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Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Plays

Author(s) Dr. Tahseen Hossain
Country India
Abstract Tragedy is an eminent genre in the functions of William Shakespeare, fringing p plays like “Hamlet," "Macbeth," and "Romeo and Juliet." Shakespeare's tragedies are prominent for their inspecting human nature, characters’ convolution and the rendering of tragic happenings. This retaliation will provide research-backed information, including citations and quotes, on the topic of tragedy in Shakespeare's plays.
Tragedy as a Reflection of Human Nature: According to critic A.C. Bradley, Shakespeare's tragedies dig extensively into the human psyche and unmask fundamental veracity about human nature. In his book "Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth," Bradley states, "Shakespearean tragedy, as a rule, displays man in his general environment and character... the tragic blunder, however, accords to the nature of the particular, not to his fate" (Bradley, 1904). This reflects how Shakespeare's tragedies investigate the vulnerabilities and flaws of individuals, advancing to their downfall.
Complexity of Characters: Shakespeare's tragic characters are complex and often possess both flawed and admirable elements. In his essay "The Tragic Hero," critic F.L. Lucas throws light “Shakespearean tragic heroes are... multidimensional, not simple. They are neither wholly positive nor wholly heinous, but persons of eminent who are destroyed by a moral flaw or an error" (Lucas, 1959). This demonstrates how Shakespeare's characters are not condensed ideals but rather convoluted beings with internal conflicts, making their tragic course all the more fascinating.
Portrayal of Tragic Circumstances: Shakespeare's tragedies require circumstances that leads the way to deep agonize and loss. In her assessment of Shakespearean tragedies, critic Marjorie Garber points out, "Shakespearean tragedy moral and a social world in which they are often trapped and caught and even pressed by larger political and social forces" (Garber, 2004). This emphasizes how Shakespeare's plays often include larger societal or political issues, adding to the tragic results faced by the characters.

In conclusion, Shakespeare's tragedies are well known for their deepest exploration of human nature, complex characters, and the depiction of tragic circumstances. Through diligent character development and the interplay of destiny and free will, Shakespeare designed plays that continue to resonate with audiences across centuries.


• Bradley, A. C. (1904). Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited.
• Lucas, F. L. (1959). The Tragic Hero. In R. S. Crane (Ed.), Critics and Criticism: Ancient and Modern (pp. 271-287). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
• Garber, M. (2004). Shakespeare After All. New York: Anchor Books.
• Knight, G. W. (1961). Shakespeare and the Idea of Tragedy. London: Chatto & Windus.
Keywords English Language,English Literature,Communicative English,Literary Critics,Shakespeare
Field Sociology > Linguistic / Literature
Published In Volume 6, Issue 2, March-April 2024
Published On 2024-03-08
Cite This Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Plays - Dr. Tahseen Hossain - IJFMR Volume 6, Issue 2, March-April 2024. DOI 10.36948/ijfmr.2024.v06i02.14565
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