Aristotle’s Poetics seeks to address the different kinds of poetry, the structure of a 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, and even some kinds of music.
Aristotle’s dramatic genre are epic, tragedy and comedy are all modes of imitation but differ in their medium (rhythm, language, harmony), objects (actions of agents who are good men or bad men, men above our own level of moral goodness or below it) and manner of imitation. Manner (the poet may speak as narrator in one moment and as character in the next).
According to Aristotle, tragedy presents men as ‘nobler,’ or ‘better’ than they are in real life. Comedy, on the other hand, shows a ‘lower type’ of person, and shows humans to be worse than they are in average. Epic poetry, on the other hand, imitates ‘noble’ men like tragedy, but only has one type of meter – unlike tragedy, which have several – and narrative in its form.
Tragedy is the imitation of serious action and is complete in itself. Presented in dramatic form, it is expressed in language with pleasurable accessories (rhythm and harmony) and is made up of incidents arousing pity and fear which will achieve catharsis. Tragedy has six elements, which he viewed in this order of importance, plot or fable (combination of incidents), is the most important because drama is action. Characters (moral qualities of the agents) are second in importance, reveal the moral purpose. Diction or language is the expression of thought in words. Thought (theme) consists of saying what can be said and what is appropriate (philosophy).
April 2001 Great American Poet Poetry is a response to the world in which we live. Many poets are, and have been, convinced that the modern world is a terrifying place in which to live. American poetry has been dominated by negative voices. Warren's voice is markedly different. At the heart of Warren s poetry is a celebration of man s intellect and imagination, his integral place within nature, ...
Melody (song) is an element of pleasure. And the last one is mis en scene or spectacle is a stage appearance.
Plot is ‘the soul’ of tragedy. Plot consists of actions, the series of events making up the play. A plot must have a beginning, middle, and end. Also it must be universal in significance, have a determinate structure, and maintain a unity of theme and purpose. Plot also must contain elements of astonishment, reversal, recognition, and suffering. Reversal is an ironic twist. Recognition is the change from ignorance to knowledge. Suffering is a destructive or painful action, which is often the result of a reversal or recognition. All three elements create “catharsis,” which is the fear and pity in the audience: pity for the tragic hero’s plight, and fear that his fate might befall us.
When it comes to character, a poet should aim for four things. First, the hero must be ‘good’ (but not perfect) and thus manifest moral purpose in his speech. Second, the hero must have propriety, or ‘manly valor.’ Thirdly, the hero must be ‘true to life.’ And finally, the hero must be consistent.
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.
According to Aristotle, 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.
The Nature of Tragedy:In the century after Sophocles, the philosopher Aristotle analyzed tragedy. His definition: Tragedy then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear ...