Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1451b.1 Arist. Poet. 1451b.20 (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1452a.1

1451b.20 It is true that in some tragedies one or two of the names are familiar and the rest invented; indeed in some they are all invented, as for instance in Agathon's Antheus, [Note] where both the incidents and the names are invented and yet it is none the less a favourite. One need not therefore endeavor invariably to keep to the traditional stories with which our tragedies deal. Indeed it would be absurd to do that, seeing that the familiar themes are familiar only to a few and yet please all. [Note]

It is clear, then, from what we have said that the poet must be a "maker" not of verses but of stories, since he is a poet in virtue of his "representation," and what he represents is action. Even supposing he represents what has actually happened, he is none the less a poet, for there is nothing to prevent some actual occurrences being the sort of thing that would probably or inevitably happen, and it is in virtue of that that he is their "maker."

Of "simple" [Note] plots and actions the worst are those which are "episodic." By this I mean a plot in which the episodes do not follow each other probably or inevitably. Bad poets write such plays because they cannot help it, and good poets write them to please the actors. Writing as they do for competition, they often strain a plot beyond its capacity and are thus obliged to sacrifice continuity. [Note] But this is bad work,



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1451b.1 Arist. Poet. 1451b.20 (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1452a.1

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