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Tragedy

Overview

  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Gillian Woods
  • Assessment: a 2000-word coursework essay (20%), 3000-word essay (40%) and three-hour examination (40%)

Module description

You will consult theories of tragedy from Aristotle and Artaud to Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton. A number of major texts within the canon of tragic literature will be studied. These may include texts such as: Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Shakespeare, King Lear; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles; Samuel Beckett, Endgame; Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Sarah Kane, Phaedra’s Love; and Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire.

You will be encouraged to consider the virtues and limits of tragedy as a way of reading and classifying literature; the political implications of the idea of tragedy; and whether classical ideas of tragedy can remain relevant in the contemporary world.

The module will be taught by a combination of lectures and seminars.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you will:

  • have considered the virtues and limits of tragedy as a way of reading and classifying literature
  • understand the political implications of the idea of tragedy
  • have investigated whether classical ideas of tragedy can remain relevant in the contemporary world.