Western political thought during the past two centuries has been inspired by a dream of liberation that has left it prey to ideological visions of utopia. Various attempts have been made to counteract this vulnerability, but one of the most ambitious has been relatively neglected. This is the use of the tragic vision to emphasize the limits imposed upon political action by the existence of ineliminable tensions inherent in the human condition. What is of especial interest in this connection is the attempt made by Nikolai Berdyaev to bring the tragic vision to bear on the reformulation of socialism in particular. The article explores the strengths and weaknesses of his tragic version of socialism.