LITR 4370 Tragedy
lecture notes

text-books to class

sit down for starters


On screen, set up three tabs: homepage, homepage, and Model Assignments


1. What do we know or think when we say "tragic" or "tragedy?" How do we use the words "tragic" or "tragedy" in everyday speech?


"everybody dies"

tragedy as contrary to expectations, desires



2. What do you already know about tragedy? What is the status of tragedy in schools compared to popular culture? Why is tragic drama (Greek or Shakespearean) taught in secondary schools, esp. in Advanced Placement and College Prep?

greatest genre, but not most popular


emphasize student leadership; students like it for a number of good reasons, and it's good training since most of us will do some kind of teaching or training someday

with 20 students, tasks get spread around, 20 different students to meet, pleasure of diverse personalities

special situation of 5-student class

students can get tired of doing one presentation after another, and students can get tired of each other


presentations--preview discouragement of PowerPoint


special topics


assignments arranged to maximize learning on 2 fronts

knowledge of genre, tragedy, western civilization

writing instruction




course centered around website, not on Blackboard

URL address, send link by email by tonight

contact information


office hours



daily windows

don't require written answers

ideally, pre-read, or check on them while reading day's assignment

practically, discussion-leaders use

instructor also uses--

what's interesting or unique about this play

what's consistent from one play to the next







keep coming to class, or at least communicate if you miss more than one

keep doing your reading

get through class in fair shape and learn quite a bit about literature at its greatest and most basic

trust me as well as you can; I tend to think as well of people as I can and give benefit of the doubt


tragedy's big question: fate or free will



1. genres--learn about literature generally, forms and appeals

2. tragedy

3. special topic

What already know about Tragedy? What associations? How do you know what you know about word or genre? (part of overall learning experience)


overwhelmed, but single assertion

tragedy as greatest genre, greatness not contained in just one feature, but many things come together

tragedy as opportunity to keep learning

not just about tragedy but all literature, how it works




Preview Agamemnon

resist temptation to avoid intro

pronounce names

show annotations for IDs and themes, terms

acknowledge play not meant to be read (audience like movies today, but read since Aristotle's time)


video different translation

4.30 chorus

18.55 Clytaemnestra enters



question about Dionysian / Apolline:

How reflected in 2016 presidential race?


Bacchae Presentation One (lines 1-72): Bacchae presentation: instructor

Bacchus as alt-name for Dionysus

Bacchae refers to his worshippers

video: Prologue

video: Omniprop





tragic sense of life



What already know about Tragedy? What associations? How do you know what you know about word or genre? (part of overall learning experience)