Modern Tragedy

(3636 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

Is tragedy possible in the modern era? In his book The Death of Tragedy (1961), George Steiner takes the view that Ibsen's social-realist plays in prose, such as A Doll's House and Ghosts, in effect killed off tragic drama: “Tragedy speaks not of secular dilemmas which may be resolved by rational innovation, but of the unaltering bias toward inhumanity and destruction in the drift of the world. But in these plays of Ibsen's radical period, such is not the issue. There are specific remedies to the disasters which befall the characters, and it is Ibsen's purpose to make us see these remedies and bring them about.” George Steiner is right to perceive that such plays as A Doll's House and Ghosts are …

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Newton, Ken. "Modern Tragedy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 February 2004
[, accessed 09 October 2015.]