In this brief meditation i am less concerned with how tragedy as a theatrical form relates to democracy than with how democracy entails a tragic politics, in its ancient and contemporary manifestations. My broader argument follows from three presuppositions:
Philosophically speaking, democracy is a historical manifestation of self-organized politics that rests on no foundation other than self-authorization, which, being occasional and provisional, has no antecedent and is therefore abyssal.
Politically speaking, democracy requires an imaginary of rule without archē or telos—an an-archic imaginary that disengages itself from traditional parameters of the command-obedience structure. This isn't to say that democracy entails no rule. On the contrary, it engages in the paradoxical practice of anarchic rule, or rule shared by all (even those in opposition), so that the traditional division of power between rulers and ruled is destabilized.
Ethically speaking, there is nothing good or bad about democracy; all moral imperatives are foreign, perhaps even contrary, to democracy. Hence, democratic politics operates in an ethical realm without categorical imperatives, a priori principles, or transcendental guarantees and is thereby constitutively perilous and precarious. Democracy involves a tragic imaginary, enacting a politics of tragic life that includes folly without heroic salvation and demands lucidity in conditions of total uncertainty.