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ARISTOTLE’S POETICS. PLATO’S ATTACK ON “ART” Plato is notorious for attacking art in Book X of “Republic”. He believed in theory of forms. Art is an imitation.

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Presentation on theme: "ARISTOTLE’S POETICS. PLATO’S ATTACK ON “ART” Plato is notorious for attacking art in Book X of “Republic”. He believed in theory of forms. Art is an imitation."— Presentation transcript:


2 PLATO’S ATTACK ON “ART” Plato is notorious for attacking art in Book X of “Republic”. He believed in theory of forms. Art is an imitation twice removed from reality. Art excites emotion which distract the soul from persuing reason which is essential for virtue.

3 ARISTOTLE’S EARLY LIFE “Poetics” is a response to Plato’s attack on art. Aristotle was a student at Plato’s academy from the time he was 17 years old till Plato’s death some twenty years later. He served next 12 years acting as a tutor to Alexander the great and in scientific research.

4 THE LYCEUM Aristotle returned to Athens and found his own school in 335 B.C on the steps of Lyceum(gardens). He continued there until he was forced to leave because of his association with Alexander in 323 B.C. He died a year later due to natural causes. The lyceum remained open till 525 when it was closed by Emperor Justinian.

5 WORKS None of his works were published during his life time. He wrote a number of treatise and dialogues but none survived. What survived are collection of notes for lectures he used to give which are often unclear and incomplete. The “Poetics” is supposed to be a much longer work than what we have today. He was supposed to have written another book about “comedy” which did not survive.

6 FOCUS OF POETICS The focus of poetics is “Tragedy”nutritious. Tragedies were performed in Athens twice a year at festivals celebrating Dionysus(the god of wine and excess) Tragedies had religious beginning but they became secular over a period of time. The dramatic festivals were of immense importance and the winning playwright achieved great success.

7 FOCUS OF POETICS The “Poetics” also discusses Epic poetry using the example of Homer almost exclusively. Homer wrote Illiad and odyssey which deal with the fall of Troy and ‘odysseus's subsequent wanderings. These epics are sources of many tragedies and earliest of great literature of world.

8 INFLUENCE OF POETICS Has great influence on literary theory specially in Renaissance. Aristotle’s suggestions were turned into strict laws which he might not have anticipitated. They were held as models for writing tragedies well into the 19 th century.

9 POETRY Poetry is imitation by means of language. We as creatures who thrive on imitation,we are naturally drawn to poetry.

10 TRAGEDY Uses dramatic form. Deals with agents who are better than ourselves. It arouses emotions of pity and fear. It effects a Kath arsis of these emotions. Aristotle divides tragedy into 6 parts -mythos. -character. -thought. -diction. -melody. -spectacle.

11 UNITY OF PLOT A plot should move from beginning to end according to a highly organized sequence of events. Beginning should not follow earlier events and the end should tie up loose ends and not produce necessary consequences. The plot can be enhanced by a use of peripetia and a anagnorisis.

12 UNITY OF PLOT In a tragedy hero should move from happiness to misery. This misery should be due to Hamartia. A tragic plot should involve some sort of tragic deed,which can be done/undone is approached either knowingly or unknowingly full knowledge as in ignorance.

13 EPIC POETRY In the end Aristotle discusses Epic poetry. Grander,longer,more fantastic,greater scope of action. Tragedy is greater than epic poetry.


15 MIMESIS Is the act of creating in someone’s mind an idea or ideas that the person will associate with past experience. An act of telling stories in the real world. The events of the story may not have taken place but the telling of the story will help a listener to imagine these events taking place in the real world.

16 HAMARTIA An error on part of the hero. A tragic flow. Downfall is caused by Hamartia. It need not be some big mistake,it could be a case of forgetting something,overlooking something.

17 ANAGNORISIS “Recognition” and “discovery”. Recognition of long last friend or a fact about one’s self. Often occurs at the climax of a tragedy.

18 MYTHOS Plot. Can be applied to all genres of art. The overall message of a play is conveyed by “Mythos”. All elements of tragedy are brought together by Mythos.

19 KATHARSIS Used by doctors. In context of tragedy used for purification of emotions A release of built up emotional energy. After it one reaches a more stable & neutral emotional state.

20 PERIPETIA A reversal from good to bad from bad to good. Often occurs at climax prompted by anagnorisis. From this point onward things start moving towards conclusion.

21 LUSIS Untying. Climax onward. All threads woven in desis are slowly unraveled until the conclusion is reached.

22 DESIS Tying Weaving the thread. All action tending up to climax.

23 CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF ARISTOTLE’S THEORY Aristotle approaches poetry in the same array as physics and biology. Collects data,draws conclusions and adcance these in accordance with his analysis. He defines 6 elements in tragedy. Identifies plot as most imp. Identifies purpose of tragedy. Then he lays out certain theories as to what makes a good tragedy i-e a certain type of hero following a certain trajectory in a tightly unified plot. His theories are not based upon his personal taste but what is most effective.

24 CAN TRAGEDY BE STUDIED AS SCIENCE? No it cannot be. Isaac Newton. Samuel Beckett. Writer’s violate these rules in order to depict a universe that is neither uniform nor structured(Euripides).

25 UNAVAILABILITY OF DATA Very few tragedies by 3 writers. Most of them violate Aristotelian theory of tragedy. Oedipus Rex.

26 CHAPTER 1-3 Aristotle’s purpose to approach poetry from a scientific viewpoint. First he lists different kinds of poetry -Poetry, -tragedy. -Comedy. -Dithyrambic. -Flute-playing. -Lyre-playing. All kinds of poetry are mimetic but there are differences in them.

27 FIRST DISTINCTION The mean they employ. Rhythm language & harmony. Poetry is essentially mimetic.

28 SECOND DISTINCTION Objects that are imitated. Action is represented with agents. In tragedy and epic poetry these agents are better than us. In comedy they are worse than us.

29 FINAL DISTINCTION Manner of representation. Direct narrative / through characters.

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