Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1450b.1if a man smeared a canvas with the loveliest colors at random, it would not give as much pleasure as an outline in black and white. [Note] And it is mainly because a play is a representation of action that it also for that reason represents people.

Third comes "thought." This means the ability to say what is possible and appropriate. It comes in the dialogue and is the function of the statesman's or the rhetorician's art. [Note] The old writers made their characters talk like statesmen, [Note] the moderns like rhetoricians.

Character is that which reveals choice [Note], shows what sort of thing a man chooses or avoids in circumstances where the choice is not obvious, so those speeches convey no character in which there is nothing whatever which the speaker chooses or avoids.

"Thought" you find in speeches which contain an argument that something is or is not, or a general expression of opinion.

The fourth of the literary elements is the language. By this I mean, as we said above, the expression of meaning in words, [Note] and this is essentially the same in verse and in prose.

Of the other elements which "enrich" [Note] tragedy the most important is song-making. Spectacle, while highly effective, is yet quite foreign to the art and has nothing to do with poetry. Indeed the effect of tragedy does not depend on its performance by actors, and, moreover,



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