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A tragicomedy describes a drama in literature and in theater and feature film in which the characteristics of tragedy and comedy are closely linked. In a broader sense, the term refers to a tragedy which, in addition to the tragic, also contains comic components, such as B. the old Spanish and English tragedies.

The genus

The term “tragicomedy” was invented by Plautus (254–184 BC) to name the connection between the two elements in his Amphitruo . But also Aristotle and Euripides had already added a comedy to a tragedy in the theater of ancient Greece .

The genre of tragic comedy was very widespread as tragicomédie in the French theater of the 17th century, where it was used in the 1630s, i. H. at the beginning of the French Classical era, experienced a heyday, e.g. B. in the form of one of the most famous pieces of French literature: Le Cid by Pierre Corneille (1636). The classic tragicomédie had, just like a tragédie , to be played in princely or other high-ranking circles, to adhere to the three units of place, time and action and to use rhyming alexandrines as a meter. The fundamental difference to tragedy was that it did not end with the death of the protagonist (s), but without necessarily having a cheerful or even happy ending. Comedy in the current sense was not part of the tragicomédie program . It was reserved for comédie , which was preferably played in middle-class circles .

In common usage today, tragicomic refers to an event which, in its entire development, is tragic, i. H. expected an unfortunate outcome, but surprisingly a good one, i. H. ends happily, which at the same time seems funny in its way.

I definitely don't call comedy a performance that just makes you laugh, but a performance that is for everyone. Tragedy is only for the serious part of the audience, who are able to see heroes of the past in their light and measure their worth. Thus the Greek tragedies were the perpetuation of remarkable persons from their fatherland in distinctive actions or fates; So Shakespeare's tragedies were true representations from the stories of older and newer nations. The comedies of those, however, were for the people, and the difference between laughing and crying was only an invention of later art judges, who did not see why the greater part of the people was more inclined to laugh than to cry, and the closer it is to the state of savagery or the emergence of it, the more his comedies had to approach the comic. "

Tragic comedies in the newer German theater

After 1945 the number of tragicomic dramas increased sharply. Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote of the genre that it was "the only possible dramatic way of expressing the tragic today". Because, as Dürrenmatt says in his text Theaterprobleme from 1955 , tragedy presupposes “guilt, hardship, measure, overview, responsibility” in order to achieve its goal of purifying the individual. In the confusion of the modern world, so Dürrenmatt, guilt is blurred and pushed away, the modern only comes with the grotesque .

Well-known examples are:

Well-known cinematic examples are:

See also


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dürrenmatt, Friedrich: Theaterprobleme.Theater-Schriften und Speeches. Verlag der Arche, Zurich 1966, pp. 122–123.

Web links

Wiktionary: tragicomedy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations