Suffer little children
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By re-examining traditional tenets of dramatic theory regarding tragedy, relying on Aristotle’s Poetics and primary Greek and Shakespearean works to establish the codification and follow the evolution of tragedy, this study proposes that the persistent use of ritual sacrifice, particularly of children, through sexual and violent means, is a defining factor the genre. The origin of the tragic hero is traced to the priest of ancient ritual; victims, apostates, and disciples also are shown to be represented in tragedy. After deconstructing exemplary tragedies to delineate residual elements of sacrificial ritual in them, this study culminates by explicating Saved by Edward Bond. In demonstrating that Saved is a quintessential tragedy of the Millennial era, this thesis proposes that tragedy remains linked to ritual and is a viable genre in the 20th and 21st centuries.