Epic and Tragedy Name:Jitendra V. Sumra Roll No.: 16 Semester : 03 Year : 2012-13 Paper No: 103 Paper Name : Literary Theory & Criticism Department Of EnglishMaharaja KrishnkumarSinhji Bhavnagar University 0
Definition Of Epic• It is a long verse narrative on a serious subject, told in a formal and elevated style, and centered on a heroic or quasidivine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe, a nation ,or [in the instance of John Miltons Paradise lost] the human race.
• There is a standard distinction between traditional and literary epics.• “Traditional Epic” also called “Falk Epics” or “primary epics”• Were written versions of what had originally been oral poems about a tribal or national hero during a warlike age.• Among these are the “Iliad” and Odyssey that Greeks ascribed to Homer ; the Anglo-Saxon “Beowulf”,
• The French Chanson De Roland and The Spanish poem a Del Cid in the twelfth century ; and the thirtieth century German epic Nibelungenlied.• “Literary Epics” Were composed by individual poetic craftsmen in deliberate imitation of the traditional form.• The Epic was ranked by Aristotle as second only to tragedy and by many Renaissance critics as the highest of all genres.
• The literary Epic is certainly the most ambitions of poetic enterprises making immense demands on a poets knowledge invention and skill to sustain the scope grammar and authority of a poem that tends to encompass the world of its day and a large portion of its learning.
Characteristic of Epic• 1]. The hero is a figure of great national or even cosmic importance. Like , In the paradise Lost, Adam and Eve are the progenitors of the entire human race, or if we regard Christ as the Protagonist, he is both God and man.
• 2]. The setting of the poem is ample in scale and may be worldwide or even larger. Like, The scope of Paradise Lost is the entire universe , for it takes place in Heaven, on earth and in the cosmic space between• The action involves extraordinary deeds in battle, such as, in Paradise Lost includes the revolt in heaven by the rebel angels against God.
• 4]. In these great actions the Gods and other supernatural beings take an interest or an active part the Olympian Gods in Homer and Jehovah, Christ and the angels in Paradise Lost.• Epic poem is a ceremonial performance and is narrated in a ceremonial style which is deliberately distance from ordinary speech and proportional to the grandeur and formality of heroic subject and architecture.
Tragedy• Tragedy means a serious accident ,crime, or natural catastrophe , a sad events, a play dealing with tragic events and with an unhappy ending.• Definition by Aristotle:• The imitation of an that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself, in the medium of poetic language and in the manner of dramatic rather than of narrative presentation, involving, Incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith accomplish the catharsis of such emotions.
• Aristotle in the first place sets out to account for the undeniable, though remarkable, fact many tragic representations of suffering and defeat leave an audience felling not depressed, but relieved, or even exalted.• In the second place, Aristotle was this distinctive effect on the reader which he calls “the pleasure of Pity and fear”.
• Accordingly Aristotle says that the tragic hero will must reflectively evoke both our pity and terror if he is neither thoroughly good or thoroughly bad but a mixture of both; and also that this tragic effect will be stronger if the hero is “ Better than we are”, than ordinary moral worth.•• Such a man is exhibited as suffering a change in fortune from happiness to mystery because of his mistaken choice of an action, to which he is led by his Hamartia- His error, or mistake of judgment.
• The tragic hero , like Oedipus in Sophocles Oedipus the king, moves us not an evil man, his misfortune is greater than he deserves, but he moves us also to fear , because we recognize similar possibilities or error in our own lesser and fallible selves.
Medieval Tragedy• Medieval Tragedies are simply the story whether deservedly or not , is brought from prosperity to wretchedness by an unpredictable turn of the wheel of fortune. The short narratives in “The Monk’s Take" of the contemporary tales are all, in Chaucers own term, “Tragedies” of this kind.
Senecan Tragedy• Senecan Tragedy was written to be recited rather than acted; but to English playwrights, who thought that these tragedies has been intended for the organized five-act play with a complex dialogue like the earliest English example was Thomas Sackville and Thomas Nortons Gorbodyc.
Revenge Tragedy• This type of play derived from Senecas favorite material of murder, revenge, ghost, mutilation, and carnage, but while Seneca had relegated such matters to long reports of offstage actions by messengers. Thomas Kyd’s “The Spanish Tragedy”(1586) established this popular forms. Christopher Marlowes “The Jew of Malta” and Shakespeares early play “Titus Andronicus” are in this mode.
Domestic Tragedy• Which was written in prose and presented a protagonist from the middle or lower social ranks who suffers a commonplace or domestic distance. George Lillo’s “The London Merchant” or “The History of George Barnwell (1731). Another example like Henrik Ibsen’s “A Dolls House”, Arthur Miller’s “Death of A Salesman”.
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