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Author Rivas, David E.
Illustrator Landazábal, Andrés
Source TED Ed
Content type Video ♦ Animation
Language English
Subject Domain (in DDC) Philosophy & psychology ♦ Religion ♦ Social sciences ♦ Language ♦ Linguistics ♦ Writing systems ♦ Natural sciences & mathematics ♦ Earth sciences ♦ The arts; fine & decorative arts ♦ Painting & paintings ♦ Literature & rhetoric ♦ History & geography
Subject Keyword Arts ♦ Performing Arts ♦ Language ♦ Literature ♦ Writing Composition ♦ Religion ♦ Philosophy ♦ Social Studies ♦ Area Studies ♦ Geography ♦ History ♦ Creativity
Abstract The story goes something like this: A royal, rich, or righteous individual — who is otherwise a lot like us — makes a mistake that sends his or her life spiraling into ruin. It's the classic story arc for a Greek tragedy, and we love it so much that we continue to use it today. David E. Rivas shares three critical story components, influenced by Aristotle’s “Poetics,” to help illustrate the allure.
Description Aristotle’s Poetics, is (as far as we can tell) the earliest work on literary theory, and it dedicates a portion to a discussion of tragedy. Written nearly two thousand years ago, it remains influential in our understanding and appreciation of tragedy even today. Roughly one hundred pages in length, The Poetics can be read in a sitting or two. You can read the full text here. The BBC Radio4’s In Our Time, gathers a panel of experts to discuss this important work, and provides great insights into its reception and influence through the ages. Perhaps the greatest examples of tragedy from antiquity come from Sophocles in his Oedipus trilogy, Oedipus the King, Oedipus in Colonus and Antigone. The works of Renaissance playwrights, including William Shakespeare, are replete with the tropes identified by Aristotle. The great twentieth century American playwright Arthur Miller, who penned The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, also wrote a piece for the New York Times in 1949 titled “Tragedy and the Common Man.” In it, he provides an interesting modern, American take on the Aristotelian ideas of the tragic hero. Read it and see what you think.
Learning Resource Type Video Lecture
Time Required PT4M26S
Director Bahamon, Hernando


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