Essay Sample on Tragedy and Art

Published: 2023-01-29
Essay Sample on Tragedy and Art
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Movie Shakespeare Hamlet Dramatic literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1545 words
13 min read

Most people enjoy watching frightening films for several reasons, but I think that the main reason why people choose to go to horror films is that these films give some psychological arousal which tends to linger around even after the movie ends. The thrill such movies offer is enjoyable and allows me to have intense positive feelings afterward, but only if I watch the movie with friends. I tend to get scared and replay the movie many times over in my head if I watched it alone. (Park, 2018) All I can say is that horror films entice me and at the same time disgusted by them. I like to be scared but only when I feel comfortable at home or around friends in a theater. Since time immemorial people have always been fascinated by storytelling, especially scary stories. For me, horror flicks help me get relief by allowing to lapse into irrationality, which is not freely condoned in my places of residence.

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On the other hand, sad movies are more complex, and explaining them is more difficult. Misery loves the company, and so people easily identify with tragic plots and sad endings in movies because it brings out the sympathy in them. Also, I think sad movies delivers an unexpected emotion, which is short term happiness at watching other people suffer and not me. It boosts my life happiness because I get to empathize, but deep down, I feel immune to whatever they go through since it is simply a movie and not real. (Hofer, 2017) Tragic plots take me into retrospect, and as I reflect on my life about the characters, it promotes closeness in my relationships and sense of community. It may seem surprising that anyone would choose to expose themselves to frightening or sad movies, but this could be because such films provide some feelings of gratitude and positivity afterward. You are either grateful the character suffering in the movie was not you or any member of your family or intensely enjoy the positive things in your life after watching a scary movie.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet

I have chosen William Shakespeare's Hamlet as the play to describe. The aim is to perform Hamlet in a way that is more accessible and relevant to today's audience while at the same time creating an emotional and challenging experience which ultimately communicates the themes of this play. The central theme that I would like to portray is that of the conflict between justice versus morality. In the case of Hamlet, generational conflict puts him in a dilemma. He either chooses to be condemned by the codes of morality by avenging his father's murder and destroy his mother or be condemned by the codes of honor and justice by forgiving his mother and Claudius and therefore wrong his dead father. (Verma, 2016) Both choices seem absolute in their nature. It can be noted that the main themes focused on by the new version of this play is rooted in the themes of the original. The setting for this version of the play would be different so that people do not feel alienated because of the setting and even the language. The setting will seem to be modern but without being too specific to any national boundary or decade. The language would be slightly improvised but with discipline in the exploration so as not to lose the original cinematic drive to the plot.

In the big scene, when Hamlet confronts his mother Gertrude in her room, I would have the two actors consider their physicality. That is, their movement and interaction should allow the audience to understand their closeness as mother and son, as this will reveal a full backstory to their relationship. (Marino, 2019) The set would consist of characters from different races, genders and mixed ages to further its universality. Also, I would shift the gender of some traditionally male characters like Horatio from male to female. The aim is to shake up conventional power dynamics. All the members of the cast would dress up in white except Hamlet. White represents purity, which is visibly tarnished in the protagonist. The costumes would be a fusion of modern fashion and the previously worn attire. I would cast Tom Cruise as Hamlet because he can easily pull out the indecisive nature of Hamlet.

On the other hand, Leonardo DiCaprio as Laertes. Due to the gender shift of the Horatio character, I would cast Sharon Stone. Moreover, mental illness has become relevant in modern times, and so I would cast Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia.

Comedy as an Art

Comedy is a form of art as it is the product of a creative process. It is just as much an art as tragedy and other serious art. Comedy is always intended to evoke laughter, and humans are known to laugh when happy and cry when sad, but this is not always black and white. The pain of others is considered funny by most people because the more psychological distance one has from humiliating situations, the more superior they feel and ultimately no empathy. The case is different when one knows the victim. This explains to some degree why we find public humiliation such as being kicked in the groin comedic. The real question is, what is the deep significance of comedy? Just like tragic plots in movies, comedy offers relief by putting a real-life event in a non-serious context and hence achieving the unusual reaction, which is laughter. The reaction is different for most people based on their experiences.

Everyone has a different sense of humor, but the universality exists in ambiguity and inappropriateness of certain things such as when clowns wear large shoes or when someone admits an embarrassing thing about them sarcastically. Comedy helps people deal with tough times in that it lightens the mood and makes everything seem simpler. Laughter is the best medicine, and it sustains positivity, so it doesn't matter what someone is laughing at since everyone has a different perspective on situations and things in general.

The Road Not Taken

In the moment of my demise, I would love the poem by Robert frost to be performed: The road not taken. The reason I choose this poem to express my life presumably is that human beings are confronted daily and defined by the choices that we make. No matter which choice or road one takes, you'll always wish you had taken another. I want my life to be remembered as total and complete because no matter the results that come out of the life lived, the most important thing is the confidence we get from decision-making. (Bjelland, 2016) A time comes in everyone's life when they are faced with two options, and that is what Robert put across so easily. In the last line of the third stanza, Robert says that "I doubted if I should ever come back" by which he meant back to the point of making the decision, but sadly we only get one shot at things because even second chances are not similar to the first. I would love the people left behind to understand that doubt can only lead to regret and that they should embrace the results of their choices, whether good or bad. Decision-making is the most important thing for living as it makes all the difference.

Also, in the poem, it is stated that two roads diverged and I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference. This would be reflecting on how I lived my life acting independently and trying as often as I could to free myself from the conformity of others. The focus is not that one should strive to embrace nonconformity by taking the road less traveled but have no regrets or nostalgia about the road not taken. The yellow wood talked about in the poem emphasizes the season of autumn when leaves are yellow and fallen. (Inglis, 2017) It would create a sense of silence and a tone of melancholy to describe the two roads: life and death. Everyone has to choose death at one point in life whether we do it willingly or not and just as the seasons change mourning too cannot last forever. People move on. It is a short poem but with a deep meaning and a lot of relevance as it sums up life. Death is sad and inevitable, and so during my funeral, I want to inspire others to live free and independently with no regrets as I too tried to live. In the background, a violin would be playing softly and beautifully as the voice of the performer of this poem narrates what I believed in.


Bjelland, A. W. (2016). "The Road Not Taken": poetry and personal insight in the EFL classroom and beyond (Master's thesis, Universitetet I Agder; University of Agder).

Hofer, M. (2017). Sad Media and Tragedy: Responses to. The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects, 1-12.

Inglis, I. (2017). The road not taken Elvis Presley: Comeback Special, NBC TV Studios, Hollywood, December 3, 1968. In Performance and Popular Music (pp. 41-51). Routledge.

Marino, C. (2019). The Hybrid Hamlet: Player Tested, Shakespeare Approved. Critical Survey, 31(1-2), 26-42.

Park, M. (2018). The Aesthetics and Psychology Behind Horror Films.

Verma, A. (2016). Hamlet: Shakespeare's Masterpiece in Our Times. Language in India, 16(7).

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