The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
27 March 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

‘We are looking for the structure of tragedy in our own culture’ Modern Tragedy Raymond Williams

This module examines the idea of tragedy in the theatre, tracing its development from classical Greek Tragedy to the present day. The module concentrates upon the structure of tragedy, focusing on four key ideas connected to plot, the peripiteia, the anagnorises, hubris and hamartia. The module also investigates ways in which the genre has developed up to the present day.

The chosen texts question some of the basic concepts around Aristotle’s ideas and investigate how these ideas have been challenged, modified and rejected. We look at private and domestic tragedies as well as political ones.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. To equip students with the appropriate analytical skills to enable them to understand three aspects of the tragic form.

2. To examine in detail nine tragedies that range from Ancient Greek tragedies to contemporary tragedies.

3. To equip students with an understanding of Aristotle’s ideas about the ‘peripiteia’ and the ‘anagnorises’.

4. To equip students with an understanding of Aristotle’s ideas about ‘Hubris’ and ‘Hamartia’

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will:

1. Have developed a critical understanding of Aristotle’s ideas about the way a tragic plot can be constructed

2. Be able to understand and use the terms: anagnorises, peripiteia, hubris and hamartia appropriately

3. Be able to identify and critically evaluate three plays that do not conform to Aristotle’s ideas

4. Have developed a critical understanding and analysed the nine tragedies on the reading list.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly two-hour seminars, combining practical and theoretical elements


  • Taylor, Don; Varakis, Angie; Sophocles. (2006) Antigone, London: Methuen Drama. vol. Methuen student editions
  • Eldridge, David; Vinterberg, Thomas; Hausen, Bo; Rukov Mogens. (2004) Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov and Bo hr. Hansen's Festen, London: Methuen.
  • Lavery, Bryony. (2002) Frozen, London: Faber and Faber.
  • Walton, J. Michael; McDonald, Marianne; Euripides. (2002) Medea, London: Methuen.
  • McLeish, Kenneth; Aristotle. (1999) Poetics, London: Nick Hern Books. vol. Dramatic contexts
  • Miller, Arthur. (2000) Death of a salesman: certain private conversations in two acts and a requiem, London: Penguin. vol. Penguin classics

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Essay (2,500 words) 20/04/2020 95%
Practical Participation 5%
Practical Presentation (class based formative, (no written assignment) to take place in week 22 0%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Professor Jonathan Lichtenstein
LiFTS General Office – email: Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Anthony Fisher
Reader in Theatre and Philosophy
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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