Revenge Tragedy

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)
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Revenge tragedy is a curiously paradoxical genre. Its practitioners take one of the most primitive, brutal human impulses as their essential subject matter and turn this into complex, often deeply thought-provoking aesthetic experiences. There are innumerable examples of stories in which an individual or group seek vengeance against the perpetrator of a crime or perceived injustice, and revenge as a theme can be found in works of almost every kind including drama, poetry, prose fiction, medieval saga and romance, opera, movies and graphic novels. It would be wrong, however, to automatically class every story or text in which a character seeks to get even with someone else as revenge tragedy. Strictly speaking, a distinction can be made between those texts that simply include an instance…

1585 words

Citation: Woodcock, Matthew. "Revenge Tragedy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=951, accessed 13 June 2024.]

951 Revenge Tragedy 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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