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annihilation, religious beliefs, playwright, time period, culture

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Tragedy, dramatic genre that presents the heroic or moral struggle of an individual, culminating in his or her ultimate defeat. While serious drama and comedy are found in nearly every culture and time period, tragic plays appear chiefly in societies that maintain a fixed hierarchy of political and religious beliefs. Only when spectators share with the playwright a particular social vision and system of class-based values can they empathize with the fall of the protagonist (central character) from an elevated position into bleak despair or annihilation.


Gordon, Mel, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Professor of Dramatic Arts, University of California, Berkley.

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annihilation, religious beliefs, playwright, time period, culture, comedy, fall, societies

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