Tragedy In Genesis Essay

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Tragedy In Genesis

People tend to view tragedy in cataclysmic and catastrophic terms. Every night on the news we hear murders, assassinations and bombings referred to as Atragedies.@ Tragedy need not be an event which affects the community at large. Rather, any event which teaches an important lesson to a specific person or a group of people can be viewed as a type of tragedy. While the Greek tragedies focused upon the catastrophic nature of tragedy, The Biblical Book of Genesis provides the reader with another tragic paradigm. Genesis describes tragic events which are neither catastrophic nor transforming. In fact, according to the Genesetic paradigm, tragedy need not end in death.

Before entering into a detailed discussion of
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His world view was, by modern standards, anti-tragic; and yet he created tragedy.@ Kaufmann does not come to the logical realization that both Sophocles and Aeschylus are tragic in different ways. Instead of acknowledging that his definition might be too constraining and specific, he rejects the fact that Aeschylus wrote tragedy. By stating that Ayet he created tragedy,@ Kaufmann shows a glimpse of hesitance on the validity of his own definition of tragedy. However, he reaffirms his convictions in writing that Aany realistic notion of tragic drama must start from the fact of catastrophe. Tragedies end badly.@

Kaufmann is not alone in his view that tragedy must end badly. A noted biblical scholar has vociferated:

At some point in tragedy, a catastrophe occurs. Disaster does not have to be the final wordY but it usually breaks the hero, who dares to defy the universe. If they are not already exceptional people, rulers or leaders, tragic heroes are made exceptional by their experienceY Often a tragic hero responds to disaster and unleashes more disaster.

While Exum generally agrees with Kaufmann, she leaves some leeway in her interpretation of tragedy. Usually catastrophe occurs, but it is possible to have tragedy without catastrophe. While her comments regarding tragic biblical heroes is true throughout a majority of the

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