Right way for Tragedy

This is really difficult. Yes, tragedies are a genre in literature- ranging from novels, operas, plays, ballets, and musicals. True, I used to not want tragedies in my life- that was back in high school (clearly, I had misinterpreted the genre). So, what is the right way to experience a tragedy?

Truly Tragic:

Well, some shows can fall into this trap. I have been there, and that is extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable. You really want to get out when you see them. This happened with #8—–I badly wanted to leave when I saw this play, but I had no choice but to stay due to being required.

This is true for ANY tragedy- do you want to read a book that is like this? Meaning a book that makes you so uncomfortable that you want to put it down. You usually don’t have an emotional connection in these type of stories.

Bittersweet Tragedy:

I associate tragedies with this particular word: bittersweet. They have this wonderful nature of having both joy and heartbreak in them. It is so much easier to form an emotional connection with these stories. The emotional connection is the WANT, DESIRE, and REASON for feeling the emotions, which is why it is easier to feel the negative emotions. When an uncomfortable scene does happen, it is easier to tolerate. Think about Les Mis—-the strong underlying spirituality and has a lot of hope and passion in it; look at Rent——the message it conveys; etc…. As far as books go, outside of Les Misérables, I have learned to love Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mayor of Casterbridge.

Tragedies aren’t supposed to be truly tragic to the point of making you too uncomfortable. Tragedies have the “catharsis” in them. Les Mis taught me I can love that genre. Rent and Les Mis are the most meaningful tragic musicals of my life. If it wasn’t for Rent, I never would have given operas a chance—-that is why I eventually watched La Bohème, my favorite opera.

6 thoughts on “Right way for Tragedy

  1. Meg, good questions and I love the term bittersweet. My daughter also loves “Rent” and “Les Mis” as well. She was in Rent for a small production. As for reading tragedies, my favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which has a tragic and sadly not unexpected climax before its denouement where Boo Radley saves the day. So, I think we do like tragedies, even if we want to put them down at times. But, you are right, we don’t want them too tragic. Keith


  2. This was really good: I enjoyed hearing your thoughts here and I definitely agree. Tragedies can give you a good look at a side of life you might not see elsewhere, but there has to be a balance between sad and dark. 😉 Thanks for sharing!


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