Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure?

OUP Oxford (2001)
Abstract
Why does tragedy give pleasure? Why do people who are neither wicked nor depraved enjoy watching plays about suffering or death? Is it because we see horrific matter controlled by majestic art? Or because tragedy actually reaches out to the dark side of human nature? A. D. Nuttall's wide-ranging, lively and engaging book offers a new answer to this perennial question. The 'classical' answer to the question is rooted in Aristotle and rests on the unreality of the tragic presentation: no one really dies; we are free to enjoy watching potentially horrible events controlled and disposed in majestic sequence by art. In the nineteenth century, Nietzsche dared to suggest that Greek tragedy is involved with darkness and unreason and Freud asserted that we are all, at the unconscious level, quite wicked enough to rejoice in death. But the problem persists: how can the conscious mind assent to such enjoyment? Strenuous bodily exercise is pleasurable. Could we, when we respond to a tragedy, be exercising our emotions, preparing for real grief and fear? King Lear actually destroys an expected majestic sequence. Might the pleasure of tragedy have more to do with possible truth than with 'splendid evasion'?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book $50.01 used (20% off)   $57.44 new (8% off)   $57.49 direct from Amazon (8% off)    Amazon page
ISBN(s) 9780198187660   0198187661
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,095
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Norman Kreitman (2011). Art as Orientation. Metaphilosophy 42 (5):642-657.
Similar books and articles
Susan L. Feagin (1983). The Pleasures of Tragedy. American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (1):95 - 104.
Ryan Drake (2010). Wonder, Nature, and the Ends of Tragedy. International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):77-91.
Stacie Friend (2007). The Pleasures of Documentary Tragedy. British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2):184-198.
Aaron Smuts (2007). The Paradox of Painful Art. Journal of Aesthetic Education 41 (3):59-77.
Elisa Galgut (2009). Tragedy and Reparation. In Pedro Alexis Tabensky (ed.), The Positive Function of Evil. Palgrave Macmillan.
Joseph Westfall (2003). Nietzsche and the Approach of Tragedy. International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):333-350.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-01-31

Total downloads

17 ( #103,238 of 1,102,037 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #128,871 of 1,102,037 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.