Bourgeois Tragedy

What is the Bourgeois tragedy in literature?

“Bourgeois tragedy” is a literary term used to describe a type of play that focuses on the struggles and downfall of the middle class, particularly in the face of social and economic forces beyond their control.

The term originated in the 19th century when many playwrights began to focus on the lives and experiences of the emerging middle class, rather than the aristocracy and royalty who had traditionally been the subjects of tragedy. Bourgeois tragedy often deals with themes such as marriage, family, money, and social status, and often features characters who are struggling to maintain their dignity and values in the face of a changing society.

example of a play that could be considered a bourgeois tragedy:

In Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” the protagonist, Nora, is a middle-class woman who is trapped in a marriage to a controlling and condescending husband. Throughout the play, Nora struggles to assert her independence and find her own identity but ultimately discovers that her husband has been keeping a secret from her that threatens to destroy their marriage and her reputation. The play ends with Nora leaving her husband and children, symbolizing her rejection of societal expectations and her desire for personal freedom. The play is a classic example of bourgeois tragedy, as it deals with the struggles and conflicts of middle-class characters in a changing society.

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