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.
Some of these definitions of science fiction are useful; some less so. However, I think it’s smart to see as many ideas as possible when trying to get my head around a concept.
In its strict use by literary critics, the term epic or heroic poem is applied to a work that meets at least the following criteria: it is a long narrative poem an a great and serious subject, related in an elevated style, and centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race.
A tragedy must not be a spectacle of a perfectly good man brought from prosperity to adversity. For this merely shocks us. Nor, of course must it be that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity; for that is not tragedy at all, but the perversion of tragedy, and revolts the moral sense.