After hearing the metaphor of 'life's setting sun,' we can then look at the sun and see in its rise and fall the course of life. He spent the next twelve years engaging in scientific research and serving as tutor to the then teenaged Alexander the Great. The poet must imitate either things as they are, things as they are thought to be, or things as they ought to be. Later interpreters unfortunately turned many of Aristotle's suggestions into strict laws, restricting the flexibility of drama in ways that Aristotle would not have anticipated. With the above in mind, Aristotle lays out the six parts that define a tragedy: a.
This is more pronounced in music or dance, but even verse poetry can accomplish imitation through language alone 2. These principles deal with the concepts of mimêsis, or the art of imitation and representation, and katharsis, or the process of purging or cleansing, which Aristotle used to describe the release of emotions that art is meant to elicit. Thirdly, diction, song, and thought - even elegantly combined - cannot replicate the action of life without plot. For instance, epic poetry is a representation of grand events and actions, comedies display ridiculous people and situations, lyric poetry may mimic the sounds of nature, and tragedies involve noteworthy individuals in unfortunate situations. The first essential to creating a good tragedy is that it should maintain unity of plot. Being one of the few species that can measurably engage in activities purely for pleasure, it makes sense that humans would develop a way of doing the necessary imitating while also making it thoroughly enjoyable.
Second, epics often cannot be presented at a single sitting, whereas tragedies are usually able to be seen in a single viewing. What makes a great tragedy? Rounding out his rankings: thought, meaning what a character says in a given circumstance, followed by diction, song, and spectacle. Thus the structure of events, the plot, is the goal of tragedy, and the goal is the greatest thing of all. If every play were written in strict accordance with a given set of laws for a long enough time, a revolutionary playwright would be able to achieve powerful effects by consciously violating these laws. An introduction to the first great work of literary criticism Aristotle was the first theorist of theatre — so his Poetics is the origin and basis of all subsequent theatre criticism.
As mentioned before, a proper epic maintains all the elements of a tragedy, since tragedy evolved from the epic form. We do not call the police when we see Hamlet kill Polonius because we know that we are not seeing a real event but only two actors imitating real-world possibilities. This is a lesson that retain. Tragedy began as improvisation and evolved over time, through the contribution of , , and others into its natural form of dramatic plot, dialogue, and iambic verse. The metaphor offers the clearest device for imitation while also maintaining enough idiosyncrasy for the author to engage the reader in his own imaginative world.
Epic poetry, on the other hand, imitates 'noble' men like tragedy, but only has one type of meter - unlike tragedy, which can have several - and is narrative in form. The Poetics is Aristotle's attempt to explain the basic problems of art. Second, epics often cannot be presented at a single sitting, whereas tragedies are usually capable of being brought within a single view. A true drama never wanders from its central spine for fear of losing its unity. Medium of Imitation In general, poetry imitates life through rhythm, language, and harmony. The Poetics, in true form, was likely a much longer work than the one we have today.
All tragedies, however, depend on suffering as part of its attempt to elicit pity and fear from the audience. The protagonist is, of course, the main character. But why have the products of mimicking life this way become such a staple of human endeavor? Epic poetry is similar to tragedy in many ways, though it is generally longer, more fantastic, and deals with a greater scope of action. Second, the hero must have propriety, or 'manly valor. He does, however, stop to offer a clear and concise discussion of the use of metaphor - a device of figurative language that is frequently misunderstood. The muthos of a piece of art is its general structure and organization, the form according to which the themes and ideas in the piece of art make themselves apparent. This induces a teleological vision of politics.
As creatures who thrive on imitation, we are naturally drawn to poetry. These epics are the source of a great number of Greek tragedies and are considered among the earliest great works of world literature. Epic poetry has no need for spectacle because it gains its design from a large span of time. An epic does not portray a single action, but rather a single 'period,' thus often charting the course of many characters over the course of many events. Thus, what happens to him is tragic.
Tragedy will represent a complete action — a clear beginning, middle and end. Nevertheless, from his discussion of epic at the existing close of the Poetics, we can infer that he considered many of the same principles that apply to tragedy also to apply to poetry or drama more generally. Aristotle and the separation of powers The three branches of government are the legislative civic based on the deliberation meeting , the executive and the judiciary: the legislature creates the laws that the executive implements and enforces the judiciary. Suffering is a destructive or painful action, which is often the result of a reversal or recognition. The tragedies of Racine and Corneille in particular are formed according to these demands. Lesson Summary Aristotle's Poetics is dedicated to investigating aesthetics, a branch of philosophy concerned with the concept of beauty and other artistic principles.
Tragedy, then, despite the arguments of other critics, is the higher art for Aristotle. Aristotle simply states that a character must act in accordance with human nature - either through probability, i. The final distinction is with the manner of representation: the poet either speaks directly in narrative or assumes the characters of people in the narrative and speaks through them. But not in the Poetics. Instead of laying out an argument for why the subjects merits such a discussion or an overall thesis for his investigation, he immediately lays out an outline for his work - types of poetry, structure, and division - and begins his systematic analysis. At the same time, 'wonderment,' created by absurdity or irrational events for the purposes of indulging the reader's pleasure, is allowed in an epic poem - even moreso than in a tragedy.
Aristotle insists on the primacy of plot because the plot is ultimately what we can learn from in a piece of art. Aristotle discusses thought and diction and then moves on to address epic poetry. Chapters 1—3 Summary Aristotle proposes to approach poetry from a scientific viewpoint, examining the constituent parts of poetry and drawing conclusions from those observations. The site thus covers the main philosophical traditions, from the Presocratic to the contemporary philosophers, while trying to bring a philosophical reading to the cultural field in general, such as cinema, literature, politics or music. All poetry represents actions with agents who are either better than us, worse than us, or quite like us. Epic poetry, finally, imitates men of noble action, like tragedy.