so is the Margites to our comedies.
When tragedy and comedy came to light, poets were drawn by their natural bent towards one or the other. Some became writers of comedies instead of lampoons, the others produced tragedies instead of epics; the reason being that the former is in each case a higher kind of art and has greater value.
To consider whether tragedy is fully developed by now in all its various species or not, and to criticize it both in itself and in relation to the stage, that is another question.
At any rate it originated in improvisation—both tragedy itself and comedy. The one came from the prelude [Note] to the dithyramb and the other from the prelude to the phallic songs which still survive as institutions in many cities.
Tragedy then gradually evolved as men developed each element that came to light and after going through many changes, it stopped when it had found its own natural form.
Thus it was Aeschylus who first raised the number of the actors from one to two. He also curtailed the chorus and gave the dialogue the leading part. Three actors and scene-painting Sophocles introduced.
Then as to magnitude.