EDUCATION

Epic and Tragedy

Epic and Tragedy

While we talk about the various literary genres and their styles, they carry with themselves a huge variety of other things as well like the type, plot construction, character development and the like. 

Epic and tragedy are such genres that occupy an elite standing in this literary world, and thus it becomes important to understand the major points of differences between these two genres so that the students who are working upon the topic can get assignment help from the same.

For tragedy, Aristotle says that the medium of imitation, in case of tragedies, is melody and diction. By diction, we understand the metrical arrangement of words and by melody we understand the rhythm provided to this arrangement of words. 

The subject represented in tragedy, is an action which involves agents having distinctive qualities of themselves, both of thought and character, since it is from them that we ascribe certain qualities to their actions. 

The rise and downfall of these characters is what provides the tragedy its essence. 

Then we have another important component of the tragedy which is the Plot. Plot is the arrangements of incidents in a story, or things done in the story. 

Character is what gives moral qualities to an agent and thoughts are the mental processes that determine the steps of this character. Therefore, as concluded by several research paper writing on Aristotle’s works, there are six elements that binds a tragedy together:

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Thought
  • Diction
  • Spectacle 
  • Melody

Aristotle says that tragedy is imitation, not of persons, but of actions, actions which give way to emotions of happiness and sadness. Character gives a person his or her qualities, 

but it is in the actions that we represent these qualities. Aristotle then says that another important element of tragedy are peripeties and discovery and these should arise out of the plot. The Plot of a tragedy must be a complex one that raises pity and fear. 

Both these emotions must be aroused from the spectacle as well as the incidents of the play. A tragic hero, on the other hand, is someone who is capable of making an error in judgement. 

All in all, the actions in a tragedy give way to the outburst of emotions, that is catharsis, arising from the downfall of the protagonist. 

When Aristotle said that imitation is the basis of all common fine arts, he differentiated between these art forms saying that the medium, objects and manner of imitation are what differentiate all these art forms

First and foremost, the object of imitation on a tragedy is a serious action, which is way too different form comedy wherein the object of imitation is a non-serious action. 

Then, in the manner of imitation, tragedy is differentiated from epic wherein the epic just narrates an incident whereas in case of a tragedy we see a proper action of the entire event. 

On the basis of the medium of imitation, tragedy is differentiated from lyric in the fact that tragedy employs verse in the dialogue form and song in the chorus.

While tragedy is just a dramatic representation of actions, epic represents the dramatic part through the narration of a character. Therefore, a poet like Homer or Milton narrates the story as well as tells the dialogues as and when required. 

While the similarity between these two things is in the fact that both of them represent serious actions yet there are certain differences that are well marked and draw a line between them. 

These differences are important to be taken note of for assignment help on the topic. 

According to various research paper writings done on this work of Aristotle, we see that Aristotle marked a few prominent differences between epic and tragedy. While epic is a narrative wherein actions are narrated by the writer, a tragedy is written in a dramatic form, 

wherein actual dialogues take place between the characters. Whereas epic uses only one meter which is the heroic meter, tragedy can use different meters in different parts, that is, it may use some for the choric parts of the work whereas verse for the dialogues. 

An epic is much longer since its action is not confined to one place or time. It may move through time in order to address a particular issue. On the other hand, since the action of a tragedy is confined to a particular place or times therefore it is much shorter in length. 

Obeying these statements, did the two terms, unity of action and unity of time came into being. 

Then, the plot of an epic, just like the plot of a tragedy, must be constructed on dramatic principles. It must have a single action, which is whole and complete, with a proper beginning, middle and end. 

As a matter of fact, the constituent elements of an epic are the same as that of tragedy. Just the spectacle and the choric song can be removed from the list. 

An epic poem can present a series of events that occur simultaneously at different places which supplements the richness and variety of the literary work. Epic serves the purpose of describing the marvels which can’t be that easily presented on stage. 

According to the research paper writings done on Poetics, epic poetry differs from tragic drama in the manner of its construction. In case of an epic, the beginning and the end must be capable of being brought into a single view 

while in case of a tragedy there remains a thin line between the beginning, middle and end, each of which serves its own definitive purpose.  Epic poetry has a capacity of enlarging its dimensions

The writer of a tragic play must confine himself to the actions of the play performed on stage and cannot go on with his imitation. But in an epic poem, many events can be simultaneously presented, which can in turn add mass and dignity to the poem.

Therefore, these were a few points of differences between an epic and a tragedy.

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