Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Thomas Hardys Tragic Stories Essay -- Biography Biographies Essays
Thomas Hardy's Tragic Stories For centuries, various writers have endeavored to encapsulate the constituents of tragedy, and create works of literature that adhere to their understanding of an ostensibly universal system of tragic structure, tragic plot, and tragic theme. Nevertheless, the etymology of the word, "tragedy," proves to be as elusive and arcane as the tragic construct is seemingly concrete and unequivocal; indeed, the word, "tragedy," can be traced to the Greek word, "tragoidia," which literally means, "goat-song." We do not know whether actors in the Choral Odes read their lines clad in goatskins, or if goats were bestowed as prizes; we do know, however, that Aristotle reconfigured the more bucolic play tradition, and, in his Poetics, developed a technique founded on the tradition of regal grandeur, sweeping scope, and cosmic power. Thomas Hardy, one of the few Victorian tragic prose writers, undoubtedly draws from the tradition of Aristotelian Greek tragedy. Nevertheless, our thesis expresses skepticism in the precision and alacrity with which Hardy is equated with tragedy and conventional tragic form. In a post-Shakespearean nineteenth-century world, writers were acquainted with two tragic traditions: Greek and Christian. The Greek tragic tradition is founded upon the ritual feasting of Dionysus (or the Roman version, Bacchus); the Christian mystery play tradition is rooted in the Passion of Christ. Both traditions bind themselves inextricably to forces larger than themselves - either to gods and goddesses, or to the Holy Trinity - and structure their plays around the rituals inherent in these traditions. Hardy's own novels comprise elements of both Greek and Christian tragic conventions, thus elici... ...on tragedy from The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy Bibliography Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998. Brereton, Geoffrey. Principles of Tragedy: A Rational Examination of the Tragic Concept in Life and Literature. Florida: University of Miami Press, 1969. Gibson, James. Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. Hardy, Thomas. The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1985. Kramer, Dale. Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975. Krook, Dorothy. Elements of Tragedy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. Margeson, J.M.R. The Origins of English Tragedy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967. Page, Norman. Oxford Reader's Companion to Hardy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.