Writing in 1929, almost two full decades before All My Sons opened on Broadway, critic Joseph Wood Krutch wrote a celebrated essay entitled ‘‘The Tragic Fallacy.’’ His thesis was that modern audiences could not fully participate in the experience of tragedy because the tragic spirit, so vital and alive in the past, had simply stopped haunting the human landscape. Modern man no longer had tragedy's requisite belief, if not in God or some other power greater than man, then at least in man.
Tragedy, opined Krutch, depended on what he termed the ‘‘tragic...
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