Comprehending tragedy has been a major philosophical and critical preoccupation in Western thought. In an effort to bring order to the multiple and often conflicting perspectives, Palmer lucidly analyzes the principal ideas about tragedy from Plato to the present. Critically surveying the similarities and differences among major theories, Palmer analyzes features associated with tragedy, such as the tragic hero, katharsis, and self-recognition; develops a working definition of tragedy; and applies these ideas to a sampling of plays that present special interpretive problems. He incorporates and explores the ideas of such eminent thinkers as Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzche, Schopenhauer, Schiller, Kierkegaard, and Freud, as well as contemporary theorists.
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