LANG 3100 Comedy and Tragedy: Dramas of Death and Rebirth

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102914

Coordinator Helen Basides Opens in new window

Description This subject examines the writing, performance and theories of Western tragedy and comedy since their beginnings in the ancient world to modern times. In this subject, students read tragic and comic drama, some of which is in translation, as well as key theories of tragedy and comedy. The subject begins with the dramas of the Ancient Greeks, and through an examination of the plays and their context of production, students will be introduced to key ideas about tragedy's and comedy's structure, dialogue, staging, characterisation, audience, and central themes. The subject will trace the development of tragedy and comedy through key periods, including the Renaissance; and it may include a consideration of texts from the twentieth century onwards that have been written for media other than the stage. While tragedy and comedy are intimately linked with ideas about death and rebirth, the subject is closely concerned with the way in which moral choice lies at the heart of both genres.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Literature

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

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Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Incompatible Subjects LANG 2013 - Comedy and Tragedy


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse a range of tragedies and comedies and identify the way in which generic conventions of tragedy and comedy are employed or subverted. 
  2. Identify and assess the way in which the context of production of various dramatic tragedies and comedies informs the construction of the plays, including their structure, dialogue, characterisation and themes. 
  3. Analyse and apply key theories of tragedy and comedy.
  4. Explain and analyse the relationship of the plays (and other texts set for study) to contemporary and modern genre theories of tragedy and comedy.
  5. Produce independently researched, critically engaged written discussions on topics relating to the generic and historical study of the set texts.

Subject Content

  • The nature, origins, and cultural locus of the genres of comedy and tragedy
  • Comedy and tragedy in the Ancient Greek classical period 
  • Elizabethan comedy and tragedy, including the plays of Shakespeare
  • Modern comedy and tragedy, both on stage and in other media
  • Debates about the continuity or demise of traditions of comedy and tragedy 
  • Debates about the "death" of tragedy and the rise of liberal tragedy in the nineteenth century


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Participation 10 weeks 10 N Individual
Portfolio 1,500 words 40 N Individual
Quiz 4 quizzes 1 hour each (best 4 out of 5 quiz results) 10 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Bankstown City


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Penrith (Kingswood)


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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


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