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The Tragic Plot

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > The Tragic Plot

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The tragic plot is similar to the pathetic plot in that failure plays a significant part. However, whereas the protagonist in the pathetic plot is weak and suffers from the actions of others, the tragic hero is strong character and is more responsible for their own fate, although fate may be portrayed as a powerful force that cannot be overcome with strength or fortitude.

Example

Shakespeare's tragedies (eg. 'King Lear' and 'Hamlet')

Discussion

As with the pathetic plot, the tragic plot invokes hope and disappointment as hopes are dashed, although we may feel more that the protagonist deserves the outcome more, even when it is death (a common feature of tragedies). One purpose of the tragic plot is that we learn from the failures of others, for example that blind arrogance is not a formula for success.

The Tragic Plot is one of Friedman's story plots.

See also

Friedman, N. (1955). Forms of the Plot. Journal of General Education. 8: 241-253

 

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