- Tragedy is defined as something very bad that happens.
An example of tragedy is when a child dies in a fire.
- a serious play or drama typically dealing with the problems of a central character, leading to an unhappy or disastrous ending brought on, as in ancient drama, by fate and a tragic flaw in this character, or, in modern drama, usually by moral weakness, psychological maladjustment, or social pressures
- such plays collectively
- the branch of drama having to do with such plays
- the writing, acting, or theoretical principles of this kind of drama
- a novel or other literary work with similar characteristics
- the tragic element of such a literary work, or of a real event
- a very sad or tragic event or sequence of events; disaster
Origin: Middle English tragedie from Middle French from Classical Latin tragoedia from Glassical Greek tragōidia, tragedy, literally , the song of the goat from tragos, goat ( from Indo-European an unverified form treg-, to gnaw from base an unverified form ter-, to rub, grind from source throw) plush ōidē, song (see ode): so named uncertain or unknown; perhaps because of the goatskin dress of the performers, representing satyrs
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noun pl. trag·e·dies
- a. A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.b. The genre made up of such works.c. The art or theory of writing or producing these works.
- A play, film, television program, or other narrative work that portrays or depicts calamitous events and has an unhappy but meaningful ending.
- A disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life: an expedition that ended in tragedy, with all hands lost at sea.
- A tragic aspect or element.
Origin: Middle English tragedie, from Old French, from Latin tragoedia, from Greek tragōidiā : tragos, goat + aoidē, ōidē, song; see wed-2 in Indo-European roots.
tragedy - Cultural Definition
A serious drama in which a central character, the protagonist — usually an important, heroic person — meets with disaster either through some personal fault or through unavoidable circumstances. In most cases, the protagonist's downfall conveys a sense of human dignity in the face of great conflict. Tragedy originated in ancient Greece in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. In modern times, it achieved excellence with William Shakespeare in such works as Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. Twentieth-century tragedies include Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, and Murder in the Cathedral, by T. S. Eliot.