Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1448a.1

Since living persons [Note] are the objects of representation, these must necessarily be either good men or inferior—thus only are characters normally distinguished, since ethical differences depend upon vice and virtue—that is to say either better than ourselves or worse or much what we are. It is the same with painters. Polygnotus depicted men as better than they are and Pauson worse, while Dionysius made likenesses. [Note] Clearly each of the above mentioned arts will admit of these distinctions, and they will differ in representing objects which differ from each other in the way here described. In painting too, and flute-playing and harp-playing, these diversities may certainly be found, and it is the same in prose and in unaccompanied verse. For instance Homer's people are "better," Cleophon's are "like," while in Hegemon of Thasos, the first writer of parodies, and in Nicochares, the author of the Poltrooniad, they are "worse." [Note] It is the same in dithyrambic and nomic poetry, for instance . . . a writer might draw characters like the Cyclops as drawn by Timotheus and Philoxenus. [Note] It is just in this respect that tragedy differs from comedy. The latter sets out to represent people as worse than they are to-day, the former as better.

A third difference in these arts is the manner in which one may represent each of these objects.



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1447b.20 Arist. Poet. 1448a.1 (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1448a.20

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