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Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq

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Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2017, 07:56
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Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiquity to the present alongside the immense and ever-growing body of secondary literature on the subject, the literary critic Terry Eagleton arrived at the pat judgment that not only had no satisfactory definition of tragedy been offered to date, but also that none besides the admittedly vacuous “very sad” could ever be offered. Overly broad definitions, which for all intents and purposes equate the tragic with seriousness, lead invariably to Scylla; overly narrow ones, such as the Renaissance-inspired struggle theory, to Charybdis. Notwithstanding this definitional dilemma, Eagleton’s conclusion, as clear a case of defeatism as any heretofore advanced, leaves much to be desired.

In A Definition of Tragedy, Oscar Mandel, who is decidedly more sanguine than Eagleton on this score, discerns in Aristotle’s De Poetica the rudiments of a substantive definition of the tragic. Following the spirit, albeit not the letter, of Aristotle’s text, Mandel sets forth three requirements for any work
to be counted as tragic, the third weighing most heavily in his account. First, it must have a protagonist whom we highly (or at least moderately) esteem. Second, it must show how the protagonist comes to suffer greatly. And, third, it must reveal how the protagonist’s downfall was inevitably but unwittingly brought about by his or her own action. It is plain to see that, of the three requirements, the third (call this the inevitability requirement) is beyond question the most contentious as well as the most dubious. The truth is that the inevitability requirement is entirely too stringent. While it may be a sufficient condition, it is not, Mandel’s assertions notwithstanding, the sin qua non of tragic literature.

One need look no further than Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, a quintessential work of modern tragedy, to see why this is so. In a provincial capital quite remote from cosmopolitan Moscow, the well-educated, tireless, but spiritually drained sisters are ground down by the inexorable forces of time and fortune. Their failure to leave for Moscow, the childhood home they yearn for, can be understood as their failure to extricate themselves from the tedious and insufferable life brought on by their workaday habits. This suggests a certain acknowledgment on their part of their powerlessness to defy the hands of fate. In the final analysis, the question of whether the protagonist’s fate is sealed in consequence of tragic action, as in Greek and Renaissance tragic dramas, or of inaction, as with modern tragedies, has very little to do with one of the absolutely essential ingredients of tragic literature. That ingredient, of course, is the profound sense of insurmountable powerlessness that yields an unnamable, implacable feeling expressing alienation from life itself.
While discussing Terry Eagleton’s work, the author alludes to Scylla and Charybdis in order to

A point out the principal faults with Eagleton’s ideas about tragedy.
B argue for the importance of understanding myths in our investigation into the nature of tragedy.
C establish that a dilemma pertaining to the essence of tragedy has its origin in myth.
D illustrate how a dilemma common to other intellectual inquiries also applies to our understanding of tragedy.
E delineate the potential problems that lie in wait for anyone who wishes to define tragedy.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E


The primary purpose of the passage is to

A criticize Eagleton’s view that the most adequate definition of tragedy is “very sad.”
B cast doubt on Eagleton’s and Mandel’s views of tragic literature for failing to enumerate all the necessary conditions for tragedy.
C conclude, after analyzing the views of two literary theorists, that tragedy cannot be defined adequately.
D criticize Eagleton’s view that tragedy cannot be adequately defined and Mandel’s view that tragedy requires tragic action and to offer up another condition indispensable for tragedy.
E find fault with Eagleton’s view that tragedy amounts to what is “very sad” and Mandel’s view that tragedy requires great suffering in order to advance a new definition of tragedy in their place.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
D


The author’s attitude toward the protagonists in Three Sisters can best be characterized as

A laudatory.
B conciliatory.
C despondent.
D myopic.
E diffident.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A


It can reasonably be inferred from the author’s assessments of Eagleton’s and Mandel’s views of tragedy that

A Mandel’s and Eagleton’s conceptions of tragedy can ultimately be dismissed.
B both theorists fall short of the mark of what constitutes tragedy, but for different reasons.
C the tragic has as much to do with what is very sad as it has to do with the inevitability requirement.
D the fact that tragic heroes undergo great suffering is at the center of both accounts.
E tragic literature is most fully understood when it combines the insights of many different thinkers.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


The author voices dissatisfaction with the present conception of tragedy in paragraph 3 by

A describing in some detail how a particular genre influences the way we think about tragic literature more generally.
B analyzing a work of literature in order to help us appreciate its supreme aesthetic value.
C raising a pointed objection to Mandel’s definition of tragedy and supporting the objection with a counterexample.
D quibbling with the main criteria in Mandel’s definition, none of which are applicable to a particular work of literature.
E cogently defending conclusions about works of tragedy that, on pain of contradiction, Mandel cannot accept.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C


Regarding the passage as a whole, the author’s opinion of the first and second requirements spelled out in Mandel’s definition of tragedy is most likely that

A neither the first nor the second requirement fits very easily with the condition of powerlessness that the author defends in the final paragraph.
B the first but not the second requirement is essentially at odds with the author’s claim that Chekhov’s Three Sisters is a work that exemplifies the condition of powerlessness.
C the second but not the first requirement would have to be rejected on the grounds that it is ostensibly the case that the sisters in Three Sisters do not undergo great suffering.
D in light of the condition of powerlessness that the author endorses, it can be concluded that both requirements should not figure prominently in any account of tragedy.
E neither the first nor the second requirement should be necessarily ruled out in our attempt to grasp the essence of tragedy, provided that neither is antithetical to the condition of powerlessness.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E


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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2017, 23:29
The Third Question .... Authors attitude towards Protogonists (3 sisters) shall be C (Despondant)
since..
"Their failure to leave for Moscow, the childhood home they yearn for, can be understood as their failure to extricate themselves from the tedious and insufferable life brought on by their workaday habits. This suggests a certainacknowledgment on their part of their powerlessness to defy the hands of fate."
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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2017, 02:31
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OE

Quote:
This question tests your ability to identify GRE vocabulary words within the Reading Comprehension portion of the exam. At the very least, you should be thinking that the author liked, esteemed, and pitied these characters. She says as much when she describes them as being “well-educated, tireless, but spiritually drained” The only answer that comes close is laudatory, meaning “worthy of praise.” Choice (B), c onciliatory, means “intending to placate,” so this does not work. Choice (C), despondent, means “very sad.” You could infer that the characters themselves are despondent, but “the author’s attitude” is surely not despon-dent. Therefore, (C) is incorrect. Myopic means “shortsighted,” and that has nothing to do with the passage before you, let alone the author’s attitude toward the protagonists in this work. So choice (D) can be eliminated. And (E), diffident, means being “modest” or “timid,” and that’s not on target. In sum, none but (A) rings true.


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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2018, 12:26
The explanation for fifth and sixth question please ?
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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2018, 02:37
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OE 19

Quote:
In this question, you should only look at paragraph 3. Make sure that “present conception of tragedy” refers to Mandel’s view. Think about what the opening sentence is doing: it’s making clear to you the author’s chief complaint with Mandel. And then consider that the rest of the paragraph is trying to provide evidence for the complaint already mentioned.Thus, (C) is correct. No such luck with (A). Don’t be fooled: all talk of genre and influence goes beyond the bounds of the passage. You run into a similar problem in (B). Aesthetic value, supreme or otherwise, takes your eyes off the main focus of paragraph 3. The author, in short, has nothing to say about (B). In sum, (A) and (B) are outside the scope. On the face of it, (D) looks pretty good. True, the author is worrying about something in Mandel’s definition. However, she is not worrying about criteria—only about one criterion (the inevitability requirement, in fact). Consequently, (D) is incorrect. Turning to (E), we don’t see much to recommend it. For one thing, the author is not defending conclusions (she is, as the question tells you, simply voicing dissatisfaction). For another, she is not pointing out a trap that Mandel is falling into.


OE 20

Quote:
To begin with, understand the scope of the question squarely before you. The question has to do with the whole passage, not with one of its parts. Now think about the first two requirements. The first is that the protagonist is worthy of esteem; the second that he or she suffers greatly. Ask yourself: What do you think the author’s opinion about these two requirements is? Does she like them? Dislike them?
It’s the first: she most likely thinks that they are good things. Evidence for the first part of this conclusion can be found in paragraph 3 where the author seems to look favorably on the characters in the modern tragedy Three Sisters. (E) puts this point even more delicately by making us see that both requirements are OK so long as they don’t contradict the condition of powerlessness. Therefore, (E) is the correct answer. (A) is the opposite of the correct answer. The author provides no reason to believe that these requirements would not fit with the condition of powerlessness. With respect to (B), the first condition isn’t at all at odds with the condition of powerlessness. The author implies as much in paragraph 3 when she shows that good characters in works of tragedy necessarily feel powerless. (C) is also incorrect. From all that you read in paragraph 3, you can reasonably conclude that the sisters do suffer a good deal. That leaves you with (D) to consider. (D) is without question quite tempting. Yet that both requirements should not figure prominently is outside the scope of the passage. You do have reason to believe that they should figure in some way, but we can’t know for sure how prominently they should figure. The answer is (E).


Ask for further help if something is still unclear.

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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2018, 12:11
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This is an example of a passage that completely goes over my head. I wasted 8 minutes reading it and absorbed nothing. Can anyone guide me how to go about such passages? I would highly appreciate any help offered. Thanks in advance.

Carcass wrote:


Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiquity to the present alongside the immense and ever-growing body of secondary literature on the subject, the literary critic Terry Eagleton arrived at the pat judgment that not only had no satisfactory definition of tragedy been offered to date, but also that none besides the admittedly vacuous “very sad” could ever be offered. Overly broad definitions, which for all intents and purposes equate the tragic with seriousness, lead invariably to Scylla; overly narrow ones, such as the Renaissance-inspired struggle theory, to Charybdis. Notwithstanding this definitional dilemma, Eagleton’s conclusion, as clear a case of defeatism as any heretofore advanced, leaves much to be desired.

In A Definition of Tragedy, Oscar Mandel, who is decidedly more sanguine than Eagleton on this score, discerns in Aristotle’s De Poetica the rudiments of a substantive definition of the tragic. Following the spirit, albeit not the letter, of Aristotle’s text, Mandel sets forth three requirements for any work
to be counted as tragic, the third weighing most heavily in his account. First, it must have a protagonist whom we highly (or at least moderately) esteem. Second, it must show how the protagonist comes to suffer greatly. And, third, it must reveal how the protagonist’s downfall was inevitably but unwittingly brought about by his or her own action. It is plain to see that, of the three requirements, the third (call this the inevitability requirement) is beyond question the most contentious as well as the most dubious. The truth is that the inevitability requirement is entirely too stringent. While it may be a sufficient condition, it is not, Mandel’s assertions notwithstanding, the sin qua non of tragic literature.

One need look no further than Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, a quintessential work of modern tragedy, to see why this is so. In a provincial capital quite remote from cosmopolitan Moscow, the well-educated, tireless, but spiritually drained sisters are ground down by the inexorable forces of time and fortune. Their failure to leave for Moscow, the childhood home they yearn for, can be understood as their failure to extricate themselves from the tedious and insufferable life brought on by their workaday habits. This suggests a certain acknowledgment on their part of their powerlessness to defy the hands of fate. In the final analysis, the question of whether the protagonist’s fate is sealed in consequence of tragic action, as in Greek and Renaissance tragic dramas, or of inaction, as with modern tragedies, has very little to do with one of the absolutely essential ingredients of tragic literature. That ingredient, of course, is the profound sense of insurmountable powerlessness that yields an unnamable, implacable feeling expressing alienation from life itself.
While discussing Terry Eagleton’s work, the author alludes to Scylla and Charybdis in order to

A point out the principal faults with Eagleton’s ideas about tragedy.
B argue for the importance of understanding myths in our investigation into the nature of tragedy.
C establish that a dilemma pertaining to the essence of tragedy has its origin in myth.
D illustrate how a dilemma common to other intellectual inquiries also applies to our understanding of tragedy.
E delineate the potential problems that lie in wait for anyone who wishes to define tragedy.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E


The primary purpose of the passage is to

A criticize Eagleton’s view that the most adequate definition of tragedy is “very sad.”
B cast doubt on Eagleton’s and Mandel’s views of tragic literature for failing to enumerate all the necessary conditions for tragedy.
C conclude, after analyzing the views of two literary theorists, that tragedy cannot be defined adequately.
D criticize Eagleton’s view that tragedy cannot be adequately defined and Mandel’s view that tragedy requires tragic action and to offer up another condition indispensable for tragedy.
E find fault with Eagleton’s view that tragedy amounts to what is “very sad” and Mandel’s view that tragedy requires great suffering in order to advance a new definition of tragedy in their place.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
D


The author’s attitude toward the protagonists in Three Sisters can best be characterized as

A laudatory.
B conciliatory.
C despondent.
D myopic.
E diffident.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
A


It can reasonably be inferred from the author’s assessments of Eagleton’s and Mandel’s views of tragedy that

A Mandel’s and Eagleton’s conceptions of tragedy can ultimately be dismissed.
B both theorists fall short of the mark of what constitutes tragedy, but for different reasons.
C the tragic has as much to do with what is very sad as it has to do with the inevitability requirement.
D the fact that tragic heroes undergo great suffering is at the center of both accounts.
E tragic literature is most fully understood when it combines the insights of many different thinkers.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


The author voices dissatisfaction with the present conception of tragedy in paragraph 3 by

A describing in some detail how a particular genre influences the way we think about tragic literature more generally.
B analyzing a work of literature in order to help us appreciate its supreme aesthetic value.
C raising a pointed objection to Mandel’s definition of tragedy and supporting the objection with a counterexample.
D quibbling with the main criteria in Mandel’s definition, none of which are applicable to a particular work of literature.
E cogently defending conclusions about works of tragedy that, on pain of contradiction, Mandel cannot accept.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C


Regarding the passage as a whole, the author’s opinion of the first and second requirements spelled out in Mandel’s definition of tragedy is most likely that

A neither the first nor the second requirement fits very easily with the condition of powerlessness that the author defends in the final paragraph.
B the first but not the second requirement is essentially at odds with the author’s claim that Chekhov’s Three Sisters is a work that exemplifies the condition of powerlessness.
C the second but not the first requirement would have to be rejected on the grounds that it is ostensibly the case that the sisters in Three Sisters do not undergo great suffering.
D in light of the condition of powerlessness that the author endorses, it can be concluded that both requirements should not figure prominently in any account of tragedy.
E neither the first nor the second requirement should be necessarily ruled out in our attempt to grasp the essence of tragedy, provided that neither is antithetical to the condition of powerlessness.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
E

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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2018, 14:57
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Your question is the classic question worth $ 1 million of dollars.

This is a quote that I always provide when a student is in the same situation like you

Quote:
if the student has gone through those materials and is still having considerable trouble, then one of the following three things (or more than one of them) is true:
(1) the student hasn't taken the time to learn how the problems work, and is just randomly trying to memorize things;
(2) the student doesn't understand how to read and process the passages, and is basically reading as though the passages were just factfactfactfact;
(3) the student isn't yet good enough at reading and understanding professionally written english.

notice that NONE of these three things is going to be fix-able by a greater volume of practice problems. if any of these three things is going on, additional practice problems won't fix the problem; in fact, additional practice is just going to cement the problem.
as an analogy, think of someone with a totally wrong golf swing. now, think of what will happen if this person goes out and takes 10,000 practice swings at golf balls -- the person will still have exactly the same problems, but those problems will now be so thoroughly reinforced that they will be practically impossible to fix.
the same is true for rc. in fact, i will just come out and say that no student should spend more than 15-20 hours of his or her entire life practicing specifically for gmat rc. (note that this is a lifetime total -- not monthly, not weekly, but actual lifetime.) that is plenty of time to learn how gmac writes the wording of its questions, what terms such as “primary purpose” and “inference” mean, etc. beyond this point, gmat-specific studying is simply not going to help, and, in all probability, will make bad habits even worse and more permanent.

if someone is going to spend a large number of hours, then those hours should be spent before the person starts taking on gmat-type problems. for instance, if the student can't read english fast enough, then that's a problem that must be addressed before he/she begins to look at gmat style problems. if the student doesn't understand how to read passages for the main point, then that's a problem that must be addressed before he/she begins to look at gmat style problems. etc.


This is for GMAT RC but is the same in this scenario for the GRE exam.

Moreover, if you have time read this https://gmatclub.com/forum/rc-verbal-qu ... l#p1509481

My personal suggestion is to read looking at the overall picture of the passage itself. Do not put your attention on details or words even if you do not know precisely or at all the meaning. Look for the big picture.

Hope this helps. Ask for further advice if you need.

Regards
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Re: Surveying paradigmatic works of tragic literature from antiq   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2018, 14:57
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