Inspired by Seneca and made popular on the Elizabethan stage by Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy (1586), revenge tragedy depicts a son’s revenge for a father’s murder (or vice versa). The murder is revealed and directed to the protagonist by the murdered man’s ghost, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1601).
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Comedy is, as I have said, an imitation of lower types; though it does not include the full range of badness, nevertheless to be ridiculous is a kind of deformity. The causes of laughter are errors and deformities that do not pain or injure us; the comic mask, for instance, is deformed and distorted but not painfully so.
Gothic signifies a writing of excess. It appears in the awful obscurity that haunted eighteenth-century rationality and morality. It shadows the despairing ecstasies of Romantic idealism and individualism and the uncanny dualities of Victorian realism and decadence.
The following presentation is meant as an introduction to epic poetry and tragedy.