Tragedy (from the Greek: goat-song) is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes in its audience an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in the viewing. While many cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, the term tragedy often refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity—”the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity,” as Raymond Williams puts it.

ABWAG Various definitions of modern tragedy. Useful look at tragedy through history.

STEM-Net Worthwhile explanation of the characteristics of Greek Tragedy.

The College of New Rochelle Aristotle’s all-important theory of tragedy from his work The Poetics.

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