Why tragedies are alluring

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live”- Robert Francis Kennedy

Tragedies are a form of drama based on a series of dreadful events that lead to the suffering of people, mostly the main character. What makes tragedy so fascinating?


The essence of the main character

In most dramas, the main character is a royal, rich, and a great person who we can relate to. This character then makes a mistake which results in the falling of them and the people around them. This pattern is followed even today by storytellers.

Aristotle’s Poetics

Aristotle wrote in his work, Poetics, that three components make tragedies so alluring.

First, the tragic hero should be a high ranking individual like a king or an extraordinary person and must be proficient but also relatable to the audience. This will make his fall more tragic to the audience.

The hero should have both good and bad qualities in him just like every person.

And has one tragic flaw that causes the hero to make a mistake and his unfortunate fortune leads to his downfall.

Experience of Catharsis

Catharsis is the process of purification of emotions. We experience a deep level of it through tragedies. According to scholars, a good tragedy evokes fear and pity in the audience. Fear arises as we think we might face the same consequences as the poor main character and pity arise when we see the downfall of the main character. Fear and pity lead to a feeling of relief as it allows us to release our own emotions we hold back. Sometimes it helps to distract us from our reality. Regardless, tragedies leave a deeper impact on us, and who doesn’t enjoy a good old tragic story with a bucket of ice cream!

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