What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms…or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.
Disastrous would have been the result if a fire or a death had suddenly demanded something heroic of human nature, but tragedies come in the hungry hours.
You could try as hard as possible to imagine someone else’s tragedy – drowning in icy waters, living in a city split by a wall – but nothing truly hurt until it happened to you. Most of all, to your child.
We do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and we do not live in chronic dread of disaster. We do not expect disaster until we have specific reason to expect it – and when we encounter it, we are free to fight it. It is not happiness, but suffering that we consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that we regard as the abnormal exception in human life.
Tragedy made you petty and spiteful. It didn’t give you any great knowledge or insight. She didn’t understand a damned thing about life except that it was arbitrary and cruel, and some people got away with murder, while others made one tiny careless mistake and paid a terrible price.
Tragedy is always a mistake; and the loneliness of the deepest thinker, the widest lover, ceases to be pathetic to us so soon as the sun is high enough above the mountains.
Tragedies are all right for a while: you are concerned, you are curious, you feel good. And then it gets repetitive, it doesn’t advance, it grows dreadfully boring: it is so very boring, even for me.
There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.