gives us a strong idea of his definition for tragedy in his essay "The Tragic Fallacy"
Krutch spends a lot of time specifying what tragedy is not. First, it is not an "imitation of noble actions"
once said. This is because: a) true art cannot be defined as an imitation but an adaptation, and b) the concept of nobility is too abstract and holds different meanings for each person. I agree with this because a genre such as tragedy, which is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and beliefs couldn't have become so popular if it were based on controversial ideas such as nobility. People must relate to tragedy somehow for it to be so well loved. And not all of us can relate to the same definition of nobility.
Krutch goes on to show us just what it is we can relate to in tragedy, and that is a “celebration of human greatness". Tragedy is not a dark gloomy genre, but is in fact "an expression not of despair, but of the triumph over despair and of confidence in the value of human life." What I concluded from this is that tragedy may include sad or depressing situations based on the fact of human suffering, but it does so in order to show us that humans possess the passion, power, and perseverance to come through that suffering. Essentially, it's a testament to how capable we are.
One last point that "The Tragic Fallacy" makes is that tragedies still have "happy" endings. This may seem farfetched due to the fact that tragedy is characterized by suffering, but Krutch explains this statement clearly:
"Whatever the character of events, fortunate or unfortunate, which they recount, they (the authors) so mold or arrange or interpret them that we accept gladly the conclusion which they reach and would not have it otherwise."
Essentially, even though it's sad that Juliet
kills herself (for example), we as readers can be satisfied with the strong act of passion, strength, and meaning her death holds. As Krutch says:"We accept gladly the outward defeats which it describes for the sake of the inward victories which it reveals."
So even if tragedies don't have a "happily ever after", we can still find satisfaction in their meaningful endings.