In "Gregory" by Panos Ioannides, what is the most tragic aspect of the story? 

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most tragic element of the story “Gregory” is the irony that the executioner does not want to kill Gregory, but he has to because they are at war and he is a soldier and needs to follow his orders.  It is also tragic because Gregory has chances to escape, but he does not take them.

Under normal circumstances, it is considered wrong to kill another human being.  The narrator does not want to be an executioner at first.

The first time, I remember, I vomited. The second time I got sick and had a headache for days. The third time I drank a bottle of rum. The fourth, just two glasses of beer. The fifth time I joked about it, “This little guy, with the big pop-eyes, won’t be much of a ghost!” (157-9)

What’s ironic is that in order to do what he is supposed to do, he has to kill people that have done nothing wrong except be on the other side.  Gregory causes even more problems.  The guards like him, so they give him two opportunities to escape.  They are annoyed and disappointed when he does not take them.

IOANNIDES, PANOS  (2011-08-15). GREGORY AND OTHER STORIES (Kindle Locations 157-159). Armida Publications. Kindle Edition.