09 April 2005

Shakespeare did get one thing right.

i was talking with two close friends, what, a week ago, perhaps? about the nature of tragedy. the works of shakespeare became implicit, since he kind of coined the term.

what is the opposite of tragedy?
denial.
not comedy?
comedy only means you get out alive.

7 comments:

Will divine said...

Comedy is the Compromised reMedy between tragedy and it's Opposite (which i agree is denial, or delusion). it involves a perceptual shift though; when you no longer delude or deny reality, your only hope of glorious, fantastical disconnect is to bear Wit ness.

Michael Barker said...

Hmmm... the opposite of tragedy is denial? I don't totally get this formula. In what sense?

To get all 'websters' on the issue for a moment:

trag·e·dy (tra˘j'i˘-de¯)
n., pl. -dies.

1.

a. A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

b. The genre made up of such works.

c. The art or theory of writing or producing these works.

2. A play, film, television program, or other narrative work that portrays or depicts calamitous events and has an unhappy but meaningful ending.

3. A disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life: an expedition that ended in tragedy, with all hands lost at sea.

4. A tragic aspect or element.

[Middle English tragedie, from Old French, from Latin tragoedia, from Greek trago¯idia¯ : tragos, goat + aoide¯, o¯ide¯, song.]

and

de·ni·al (di˘-ni¯'?l)
n.

1. A refusal to comply with or satisfy a request.

2.
a. A refusal to grant the truth of a statement or allegation; a contradiction.

b. Law. The opposing by a defendant of an allegation of the plaintiff.

3.

a. A refusal to accept or believe something, such as a doctrine or belief.

b. Psychology. An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.

4. The act of disowning or disavowing; repudiation.

5. Abstinence; self-denial.

[From DENY.]

I think life is difficult (for those of us who fall short of enlightenment, whatever that is) and transient, and that to be fully conscious and responsible for oneself involves a degree of difficulty and heartache, but that to live without some level of self-consciousness and responsiblity is to live entirely in ignorance and delusion, and aren't ignorance and delusion (denial) the real source of tragedy in this life? in the sense of "...the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances." The moral weakness or inability would be the delusion or denial, no? So wouldn't the opposite of tragedy be the achievement of a happy ending through some kind of moral strength of character? Isn't tragedy, in some sense, denial and delusion? If that's the case, what is the opposite of denial? See? It's complicated.

Uhclem said...

If that's the case, what is the opposite of denial?

"The opposite of denial is de sand": old Egyptian joke....

Denial is an essential component of tragedy: if the central character weren't denying reality, we might have pathos ("Oh look, a heavy rock is about to fall on me head, how sad..."), but not tragedy. By their inability or unwillingness to accept reality, heroes participate in their fate.

Hamlet denies he can't restore Denmark to an unweeded garden; Macbeth denies that things change when you murder people; Adam and Eve deny that if you break His one rule, you in deep doo-doo. And so on.

Tragedy shows a world in which your imperfections doom you, while comedy asserts that you can survive in spite (or because of!) those same imperfections.

Christine Estima said...

oh stef, you are the jam in my jelly roll. you are the apple of my eye, the cream in my cofee, i tells ya. although Shakespeare didn't use a Pentium chip with 512 meg of ram on board, if he had, you would have designed his img src's, with your nekkid spine ladies . . . you are my geek queen. xoxox

steflenk said...

hmm. i like that.
tragedy shows a world in which your imperfections doom you, while comedy asserts that you can survive in spite (or because of!) those same imperfections.

perhaps the opposite of denial is acceptance, and people who accept things in this day and age without questioning them (hell, in any day and age without questioning) need to be Very very careful.
for they are courting tragedy.
opposites attract, you understand.

denial vs. acceptance.
=(denial vs. tragedy.)

therefore tragedy=acceptance/acceptance=tragedy.
denial, well denial=denial. straight up.

(i'm a ruddy great mathematical genius.)


which brings me back to: the opposite of denial (acceptance) is tragedy.

(chuckle)

let's face it; life is tough. but since no one gets out of this world alive, there are two routes: tragedy, where you wallow in the above, and denial, where you pretend it's a moot point, and live it up. which is, i might venture to point out, a comedy.

yahoo!

mathematickle said...

if t = a spiritual quality, then:
tragedy becomes
t+RAGE+d(ie)
if you add a transformative (Opposing) (e)nergy to RAGE it becomes
EAG(e)R = intense desire, keen interest, impatient expectancy.
therefore:
tragedy
(t+rage+die) + sublime (e)----->
= t+eager+die
= a spiritual quality + intense desire + destroyed by intense desire (as in "to die for")
= come.die
where (come) = to arrive, or occur in the mind, to have an orgasm
= to arrive at a certain death
= tragedy
= comedy


Tragedy and Comedy are Equal And Opposing forces.

(e)<----->(e)

Anonymous said...

any tragic incident that one manages to survive inevitably becomes comical in retrospect, Everyone NEEDS tragedy ("oh woe is me" [whatever, I was once a sad goth kid who listened to the cure waay too much]) in order to appreciate the comical significance of existing as we know it.
If you deny your tragic experiences by means of avoidance, you sink even further into the cesspool of tradgedy, which isn't comical at all.
That's what I meant when I said the opposite of tragedy is denial.

J