A Rhetorical Tragedy
We enjoy tragedy because through it, we are able to purge those aspects of ourselves with which we are most uncomfortable. Our onstage avatar embodies all those thoughts and feelings, desires and fears, ambitions and delusions with which we are most unfortunately cursed. And when fate (or the playwright) punishes her for them, we are purged of those parts of ourselves, at least in the public eye.
At Aeon, Batya Ungar-Sargon explores the classical idea of catharsis through the lens of The Bachelor to show the long-lasting appeal of reality tv in the American psyche.