Aristotle's Theory of Poetics

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Aristotle’s Theory of Poetics Research Assignment

Aristotle bases his theory of poetics on greek tragedy. He defines tragedy as "the imitation of an action that is serious and also as having magnitude, complete in itself." (Melani, 2009) He views that, "Tragedy is a form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear. Its action should be single and complete, presenting a reversal of fortune, involving persons renowned and of superior attainments,and it should be written in poetry embellished with every kind of artistic expression." ." (Melani, 2009) Usually the writer would present the emotions of pity and fear within tragedy which interprets catharsis. Aristotle viewed the term catharsis as the "purging" of emotions such as pity or fear which are triggered with tragic action within greek plays Aristotle draws a difference between tragedy and other genres, as the audience watches the tragedy, they feel a "tragic pleasure of pity and fear". In order for the tragic hero to arouse these feelings in the audience, he cannot be either all good or all evil but must be someone the audience can identify with; however, if he is superior, the tragic pleasure is intensified. His disastrous end results from a mistaken action, which in turn arises from a tragic flaw or from a tragic error in judgment. "Often the tragic flaw is known as hubris, pride that causes the hero to ignore a warning. It has been suggested that because the tragic hero's suffering is greater than his offense, the audience feels pity; because the audience members perceive that they could behave similarly, they feel pity. An example of this is evident within the tragedy Oedipus Rex." (Melani, 2009)

Catharsis
Aristotle argues that the best tragedies and some of the best plays, since Aristotle considers tragedy to be the highest dramatic form, when the use of reversal and recognition to achieve catharsis is present during a tragedy or a play, he finds that with this aspect in perspective they are...
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