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p. 121Epilogue: why might we enjoy tragedies?locked

  • Stanley Wells

Abstract

‘Epilogue: why might we enjoy tragedies?’ considers why we pay good money to subject ourselves to displays of misery, cruelty, suicide, murder—even cannibalism. Perhaps central to the appeal of Shakespeare’s tragedies is that through dramatic, well-shaped stories with lyricism, rhetorical force, complex variety, and frequent ironic and comic perspective, they give us a sense of sharing in and facing up to the ultimate realities of human existence; the intermingling in our lives of joy and sorrow, love and hatred; conflicting impulses of kindness and cruelty; the inevitability of death; the pathos of human endeavour to mitigate its terrors; and the mystery inherent in the human condition.

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