They have lost their love”: Grief and Tragedy in the Book of Mormon

This paper examines the grief Moroni expresses at the conclusion of the Book of Mormon and argues that it renders the work as a whole a tragedy, as the term is defined by the philosopher Stanley Cavell. Cavell suggests in several works that tragedy is closely associated with both alienation and skepticism, that it is “a refusal to know or to be known, an avoidance of acknowledgement.” I apply Cavell’s definition of tragedy to the books of Ether and Moroni in order to explain both the actions of the Jaredites and the grief that Moroni feels as he witnesses and records the Nephites’ destruction .