One member of my family chose to study English literature at Oxford. Another member of my family, even though she loved the Oxonian in our family very deeply, rejected his advice to apply to Oxford and chose instead to apply to study English literature at Cambridge. Her reason for doing so was that the Cambridge course included a tragedy paper.
This week, when it was revealed that the Premier of New South Wales - a very competent, well-respected woman whose private life has always been assumed to barely exist - had had a secret love affair with a person who perhaps, if one wanted to be exceptionally kind, one might describe as a rapscallion, I finally understood why Cambridge, with its attempt to make sense of tragedy, was the wisest choice.
Tragedies, I realised, are accounts of us at our most human, flawed and foolish, when we'd been aiming for grandeur.
Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW premier in question, has been humiliated in open court. My heart goes out to her. One misjudgment in the midst of so much order and a carefully constructed life explodes. Regardless of whether she retains her position as premier, she has lost her dignity.