That was a good episode. That was a convincing episode. I mean, what about the crazy new space metal (not unobtanium because that's awful) that has all these science-fiction properties like being the best alloy ever in partnership with aluminum. Make sure it's a cheap and plentiful metal that it's good with. Something on meteorites, maybe. Lets get freaky with the periodic table of elements. We're making shit up as we go along like incredibly less scientifically informed Isaac Asimovs.

I kind of took a gamble in assuming the genre here was sci-fi. I need boat blueprints for way less exciting genre problems, but turning the Vatican into a skyscraper has a distinctively sci-fi feel to it. I'm assuming you're not secretly Dan Brown.
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(1 Reply)
:iconaerode:
Aerode Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I hope you have a great day. :hug:
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:icongoldfish-in-space:
Work is as fun as I make it, haha.

thanks! You too.
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :D I hope tomorrow's a much better day. You deserve a reprieve for all your hard work.
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:iconohineedtea:
Hey there :)

We've just opened a group that will concentrate on writing workshops with short exercises and feedback, and we thought you might be interested in joining. The link to the group is here: pocketstories.deviantart.com/

The workshops don't start until January, but there's a introduction folder for if you want to write a little bit about yourself and get to know other members. 

More about the group can be found here: pocketstories.deviantart.com/j…

Give us a go, you might even enjoy it!
:iconpocketstories:
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:iconbclement117:
I got half way into The Many-Colored Land and this reminds me of Terra Nova!
Reply
:icongoldfish-in-space:
Yeah, a little bit. Less dinosaur heavy, haha. The arc of the first book is a bit odd, but it kept me busy enough that I really enjoyed it.
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