Anti-Tragic Drama after Ibsen

K. M. Newton

in Modern Literature and the Tragic

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780748636730
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652082 | DOI:
Anti-Tragic Drama after Ibsen

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Tragedy has been central to discussions of Saint Joan and critics have recognised the relationship between the play and Sophocles' Antigone. Saint Joan is unconvincingly interpreted as a Hegelian tragedy. Arms and the Man is one of Shaw's lightest comedies but like The Devil's Disciple it also offers a critique of the tragic. Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children is on the surface similar in structure to traditional tragedy, with its protagonist struggling to survive in a world resistant to human hopes and ideals, but as with Ibsen and Shaw tragedy is invoked only to be repudiated. Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons is an attempt to reformulate the tragic in modern terms. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman presents a more complex representation of the ‘tragic’ hero in terms of Miller's concept of tragedy.

Keywords: Saint Joan; Arms and the Man; Shaw; The Devil's Disciple; Brecht; Mother Courage; Robert Bolt; A Man for All Seasons; Arthur Miller; Death of a Salesman

Chapter.  14496 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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