“The universe seems secure only to those who do not question too far.” –Anon.
“What makes mankind tragic is not that [we] are victims of nature, it is that [we] are conscious of it.” –Joseph Conrad
Ideally, tragedy reveals simultaneously, in one complete action [or in a five-act play by Shakespeare] a person’s total possibilities and yet his or her most grievous limitations–all that she or he can do as creator of good, all that he or she does or fails to do, or cannot do, as creature of fate, chance, or that person’s own evil nature.
But is there truly a tragic vision, a consensus definition of “the tragic”?
One common element, a classic common element, seems always to be that there is present a sense of WASTE, or of what could have been.
Saying “That’s so tragic” is that it is not usually tragic, but an expression we have to use–to help us cope (like “She’s in a better place”).
The tragic vision explains what we bring down upon ourselves–that “pride”–that turns to…whatever.
An accident is sad; loss of life is sad; a suicide is sad. But not each event is “tragic.”
We see examples; we don’t need a theory. We just know, and then respond.
“A pox upon this house.”
Is the fault really in our stars?