Tragic stories are fall stories. Whether through moral wrong or through some inadvertent hamartia, the tragic hero falls from a high place. Others are engulfed in the tragedy to one extent or another, but not everyone. Those who watch can experience the catharsis of pity and fear by watching rather than experiencing the tragedy.
Christianity universalizes tragedy: In Adam’s fall, we sinned all. Adam’s sin was catastrophic for everyone. There is no division between player and audience. We are all players in the human tragedy.
It’s no accident that Sir Gawain ends in laughter. All the knights wear the green girdle and laugh off Gawain’s hubristic sense that he is uniquely a sinner. We don’t stand in judgment over the sinner, but recognize our fellowship in sin. We may face catastrophe, but we all face it together.