Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1455b.1should first be sketched in outline and then expanded by putting in episodes. I mean that one might look at the general outline, say of the Iphigeneia, like this: A certain maiden has been sacrificed, and has disappeared beyond the ken of those who sacrificed her and has been established in another country, where it is a custom to sacrifice strangers to the goddess; and this priesthood she holds. Some time afterwards it happens that the brother of the priestess arrives there—the fact that the god told him to go there, and why, and the object of his journey, lie outside the outline-plot. He arrives, is seized, and is on the point of being sacrificed, when he reveals his identity either by Euripides' method or according to Polyidos, by making the very natural remark that after all it is not only his sister who was born to be sacrificed but himself too; and thus he is saved. Not until this has been done should you put in names and insert the episodes; and you must mind that the episodes are appropriate, as, for instance, in the case of Orestes the madness that led to his capture and his escape by means of the purification. [Note]

Now in drama the episodes are short, but it is by them that the epic gains its length. The story of the Odyssey is quite short. A man is for many years away from home and his footsteps are dogged by Poseidon and he is all alone. Moreover,



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1455a.20 Arist. Poet. 1455b.1 (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1455b.20

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