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Aristotle. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects,

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Presentation on theme: "Aristotle. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Aristotle

2 Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato's teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle's writings constitute a first at creating a comprehensive system of Western philosophy.

3 Aristotle was trained and educated as a member of the aristocracy. At about the age of eighteen, he went to Athens to continue his education at Plato’s Academy. Aristotle remained at the academy for nearly twenty years, not leaving until after Plato's death in 347 BC.

4 The Poetics

5 For a clearer idea of how Greek tragedy works, one must refer to Aristotle's comments given in his great critical treatise about Greek drama, entitled The Poetics (335 B.C.). It has been used as a kind of hand book for writers and critics from ancient times to the present. These principles of classical Greek tragedy have influenced almost all the later tragic dramatists of the Western world. Though modern tragedy often deviates widely from the Greek classical norms, it still acknowledges the universality of Aristotle's ability to pinpoint the elements in human nature that are responsible for tragedy in life.

6 Aristotle's chief aim was to give advice on writing tragedy to contemporary poets. Originally, The Poetics was a text for use by philosophy students rather than by the general public.

7 It is divided into two parts: tragedy comedy Only the first half of tragedy remains.

8 The Poetics begins with a discussion of poetry in general, continuous with a broad consideration of its various modes, and concludes with a more detailed account of epic and tragedy. The Poetics is largely devoted to drama, in particular to tragedy. Aristotle provides both a history of the development of poetry and drama, and a critical framework for evaluating tragic drama.

9 The most notable thing about Aristotle's view of the poetical process is that he sees it as an 'imitation' (mimesis) of real situations, rather than invention. Aristotle's theories of tragedy have influenced the drama of the Western world, for almost all tragic dramatists have written with an eye on ancient Greek theories. The Poetics served as the basis of Renaissance poetic theory and its influence has been felt even in 20th century literary criticism.

10 “Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude"; it is depicted with rhythmic language and/or song, in the form of action (not narrative), and produces a 'purgation' of pity and fear in the audience i.e.(catharsis).

11 Aristotle's Definition of Tragedy

12 Since tragedy is the imitation of action, it is chiefly concerned with the lives of men, and thus presents a stage for character and thought. According to Aristotle, Character and thought are the two causes from which actions spring. These elements also determine the success of a given action.

13 Aristotle's six elements of drama

14 Aristotle identifies six major features of tragic drama: 1. Plot 2. Character 3. Diction4. Thought 5. Spectacle 6. Melody

15 1. Plot Plot: (action: the incidents or story line) Aristotle defines plot as “the arrangement of the incidents”: i.e., not the story itself but the way the incidents are presented to the audience, the structure of the play. For Aristotle the most important part of tragedy is the Plot or Action, which is the structure of the incidents. Plot is the life of a tragic drama. Without action, there can be no tragedy.

16 Any tragic drama must be long enough to depict a reversal, or a change from good fortune to bad in the central figure. The best plot should be "complex". It should imitate actions arousing horror, fear and pity. When a character is unfortunate by reversal(s) of fortune, at first he suffers and then he can realize the cause of his misery or a way to be released from the misery.

17 Key elements of the plot are: reversals,recognitionssuffering.

18 2. Character

19 Character is the second most significant feature. The central personage in tragedy must be morally good, of fitting heroic stature, true-to- life, and consistent in action. The change in the fortune of the central figure must be from good to bad, from prosperity and success to adversity and failure. This downfall is often the consequence of a fatal flaw in a character or an error in judgment, which in Greek is called "Hamartia". The failure of the tragic hero/heroine is also due to "hubris" or a false sense of pride in the character's own secure position.

20 The downfall of a noble, prosperous, and basically good person naturally evokes pity "for his/her misfortune. It also evokes terror or fear that such misfortunes can easily overtake any human. This leads to an effect of catharsis or purging of the very emotions of pity and terror evoked by tragedy. Because of this catharsis, tragedy has a psychological, as well as a social, dimension since it provides an outlet for undesirable emotions.

21 3. Thought/Theme Thought: spoken reasoning of human characters can explain the characters or story background The element of thought gives to tragedy its proper intellectual point of reference.

22 4. Melody & 5. Spectacle Music (all sound) Spectacle (scenery and costume, i.e. other visual elements): Melody and Spectacle are useful embellishments in a tragic play and can be quite entertaining for the audience.

23 6. Diction/Language 6. Diction/Language (the dialogue and poetry): Diction is the playwright's choice of appropriate phrase for effective communication or maximum effect.

24 Aristotle's Three Unities

25 Aristotle believed that perfect tragedies had : Unity of time: the play takes place in a 24 hour time period. Unity of place: the play has only one setting Unity of action: the play has one plot and no mixture of tragedy and comedy. The unities mean: a way of providing a central focus to a play. Aristotle stresses the need for a work to be unified.

26 Aristotle's Definition of a Tragic Hero

27 Comes from nobility. Has a tragic flaw (hamartia) which is caused by a simple mistake or a character flaw such as pride (hubris) which causes him to suffer. He undergoes a reversal of fortune, i.e. falls from high to low. He has a downfall. He recognizes his mistakes and suffers.

28 Aristotle's play structure: ExpositionRising actionClimaxFalling action Denouement / Resolution

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