Delight in Suffering: Why Readers Enjoy Emotionally Charged Stories

Author: Madison Little
Major: Literary Studies
Approved: Spring 2016
Status: Completed

From personal experience, I have found that readers are typically most enraptured in a story; book, film, or play, when a main character is suffering, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. However, not only have I noticed that these moments are when readers are paying the most attention, these moments typically become their favorite parts or at least the parts they remember best. I want to research why readers enjoy the suffering of their favorite characters and what affect it has on them. I want to look specifically at tragedies and drama and I will most likely focus on Shakespearean drama. At the end of my project, I will have completed two internships, a course at Oxford, a substantial research paper, and a producible creative work.