Tragedy (event)
A tragedy is an event in which one or more losses, usually of human life, occurs that is viewed as mournful. Such an event is said to be tragic.

Not all death is considered to be a tragedy. Rather it is a precise set of symptoms surrounding the loss that define it as such. There are a variety of factors that define a death as tragic.

An event in which a massive number of deaths occur may be seen as a tragedy. This is a factor that can be re-enforced by media attention or other public outcry.

A tragedy is not necessarily an event in which massive death
A massacre is an event with a heavy death toll.Massacre may also refer to:-Entertainment:*Massacre , a DC Comics villain*Massacre , a 1932 drama film starring Richard Barthelmess*Massacre, a 1956 Western starring Dane Clark...

 occurs. The death of a single person, e.g. a public figure or a child, may be seen as a tragedy. The person need not necessarily be famous
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...


Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 is quoted as having said "One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic."

Factors that make death a tragedy

Generally, the label of "tragedy" is given to an event based on public perception. There are a number of factors that can make a death be considered a tragedy.


The scope
The word scope may refer to many different devices or viewing instruments, constructed for many different purposes. It may refer to a telescopic sight, an optical device commonly used on firearms. Other uses of scope or Scopes may refer to:...

 of an event can affect the public view, and make it appear tragic. This can be the case whether the death toll is high, or if a single, unexpected death occurs in a well-beloved person.

The degree of attachment in the public eye may also impact whether or not the event is publicly labeled as a tragedy. For example, the unexpected death of preparatory school
University-preparatory school
A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school is a secondary school, usually private, designed to prepare students for a college or university education...

 student that receives heavy media attention may be seen as more tragic than that of a recidivist
Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior...

 prisoner who is beaten to death by fellow inmates.


A death may be viewed as a tragedy when it is premature in nature. While an old person who dies of old age is an expectation, the death of a child, or of a young, healthy adult that is not expected by others can be viewed as tragic.


Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public's perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people , goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one...

 is a factor in making the public view an event as a tragedy. With publicity of a large number of deaths or even a single death, this plays on the emotions of the general public, and thereby impacts perception.

The range of coverage affects the number of people in whose eyes the event is viewed as tragic. While local coverage my garner sympathy from those in the hometown of the deceased, international coverage may lead the whole world to mourn.


The resulting consequences from one or more deaths can be seen as a tragedy. For example, if a large number of persons are killed in a terrorist attack, not only is life lost, but others may lose their sense of security, and this impacts the lives of others in other ways.

Lasting effects

The long-term effects of an event can render it as tragic. Tragedies often have effects that shape those affected, and are remembered even long after, as they clearly impact the future for those involved. They may also be commemorated on anniversaries or whenever they otherwise come to mind. A public tragedy often leads to measures being taken to prevent similar tragic events in the future.

Dealing with tragedy

There are various ways tragedy can affect people.

The typical reaction to tragedy is heavy grief
Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions...

, followed by a slow recovery. Common feelings following a tragedy include sadness
Sadness is emotional pain associated with, or characterized by feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, helplessness, sorrow, and rage. When sad, people often become outspoken, less energetic, and emotional...

, depression
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

, crying
Crying is shedding tears as a response to an emotional state in humans. The act of crying has been defined as "a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures"...

, blame
Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong their action is blameworthy...

, and guilt
Guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that...

. Some people wonder what they did to deserve such suffering.

For some, their faith
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

may be a source of comfort in the wake of tragedy.
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