Presentation (Powerpoint) File
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This is a resource that would be useful to use before studying a dramatic tragedy, especially Shakespeare, with high-level, older students. The PowerPoint introduces students to the concept of tragedy as a genre as opposed to something as merely 'tragic'.
The lesson begins by using whole-class question-and-answer in order to explore what students understand already by the term, tragedy. There is a short mention of Aristotle's 'Poetics', but not too much - students can often get 'bogged down' with Aristotle when exploring tragedy.
Next, there is a brief discussion of general dramatic method which could be undertaken as a paired activity or whole-class, before students move on to exploring generic devices of tragedy. This involves some 'cutting up' of resources from the teacher in advance. The students will be given a mixed bag of devices, some are from tragedy and some are from comedy. They need to divide the devices into two groups. Afterwards, there might be a whole-class discussion to justify their reasoning.
After this, there is short, didactic session from the teacher in which characterisation terms such as tragic hero, tragic villain and tragic victim are explored. With regard to generic structure, anagnorisis, peripeteia and catharsis are also explained with brief examples from Shakespeare to aid understanding. There is also exploration of the 5-part structure of Tragedy.
Finally, students are given an extract from Macbeth (Act 1, scene 3), and asked to explore generic conventions found in the extract. This can be done in pairs or individually at the teacher's discretion. They won't find all of the conventions of tragedy in the extract, but should be able to identify tragic hero, tragic villain(s), and also explore some of the conventions of tragedy found in Act 1 of the genre.
I do hope you find this PowerPoint a useful starting point in exploring tragedy as drama with your students. Please be aware I am based in the UK and therefore use British derivations of English. Please adapt as necessary if spellings or wording do not conform to US conventions. (PowerPoint is fully adaptable for you).