The Tragedy is representative of much in Picasso's Blue Period. This part of his professional life was devoted to exploring the more sad elements of modern society. Influenced by both the suicide of a friend and his travels throughout Spain, Picasso immersed himself with exploration of the more dire aspects of consciousness, seeking to bring voice to subject matters that previously experienced silence.
This becomes the subject of The Tragedy. Painted in Picasso's monochromatic style of blue, the work features three people on a beach. Their appearances are forlorn, each seems to be fundamentally out of place with both their setting and one another. While the beach traditionally represents a source of beauty, this particular vision only highlights how much of a lack of synchronicity is present in the subject matter of the three people. Their physical appearance cries out despondency and a sense of loss. Neither subject are looking at one another, each seeming to be lost in their own world of displacement from society and each other. The body language of the adults is internal, closing themselves off with folded hands and quarter turns from each other. The child's hands are open, seeming to hope for some type of connection. Yet, the stances and demeanor of the adults defer such hope.