ARISTOTEL POETICA PDF

References and Further Reading 1. Poetry as Imitation The first scandal in the Poetics is the initial marking out of dramatic poetry as a form of imitation. We call the poet a creator, and are offended at the suggestion that he might be merely some sort of recording device. But Aristotle has no intention to diminish the poet, and in fact says the same thing I just said, in making the point that poetry is more philosophic than history. By imitation, Aristotle does not mean the sort of mimicry by which Aristophanes, say, finds syllables that approximate the sound of frogs. He is speaking of the imitation of action, and by action he does not mean mere happenings.

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Aristotle defines poetry very broadly, including epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, and even some kinds of music. Aristotle lays out six elements of tragedy: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. 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.

Reversal is an ironic twist or change by which the main action of the story comes full-circle. Suffering is a destructive or painful action, which is often the result of a reversal or recognition.

When it comes to character, a poet should aim for four things. Tragedy and Epic poetry fall into the same categories: simple, complex driven by reversal and recognition , ethical moral or pathetic passion. There are a few differences between tragedy and epic, however. First, an epic poem does not use song or spectacle to achieve its cathartic effect. Second, epics often cannot be presented at a single sitting, whereas tragedies are usually able to be seen in a single viewing.

Aristotle also lays out the elements of successful imitation. The poet must imitate either things as they are, things as they are thought to be, or things as they ought to be. The poet must also imitate in action and language preferably metaphors or contemporary words.

Errors come when the poet imitates incorrectly - and thus destroys the essence of the poem - or when the poet accidentally makes an error a factual error, for instance. Aristotle does not believe that factual errors sabotage the entire work; errors that limit or compromise the unity of a given work, however, are much more consequential. In reply, Aristotle notes that epic recitation can be marred by overdone gesticulation in the same way as a tragedy; moreover, tragedy, like poetry, can produce its effect without action - its power is in the mere reading.

Aristotle argues that tragedy is, in fact, superior to epic, because it has all the epic elements as well as spectacle and music to provide an indulgent pleasure for the audience. Tragedy, then, despite the arguments of other critics, is the higher art for Aristotle.

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The lost second part addressed comedy. Preliminary discourse on tragedy, epic poetry, and comedy, as the chief forms of imitative poetry. Definition of a tragedy, and the rules for its construction. Definition and analysis into qualitative parts. Rules for the construction of a tragedy: Tragic pleasure, or catharsis experienced by fear and pity should be produced in the spectator.

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Aristotle: Poetics

Aristotle defines poetry very broadly, including epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, and even some kinds of music. Aristotle lays out six elements of tragedy: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. 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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Aristotle (384–322 B.C.)

In this system, heavy bodies in steady fall indeed travel faster than light ones whether friction is ignored, or not [47] , and they do fall more slowly in a denser medium. His term aitia is traditionally translated as "cause", but it does not always refer to temporal sequence; it might be better translated as "explanation", but the traditional rendering will be employed here. Thus the material cause of a table is wood. It is not about action. It does not mean that one domino knocks over another domino. It tells us what a thing is, that a thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis or archetype.

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Aristotle's Poetics Summary

Page 1 Page 2 Summary Aristotle proposes to study poetry by analyzing its constitutive parts and then drawing general conclusions. The portion of the Poetics that survives discusses mainly tragedy and epic poetry. We know that Aristotle also wrote a treatise on comedy that has been lost. He defines poetry as the mimetic, or imitative, use of language, rhythm, and harmony, separately or in combination.

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