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After the success of Parasite and the Squid Game / Tragic drama, why do people love it?

After the success of Parasite and the Squid Game / Tragic drama, why do people love it?

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What do we mean when we say something is tragic? Take a moment and think about the last time you used the word.

Was it to describe something that happened to someone sad, awful, or unfair? The disappearance of Madeleine McCann or the death of Princess Diana may be seen as tragedies. Was it to describe a movie or TV show in which things end unfortunately for the characters? Ronnie Mitchell in Eastenders might be seen as a tragic character because everything always seemed to go so wrong for her.


Parasite is an Oscar-winning grim film

South Korean film Parasite’s best picture win at the 2020 Academy Awards, as the first non-English film ever to win it, was the biggest surprise of the Academy Awards season.

The film follows the Kim family, a poor family that plans to hire a rich family and infiltrates their home, and they depend on their system, like any parasite that feeds on the breadwinner, which is the meaning of the movie’s name.

The film, very dark, presents a model that makes everyone a hero in their own story, none of them is special, none of them are evil, but the system they live in is evil.

Today, with Game of Squid reaching number one on Netflix’s chart in 90 countries, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos claiming there is a “very good chance it will be the biggest web show ever”, taking the top spot in the US. And most of the followers started looking for similar Korean works, so it seems that we are in front of a question that must be asked… Why is the audience attracted to tragic dramas?! Is tragedy important to us as recipients?!


Why do tragedies attract us?

Starting from the earliest times of civilization, the dramatic performances of ancient Greek theater were part of the annual religious and civic celebration known as Dionysia – an annual festival in Athens, commemorating Dionysus, god of wine, fertility, and madness. Theatrical performances were the main focus of the festival and included two main genres: tragedy and comedy (also known as satyr plays). Although it is difficult to know when the tragic drama first appeared, many scholars suggest that Thespis formally introduced it in 533 BC.


Tragedy as a Concept: Between Media and Drama

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The word tragedy comes from the ancient Greek tragedian, which translates as “song of the gut.” Scholars have suggested that tragic dramas, such as religious rituals, often ended with the slaughter of a goat or a scapegoat. The song may be a kind of prayer.

According to Aristotle, tragedies included a major figure of high social standing who had fallen into a vice by way of hubris (excessive pride or self-conceit, and in Greek tragedy often in defiance of the gods), or a tragic flaw leading to a fundamental error of judgment. Most importantly, the suffering of the tragic character evokes in the audience feelings of pity, fear, and sympathy. So, the idea of ​​a tragic scapegoat relates to the sacrifice’s role in the ancient rituals of sacrifice.

When the dramatic performance reaches its solution, the audience experiences a therapeutic release of these feelings of pity and fear, and this has been called the “therapeutic side of tragic catharsis.” Many scholars assert that theater still serves this therapeutic function today.

In the media, the word “tragedy” is commonly used to describe accidents, natural disasters, and even seemingly random acts of violence. Is there a connection between this common use of the word tragedy and tragedy as a dramatic form? Theatrical performances in ancient Greece were not for entertainment purposes; The tragic drama provided the audience with an opportunity to reflect on its social, political, and religious values. Likewise, whenever so-called “tragic” events occur in our contemporary world, they often prompt us to ask research questions about the nature of our society, the possibility of justice and perhaps make us reflect on our mortality.


Tragedy focuses on life, not people

Aristotle defines a well-written tragedy as having six parts: plot, character, diction, reasoning, scene, and lyric. The most important parts of the plot and then the character. He says that tragedy is an imitation of life and actions, not an imitation of people. The dramatic narrative is divided into two parts; Story and plot. The story is the raw material of the plot, the smaller part of the larger story that the tragic playwright decides to tell. In making a plot, says Aristotle, the playwright must choose a set of events from the larger story and organize them in to a logical order or a unified action.

Each event in the plot must trigger the next, and in the well-written plot of the tragedy, there must be a moment of reversal. This is the moment when the tragic hero or heroine undergoes a drastic change in fortune, moving from good fortune to bad luck. For example, in Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex, this happens when Oedipus, who is searching for his father’s killer, realizes that he is the killer himself.

And then the audience should feel pity for the tragic hero or heroine, the good person who turns from good luck to bad luck through no fault of his own. The audience must also feel fear because they realize that the tragic hero or heroine is someone like them, so they too may suffer the same terrible fate. According to Aristotle, catharsis has a positive effect on the public; It helps them cleanse themselves of dangerous blemishes. They recognize the hero or heroine’s fatal flaw in themselves and through this moment of recognition, they can cleanse themselves of this flaw, and thus become a better person.

After the success of Parasite and the Squid Game / Tragic drama, why do people love it?


Catharsis in theater

Newer theater practitioners, such as Argentine theater director Augusto Boal, have argued that Aristotle’s catharsis hurts the audience. Boal said a catharsis is a tool that governments use to oppress their citizens, by making people fear the consequences of committing certain actions, so that the government can effectively control people’s behavior.

This may mean that one of the most important of the audience’s association with the tragedies that extend to more than one part throughout episodes that can exceed two hundred, is the feeling of each of them that this may also happen to me, this is what I feel about this issue, and when the bad fate of the hero who defied the rules, or Societal norms, the law, or… He feels that he has made the right decision, not to revolt against what he may see as wrong, so he feels venting his feelings of rejection and revolution, and he returns to his life convinced that it is the best that can be achieved.


Squid Game / theory of desire squid game

jung ho yeon

Which brings us back to the most popular series at present, “The Squid Game”, which revolves in 9 episodes, about a group of people who participate in a series of mysterious games to win huge financial prizes amounting to 38.5 million US dollars, in shedding light on unjust societies. It also highlights the idea of ​​the spread of violence and deception in societies that do not enjoy justice and freedom.

The series tells the story of the hero who suffers from poverty at the age of 40 and tries to earn money in any way because he does not get a specific job, and because of his poverty, his wife deserts him, then decides to engage in mysterious games to earn money, and then finds himself in a strange place with many people They play a 6-level game, with great deadly risks, and all he has to do is save his life and carry on hoping for the reward, and every day the viewers feel that they made the right decision not to make the main mistake of the tragedy… (trying to change fate).


Details of the Squid game series

The most important stars of the Squid game series

The most important stars of the Squid game series
  • Starring: Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae-soo, Oh Young-soo, Wee Ha-jun, Jung Ho-Yeon, Heo sung-tea
  • Display Network: Netflix
  • Release date: September 17, 2021
  • Series Category: Mystery Suspense
  • IMDb rate: 8.2
  • Tomato rate: 91

After the success of Parasite and the Squid Game / Tragic drama, why do people love it?

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