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Raymond Williams was a great critic, scholar and novelist of last century. He was born in Pandy, on the Welsh border. His father was a railway signalman. He got his education form Abergavenny Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge. His studies were interrupted by the Second World War. He joined the British Army and worked as an anti-tank captain. After the war he worked in adult education before becoming a lecturer at Cambridge University. A socialist, in the 1950s he joined forces with E. P. Thompson, Raphael Samuel, Ralph Miliband, Stuart Hall and John Saville to launch two radical journals, The New Reasoner and the New Left Review. From 1974 to 1984, he served as a Professor of Drama at Cambridge. His main interest was culture and society, which was also the title of his highly regarded book published in 1958. Williams wrote extensively about the history of culture. Books by Williams include Culture and Society 1780-1960 (1958), The Long Revolution (1961), Communication (1962), Second Generation (1964), Orwell (1971), The Country and the City (1973), Television: Technology and Culture (1974), Keywords (1976), Marxism and Literature (1977), The Volunteers (1978), Problems in Materialism and Culture (1980), Culture (1981), Writings in Society (1983) and Loyalties (1985). Raymond Williams died in 1988.

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Undoubtedly, Raymond Williams is a great critic, journalist, historian, political commentator, dramatist and novelist of last century. He holds a prominent position in the field of literary criticism. His work in the field of literary criticism is very important, as it gave new dimensions to it. He had a natural instinct of observing, analyzing and interpreting, which helped him a lot to become a critic of first rank. As a critic he became more prominent than any other fields. His own sense of tradition and history really contributed in making him a versatile critic and philosopher. As far as Modern Tragedy is concerned it is considered to be one of his best critical works. In it he has discussed tragedy of the past, its evolution and development, the tradition of tragedy, the modern inclinations in tragedy. Moreover, he has also discussed various authors and the works of the 20th century and above all the effect of the concept of tragedy on the modern revolutionary movements.

Tragedy and Tradition is basically about tragedy and its historical perspective. In it Raymond Williams discusses common as well as traditional meanings of tragedy. For him tragedy is directly related with culture, society and also to the experiences in life. He feels that tragedy is not simply death and sufferings nor even any response to it; rather it is particular kind of event and a kind of response to that event that is purely tragic. However, there are certain events and responses in life that generally seem tragic, while others not. According to Raymond Williams, Tragedy as a word has not changed but as dramatic form it has gone under certain changes. He is of the view that these changes depend upon the changed perception of the people of different areas. According to him, Tradition does not mean to accept past entirely rather it is analyzing and evaluating the past in the present perspective. Moreover, tragic works should be examined critically as well as historically. In short, he describes historical development of the idea of Tragedy as follows:

According to Raymond Williams, to understand the concept of tragedy in Classical Era one has to go through Greek Tragedies. The Greek tragedies are unique and genuine tragedies. They did not depend on some specific doctrine; rather they are related to a network of beliefs that are common in that culture. Greek felt that Fate and Necessity had become natural part of Greek tragedy as well as life in general. Thats why the suffering of the main character symbolizes the sufferings of everyone. However, the tragedy underwent many changes during this era. Chorus which was considered an important part of tragedy lost its meanings and worth. It is believed that in Medieval age there was no considerable development in tragedy. It was considered a narrative form and story of a man who has fallen from prosperity to adversity. The
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most important element of tragedy was considered fortune which meant wordily success. The tragedy was considered to be a story, an account but not an action.

The Renaissance period was also dominated by the idea of rank. Tragedy was considered story of a noble man who falls in adversity from prosperity. But, later in this period more emphasize was given on tragic method and effect. This critical idea matured more in the 17th century.

Importance of Exalted Rank was again center of tragedy of this era. The term dignity was given special importance. It was considered a dignified man was considered a man of style, hence, language used was also beautified with different embellishments. However, almost at the end of this era change took place in the concept of dignity. Thus behavior became more important as it was thought that an ordinary man could also behave in a dignified manner. The elements of pity and fear were replaced with admiration and commiseration. The spectators response to sufferings became an activity in itself rather than a mere response to a particular action.

According to Raymond Williams, Lessing a German critic and dramatist also contributed in the idea of tragedy by writing theoretical rejection Neo-classicism, a defense of Shakespeare and an advocacy and writing of bourgeois tragedy. He considered neo-classicism as false classicism, because they were wrongly trying to be as exact and precise as the classical writers were. They were quite different from them in contents of tragedy and the only closeness with them was of style. He is of the view that Shakespeare was the only real inheritor of Greek tragedy.

It is believed that all the dramas after Renaissance were secular, whereas the Greek drama was religious. With the gradual secularization of tragedy, morality became less important and more attention was paid to the critical side of the tragedy. The increasing emphasize on rational morality effected the tragic action. Raymond Williams feels that the poetic justice had also undergone some certain changes according to the values and ideology of different communities.

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Hegel a German philosopher laid emphasize on the cause of the tragedy than mere sufferings. However, Williams Raymond finds two differences between the ancient and modern tragedy. First, in the ancient tragedy, the characters clearly represent the ethical end, where as in modern tragedy the ends are wholly personal. Secondly, in ancient tragedy, there is the downfall of conflicting persons that ends in the achievement of eternal justice, whereas in the modern tragedies the whole question of resolution is more difficult because the characters are more personal. Hence, Hegel feels that Greek tragedy has been seen as the embodiment of the conflict between primitive social forms and new social order, whereas the Renaissance tragedy has been seen as the conflict between dying feudalism and new individualism.

The views of these two German philosophers also contributed in the development of tragedy. Before, Schopenhauer, tragedy was associated with ethical crises, human growth and history. He secularized the whole idea of tragedy. He is of the view that true sense of tragedy is the deeper insight into mans original sin i.e. the crime of existence itself. According to Nietzsche, tragedy dramatizes a tension, which it resolves in a higher unity. There the hero, who is highest manifestation of will, is destroyed, but the eternal life of the will remains unaffected. According to him, the action of tragedy is not moral, not purgative but aesthetic. In the end, it can be said that Raymond Williams concept of tragedy and tradition is not only profound but highly philosophical and thought provoking also. He has given forceful and historical perspective of tragedy and tradition. He has coded the views of English as well as German philosophers to make his arguments forceful. In short, all his discussion shows his power of critical talent and observations.

: Tragedy and Contemporary Idea is basically an essay about Tragedy in relation to contemporary ideas. Raymond Williams tried to present those tragic varieties of tragic experiences through which he passed during his literary career. He compares tragedy with the tragic experiences of modern life and with the past tragedies and asserts on the need of rejecting the contemporary idea of tragedy. Tragedy in life is permanent and inevitable but its views and intensity keep changing like the ordinary changes of life. Raymond Williams has discussed following four main aspects of tragic theory: According to Raymond Williams the tragic meanings of a tragic experience can be found in the nature of response that event has on its surroundings. This response varies from person to person and even different relations. The intensity of feelings varies
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with the intensity of sharing that takes place in a particular situation. Depending on their relation and response to the tragedy the responses differs. It would be of indifferences, justification, relief or rejoicing. Depending upon varied responses, Hegel calls it true sympathy and mere sympathy. Moreover, an event can be tragic only when a human agency is involved in it and is felt on ethical grounds. Raymond Williams opines that we can only distinguish between tragedy and accident, when we have conception of law and order. According to that law and order some events are tragic while others are mere accidents. Hence, some deaths do create tragic affects and others dont. The death of a slave might be considered an accident, whereas that of a prince truly tragic as it might affect the whole country. However, the emerging bourgeois class rejected rank in tragedy. According to them individual was not a state, but the entity in himself. Williams believes that though fate and providence ( ) are responsible for mans downfall, yet they have always been beyond his control and he cant handle them easily. However, faith in deep sufferings with the ultimate hope in redemption is also a human support against odds of tragedy. However, order and disorder in tragedies vary in different cultures and societies, which realizes us the importance of culture in tragedy as an art form. The most common conception about tragedy is that it ends with the death of its hero. But in many of the tragedies story does not ends with the destruction of the hero; rather it follows on ( .) It is not the job of the artist to provide answers and solutions; but simply describe experiences and raise questions. Modern tragedy is not that what happened to hero, but what happened through hero. When we concentrate on hero, we are unconsciously confining out attention to the individual. Tragic experience lies in the fact that life does not come back, that its meanings are reaffirmed and restored after so much sufferings, and the ultimate death gives real meanings and importance to life. In short, the fact remains that life will always flow even after such catastrophe and that is the phenomenon of nature as well as the dignity of mankind. Raymond Williams believes that death in tragedy enables the witness to see the real meaning of life. In fact, death is a universal character, which has a perpetual effect on human soul and makes them to relate their faiths and believes with it. In a tragedy, the tragic hero faces an absolute meaning of death and a sense of loneliness. Hence, death of a person is considered an irreparable loss" ( ) and which cause lamentation to the audience and makes them to realize a universal principle or a mere personal tragedy. However, Williams Raymond thinks that it is not a single death, or an individual loss, rather it brings a change in the lives of the people surrounding and relating him. Thus, the
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loneliness of the dead man, blindness of human destiny and the loss of the connection as a result of that death are irreparable. According to Raymond Williams, evil goes side by side with good. However, it is often perceived that evil is more powerful and attractive and make the society to surrender before it. But he believes that it is temporary phase, because, ultimately it is good that is victorious. Hence, the tragedy demonstrates the struggle between good and evil going on in the world as well. But, evil presented in tragedy is of varied form, making the audience to have a clear recognition of the fact that one can be good or evil in particular ways in particular situations of the play, thus achieving different responses as well. Hence, tragedy does not teach us about evil, rather it teaches us about so many aspects of life and their consequences. In the end, we can say that Raymond Williams has very aptly analyzed the concept of tragedy with reference to contemporary ideas. From modern concept of tragedy, a minute observer and critic can get a lot of information. In short, it is a great work of criticism by Raymond Williams.

A rejection of Tragedy is a highly informative, analytical and reflection essay by Williams Raymond. This essay is basically a study of the rejection of tragedy in modern age with special reference to Bertolt Brecht. Bertolt was a famous German dramatist as well as poet, how is also known as for cynic and satirical touch in his works. However, the present essay is about rejection of tragedy in modern age, Brechts views about it and the way he has demonstrated it in his different plays. Brecht founded epic theater as compared to the conventional theory of Aristotle. He rejected the conventional idea of the tragedy and made tragedy more experimental and rational. Brecht believed that drama should not be taken as ritual, but a debate, where the spectators should be its detached observer. They should evaluate its different aspects according to their own perception, thus get stimulated to decisive action. In fact, he considers that it is not so important to show tragedy on stage, rather what is most important is its effect on the audiences. In short, tragedy of a man appeals purely on human grounds, when one man is passing through an unjust sufferings and this of response is the intensity of tragedy. The close analysis of essay reveals that Brecht has rejected the concept of nobility in tragedy also. He proves that in modern age even a common man can is as important as a person belonging to high rank. He feels that even a prostitute could arouse the emotions of pity and
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fear. This shows that today humanity is more important than anything else. He even feels that sometimes very pathetic incidents do not arouse pity in us, thus having no intensity of tragedy, and this is where tragedy itself is rejected. He very ironically asserts that people who are wicked can even arouse pity and fear only when the whole society is wicked. According to Brecht, the function of the theater is to practice complex seeing. This means to watch something on the stage not according to ones desires, rather through its complexities, as they not only make us aware of certain tendencies in life, but also clarify us of certain critical situations. In this respect, he bestows a new task to the theater to present some ungentle acts on the stage along with some noble ones. He strongly believes that when audiences watch some of their weaknesses demonstrated on the stage, they are bound to learn something from it, as it mirrors their own weaknesses as well. Hence, the stage by showing some ugly aspects of peoples life plays an important part in moulding their personalities. Brecht very aptly observed and then asserted that in the past nobility was shown to arouse morality in the society, but in modern times even immorality is shown to arouse morality in the society, aptly demonstrated in his plays. Thus according to him, the function of tragedy is to inform people of their deteriorated values and standards that need to be mended. It is because of these priorities of the writers and the changing situation in the plays that term tragedy is replaced by sociological drama. He also feels that today man is not worried about moral standards as other grave and tangible aspects of life are surrounding him. That is why even a criminal being innocent is unacceptable, but a revolutionary person killing innocent people is acceptable. This shows the values of different societies according to their own standards. This is what irritates Brecht very much which he tries to reject in his famous plays. Raymond Williams has discussed six plays of Brecht to explain his point of view and sense of a new tragedy: a) The Three Penny Opera: In this play, Brecht shows people buying and selling each other with cold heart but with colour and wit. This is what life is and it seems that playwright is trying to convey that we all pretend to be livelier and brighter than we are. Brecht opposes such a kind of false society by the idea of true society. b) Saint Joan of the Stockyard: In this play, the clarity of Joan Dark in the labour struggle of Chicago is not only shown as a false morality, but as a feeling to be a consciously rejected and replaced by a new hardness. Brecht says that only force helps where force rules. For saying this Joan is first suppressed and then glorified, in her former charitable innocence. c) Die Massanhame: In this play, Brecht offers what he takes to be a revolutionary morality, that the party worker who shows too much human sympathy endangers revolutionary efforts and
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must be killed. The revolutionary who talks of necessary killing is like the honest criminal or the generous whore. Brecht was able look into the connection and contradictions between individual goodness and social action. d) The Good Woman of Sezuan: In this play, by dramatic presentation Brecht invites us to look at what happens to a good person in a bad society. Shen Te is a conventional kind hearted prostitute. Through her, Brecht wants to show us how goodness is exploited by gods and men. Brecht rejected the way of sacrifice as he highly rejected the idea that suffering can make us dignify. He had the courage to reject sacrifice as a dramatic emotion. e) Mother Courage and Her Children: It is dramatization of conflicting instincts, conflicting illusions and commanding insights that are not lived thorough. In this play, a dumb girl, speaking for life, is being killed. The living goes on with a living that is killed. Brecht uses all his dramatic skill to arise some basic questions, which take us towards the rejection of treagedy. f) The Life of Galileo: In this play, the case of free choice is dramatized. Galileo deals with the responsibility of the intellectual to defend his or her belief in the face of opposition from established authorities, in Galileos case the Roman Catholic Church. We can admire or scorn ( ) Galileo, but Brecht is not asking us to do this. He is only telling us that what happens to consciousness when it caught in deadlock between individual and social morality. In the end, we can say that this is who Brecht rejected some of the old values of and concept of tragedy, because he feels that the standards and values of the modern world have considerably changed and do not have affinity with the past. It is for these reasons he asserts on complex seeing regarding the concept of tragedy. In short, Brecht through his own philosophy of tragedy has given a novel way to the concept of tragedy, and Raymond Williams has discussed it quite commendably in his book Modern Tragedy.

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