9 Elements of a Shakespearean Tragedy

9 Elements of a Shakespearean Tragedy

In this GSA Shakespeare in Schools – Macbeth video we go look at the 9 elements that make up a Shakespearean Tragedy.

We are now taking bookings for Hamlet, which will tour to Cork, Athlone and Dublin this Autumn 2019.

Subscribe to our Channel for more!

but there are nine elements of a Shakespearean tragedy number one the tragic hero a tragic hero is one of the most significant elements of a Shakespearean tragedy this type of tragedy is essentially a one-man show the Euro may be either male or female though it is typically male and he or she must suffer because of some flaw of character because of inevitable fate or both the hero must be the most tragic personality in the play and usually the hero has to face death in the end an important feature of the tragic hero is that he or she is a towering personality just like Macbeth he hails from the elite stratum of society and holds a high position of nobility and prestige number 2 good versus evil Shakespearean tragedies explore the struggle between good and evil the majority deal with the supremacy of evil and the suppression of good evil is presented in a way that suggests its existence is a necessary and ever enduring thing Macbeth appears as good in the beginning of the play but is driven to evil acts by his intense ambition The Weird Sisters are presented as evil and supernatural in the opening scene malcolm and macduff are built up as figures of goodness and provide a contrast to the evil of Macbeth her mighty is the Greek word for sin or error which derives from the verb form eighth-inning meaning to her or to miss the mark hamartia refers to the hero's tragic flaw it is an absolutely critical element of a Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth's fatal flaw is his desire for power and unchecked ambition and although he rises to power it undoubtedly leads to his fall from grace and death number four tragic waste in Shakespearean tragedies the hero usually dies along with his opponent the death of a hero is not an ordinary death it encompasses the loss of an exceptionally intellectual honest intelligent noble and virtuous person in a tragedy when good is destroyed along with evil the loss is known as a tragic waste Macbeth certainly illustrates the tragic waste of nobility and goodness in a character and the good aspects of Macbeth's character are killed by his evil acts and intentions number five conflict conflict is another crucial element of a Shakespearean tragedy so there are two types of conflicts external conflict an internal conflict external conflict plays a vital role as it causes internal conflict in the mind of the tragic hero every tragic hero in a Shakespearean play is confronted with external conflicts that must be addressed in Macbeth the external conflicts are the ones between Macbeth and the people he increasingly sees as obstacles to his ambition including Banquo Duncan Malcom comic DOS internal conflict refers to the confusion in the mind of the hero internal conflict is responsible for the hero's fall along with fate or destiny the tragic hero always faces a critical dilemma often he cannot make a decision which results in his ultimate failure in Macbeth we see a constant internal battle between his ambition and his conscience number 6 catharsis catharsis refers to the cleansing of the audience's pent-up emotions when we watch a tragedy we identify with the characters and take their losses personally a Shakespearean tragedy gives us an opportunity to feel pity for a certain character and fear for another almost as if we were playing the roles ourselves in Macbeth the audience and readers usually pity the tragic central figure of the play because he was blinded by his destructive preoccupation with ambition number 7 supernatural elements supernatural elements play an important role in creating an atmosphere of all wonder and sometimes fear supernatural elements are typically used to advance the story and drive the plot in Macbeth the witches play a significant role their prophecies are responsible for motivating Macbeth to resort to murder in order to ascend throne of scones number eight ambiguity of poetic justice poetic justice means good is rewarded and evil is punished there is no clear poetic justice in the tragedies of Shakespeare rather they contain only partial justice Shakespeare understood the poetic justice rarely occurs outside of fiction good deeds often go without reward and immoral people are often free to enjoy life to its fullest however in Macbeth there is a suggestion of poetic justice because of their evil deeds Lady Macbeth kills herself and Macbeth himself is killed at the hands of noble Macduff this justice however is tempered by the pity we feel for the eponymous tragic hero number nine comic relief comic relief is the final key element Shakespeare didn't follow in the footsteps of his classical predecessors as Greek and Roman writers didn't use comic relief but Shakespeare wanted to relieve the tension for the audience in Macbeth the comic relief is evidenced by the drunken port scene so Macbeth has all nine elements of a traditional Shakespearean tragedy even though it is confused by the protagonist turning evil this complicated tragic hero is the reason Macbeth is considered a masterpiece you


  1. 1)the tragic hero
    2)good vs evil
    4)tragic waste-death of hero…good destroyed along with evil
    6)catharisis(taken over,emotion
    7)Super natural elemnts
    8) ambiguity of poetic justice
    9)Comic relief

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *