Revenge Tragedy

(1585 words)
  • Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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 b…

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Woodcock, Matthew. "Revenge Tragedy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2006
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes
  2. Revenge Tragedy