Wednesday, September 8, 2010

great tragedies

Great tragedies are multi-tiered. It's difficult to understand why their events can't be derailed—but what makes the greatness of a tragedy is, in part, the impossibility of derailment. Those intimately involved do everything in their power to untangle themselves; everything they do just tightens the knots.
Can life really be like this? When I encounter these stories, I marvel at how the writer has managed to create such a tight web—it seems impossible that real life would act so seamlessly. The real-life person would have to be a genius, carefully plotting their own demise.
And yet, when I look at my life, the lives around me, I see all kinds of entanglements—a turn of bad luck rarely rotates immediately into place. Usually, it sets a number of other things into motion, it pulls on those parts of a person's character that are the strongest, and weaves them into the momentum, pulls them tight—like trip wires.
Oh, the word “tragedy” is so dramatic!—and forget the word “luck”. But you know what I'm talking about, right? There's a momentum, a structure in experience, that makes tragedy such an appealing form, such a fantastic mirror.

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