Tragedy And The Common Man

The Shakespearean Tragic Hero
A.C. Bradley

Andrew Cecil Bradley, born in Cheltenham, England, in 1851, is considered to be the pre-eminent Shakespearean scholar of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He attended Oxford University and later held a professorship there and at the University of Liverpool and the University of Glasgow. Bradley died in 1935. This selection comes from his book Shakespearean Tragedy (1904), which is recognized as a classic of twentieth-century Shakespearean criticism. His work presents a psychological analysis of Shakespeare's characters, in which he deals with these characters almost as if they were real people. How would you define the word ...

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a person of high degree or of public importance, and that his actions or sufferings are of an unusual kind. But this is not all. His nature also is exceptional, and generally raises him in some respect much above the average level of humanity. This does not mean that he is an eccentric or a paragon. Shakespeare never drew monstrosities of virtue; some of his heroes are far from being 'good'; and if he drew eccentrics he gave them a subordinate position in the plot. His tragic characters are made of the stuff we find within ourselves and within the persons who surround them. But, by an intensification of the life which they share with others, they are raised above them; and the greatest are raised so far that, if we fully realise all that is implied in their words and actions, we become conscious that in real life we have known scarcely anyone resembling them. Some, like Hamlet and Cleopatra, have genius. Others, like Othello, Lear, Macbeth, Coriolanus, are built on the grand scale; ...

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he is 'good' and therefore at once wins sympathy in his error. But it is necessary that he should have so much of greatness that in his error and fall we may be vividly conscious of the possibilities of human nature. Hence, in the first place, a Shakespearean tragedy is never, like some miscalled tragedies, depressing. No one ever closes the book with the feeling that man is a poor mean creature. He may be wretched and he may be awful, but he is not small. His lot may be heart-rending and mysterious, but it is not contemptible. The most confirmed of cynics ceases to be a cynic while he reads these plays. Hence, in the first place, a Shakespearean tragedy is never, like some
And ...

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Tragedy And The Common Man. (2018, September 16). Retrieved November 27, 2021, from
"Tragedy And The Common Man.", 16 Sep. 2018. Web. 27 Nov. 2021. <>
"Tragedy And The Common Man." September 16, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2021.
"Tragedy And The Common Man." September 16, 2018. Accessed November 27, 2021.
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Added: 9/16/2018 11:15:30 PM
Submitted By: Techtonic7
Category: Shakespeare
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2167
Pages: 8

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