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Encyclopedia > Anagnorisis

Anagnorisis (Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις), also known as discovery, originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for, what he or she represented; it was the hero's suddenly becoming aware of a real situation and therefore the realization of things as they stood; and finally it was a perception that resulted in an insight the hero had into his relationship with often antagonistic characters within Aristotelian tragedy. Note: This article contains special characters. ... As Thought Process During the process of thinking, recognition occurs when some event, process, pattern, or object recurs. ... From the Greek , in mythology and folklore, a hero (male) or heroine (female) usually fulfills the definitions of what is considered good and noble in the originating culture. ... This article needs cleanup. ... In general usage a tragedy is a drama, movie or sometimes a real world event with a sad outcome. ...

In Aristotelian definition of tragedy it was the discovery of one's own identity or true character (Cordelia, Edgar, Edmund, etc. in Shakespeare's King Lear) or of someone else's identity or true nature (Lear's children, Gloucester's children) by the tragic hero. In his Poetics, Aristotle defined it as "a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune." Shakespeare redirects here. ... Title page of the first quarto edition, published in 1608 King Lear is generally regarded as one of William Shakespeares greatest tragedies. ... Aristotles Poetics aims to give an account of poetry. ...

It should be noted that Shakespeare did not base his works on Aristotelian theory of tragedy, including use of hamartia, yet his tragic characters still commonly undergo anagnorisis as a result of their struggles. Hamartia (Ancient Greek: άμαρτία) is used in Aristotles Poetics, where it is usually translated as tragic mistake or tragic flaw. ...

Aristotle considered]] it, with peripeteia caused by it, the mark of a superior tragedy, as when Oedipus killed his father and married his mother in ignorance, and later learned the truth, or when Iphigeneia in Tauris realizes that the strangers she is to sacrifice are her brother and his friend in time to refrain from it. These plots, he considered complex and superior to simple plots without anagnorisis or peripetia, such as when Medea resolves to kill her children, knowing they are her children, and does so. Peripeteia (Greek, ) is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. ... Oedipus with the Sphinx, from an Attic red-figure cylix from the Vatican Museum, ca. ... Iphigeneia in Tauris (in Greek: ) is a drama by the playwright Euripides, written sometime between 414 BC and 412 BC. It bears much in common with another of Euripides plays, Helen, and is often described as a romance, a melodrama, or an escape play. ... Medea by Evelyn De Morgan. ...

The tragic hero or the comic character

Aristotle thought of drama as being "an imitation of an action", that of tragedy as of "falling from a higher to a lower estate", and so being removed to a less ideal situation in more tragic circumstances than before. He posited the characters in tragedy as being better than the average human being, and those of comedy as being worse. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In general usage a tragedy is a drama, movie or sometimes a real world event with a sad outcome. ... Comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humour with an intent to provoke laughter in general). ...

Stock characters in comedy in their ridiculousness may well be aware of their discomfort in certain circumstances, but they would not be able to envisage their real situation or recognise any sudden, often traumatic changes in their position vis-a-vis other characters in the dramatic action within a play. They cannot see themselves as people less good than others and so would continue being ridiculous or pompous whenever the situation arises. Comic plots reflect the shortcomings of their characters within their circumscribed existence.

The tragic hero, however, whether humble or exalted, is capable of recognizing his true place in the world, and therefore is able to contemplate his relationships with others and any sudden changes within these relations, and so can recognize the consequences these changes wreak. The moment of recognition or anagnorisis becomes the moment of understanding when the hero becomes aware of his true situation.

It is the tragic hero's initial flaw of mistaking or misinterpreting his real situation, his hamartia, his 'missing the mark of identifying his situation' which leads to his reversal of fortune, his peripeteia. It is at this stage that anagnorisis often occurs in tragedy, the often fatal recognition of the real state in which he finds himself with the world and which he cannot ignore. Hamartia (Ancient Greek: άμαρτία) is used in Aristotles Poetics, where it is usually translated as tragic mistake or tragic flaw. ... Peripeteia (Greek, ) is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
A.Word.A.Day -- anagnorisis (339 words)
If you've ever been to a movie involving two brothers separated at birth, one of whom ends up as a criminal and the other a police officer, you already know about today's word.
Anagnorisis is the point near the end of the movie where the brothers face each other, notice similar lockets in other's necks (that their mother gave them at their birth) and discover that they are twins, drop their guns, and hug each other tightly.
Anagnorisis was originally the critical moment in a Greek tragedy, usually accompanied by a peripeteia (reversal), leading to the denouement of a story.
Tema del reconocimiento, 1855660482, £40.00/$75.00, 136pp, 2000 (362 words)
Anagnorisis - `recognition' or `discovery' - is a key element of Aristotelian literary theory.
Her survey is divided into two parts, corresponding to the years before and after the appearance, in 1548, of Robortello's commentary, which expanded and developed Aristotle's definition of anagnorisis.
In earlier decades its use is largely confined to humanistic plays, which seek to allow the recognition to arise naturally from the plot; plays from the second half of the century tend to model their use of anagnorisis on Plautus's Menaechmi and regularly resort to a deus ex machina to bring about the recognition.
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