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This book refutes the claim that tragedy is no longer a vital and relevant part of contemporary American theatre. Tragedy in the Contemporary American Theatre examines plays by multiple contemporary playwrights and compares them alongside the works of America's major twentieth-century tragedians: Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams. The book argues that tragedy is not only present in contemporary American theatre, but issues from an expectation fundamental to American culture: the pressure on characters to create themselves. Tragedy in the Contemporary American Theatre concludes that tragedy is vital and relevant, though not always in the Aristotelian model, the standard for traditional evaluation.