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Traditional approaches to the question of why tragedy gives pleasure concentrate on form–reasonably so, as it is a literary question. We approach the question via the audience's somatic responses and consider the role of endorphins. Our article describes an experiment we conducted on audiences who watched the emotionally-wrenching film 'Stuart: A Life Backwards'. The experiment also considered the question of group bonding (the audience's sense of being part of a group increased in step with endorphin release) and the ways in which audience members identified with characters and felt transported by the world of the film.