Pity and Fear

Aristotle taught that the purpose of tragedy is to inspire pity and fear in the audience, thence causing catharsis, a purging of emotion. I’ve always found his explanation of tragedy compelling, but as I get older (queue laughter at the thirty-year-old getting “older”) I find that I want to achieve catharsis much less than I used to. Not that my life is layered in tragedy or anything, indeed, far from it. But somehow, one just doesn’t feel as much like seeking out pity and fear at thirty as at twenty.

This has been running through my head as I’ve been reading about The Stoning of Soraya M.

It looks like a really incredible movie, and especially with the developments in Iran of late, I would like to have seen it. I would like to have seen it, yet I confess, I don’t really feel like seeing it.

Perhaps as one gains the capacity to understand that tragedy is real in life, one is less willing to seek it out. At twenty, I had a great appreciation for tragedy, but one perhaps facilitated by the fact I didn’t really understand it in a concrete sense. At least, not as much as I fancied I did.

Or maybe I’m just tired, or a wuss.

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