Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
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1460a.1 Still more unsuitable is it to use several metres as Chaeremon did. So no one has composed a long poem in any metre other than the heroic hexameter. As we said above, Nature shows that this is the right metre to choose.

Homer deserves praise for many things and especially for this, that alone of all poets he does not fail to understand what he ought to do himself. The poet should speak as seldom as possible in his own character, since he is not "representing" the story in that sense. [Note] Now the other poets play a part themselves throughout the poem and only occasionally "represent" a few things dramatically, but Homer after a brief prelude at once brings in a man or a woman or some other character, never without character, but all having character of their own.

Now the marvellous should certainly be portrayed in tragedy, but epic affords greater scope for the inexplicable(which is the chief element in what is marvellous), because we do not actually see the persons of the story. The incident of Hector's pursuit [Note] would look ridiculous on the stage, the people standing still and not pursuing and Achilles waving them back, but in epic that is not noticed. But that the marvellous causes pleasure is shown by the fact that people always tell a piece of news with additions by way of being agreeable.

Above all, Homer has taught the others the proper way of telling lies,



Aristotle, Poetics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Poet.].
<<Arist. Poet. 1459b.20 Arist. Poet. 1460a.1 (Greek) >>Arist. Poet. 1460a.20

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