Setting is important within tragedy as it can often amplify the themes within the texts. It is not only place that can be significance but also time. If a scene happens at night it can be suggestive of evil or secrecy and this is certainly the case with Othello where Iago is often seen to be plotting and carrying out his evil plans in the cover of darkness. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles the setting of Flintcombe is used by Hardy to demonstrate the suffering of Tess and this contrasts to the dairy where she met Angel and where there is a sense of happiness. It is actually the false nature of Alec’s home that is an early indication of the threat that he poses.
Many tragedies take place in a public sphere and therefore the significance of the events reflect on the society as whole. In King Lear Lear’s appearance on the heath and then by the hovel is used by Shakespeare to reflect upon inequality in society. Shakespeare has set Lear in an ancient mythical kingdom and this is important as it means that it removes the play from Shakespeare’s own world so that the ideas within the play are not regarded as a direct criticism of the monarch.
Othello is seen to take place within a domestic setting. It is the tragedy of his personal breakdown and the breakdown of his marriage. In relation to this the key moment of tragedy occurs in the bedroom creating a claustrophobic feel. In Death of a Salesman the domestic setting of the house setting is used effectively to illustrate the psychological suffering of Willy. The way the play is staged means there is no clear line between the past and present, reflecting Willy’s confusion.