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21 Oct

Catharsis Explained

Catharsis Explained This is a key word in Aristotle, occurring only twice in Poetics. In chapter six, Aristotle defines tragedy as “the imitation of an action that is serious, complete in itself and of a certain magnitude, in an embellished language, through action and not through narration, and through pity and fear effecting the katharsis of these emotions”. Pity and fea

21 Oct

Mimesis

Mimesis Mimesis means imitation. There is a major difference between Plato’s theory of imitation and Aristotle’s theory of imitation. The Platonic view is that the world is an imperfect reflection of an ideal archetypal order. Poetry, being an imitation of an imitation, is thrice removed from reality. However, Aristotle rejects Plato’s doctrine of ideas. For Plato im

21 Oct

The Role of Chorus

The Role of Chorus The Greek drama developed from chorus. It was originally a group of men who sang and danced at religious festivals. Its importance diminished as the drama progressed. In Aeschylus the chorus of ten takes part in the action; in Sophocles it is a commentator; in Euripides the chorus is primarily a lyric element. The Romans took the chorus from the Greeks and the Eliza

21 Oct

Catharsis

Catharsis The term ‘Catharsis’, which Aristotle uses in Poetics to describe the emotional effect of tragedy on the spectator, has always been a subject of intense controversy. It has provoked much creative thinking through nothing positive has come out of this age long controversy which still remains unresolved. In the 6th chapter of the Poetics, Aristotle defines the t

21 Oct

Aspects of a Tragedy

Aspects of a Tragedy 1. Vulnerability of Human Predicament Tragedy always underlines the extreme precariousness of human existence. Sometimes, the hero is brought low by hostile Fate or by a powerful rival. At other times, the hero is destroyed by a terrible weakness from within. In all these cases we are aware of the extraordinary vulnerability of man. The more elevated and seemin

21 Oct

Spiritual Regeneration in Tragedy

Spiritual Regeneration in Tragedy The harrowing experiences of the tragic hero lead him to a spiritual rebirth. This is a direct consequence of his suffering. This is true of Oedipus. Paradoxically enough, he is more genuinely a king once he is the blind and lonely outcast. It is even more true of King Lear. He gains immeasurably in stature and dignity, when his suffering has made him