Being a development of the Satyr play, [Note] it was quite late before tragedy rose from short plots and comic diction to its full dignity, and that the iambic metre was used instead of the trochaic tetrameter.
At first they used the tetrameter because its poetry suited the Satyrs and was better for dancing, but when dialogue was introduced, Nature herself discovered the proper metre. The iambic is indeed the most conversational of the metres,
and the proof is that in talking to each other we most often use iambic lines but very rarely hexameters and only when we rise above the ordinary pitch of conversation.
Then there is the number of acts. The further embellishments [Note] and the story of their introduction one by one we may take as told,
for it would probably be a long task to go through them in detail.
Comedy, as we have said, is a representation of inferior people, not indeed in the full sense of the word bad, but the laughable is a species of the base or ugly. [Note]
It consists in some blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster, an obvious example being the comic mask which is ugly and distorted but not painful.
The various stages of tragedy and the originators of each are well known, but comedy remains obscure because it was not at first treated seriously.