Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1456b.1the arousing of feelings like pity, fear, anger, and so on, and then again exaggeration and depreciation. [Note] It is clear that in the case of the incidents, too, one should work on the same principles, when effects of pity or terror or exaggeration or probability have to be produced. There is just this difference, that some effects must be clear without explanation, [Note] whereas others are produced in the speeches by the speaker and are due to the speeches. For what would be the use of a speaker, if the required effect were likely to be felt without the aid of the speeches?

Under the head of Diction one subject of inquiry is the various modes of speech, the knowledge of which is proper to elocution or to the man who knows the master art [Note]—I mean for instance, what is a command, a prayer, a statement, a threat, question, answer, and so on. The knowledge or ignorance of such matters brings upon the poet no censure worth serious consideration. For who could suppose that there is any fault in the passage which Protagoras censures, because Homer, intending to utter a prayer, gives a command when he says, "Sing, goddess, the wrath"? To order something to be done or not is, he points out, a command.

So we may leave this topic as one that belongs not to poetry but to another art.

1456b.20 Diction as a whole [Note] is made up of these parts: letter, syllable, conjunction, joint, [Note] noun, verb, case, phrase. A letter is an indivisible sound, not every such sound but one of which an intelligible sound can be formed. Animals utter indivisible sounds but none that I should call a letter. Such sounds may be subdivided into vowel, semi-vowel, and mute. A vowel is that which without any addition has an audible sound; a semivowel needs the addition of another letter to give it audible sound, for instance S and R; a mute is that which with addition has no sound of its own but becomes audible when combined with some of the letters which have a sound. Examples of mutes are G and D. Letters differ according to the shape of the mouth and the place at which they are sounded; in being with or without aspiration; in being long and short; and lastly in having an acute, grave, or intermediate accent. But the detailed study of these matters properly concerns students of metre.

A syllable is a sound without meaning, composed of a mute and a letter that has a sound. GR, for example, without A is a syllable just as much as GRA with an A. But these distinctions also belong to the theory of metre. words. It is also very obscure. Students should refer to Bywater's edition.

A conjunction is a sound without meaning,



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1456a Arist. Poet. 1456b (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1457a

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