The poetics of Aristotle

Aristotle's Poetics
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Aristotle's Poetics seeks to address the different kinds of poetry, the structure of a good poem, and the division of a poem into its component parts. He defines poetry as a 'medium of imitation' that seeks to represent or duplicate life through character, emotion, or action.

Aristotle defines poetry very broadly, including epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, and even some kinds of music. According to Aristotle, tragedy came from the efforts of poets to present men as 'nobler,' or 'better' than they are in real life. Comedy, on the other hand, shows a 'lower type' of person, and reveals humans to be worse than they are in average.

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The links following respective editions point to their online versions; where no file format is specified abbreviations stand for digital archives. Download the latest episode. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas. Catharsis brings about a clarification of our predicament. They both have an ennobling impact but achieve it very differently.

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. Aristotle lays out six elements of tragedy: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song.

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Plot is 'the soul' of tragedy, because action is paramount to the significance of a drama, and all other elements are subsidiary. A plot must have a beginning, middle, and end; it must also be universal in significance, have a determinate structure, and maintain a unity of theme and purpose. Plot also must contain elements of astonishment, reversal peripeteia , recognition, and suffering.

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Reversal is an ironic twist or change by which the main action of the story comes full-circle. Recognition, meanwhile, is the change from ignorance to knowledge, usually involving people coming to understand one another's true identities.

Aristotle's Poetics

Suffering is a destructive or painful action, which is often the result of a reversal or recognition. All three elements coalesce to create "catharsis," which is the engenderment of fear and pity in the audience: pity for the tragic hero's plight, and fear that his fate might befall us.

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To see that "this is how it is" is a kind of self-knowledge for the spectator, who emerges with new insight from the illusions in which he [or she], like everyone else, lives. Criticism, according to Aristotle, should not be simply the application of unexamined aesthetic principles, but should pay careful attention to the overall function of a any feature of a work of art in its context within the work, and should never lose sight of the function of the work of art in its social context.

The guide provided here takes you through each of the twenty-six books of the Poetics and attempts to give a summary of Aristotle's arguments. This resource should not be used as a substitute for a careful reading of Aristotle's text, but might help you to review and clarify your understanding of the terms, concepts, categories, and interrelationships that Aristotle introduces.

Aristotle, The Poetics

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Revised translation Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. New York: Continuum, CriticaLink Aristotle: Poetics Overview Like many important documents in the history of philosophy and literary theory, Aristotle's Poetics , composed around BCE, was most likely preserved in the form of students' lecture notes.

Horace narrowed…. Aristotle defends the purgative power of tragedy and, in direct contradiction to Plato, makes moral ambiguity the essence of tragedy. Corneille, not directly involved in the call for regular….

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He also initiated a reform of the German theatre aimed on the one hand against the Baroque extravagance of…. Loosely paraphrasing Aristotle, he held in his Apologia [] that poetry, by incorporating both particulars and universals, is capable of seeking truth in its perfect wholeness.

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Anagnorisis usually involves revelation of the true identity of persons previously unknown, as when a father recognizes a stranger…. Depending heavily on expressions used by previous poets, they evolved in time a language sprinkled with such archaic terms as eftsoons ,….

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