Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hello Y12

I hadn't imagined when I talked about Star Wars as a tragedy in the lesson there would be such a wealth of information online. Have a ponder over these:

  • This link is a transcript of a lecture; it is pretty spectacular, though it would be better, I think, if it used some more of the key terms for tragedy.

  • This link is also interesting. (I want to make a joke about Star Wars and Geek Tragedy.)

Essentially, Anakin could be hero with the fatal flaw (harmartia). He shows excessive pride (hubris) in his control of the force. There is an inevitability to his downfall as Yoda 'senses much fear in him' when he is taken on by the Jedi council and the force is clouded. Anagnorisis is occurs just before death when the Anakin (Darth Vadar) recognises that he has caused much suffering and kills the Emperor. This is after having been fatally wounded by his son who doesn't know he's his son for much of the film; this has similarities to the classic Greek Tragedy Oedipus (though arguably tenuous). The cathartic moment in the film comes at Darth Vadar/ Anakin's death.

I think Yoda sums up the tragic elements of the film when he says at the Jedi council meeting 'Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.' The inevitability of the downfall is made clear, the flaw is made clear and the suffering of the tragedy is signalled. The audience experience both pity and fear and learn the moral lesson of not joining the Dark Side.

Obviously, this is not exact. There are also factors that don't relate to a tragedy. The three unities can be ruled out: the time is over two generations; there are lots of sub-plots and the setting is all over space! Furthermore, Anakin moves from tragic hero to villain... I think is amusing though.

I would like to point out that my son was four when Episode I came out and this explains my extensive knowledge of the Star Wars saga.

It is a useful exercise to apply the Tragic terms to films, modern media and history. This will cement your understanding and application. You may want to think up cathartic endings for some events (Blair and Bush being a popular choice).

Next lesson we will do some close analysis in the first lesson and some drama in the second lesson. One of the difficult aspects of the course is considering the play in performance (we'll make sure we use the resources in the classroom though: your drama student peers). I'm looking forward to it!

Any comments then comment...

Ms Caldwell


  1. wow! that is almost enough to make me actually want to watch Star Wars...even just to make it all make sense!
    I'm looking forward to the drama next lesson - will we be re-enacting the whole of King Lear in one hour?
    Eleanor :)

  2. No. The play takes about three hours in performance; though some synopsis acting may be good...
    The drama will focus specifically on the short the extracts that we will look at closely first. That way we can consider the genre, language and performance together. It will also help you to consider where the other characters are on stage and what they are doing; this often gets lost when just looking at the text.
    Watch Star Wars - it is actually very good. It is also useful to try to apply the features of Tragedy to any film, soap etc. to secure understanding. Have a go!
    Have a good weekend!
    Ms :)