What is the etymology of the word tragedy?


What is the etymology of the word tragedy?

The Etymology of "Tragedy":

The idea that drama should be divided into tragedy and comedy has been a fixture of Western culture since antiquity; and Aristotle, who lived in the 4th century BCE, defined in his Poetics the elements that characterize a proper tragedy—the hero has to have a goal at which, in the course of the plot, he fails due to a mistake he has made or a flaw in his character; and his turn of fortune has to evoke sympathy and concern from the audience.

Answer and Explanation:

The drama of ancient Greece, and of Athens in particular, is traditionally divided into the genres of comedy and tragedy, in Greek komoidia and tragoidia. The second part of both of these terms means "song", and Greek plays began as choral performances that featured singing and dancing; while tragedy was more specifically a "goat-song". The meaning of this has been debated since antiquity—it has been suggested that goats were offered as prizes to the victors at the annual Athenian drama competition, or that goats were sacrificed on those occasions (since dramatic performances were considered religious ceremonies dedicated to the god Dionysus). It has also been proposed by modern scholars that tragedies got their name from the fact that they were associated with, and developed from, the "satyr plays" in which the chorus was made up of men dressed as satyrs, who were the goat-men that accompaanied Dionysus in Greek myth.

Learn more about this topic:

Tragedy in Drama: Classical to Modern


Chapter 8 / Lesson 4

Nearly every story has a hero, but some are better off by the end of the story than others. In this video, we learn what is so tragic about the hero in a tragedy.

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