This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book looks at the difficult 'affair' between philosophy and tragedy, and between theory and the theatre in general. It identifies the tragic motif in its various modes of apparition: in a preliminary step, discusses the core of 'the tragic' in terms of content; then, the tragic is seen to involve the formal movement of transgression, a certain 'overstepping' of limitations. The book examines the relationship the tragic entertains with the reality of the theatre, and it elucidates what 'tragic experience' might mean. It discusses the becoming problematic of the dramatic paradigm at the end of the eighteenth century. The book addresses the significance of postdramatic tragedy in the present day. The interlude 'The model of Antigone' discusses the extent to which a tragic heroine who has taken the stage again and again can be understood as the exemplary figure of tragedy itself.