Tetralogy (four-part)

As tetralogy, also four-part, is called an artistic work, which consists of four parts. As a rule, this is a literary, cinematic or musical work, although the term is also applied to other fields. It is essential for such a quadrant that the parts of the four-part parts of the quadripartite are, however, mostly independent. This means that the action of the individual works of a tetralogy is usually completed in itself and is comprehensible without the knowledge of other parts (see Mehrteiler). Such four-part works are often films or extensive prose works, such as novel series.

The term can be derived from the Greek noun tetralogía, which is composed of the prefix tetra for four and the noun logos by word. Accordingly, the term is literally a four-word and only in the transmitted sense a content consisting of four parts.

This “rule” also applies to all further designations of multipliers. The correct term always consists of the Greek prefix for the respective number word and the unit logie – derived from the noun logos. Consequently, the dilogy is a second-tier, the trilogy is a three-part, the pentalogy is a five-part, and the hexalogy is a six-part, etc. The designation of different parts

History of Tetralogy
The first teatralogies, which can be documented, can already be found in ancient times. In the 5th century BC, In the course of the Great Dionysia – a feast to honor the god Dionysus – a contest of tragedy poets was staged (Agon). Between the third and fifth festivals, several poets – usually three – met each other, each day attracting another audience’s favor.

Originally, each poet showed three pieces, which belonged together, ie a trilogy. As a result, this three-part was extended by a relaxing satyr play or a serious play. Over time, the individual parts became more and more independent and showed actions that were self-contained. This led to the fact that the one-time uniform overall impression of the Dionysia was partly lost and that the individual works were more and more connected to one another.

But even later, extensive works were sometimes split into several parts in order to loosen up a large volume, so that dramas could be more easily consumed by the audience. Nowadays such tetralogies are found, above all, in the case of larger prose works within fiction or in film. However, the term is not limited to this range, but can also be related to other artistic four-part artists, such as music or painting.

Tetralogy and rhetoric
As has been described, the concept of tetralogy has been customary since ancient times. In doing so, he always described a group of four works that were connected in content, and was particularly suited to dramatic works. Moreover, in the 1st century BC, The work of Plato (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC) – an ancient philosopher – is summarized in nine tetralogies.

It is true nowadays whether all the works that were bundled here are from Plato, and whether the philosopher himself wanted to publish his doctrines according to this principle, and to orient himself to Dionysia. But that is not the point. What is essential is that speeches as well as rhetorical dialogues can be taken under the term.


Tetralogy examples
The Pillars of the Earth by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (TV)
The Pillars of the Earth: Part 1 (2010)
The Pillars of the Earth: Part 2
The Pillars of the Earth: Part 3
The Pillars of the Earth: Part 4
The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner (opera cycle)
The Rheingold (1876)
The Valkyrie
Joseph and his brothers by Thomas Mann (literature)
The Stories of Jaakobs (1933)
The Young Joseph (1934)
Joseph in Egypt (1936)
Joseph, the Winner (1943)
Atriden-Tetralogy by Gerhart Hauptmann (dramatic cycle)
Iphigenia in Aulis (1944, UA: 1943))
Agamemnon’s death (1948, UA: 1947))
Elektra (1948, UA: 1947)
Iphigenia in Delphi (1941, UA: 1941)

Tetralogy I of Plato (Philosophy)
Short overview: The most important overview
As tetralogy, also four-part, is called an artistic work, which consists of four parts. This is usually a literary, cinematic or even musical work, although the term is also applied to other fields.
Originally the term was coined in connection with the Great Dionysia – a festival and poetry contest to honor the god Dionysus. Several poets came to present a “tragic three-piece”, which was mostly supplemented by a satyr play. Today the term is used for all four-part art.
Almost all multi-part works of art can be identified with a technical term. This is the name for a second-person dilogy, a three-part trilogy, a five-part pentalogy, and a six-part hexalogy, etc. (see also: multipart). However, only trilogy and tetralogy are usually used.

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