The Iliad is Aristotle’s Tragedy; an “Imitation of Action”
Humans tend to take comfort in the idea that their lives are not the most unfortunate, this makes tragedy a popular theme for many well written pieces. Although The Iliad is not considered a tragedy, according to Joe Sachs it still follows Aristotle’s definition of one in “The Poetics”. Which is, tragedy is the use of “imitation of action” to arouse pity and fear, leading to catharsis from the audience in a piece of literature. There are six main elements of tragedy; plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. Through the use of the six main elements in tragedy (plot and character mainly), peripeteia, and anagnorisis The Iliad is proven to be a tragedy of its time.
Aristotle believes that, “Tragedy…is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament (rhythm, harmony, and song)…in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions,” (Aristotle 70.9). In order to reach this emotion in an audience there are six main elements to be used; plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. Most tragedy pieces depend mainly on plot and character. In the plot everything is based upon the action of the story, then the author uses the plot to show the type of person each character is by there reaction to the problem. “Character is that which reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoids,” (Aristotle 71.4). The thought of the story shows the possibilities of each situation depending on the will of the character. Another important part of writing tragedy is the melody, ‘chief embellishment’, and the diction, use of words. Spectacle is a part of the emotional side of tragedy, but is known as more of the work of the stage machinist than the author. Tragedy is known to portray those as better than...
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