Although even attended by the priests. Most of the

Although the word ‘tragedy’ is often used loosely to describe any
sort of disaster or misfortune, it more precisely refers to a work of art that probes with high seriousness
questions concerning the role of man in the universe. (Michel 1) It is a branch
of drama that treats, in a serious and
dignified style, the sorrowful or terrible events encountered or caused by a
heroic individual. The word was first used by the Greek of Attica an ancient
state whose capital was in Athens. The word was used to describe a specific
kind of play which was done during festivals and sponsored by the local
government upon which the community was to pay a small fee for admission. The
performance however, was more religious than entertaining and was even attended
by the priests. Most of the materials for the plays was derived from the works
of a famous poet, Homer, and other forms of Greek communities. The achievements
of the three greatest Greek dramatists; Aeschylus (525–456 bce), Sophocles (c. 496–406 bce), and Euripides (c.480–406 bce) were so powerful that the
word they first used for their plays survived and came to describe a literary genre. An extraordinary
character is always led to his or her downfall through their own weakness. A
successful tragedy evokes pity and fear from its audience. It can be further
categorised into; revenge, domestic, bourgeois and Shakespearean tragedies. The purpose of comedy on the other hand is to amuse the audience. Comedy is a literary genre and a type of dramatic work that is amusing and satirical
in its tone, in most cases, having a cheerful ending. The motif of this dramatic work is to triumph over spiteful
circumstance by creating comic effects, resulting in a happy or successful
conclusion. It contains a story that illustrates peculiarities of ordinary
people as supplements to the happy ending and the protagonist achieves their
goal at the end (Backes 44). The source of the humour, context in which an author dialogues, and the delivery methods,
including farce, satire,
and parody (burlesques) creates a foundation for integrating comedy into
multiple sub-genres (Anthony 43). Tragedy is therefore the complete opposite of comedy, as tragedy
deals with sorrowful and tragic events in a story.

            The Importance of Being Earnest, is a trivial
comedy for Serious People authored by Oscar Wilde. It was first performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s
Theatre in London. It is a farcical comedy in which the
protagonists maintain a made-up personae, Jack and Algernon, to escape
difficult social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late
Victorian London, the drama’s major theme is the triviality with which it
treats institutions as serious as marriage as it brings out hypocrisy and
deception as the theme and does not keep the audience bored using satirical
scenes. This work was an early experiment in Victorian melodrama being a hybrid
composed of; part satire, part comedy of manners, and part intellectual farce,
this play seems to have nothing at stake because the world it presents is so
blatantly and ostentatiously artificial.

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            Jack
Worthing, the play’s protagonist, is a pillar of the
community in Hertfordshire, where he is guardian to Cecily Cardew, the pretty, eighteen-year-old granddaughter of the late
Thomas Cardew, who found and adopted Jack when he was a baby (Oscar, A).
Jack is a landowner and justice of the peace. He also has the mandate of
caretaking for his tenants, farmers, and a number of servants and other
employees. Oscar Wilde builds on the theme of hypocrisy and deception when the
protagonist introduces a nonexistent character known as Ernest who at first is
Jack’s younger brother who leads a scandalous life in pursuit of pleasure and
is always getting into trouble of a sort that requires Jack to rush grimly off
to his assistance. The character Ernest is jack’s excuse for disappearing often
for days at a time that is convenient for Jack. No one but Jack knows
that he himself is Ernest. Ernest is the name Jack goes by in London, which is
where he really goes on these occasions probably since he has a motivation for
his found love, Gwendolen Fairfax, the cousin of his
best friend, Algernon Moncrieff. Upon discovering an inscription inside Jack’s cigarette case addressed to
“Uncle Jack” from someone who refers to herself as “little Cecily, Algernon
suspects that Jack is leading double lives which would develop the theme of
deception later on when Jack discloses to hi his true identity as he plans to
propose to Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen. This also prompts Algernon to create
his ‘phantom’ character called Bunburyist who de describes as one who leads a
double life. When jack proposes to Gwendolen, she makes it clear to him that
the name ‘Ernest’ inspires absolute confidence in her and she will only marry a
man named Earnest. Lady Bracknell, who is Gwendolen’s mother, interviews her
son-in-law to be and realizes that his background is not all pleasing to her as
it makes her scandalous so she forbids the match between Jack and her daughter.
Jack, disappointed, ‘kills’ his imaginary brother Earnest and goes back home to
mourn. Little does he know of the plot already developed by his friend Algernon
for he had already ‘resurrected’ the phantom brother of Jack and was already
courting Cecily by disguising himself as “Ernest”. Jack’s relationship still
progresses and he intends to christen himself Ernest to retain Gwendolen’s
concept of an “Ernest husband”. Algernon has adopted the idea and has done the
same and they have both visited Dr. Chasuble who is to do his job later in the
afternoon. Gwendolen has eloped and is in Jack’s Manor where she meets Cecily
who serves her and makes her comfortable. As they interact, their introduction
sparks an argument about who is being deceived. The two ladies both claim the
engagement to Ernest, who is at this point is either Jack or Algernon. Jack and
Algernon arrive toward the climax of this confrontation, each having separately
made arrangements with Dr. Chasuble to be christened Ernest later that day.
Each of the young ladies points out that the other has been deceived. Jack is
forced to admit that he has no brother and that ‘Ernest’ is a complete fiction.
When Jack and Algernon enter from the garden, the two women confront them.
Cecily asks Algernon why he pretended to be her guardian’s brother. Algernon
tells her he did it in order to meet her. Gwendolen asks Jack whether he
pretended to have a brother in order to come into London to see her as often as
possible, and she interprets his evasive reply as an affirmation. The women are
somewhat appeased but still concerned over the issue of the name. However, when
Jack and Algernon tell Gwendolen and Cecily that they have both made
arrangements to be christened Ernest that afternoon, all is forgiven and the
two pairs of lovers embrace. After this moment, of hypocrisy discovery, the
arrival of Lady Bracknell follows, she bribed her maid to learn the whereabouts
of her daughter Gwendolen and has followed her. Lady Bracknell is however, not
affirming to the match between her daughter and Jack but supports that of
Cecily and Algernon. It is at this point that Jack introduces a blackmail game
plan to curtail his mother-in-law’s to be decision by citing that he would not
approve of the union between Algernon and Cecily if his match with Gwendolen.
The unyielding of Lady Bracknell is however, smashed by the arrival of Dr.
Chasuble and Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism. There is an interaction from the
historical acquaintances between Lady Bracknell and Miss Prism and an eventual
disclosure of the legitimate parents of Jack being Lady Bracknell’s sister. Furthermore,
Jack had been initially christened “Ernest John.” The play culminates through
by the audience being brought to the reassurance that all these years Jack has
unknowingly been telling the truth: Ernest is indeed
his name, as is Jack, and he does have a deceitful younger
brother, Algernon. The play ends with Jack having Gwendolen in his arms and
also recognizing “the Importance of Being Earnest.”

            Antigone is an adaptation of Sophocles’s classic produced in
the context of the anti-fascist French resistance, is Jean Anouilh’s most
often-produced work today (Springler 232). Antigone premiered in Paris in 1944, but
Anouilh had written his tale of lone rebellion against the state two years
earlier, inspired by an act of resistance during Paris’s occupation by the
Nazis. Antigone is the girl
who will rise up alone and die young. Haemon, Antigone’s dashing fiancé, chats
with Ismene, her beautiful sister. Haemon inexplicably proposed to Antigone on
the night of a ball. Creon is king of Thebes, bound to the duties of rule. Next to the
sisters’ sits the Nurse and Queen Eurydice. Eurydice will knit until the time
comes for her to go to her room and die. Finally three Guards play cards,
indifferent to the tragedy before them. Anouilh uses this work to create a
theme of absolute determination as shall be depicted in the play illustration
herein.

            Anouilh develops the plot by
introducing the audience to the protagonist’s family set up and a slight
background of the later to be adamantly determined lady, even unto her death
(Anouilh and Freeman). Oedipus, Antigone and Ismene’s father, had two sons,
Eteocles and Polynices. Upon Oedipus’ death, it was agreed that each would take
the throne from one year to the next. After the first year, however, Eteocles,
the elder, refused to step down. Polynices, who had served in the army,
collaborated six foreign princes marched on to Thebes but were all defeated. In
the process, the two brothers killed each other in a duel, making Creon king.
Creon ordered Eteocles buried in honour and left Polynices to rot on the pain
of death. One of the dawns, when the house was still asleep, Antigone sneaked
in and meets the Nurse puzzled seemed to ask where she had been. Suddenly
Ismene enters, also asking where Antigone has been. Antigone sends the Nurse
away for coffee. Ismene knows the trait of the new King, full of pride and
loathe, declares that they cannot bury Polynices and that she must understand
Creon’s intentions. Antigone, full of determination to treat her fallen brother
fairly and equally, refuses and sends Ismene to go back to bed. Suddenly Haemon
enters and Antigone asks him to hold her with all his strength. She tells him
that she will never be able to marry him, since she was determined to follow a
course that would eventually lead to her death. Befuddled, Haemon leaves.
Ismene returns, terrified that Antigone will attempt to bury Polynices despite
the daylight but it is too late for Antigone reveals to her that she has
already done so, committed treason against the Kingdom. Later on in the day the
First Guard enters the chambers and informs King Creon that someone buried
Polynices’s body with a little dirt last night. He orders the guards to unearth
the body and keep the matter clandestine. This forms the beginning of the tragedy
work of this literature as its spring is wound, and it will uncoil all by
itself. Creon appears, and the First guard explains that Antigone was found
digging Polynices’ grave by hand in broad daylight. Creon seeks privacy and
sends the guards out. Once he is certain no one saw Antigone arrested e
attempts to conceal the trouble, he orders her to bed, telling her to say that
she has been ill. Antigone is still determined and adamantly replies that she
will only go out again tonight. Creon is frustrated by his attempt to restrain
Antigone and even informs her that her being the daughter of the befallen King
Oedipus still decrees her under the law. She is determined that just like her
father, chip of the old pot, her death must be the “natural climax”
to her life. Creon, on the other hand, is restrained to the order of the
kingdom. Antigone’s marriage is worth more to Thebes than her death. King Creon
knows that his reign makes him loathsome but he has no choice. Antigone
re-joins that he should have said no; she can say no to anything she thinks
vile. This adamant and determined nature of Antigone, together with the fact
that she is already ruined yet she is still a queen. Since Creon said yes, he
can only sentence her to death as required by the law and their justice system.
Creon asks her to pity him then and would have an opportunity to live. Antigone
again adamantly replies that she is not here to apprehend, but only to say no
and to die. Creon makes the last plea, saying that Antigone needs to understand
what goes on in the wings of her drama will lead her to severe punishment in
form of cruel death. As a child, she had known that her brothers made her
parents unhappy. Polynices was a cruel and vicious pleasure-lover. Being too
lenient to imprison him, Oedipus let him join the Argive army. As soon as
Polynices reached Argos, the cracks on Oedipus’ life began. But Eteocles,
Thebes’ martyr, too plotted to overthrow his father making both her brothers
gangsters. Even unto their deaths, they fought viciously till they were left
dead in a pool of pulpy blood.

At this point
attempting to offer an alternative lifesaving solution to Antigone, Creon urges
her to find Haemon and marry quickly and not waste her life and its happiness.
Antigone challenges his submissive happiness. She is of the tribe that asks
questions and hates man’s hope and supremacy as equality is her motivation that
her brothers be given equal and decent burials and so must men and women be
treated as equals in a marriage situation. A distressed Ismene rushes in,
begging Antigone’s forgiveness and promising to help her but Antigone rejects
her as she does not deserve to die with her. Ismene joins the struggle of
Antigone be swearing that she will bury Polynices herself. Antigone calls on
Creon to have her arrested, Creon relents. Creon’s attempt to conceal the truth
bore no fruit as the matter was in the public domain and his decision had to be
absolutely legal this is despite the plea by his son Haemon. Antigone conspires
with the First guard at her detention who agrees to dictate a letter with an
apology to her loved one and delivering. Antigone hung herself then deaths
followed; Haemon stabbed himself and Eurydice cut her throat. The tragedy
fulfils itself as all who had to die in the play, died and all bound to
Antigone are at peace.

            Tragedy is clean, restful, and
flawless unlike melodrama found in Comedy. In tragedy, everything is
inevitable, hopeless, and known. All are bound to their parts as the authors in
the plays used the protagonists to depict and illustrate. 

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