Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The English Exam and the Skills Deficit

The Place to find Exam Skills at work

I hope that your exams (and your results day) have not been as traumatic as mine were at school. I still have minor nightmares about that day!

In this blog, I take a look at the reasons behind exam success and failure.

If you are coming to this blog having faced disappointment, do not despair. Help is at hand. There is a lot that you can learn in order to improve your performance. This blog will help you to start that journey

I will be sharing my pesonal experiences, but you will also find that the research is informed by professional experience, rather than irrelevant educational theories.

In my experience of 30 years of teaching English in Schools and in the University sector,  these are the most common reasons for poor results:

1.    Anxiety based on lack of confidence, poor planning and fear of the unknown

2.    Lack of familiarity with past exam questions

3.    Poor memory skills

4.    Failure to produce model answers in exam conditions

5.    Revision that does not edit and select key points

6.    Revision that does not tailor knowledge to the exam

7.    Answers which are too short, or too long.

8.    Poor awareness of what the examiners are looking for

9.    Not answering the question

10.    Not explaining your thinking processes

11.    Poor range of evidence

12.    Weak communication skills

13.    Not understanding how to plan and structure your answer effectively

14.    Too much time wasted on opening and closing paragraphs.

15.    Running out of sufficient time to complete the required number of well-rounded answers.

The good news is that each of these issues can be addressed.

By reflecting on them and by taking action you will significantly improve your exam performance.

You might even learn to enjoy the experience, and become an advocate for examinations.

If you would like to receive further examination tips and advice please drop me a line.

Let the journey begin!

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic, 2013)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

English Stage: From the Restoration in 1660 to 1832

Drury Lane Theatre

Researchers will find this nineteenth century reference work useful:
John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage: From the Restoration in 1660 to 1830.
Published in 1832. 10 volumes

Individual volumes can be quite difficult to track down. Here are the links to the free Google-scanned copies.


Map - Covent Garden

A sample of the index/contents is shown below.

T. R. for Theatre Royal.
L. I. F. for Lincoln's Inn Fields.
D. G for Dorset Garden.
Hay. for Haymarket.
G. F. for Goodman's Fields.
D. L. C for Drury Lane Company.
C. G. C. for Covent Garden Company.


This index appears at the beginning of Volume 1.


Abdalla—see rol. 10 p. 225.
Abdicated Prince—see vol. 1 p. 468.
Abdication of Ferdinand—see vol. 10 p. 229.
Abdelazer—D. G. 1677.
Abington Mrs her characters—C. G. 1798-1799.
Abon Hassan—D. L. April 4 1825.
Abradates and Panthea—see vol. 10 p. 229.
Abra Mule—L. I. F. Jan 1704—D. L. Jan 26 1710—L. I. F.
March 18 1721—C. G. Feb. 15 1735—C. G.March 8 1744.
Abroad and at Home—C. G. Nov. 19 1796—D. L. May 28
Absent Apothecary—D. L. Feb. 10 1813.
Absent Man by Bickerstaffe—D. L. March 21 1768—D. L.
March 29 1784—C. G. March 24 1795.
Absent Man by Hull—C.G. April 28 1764.
Abndah, or the Talisman of Oromanes—D. L. April 13 1819.
Accomplished Maid—C G. Dec. 3 1766.
Accusation, or the Family of D'Anglade—D.L. Feb. 1 1816.
Achille, by Boyer—T. R. 1699
Theatre Royal Haymarket

All the World's a Stage—D. L. April 7 1777—C. G. May 17 1782— D. L. May 31 1819—C G- Oct. 30 1820—D. L. May 22 182^-Hay. Oct. 13 1823.
Almena-D. L. Nov. 2 1764.
Almeyda, Queen of Granada—D. L. April 20 1796.
Almida—D. L. Jan. 12 1771.
Almyna— Hay. Dec. 16 1706.
Alonzo—D.L. Feb. 27 1773.
Alonzo and Imogine—C G. June 10 1801.
Alphonso, King of Naples—T. R. 1691.
Alphonsus, Emperour of Germany—see vol. 9 p. 538.
Alsop Mrs.—1st app. at C. G. Oct. 18 1815.
Altamira by Victor—see vol- 5 p. 539.
Altemira by Lord Orrery—L. I. P. 1702.
Alzira — L. I. F. June 18 1736— D. L. April 30 1744—C. G. March 18 1755—and C. G. Jan. 11 1758.
Alauma—C. G. Feb. 23 1773.
Amana—see vol. 10 p. 181.

Amasis, King of ..Egypt—C. G. August 22 1738.
Amateur of Fashion—Bath Feb. 9 1810—D. L. April 10 1813—C. G. Feb. 25 1813—Bath May 28 1814 — Bath Dec. 211816.
Amateurs and Actors—C. G. Oct. 28 1826.
Ambition—Hay. Sept. 13 1830.
Ambitious Statesman—T. R. 1679.
Ambitious Stepmother — L. I. F. 1700 — D. L. Jan. 25 1722 —D. L. Feb. 11759.
Amboyna—T. R. 1673.
Amelia, altered from Summer's Tale — C. G. April 12 1768 —D. L. Dec 14 1771.
Amelia by Carey—see vol. 10 p. 258. , .'
Amends for Ladies—see vol. 10 p. 22. "" «* '
Americans by D. L. C. April 27 1811. ' . '
American Indian—see vol. 10 p. 203.
Amintas—C. G. Dec. 15 1769.
Amoroso, King of Little J Britain—D. L. April 21 1818.
Amorous Bigot—T. R. 1690.
Amorous Miser—see D. L. Jan. 18 1705.
Amorous Orontus—see vol. 10 p. 140.
Amorous Prince—L. I. F. 1671.
Amorous War—see vol. 10 p. 71.
Amorous Widow—L. I. F. 1670—Hay. Nov. 19 1709— L. I. F. Oct. 23 1724—C. G. Jan. 1752—C. G. March 11 1758.
Amours of Billingsgate—D. L. June 11 1731.
Amphitryon—T. R. 1690—D. L. Sep. 18 1708 — D. L. Sep. 12 1734—D. L. Dec. 15 1756 —D. L. Nov. 23 1769 — C. G.March 20 1773—D. L. May 17 1781— revived at D. L. in 2 acts, Nov. 18 1826.
Amyntas by Randolph—see vol. 2 p. 293.
Anaconda, the Serpent of Ceylon—Bath May 8 1826.
Anatomist—L. I. F. 1697—revived as Farce D. L. Nov. 18 1743 — D. L. April 15 1771—C. G. Dec. 21 1786—D. L. Feb. 4 1791—D.L.Dec. 19 1801.
Andre—see vol. 10 p. 212.
Andromache—D. G. 1675.
Andromana—see vol. 11 of Dodsley 1744.
Andronicus Oommenius—see vol. 10 p. 138.
Animal Magnetism—C. G. May 26 1708—Hay. July 22 1806—C. G. March 16 1819—Hay. Oct. 2 1824 — C. G. Nov. 241824.
Anna—D. L. C. Feb. 25 1793.
Annette and Lubin—C. G. Oct. 2 1778-C. G. May 9 1786.
Anniversary (Sequel to Lethe)— C. G. March 29 1758.
Antigone by May—see vol. 10 p. 50.
Antiochus by Mottley—L. I. F. April 13 1721.
Antiochus by Mrs. Wiseman—L. I. F. 1702.
Antipodes—see vol. 10 p. 39.
Antiquary—see vol. 7 of Dodsley 1744.
Antiquary—C. G. Jan 25 1820.
Antiquity—see vol. 10 p. 228.

Antonio and Mellida-see vol. 2 of Old Plays 1814-1815.
Antonio, or Soldier's Return—D. L. Dec. 13 1800.
 Antony and Cleopatra by Sedley—D. G. 1677.
Antony and Cleopatra by Shakspeare—D. L. Jan. 3 1759.
Antony and Cleopatra altered from Shakspeare and Dryden —

C. G. Nov. 15 1813.
Antony and Cleopatra by Brooke—see his works 1778.
Anything New—Hath Nov. 12 1812.
Apollo and Daphne-C. G. Nov. 9 1748.
Apostate-C. G. May 3 1817.
Apparition, a musical Romance—Hay. Sep. 3 1794.
Apparition, or Sham Wedding—D. L. Nov. 25 1713.
Baddeley Mrs.—see end of D. L. 1780-1781.
Baddeley's characters—D. L. 1794-1795.
Baker-Bath Feb. 28 and April 10 1820.
Ball—see vol. 9 p. 553.
Banditti—T. R. 1686.
Banishment of Cicero—see Cumberland 1812-1813.
Banished Duke—see vol. 1 p. 468.
Bank Note—C. G. May 1 1795.
Bankrupt-Hay. July 21 1773.
Bannian Day—Hay. June 11 1796.
Bannister Sen.—see Hay. Oct. 16 1804.
Bannister Jun—his characters—D. L. 1814-1815.
Bantry Bay—C. G. Feb. 20 1797.
Barataria—C. G- March 29 1785—Hay. Aug. 31 1818.
u Barbarossa—D. L. Dec. 17 1754 — C. G- Nov. 1 1770—C. G.
Feb. 2 1779— C. G. Dec 13 1784^C. G. Jan. 4 1798—
C. G. Dec. 1 1804 — D. L. Dec. 15 1804 — D. L. May 26
1817—D. L. Dec. 26 1826-
Barber Baron—Hay. Sep. 8 1828.
Barber of Seville—C G. Oct. 13 1818.
Barmecide—D. L. Nov. 3 1818.
Barnaby Brittle—C. G. April 18 1781—Hay. June 23 1889-
Baron Kink—Hay. July 9 1781.
Barons of Elbenbergh—see vol. 10 p. 228-
Barresford Mrs.—her characters—Hay. 1789.
Barry Mrs. Elizabeth—her characters—Hay. 1709-1710.
Barry Mrs. Ann—see Mrs. Crawford.
Barry and Mrs. Dancer acted at the Opera House Hay. in the
summer of 1766.
Barry's characters—C- G. 1776-1777.
Barsanti Miss—her characters—Hay. 1777.
Bartley Mrs.—made her 1st app. at C. G. Oct. 2 1805—as Miss
Bartholemew Fair — see T. R. 1682«-Hay. Aug. 12 1707 —
D. L. June 28 1715— DL. Oct. 30 1731.
Bartholemew and other Fairs—see vol. 10 p. 158-
Bashaw and Bear—Bath Jan. 25 1822.
Bashful Lover-see C. G. May 30 1798.
Basil—*ee Miss Baillie 1811-1812.
Basket Maker—Hay. Sep. 4 1790.

Betterton—his famous bt. at D. L. April 7 1709—bis characters Hay. 1709-1710.
Betterton Mrs her characters T. R. 1694.
Betty, or the Country Bumpkins—D. L. Dec. 2 and 6 1732.
Betty Master—his 1st app. as a boy at C. 6. Dec. 1 1804—his 1st app. as a man at Bath Feb. 15 1812—C. G. Nov. 3 1812—C. G. June 12 1813—C. G. June 6 1815—Bath March 28 1815—Bath Dec. 6 1822.
BickerstafFs Burial—D. L. March 27 1710—acted as Custom of the Country D. L. May 5 1715.
Bickerstaffs Unburied Dead—L. 1. F. Jan. 14 1743—C. G. April 27 1748.
Bicknell Mrs.—her characters D. L. 1722-1723.
Bill of Fare—Hay. June 15 1822.
Biographia Dramatica—see vol. 8 p. 327.
Bird- in a Cage—C. G. April 24 1786—for the dedication to Prynne, see vol. 9 p. 546.
Birds without Feathers—Hay. Oct. 1 1824.
Birthday, or Prince of Arragon—Hay. Aug. 12 1783.
Birthday, by Dibdin—C. G. April 8 1799—Hay. Sep. 3 1800— Hay. Sep. 5 1814—C. G. Dec. 6 1825.
Birth of Hercules—see vol. 10 p. 181.
Birth of Merlin—see vol. 10 p. 56.
Biter—L. I. F. Dec. 4 1704.
Blackamoor Washed White—D. L. Feb. 1 and 5 1776.
Blackamoor's Head—D. L. May 16 1818.
Black Beard—Bath Jan. 18 1816.
Black-eyed Susan—Bath Nov. 18 1829.
Black Prince—T. R. Oct. 19 1667.
Blacksmith of Antwerp-C. G. Feb. 7 1785— D. L. Oct. 3 1816.
Blanchard Thomas—see end of C. G. 1793-1794.
Blanchard William—his 1st app.—see C. G. October I 1800.
Bland Mrs—see D. L. July 5 1824.
Blazing Comet—see vol. 10 p. 258.
Blind Bargain—C. G. Oct. 24 180*.
Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green-D. L. April 3 1741.
Blind Boy—C. G. Dec. 1 1807—D. L. June 20 1826.
Blind Girl-C. G. April 22 1801.
Blind Lady—see vol. 10 p. 135.
Bloody Banquet—see vol. 10 p. 98.
Bloody Duke—see vol. 1 p. 468.
Box-Lobby Challenge—Hay. Feb. 22 1794.
Box-Lobby Loungers—D. L. May 16 1787.
Boy of Santillane—D. L. April 16 1827.
Bracegirdle Mrs.—ber characters—Hay. 1706-1707.
Bradshaw Mrs.—her characters—D. L. 1713-1714.
Braganza—D. L. Feb. 17 1775—D. L. March 16 1782 — D. L.May 24 1785—D. L. Oct. 20 1785.
Brand Miss Hannah—D. L. C. Jan. 18 1792.
Brave Irishman—G. F. Jan. 31 1746—D. L. May 14 1770—Bath May 21 1783.
Brazen Bust—C. G. May"29 1813.
Brennoralt—T. R. March 5 1668—for the plot see vol. 10 p. 67.
Brereton—see end of D. L.'_ 1784-1785.
Bridal Ring—C. G. Oct. 16 1810.
Bride C—see end of D. L. 1705-1706.
Bride of Abydos—D. L. Feb. 5 1818.
Bride of Lammermoor—Bath March 11 1826.
Bridgewater—see C G. 1753-1754.
Brigand—D. L. Nov. 18 1829.
Britain's Glory, or Trip to Portsmouth—Hay. Aug. 20 1794.
Britain's Jubilee, acted by D. L. Company, Oct. 25 1809.
Britannia, or Royal Lovers—G. F. Feb. 11 1734.
Britannia by Mallet—D. L. May 9 1755.
British Enchanters—Hay. Feb. 21 1706—Hay. Feb. 22 1707,
with alterations.
British Fortitude, and Hibernian Friendship — C. G. April 29
1794—C. G. March 5 1799.
British Heroine—C. G. May 5 1778.
British Loyalty, or Squeeze at St. Paul's—D. L. April 30 1789.
British Sailor, or Whimsical Ladies—Bath May 9 1786.
Briton—D. L. Feb. 19 1722.
Britons Strike Home — D. L. Dec. 31 1739 — D. L. March 27
Broad but not Long—C. G. June 15 1814.
Broken Gold—D. L. Feb. 8 1806.
Broken Heart—see Ford's works—1811.
Broken Sword—C. G. Oct. 7 1816.
Brooke's Plays—see end of 1777-1778.
Brother and Sister—C. G. Feb. 1 1815—D. L. June 17 1823.
Brothers by Shirley—see vol. 9 p. 559.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Tragedy: Selected Quotations

National Theatre: Othello

Tragedy is like strong acid -- it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.
D. H. Lawrence

'the story depicts also the troubled part of the hero's life which precedes and leads up to his death; and an instantaneous death occurring by 'accident' in the midst of prosperity would not suffice for it. It is, in fact, essentially a tale of suffering and calamity conducting to death.' A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief-optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man.
Arthur Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man

Tragedies are always discussed as if they took place in a void, but actually each tragedy is conditioned by its setting, local and global. The events of 11 September 2001 are not exception.
Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms

Farce may often border on tragedy; indeed, farce is nearer tragedy in its essence than comedy is.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 20 August 1833.

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.
Václav Havel, Letters to Olga (1988)
'The suffering and calamity are, moreover, exceptional. They befall a conspicuous person. They are themselves of some striking kind. They are also, as a rule, unexpected, and contrasted with previous happiness or glory. A tale, for example, of a man slowly worn to death by disease, poverty, little cares, sordid vices, petty persecutions, however piteous or dreadful it might be, would not be tragic in the Shakespearean sense.'
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.
Oscar Wilde

Tragedy speaks not of secular dilemmas which may be resolved by rational innovation, but of the unalterable bias toward inhumanity and destruction in the drift of the world.
George Steiner

A comedy is just a tragedy interrupted, I once said. Do you finish with the kiss or when she opens her eyes to tell him she loves him and sees blonde hairs on his collar? 
Alan Ayckbourn, A Crash Course in Playwriting (1993)

When any calamity has been suffered, the first thing to be remembered is how much has been escaped.
Samuel Johnson

That there should one Man die ignorant who had capacity for Knowledge, this I call a tragedy.
Thomas Carlyle

Such exceptional suffering and calamity, then, affecting the hero, and—we must now add—generally extending far and wide beyond him, so as to make the whole scene a scene of woe, are an essential ingredient in tragedy and a chief source of the tragic emotions, and especially of pity. But the proportions of this ingredient, and the direction taken by tragic pity, will naturally vary greatly.
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

A tragedy can never suffer by delay: a comedy may, because the allusions or the manners represented in it maybe temporary.
Horace Walpole, Letter To Robert Jephson

The true end of tragedy is to purify the passions.

The calamities of tragedy do not simply happen, nor are they sent; they proceed mainly from actions, and those the actions of men.We see a number of human beings placed in certain circumstances; and we see, arising from the co-operation of their characters in these circumstances, certain actions. These actions beget others, and these others beget others again, until this series of inter-connected deeds leads by an apparently inevitable sequence to a catastrophe. 
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

Love is blind, as they say, and because love is blind, it often leads to tragedy: to conflicts in which one love is pitted against another love, and something has to give, with suffering guaranteed in any resolution.
Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell (2006)

In this world there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst.
Oscar Wilde

A total reverse of fortune, coming unawares upon a man who 'stood in high degree,' happy and apparently secure,—such was the tragic fact to the mediaeval mind. It appealed strongly to common human sympathy and pity; it startled also another feeling, that of fear. It frightened men and awed them. It made them feel that man is blind and helpless, the plaything of an inscrutable power, called by the name of Fortune or some other name,—a power which appears to smile on him for a little, and then on a sudden strikes him down in his pride.
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.
George Orwell

The closer a man approaches tragedy the more intense is his concentration of emotion upon the fixed point of his commitment, which is to say the closer he approaches what in life we call fanaticism.
Arthur Miller

The real tragedy of England as I see it, is the tragedy of ugliness. The country is so lovely: the man-made England is so vile.
D.H. Lawrence, Nottingham and the Mining Countryside, 1936.

You get tragedy where the tree, instead of bending, breaks.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

We participate in tragedy. At comedy we only look.
Aldous Huxley

The tragedy of love is indifference.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Trembling of a Leaf
The centre of the tragedy, therefore, may be said with equal truth to lie in action issuing from character, or in character issuing in action.
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

Tragedy delights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists in pain.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.
Tom Stoppard

There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.
George Bernard Shaw

Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.
Charlie Chaplin
If we are to include the outer and the inner struggle in a conception more definite than that of conflict in general, we must employ some such phrase as 'spiritual force.' This will mean whatever forces act in the human spirit, whether good or evil, whether personal passion or impersonal principle; doubts, desires, scruples, ideas—whatever can animate, shake, possess, and drive a man's soul. [19]In a Shakespearean tragedy some such forces are shown in conflict.
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

The little word is has its tragedies: it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger.
George Santayana

It is restful, tragedy, because one knows that there is no more lousy hope left. You know you're caught, caught at last like a rat with all the world on its back. And the only thing left to do is shout -- not moan, or complain, but yell out at the top of your voice whatever it was you had to say. What you've never said before. What perhaps you don't even know till now.
Jean Anouilh

The closer a man approaches tragedy the more intense is his concentration of emotion upon the fixed point of his commitment, which is to say the closer he approaches what in life we call fanaticism.
Arthur Miller, Collected Plays (1958)

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.
D. H. Lawrence

Tragedy springs from outrage; it protests at the conditions of life. It carries in it the possibilities of disorder, for all tragic poets have something of the rebelliousness of Antigone. Goethe, on the contrary, loathed disorder. He once said that he preferred injustice, signifying by that cruel assertion not his support for reactionary political ideals, but his conviction that injustice is temporary and reparable whereas disorder destroys the very possibilities of human progress. Again, this is an anti-tragic view; in tragedy it is the individual instance of injustice that informs the general pretence of order. One Hamlet is enough to convict a state of rottenness.
George Steiner

The great tragedy of Science the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. 
Thomas Henry Huxley, Presidential Address at the British Association (1870)

Kozintsev - Shakespeare - Hamlet

Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.
Angela Carter, Wise Children (1991)

Laughter is the climax in the tragedy of seeing, hearing and smelling self-consciously. Wyndham Lewis, Inferior Religions  (1917)

It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time-the heart and spirit of the average man.
Arthur Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man
Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm, all along, out along, down along lea. A laugh is a great natural stimulator, a pushful entry into life; and once we can laugh, we can live. It is the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.
Seán O'casey, The Green Crow (1956)

None but a poet can write a tragedy. For tragedy is nothing less than pain transmuted into exaltation by the alchemy of poetry.
Edith Hamilton

Envy is a horrible thing. It is unlike all other kinds of suffering in that there is no disguising it, no elevating it into tragedy. It is more than merely painful, it is disgusting.
George Orwell, Burmese Days (1934)

Tragedy obviously does not lie in a conflict of Right and Wrong, but in a collision between two different kinds of Right
Peter Shaffer, Equus (1973)

Here is tragedy and here is America. For the curse of the country, as well of all democracies, is precisely the fact that it treats its best men as enemies. The aim of our society, if it may be said to have an aim, is to iron them out. The ideal American, in the public sense, is a respectable vacuum.
H. L. Mencken, More Tips for Novelists, Chicago Tribune (2 May 1926)

What would be left of our tragedies if an insect were to present us his?
Emil Cioran

Marston is a writer of great merit, who rose to tragedy from the ground of comedy, and whose forte was not sympathy, either with the stronger or softer emotions, but an impatient scorn and bitter indignation against the vices and follies of men, which vented itself either in comic irony or in lofty invective. He was properly a satirist.
William Hazlitt, Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1820)

This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.
Horace Walpole

And everywhere we see them perishing, devouring one another and destroying themselves, often with dreadful pain, as though they came into being for no other end. Tragedy is the typical form of this mystery, because that greatness of soul which it exhibits oppressed, conflicting and destroyed, is the highest existence in our view. It forces the mystery upon us, and it makes us realise so vividly the worth of that which is wasted that we cannot possibly seek comfort in the reflection that all is vanity.
A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy

We are all such accidents. We do not make up history and culture. We simply appear, not by our own choice. We make what we can of our condition with the means available. We must accept the mixture as we find it — the impurity of it, the tragedy of it, the hope of it.
Saul Bellow, Great Jewish Short Stories

Greek tragedy met her death in a different way from all the older sister arts: she died tragically by her own hand, after irresolvable conflicts, while the others died happy and peaceful at an advanced age. If a painless death, leaving behind beautiful progeny, is the sign of a happy natural state, then the endings of the other arts show us the example of just such a happy natural state: they sink slowly, and with their dying eyes they behold their fairer offspring, who lift up their heads in bold impatience. The death of Greek tragedy, on the other hand, left a great void whose effects were felt profoundly, far and wide; as once Greek sailors in Tiberius' time heard the distressing cry 'the god Pan is dead' issuing from a lonely island, now, throughout the Hellenic world, this cry resounded like an agonized lament: 'Tragedy is dead! Poetry itself died with it! Away, away with you, puny, stunted imitators! Away with you to Hades, and eat your fill of the old masters' crumbs!'
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (1872)

Ophelia - Shakespeare's Hamlet