Tragedy and its Perpetual Controversy, With a Particular Reference to George Steiner’s Death of Tragedy and Terry Eagleton’s Tragedy

Sabbar S. Sultan


The present article aims to explore the concept of tragedy as delineated by Aristotle, its particularity, nature, objectives, practices, procedures, topics, representations of human beings and complex interrelations with the metaphysical and eschatological factors. A pivotal issue to be highlighted here is the reasons behind the gradual decline or demise of tragedy in our present technological age. This hypothesis implies the economic, cultural, political, ethical and social mutations in European societies throughout the twenty-five centuries ever since its birth in the fifth century BC. The article also provides a sufficient account of the Athenian tragedy as specified by Aristotle and his significant contribution to the tragic genre and its prescriptions and proscriptions. There are some references to the valuable judgments of the philosophers Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. The main argument will concentrate on the striking views of the two twentieth century critics: the French-English George Steiner and his remarkable book, Death of Tragedy (1961), and Tragedy (2020) by the contemporary Irish critic, Terry Eagleton. The main emphasis of the article is on these two critics and their illuminating arguments. The conclusion is a recapitulation and highlighting of the points raised throughout the article.



tragedy; Aristotle; Steiner; Eagleton; Nietzsche

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