The Tragic Descent of Serious Reaction to Misplaced Sentiment
The paper examines the way society distorted tragedy into farce. Limiting the investigation to the first half of the nineteenth century it describes how Romantic artists developed an overly tragic sensibility in their work, persona and lifestyles as a reaction to the effects of the industrial revolution. It then examines how the early Victorians sentimentalisd this tragic attitude particularly in the exaggerated etiquette and artifice associated with mourning and death. Tragedy is the quintessential expression in describing excessive sadness or disaster, therefore it is the most dramatic, rendering it virtually impossible to exaggerate. Attempts at exaggeration have bordered on caricature or satire, that have distorted tragedy into travesty. Tragedy has manifested itself through various expressions in art, literature and reality yet only rarely, as in the Romantic Movement have all three mediums merged. This resulted in a histrionic tragicomedy of display that began as a serious reaction to social conditions and ended in sticky sentimentality.
Keywords: Art, Romantic, Sentimental, Tragedy, Exaggerate, Farce
Principal Lecturer, School of Art, Design and Architecture