- a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster: stunned by the tragedy of so many deaths.
- a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically involving a great person destined to experience downfall or utter destruction, as through a character flaw or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or an unyielding society.
- the branch of the drama that is concerned with this form of composition.
- the art and theory of writing and producing tragedies.
- any literary composition, as a novel, dealing with a somber theme carried to a tragic or disastrous conclusion.
- the tragic or mournful or calamitous element of drama, of literature generally, or of life.
Origin of tragedy
Examples from the Web for tragedies
So there are a few things we can do to try to prevent these tragedies.The Only Way to End Police Violence
December 5, 2014
And if this was done as it should be in our country, maybe there would not be tragedies like the tragedy in Moscow today.An American-Style School Shooting in Moscow
Andrew S. Bowen
February 4, 2014
Diana, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gandhi: all of those were tragedies.Goodbye, Madiba
December 15, 2013
The release of the Newtown photos may finally move enough people to support laws that will prevent future tragedies.Release the Newtown Photos!
December 5, 2013
The comparison of two tragedies might also raise a question about international policy toward the Syrian refugees today.Between Two Catastrophes: Look at Syria, and Question Everyone's Stories about 1948
September 23, 2013
She alone was left, heir to all the memories and tragedies of the house.The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Gnatho acts his part in the comedies, but Sycophanta in the tragedies.Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther
The victims of these tragedies deserve all our pity, and sometimes our respect.The Sexual Question
To this was added a faint recollection of various French tragedies.
Inns have, from time immemorial, been the scenes of romances and tragedies and crimes.Browning's England
Helen Archibald Clarke
- (esp in classical and Renaissance drama) a play in which the protagonist, usually a man of importance and outstanding personal qualities, falls to disaster through the combination of a personal failing and circumstances with which he cannot deal
- (in later drama, such as that of Ibsen) a play in which the protagonist is overcome by a combination of social and psychological circumstances
- any dramatic or literary composition dealing with serious or sombre themes and ending with disaster
- (in medieval literature) a literary work in which a great person falls from prosperity to disaster, often through no fault of his own
- the branch of drama dealing with such themes
- the unfortunate aspect of something
- a shocking or sad event; disaster
Word Origin and History for tragedies
late 14c., "play or other serious literary work with an unhappy ending," from Old French tragedie (14c.), from Latin tragedia "a tragedy," from Greek tragodia "a dramatic poem or play in formal language and having an unhappy resolution," apparently literally "goat song," from tragos "goat" + oide "song." The connection may be via satyric drama, from which tragedy later developed, in which actors or singers were dressed in goatskins to represent satyrs. But many other theories have been made (including "singer who competes for a goat as a prize"), and even the "goat" connection is at times questioned. Meaning "any unhappy event, disaster" is from c.1500.
A serious drama in which a central character, the protagonist — usually an important, heroic person — meets with disaster either through some personal fault or through unavoidable circumstances. In most cases, the protagonist's downfall conveys a sense of human dignity in the face of great conflict. Tragedy originated in ancient Greece in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. In modern times, it achieved excellence with William Shakespeare in such works as Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. Twentieth-century tragedies include Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, and Murder in the Cathedral, by T. S. Eliot.