Aristotle's Tragedy Analysis

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WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CLASSICAL TRAGEDY AS DEFINED BY ARISTOTLE?

TRAGEDY AND ITS INTELLECTUAL VALUE

Aristotle, in his Poetics, provides a series of characteristics which would attempt to define a tragedy. Alongside those characteristics brought forward, we see examples of good tragedies and bad tragedies according to Aristotle. For instance, a tragedy will have to consist of the imitation of an action. However, a good tragedy would rely on the realistic nature of the action, as well as the emotions which are procured to the audience, and in the lights of Aristotle’s argument, those emotions would be predominantly those of pity and fear. This feeling of pity and fear is meant to stimulate a sense of katharsis, in other words, purgatory or purification
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If we try to understand the context in which the philosopher is writing his analysis of tragedies, we understand the idea that for instance, as he mentions that violent scenes bring about feelings which are crucial in the making of a good tragedy. Yet, as Rorty brings to light, the way a plot is narrated would differ according to its genre in order to fulfill its function. For example, a tragedy is indeed a depiction of historical events. Yet, the contrast between a historical narration and a tragedy is the way it is narrated and portrayed. The feelings of pity and fear as brought forward by the Aristotle would also depends according to the audience, since feelings are subjective. Time and culture also play a major role in the ways in which a play will be perceived. A playwright should consider the audience’s reaction and state of mind while at work with the play. However, Aristotle, in his argument, does not give much importance to the subjectivity of the audience. Yet, the characteristics of a good tragedy would remain the same across time and culture. Using Aristotle’s framework, it is the job of the playwright to figure out what would instill those specific feelings in the audience and what would make up a heroic and virtuous character in the time he finds himself
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