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MEG 05 Literary Criticism & Theory Solved Assignment 2022-23

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MEG 05 Literary Criticism & Theory Solved  Assignment 2022-23

FREE IGNOU MEG 05 Solved Assignment 2022-23 , students can directly done their assignmrnyd by simply take reference through our free ignou service.  MEG 05 Free solved assignment available here.

 

Answer all questions.

Q.1. Discuss Aristotle's view of literature as imitation.

Aristotle's view of literature as imitation Word imitation has great importance in literature. Aristotle explained meaning of this word in order to defend poetry which is called Aristotle’s concept/theory of imitation. Although he was not first to use this word yet he comes first in redefining its meanings. Word “imitation” was used as a synonym of copy of copy before Aristotle. Plato used this word for the first time. He was of the considerable view that poetry was shadow of a shadow, thus, it was twice away from reality.

Aristotle answered Plato and refuted charge against poets. He redefined meanings of imitation. Aristotle's view of literature as imitation , Regardless of that whole concept of idea and copy remained the same. In simple words, Aristotle agreed that the world was created from an idea and the world was its copy. He also agreed that a poet imitated the reality/nature but meaning of word imitation did not mean mere copy. He did not consider poetry twice away from reality.

Imitation is a creative process in the eyes of Aristotle. He links poetry with music instead of painting. He says that poetry is pleasant just like a flute’s sound that is full of harmony, therefore, it is not right to compare poets with painters and poetry with painting. A poet, further says Aristotle, does not present things as they appear but bestows them his imagination. Hence, poetry is not the process of seeing things and simply converting it to words; a poet reinvents things with his imagination and experiences.

 

Imitation Vs. Reality and History:

If imitation is the name of copying facts then there must be no creativity in poetry. As mentioned earlier, Aristotle argues that a poet presents men in action. He presents men as they were or are or as they ought to be. If men are being presented as they are without any blend of imagination and creative power then it is not poetry but history. Creativity differentiates history from poetry. A historian may also write about the sorrows and pains, suffered by humans, but it would not necessarily be filled with emotions. Strong power of imagination is required to convert ordinary and simple incidents to extraordinary events so that they cause “catharsis”. Aristotle’s redefined “imitation” is the only concept/theory, through which poetry becomes highly effective.

Upshot of the above discussion is that Aristotle has encouraged the poets to write poetry. He blows a new soul to the word “imitation”. Plato’s charges against the poets have successfully been refuted by Aristotle in his book “Poetics”. Aristotle’s concept/theory of imitation shows the world that it is not mere a procedure of copying things but a creative process, which requires high imaginative powers. Hence, it cannot be called duplicating things. It is a process of creating something astonishing from ordinary things with the help of strong vision. A poet, hence, through imitation brings things closer to reality instead of taking them twice away from reality.

 

Q.2. What do Wordsworth and Coleridge have to say on poetic diction.

Wordsworth himself isn't free from review. Coleridge is the first critic to denounce his views expressed in"Preface to the Lyrical Ditties". He's particularly critical of his proposition of lyrical diction and his defence of metre. He exposes numerous sins of Wordsworth's proposition. Wordsworth addresses of a named and purified language. Coleridge argues that similar type of language would differ in no way from the language of any other men of firm. After similar selection, there would be no difference between the rustic language and the language used by common men in their ways of life. Again Wordsworth permits the use of metre inferring a particular order and arrangement of words. So Coleridge concludes that there's and there ought to be an essential difference between the language of prose and rhythmic composition. Metre medicates the whole atmosphere and the language of poetry is bound to differ from that of prose. The use of metre is as artificial as the use of lyricaldiction.However, it's absurd to prohibit the use of the other, If one is allowed. Both are inversely good sources of lyrical pleasure.

 Coleridge objects to Wordsworth's views on the use of common language. He says that the views can be applicable only in some cases. Again when the rustic language is purified of its crassness and oddities would be virtually the same as the language used by any other class of men. Likewise, Coleridge feels that the language of the countrymen would prove to be too skimp to give the suitable diction for the expression of varied gests. He also criticised the"Preface"for the dispensable obscurity of its ultimate half. The diction employed is also unnecessarily elaborate and constrained.

Coleridge again refuses that stylish corridor of our language are deduced from nature. The stylish words are abstract nouns and generalities. These are deduced from the reflective acts of the mind. This reflection grows as man advances from the so- called primitive state. As man has advanced in study, he has acquired new ideas and generalities which can not be expressed through the use of rustic language which is primitive andundeveloped.However, he must also suppose like the countrymen, If the minstrel wants to use the rustic language. The language of the countrymen is curiously affordable. It would be putting the timepiece back. Rather of progression, it would be regression.

  Coleridge refutes Wordsworth's judgement of Gray's sonnet. He also quotes a many lines from The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. He shows that the language used in them is by no means the language of ordinary. This language would by no means be used in prose. Coleridge also argues that Wordsworth'sover-emphasis on his proposition of lyrical style was maybe a response against the garish pretension of the kind of style which had been current in poetry in the 18th century.

 Similar are the sins of Wordsworth's proposition. It must also be admitted that he didn't cleave to his proposition in his own practice. Reversed and lyrical constructions are frequent in his poetry. His vocabulary is frequently not drawn from rustic life. He doesn't always use the language of real men of the countrymen of Cumberland. He doesn't exercise his own proposition in his"Tintern Abbey"," Eternity Ode"and"The Prelude". The language of the runes isn't the language of common man. So his proposition is frequently either inconsistent with his practice or simply shy as a proposition.

 Still, Wordsworth's proposition of lyrical diction is significant and far- reaching. But it's full of contradictions and limitations. Wordsworth fails to maintain it in his own runes too. So"Preface to the Lyrical Ditties"is inept in argument and conventional of expression. Coleridge crtiticises Wordsworth's proposition of lyrical diction to a great extent. His assessment isn't fully right. We may agree with him that there's surely a difference between the language of prose and the language of poetry. At the same time, we must honor the value of Wordsworth's proposition of lyrical diction.

 

Q.3. Write short notes on the following:

a) Catharsis

Catharsis (Latin), from the Greek Κάθαρσις Katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing" , is a sudden emotional breakdown or climax that constitutes overwhelming feelings of great pity, sorrow, laughter, or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal, restoration, and revitalization.

The term “catharsis” was used in a philosophical sense by Aristotle to describe the effect of music and tragic drama on an audience. Aristotle did not leave a clear definition of the term, resulting in centuries of discussion, commentary, and debate, which contributed to the development of theories such as aesthetics, psychology, drama, and artistic ethics. In religion, catharsis refers to efforts made to come to terms with sin and guilt through penance and atonement, and through symbolic cleansing rituals such as baptism. For centuries, medicine had used the term “catharsis” to mean a purging which helps to rid the body of disease-causing elements. The term catharsis has also been adopted by modern psychotherapy to describe the act of expressing deep emotions often associated with events in the individual's past which have never before been adequately expressed.

In ancient Greek tradition, catharsis referred to religious rituals performed to “purify” criminals and those who violated established religious codes in order for them to be allowed to return to a society. Similar practices are found in almost all cultural traditions. In the ancient medical practices of Hippocrates and others, catharsis referred to medical treatments that involved cleansing poisonous liquids or discharging body fluids through vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Socrates took the “purification of the soul” as the primary task of philosophy. For him, the purification of the soul meant to remove all undesirable stains and contaminations of the soul caused by immoral acts driven by bodily desires. Socrates characterized philosophy as a practice of dying, which was a departure of the soul from the body, indicating the purification of the soul. Aristotle offered the first philosophical elaboration of catharsis, particularly in relation to its role in tragic dramas. The many analyses of catharsis in Aristotle's theory of drama have had a lasting influence on intellectual history. Catharsis has been a universal theme adopted in diverse traditions including mysticism.

(b) Auchitya

Auchitya is a Hindi word taken from Sanskrit. It means justification, propriety, decency. Propriety can be defined in this context as the details or rules of behavior conventionally considered to be correct. Or that which is correct, appropriate, and fitting. The word Auchitya also contains the Hindi word “Uchit” which in English means “appropriate”.

Kshemendra  : He introduced Auchitya in his book AuchutiyaVicharCharcha. Kshemendra was born in the present day Kashmir. He is one of the best Sanskrit poets of the 11th century. Kshemendra was the pupil of the famous philosopher and poet Abhinavgupta.

Aucitya is defined as harmony and in one aspect it is proportion between the whole and the parts, between the chief and the subsidiary. This proportion is all the morals and beauty in art. Almost all the aestheticians—Bhamaha, Dandin, Lollata, Rudrata and Abhinava Gupta—speak about Aucitya. The term was not used by Anandavardhana as it came to be used after his time.

Anandavardhana lays down that the ‘soul’ of poetry is Rasa or Rasa-dhwani. The most essential thing in rasa is Aucitya. The Aucitya of character and action are essential for the derivation of rasa. Nothing hinders rasa as anauchitya or impropriety. Aucitya or propriety is the greatest secret of rasa.

            Rajasekhara, the author of Kavya-mimamsa, speaks of Aucitya under poetic culture and leaning and opines that all poetic culture is only the discrimination of the proper and the improper, Ucita and Anucita (Raghavan, 253) Abhinava Gupta takes his aesthetic position on the tripod of Rasa, Dhwani and Aucitya.

 

(c) Superstructure

Superstructure includes the culture, ideology, norms, and identities that people inhabit. In addition, it refers to the social institutions, political structure, and the state—or society's governing apparatus. Marx argued that the superstructure grows out of the base and reflects the ruling class' interests. As such, the superstructure justifies how the base operates and defends the power of the elite.

Neither the base nor the superstructure is naturally occurring or static. They are both social creations, or the accumulation of constantly evolving social interactions between people.

 

In "The German Ideology," written with Friedrich Engels, Marx offered a critique of Hegel’s theory about how society operates. Based on the principles of Idealism, Hegel asserted that ideology determines social life, that people's thoughts shape the world around them. Considering the historical shifts production has undergone, especially the shift from feudalist to capitalist production, Hegel’s theory did not satisfy Marx.

superstructure includes the culture, ideology, norms, and identities that people inhabit. In addition, it refers to the social institutions, political structure, and the state—or society's governing apparatus. Marx argued that the superstructure grows out of the base and reflects the ruling class' interests. As such, the superstructure justifies how the base operates and defends the power of the elite.

Neither the base nor the superstructure is naturally occurring or static. They are both social creations, or the accumulation of constantly evolving social interactions between people.

In "The German Ideology," written with Friedrich Engels, Marx offered a critique of Hegel’s theory about how society operates. Based on the principles of Idealism, Hegel asserted that ideology determines social life, that people's thoughts shape the world around them. Considering the historical shifts production has undergone, especially the shift from feudalist to capitalist production, Hegel’s theory did not satisfy Marx.

 

(d) 'Pleasure' and 'instruction' as ends of literature

The concepts of ‘pleasure’ and ‘instruction’ are classical. Their association with literature has got a long history which can be traced back to the Antiquity. In his Poetics, one of the earliest seminal works of literary theory, Aristotle conceives the goal of tragedy as catharsis, or the liberation of the mind of its viewers. This psychological redemption results from the arousal and purification of intense fear and pity in the audience, and it is in this arousal-and-purification business that the audience derives the true tragic pleasure . Furthermore, what make the audience enjoy a tragedy are the poet’s perfect technique of imitation, or the ‘reproduction of objects with minute fidelity’, and their recognition of the model being imitated. Pleasure, not ethics or instruction, is thus central to Aristotle’s theory of tragedy.

Longinus thus affirms the supremacy of ecstasy over persuasion and pleasure. He argues that while one can control their reasoning in terms of what to admit and what to refuse, the power of ecstasy that the sublime exerts cannot be resisted. It is like a bolt of lightning which scatters everything before at a single stroke. Moreover, although he acknowledges in section seven that “the beautiful and genuine effects of sublimity… please always, and please all,” Longinus just undermines ‘pleasure’. The reason is that ‘when writers try hard to please or to be exquisite, they fall into affectation’. Genuine sublimity gives us far more than pleasure; it sends us into ecstasies or raptures. It “elevates us” so that “uplifted with a sense of proud possession, we are filled with joyful pride, as if we had ourselves produced the very thing we haveheard.”

 

IGNOU MEG 05 Literary Criticism & Theory Solved Assignment 2022-23

Q.4. What does I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism?

Ivor Armstrong Richards – poet, dramatist, speculative philosopher, psychologist and semanticist, is among the first of the 20th century critics to bring to English criticism a scientific precision and objectivity. He is often referred to as the ‘critical consciousness’ of the modern age. New Criticism and the whole of modern poetics derive their strength and inspiration from the seminal writings of Richards such as Principles of Literary Criticism, Practical Criticism, Coleridge on Imagination, The Foundation of Aesthetics (with C.K.Ogden and James Wood) and The Meaning of Meaning (with Ogden). Together with T.S.Eliot, Richards was instrumental in steering Anglo-American criticism along a new path of scientific enquiry and observation.

Practical Criticism

Richard’s influence rests primarily on his Practical Criticism (1929) which is based on his experiments conducted in Cambridge in which he distributed poems, stripped of all evidence of authorship and period, to his pupils and asked them to comment on them. He analyses factors responsible for misreading of poems. Even a “reputable scholar” is vulnerable to these problems.

1) First is the difficulty of making out the plain sense of poetry. A large proportion of average-to-good readers of poetry simply fail to understand it.  They fail to make out its prose sense, its plain, overt meaning. They misapprehend its feeling, its tone, and its intention.

2) Parallel to the difficulties of interpreting the meaning are the difficulties of sensuous apprehension. Words have a movement and may have a rhythm even when read silently. Many a reader of poetry cannot naturally perceive this.

3) There are difficulties presented by imagery, principally visual imagery, in poetic reading. Images aroused in one mind may not be similar to the ones stirred by the same line of poetry in another, and both may have nothing to do with the images that existed in the poet’s mind.

4) Then comes the persuasive influence of mnemonic irrelevancies ie, the intrusion of private and personal associations.

5) Another is the critical trap called stock responses, based on privately established judgments. These happen when a poem seems to involve views and emotions already fully prepared in the reader’s mind.

6) Sentimentality, ie, excessive emotions

7) inhibition , ie hardness of heart are also perils to understanding poetry.

8) Doctrinal adhesions present another troublesome problem. The views and beliefs about the world contained in poetry could become a fertile source of confusion and erratic judgment.

9) Technical presuppositions too can pose a difficulty. When something has once been done in a certain fashion we tend to expect similar things to be done in the future in the same fashion, and are disappointed or do not recognise them if they are done differently. This is to judge poetry from outside by technical details. We put means before ends.

10 )  Finally, general critical preconceptions resulting from theories about its nature and value come between the reader and the poem.

Poetry and Synaesthesia

In The Principles of Literary Criticism (1924), Richards establishes the nature and value of poetry. According to him, the science that unearths the secrets of literature is psychology. He first examines the working of the human mind itself to find out a psychological theory of value. He describes the human mind as a system of ‘impulses’, which may be defined as ‘attitudes’ or reactions motivated in us by ‘stimuli’, that culminate in an act. These impulses are conflicting instincts and desires and wants—or ‘appetencies’ as Richards calls them, as opposed to ‘aversions’ — in the human mind. They pull in different directions and cause uneasiness to the human mind which looks to achieve order or poise through the satisfaction of appetencies. The mind experiences a state of poise only when these emotions organize to follow a common course. But with each new experience, the whole system is disturbed and the human mind has to readjust the impulses in a new way to achieve the desired system or poise. To achieve this poise, some impulses are satisfied and some give way to others and are frustrated. The ideal state will be when all the impulses are fully satisfied, but since this is rarely possible, the next best state is when the maximum number of impulses are satisfied and the minimum are frustrated.

The value of art or poetry – and by poetry Richards means all imaginative literature –  is that it enables the mind to achieve this poise or system more quickly and completely than it could do otherwise. In art there is a resolution and balancing of impulses. Poetry is a representation of this uniquely ordered state of mind in which the impulses respond to a stimulus in such a manner that the mind has a life’s experience. The poet records this happy play of impulses on a particular occasion, though much that goes into the making of a poem is unconsciously done.

 

Q.5. Comment on Lacan's main contribution to critical theory.

Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was a major figure in Parisian intellectual life for much of the twentieth century. Sometimes referred to as “the French Freud,” he is an important figure in the history of psychoanalysis. His teachings and writings explore the significance of Freud’s discovery of the unconscious both within the theory and practice of analysis itself as well as in connection with a wide range of other disciplines. Particularly for those interested in the philosophical dimensions of Freudian thought, Lacan’s oeuvre is invaluable. Over the course of the past fifty-plus years, Lacanian ideas have become central to the various receptions of things psychoanalytic in Continental philosophical circles especially.

Lacan draws on Saussure and emphasizes that meaning is a network of differences. As there is a perpetual barrier between the signifier and the signified which is demonstrated with a diagram showing two identical lavatory rooms, one headed “Ladies” and “Gentlemen.” This purports to show that same signifier may have different signifieds, so that the correlation between signifiers determine the meanings. Thus Lacan suggests an incessant sliding of the signified under the signifier.

Further he argues that the two dreamwork mechanisms identified by Freud, condensation and displacement correspond to the basic poles of language identified by the linguist Roman Jakobson, i.e, metaphor and metonymy. In metonymy one thing represents another by means of the part standing for the whole (For eg. Twenty sail would mean  twenty ships). In Freudian dream interpretation, an element in a dream might stand for something else by displacement (For eg. A lover who is Italian might be represented by an Alfa Romeo car). Lacan says that this is the same as metonymy, the part standing for the whole. In condensation, several things might be compressed into one symbol, just as a metaphor like, “the ship ploughed the waves” condenses onto a single item, two different images, the ship cutting through the sea, and the plough cutting through the soil. The use of these linguistic means of self-expression by the unconscious, is part of Lacan’s evidence for the claim that the unconscious is structured like a language.

The transition section of the essay moves attention, again from the conscious self, which has always been regarded as the primary self, to the  unconscious, as the “kernel of our being.”  Lacan reverses the .Cartesian statement,”I think, therefore, I am,” as “I am, where I think not” (i.e. true selfhood is in the unconscious), thereby challenging the Western philosophical consciousness.

He insists that the Freudian discovery of the unconscious should be followed to its logical conclusion which is the self’s radical ex-centricity to itself. Thus he deconstructs the liberal humanist notion of unique, individual selfhood and the idea of the subject as a stable amalgamation of consciousness. Lacan’s take on self would reject the conventional view on characterization ( as the idea of the character rests on the notion of a unique separate self) and the novelistic characters are seen as “assemblages of signifiers clustering round a proper name.”)

Lacan’s foregrounding of the unconscious lends to his speculation of the mechanism whereby an individual emerges into consciousness. Before the sense of self emerges, the young child exists in a realm, which Lacan calls the imaginary (pre-Oedipal), in which there is no distinction between the self and the other and there is an idealized identification with the mother. The child experiences both itself and its environment (in Lacanian terms “innenwelt” and “umwelt’ respectively) as a random, fragmented and formless mass.

 

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MEG 05 LITERARY CRITICISM AND THEORY Solved Assignment 2022-23  Before attempting the assignment, please read the following instructions carefully.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Aristotle's theory of tragedy


Aristotle's theory of tragedy

Aristotle's theory of tragedy: As the great period of Athenian drama drew to an end at the beginning of the 4th century BCE, Athenian philosophers began to analyze its content and formulate its structure. In the thought of Plato (c. 427–347 BCE), the history of the criticism of tragedy began with speculation on the role of censorship. Aristotle's theory of tragedy To Plato (in the dialogue on the Laws) the state was the noblest work of art, a representation (mimēsis) of the fairest and best life. He feared the tragedians’ command of the expressive resources of language, which might be used to the detriment of worthwhile institutions. Aristotle's theory of tragedy He feared, too, the emotive effect of poetry, the Dionysian element that is at the very basis of tragedy. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Therefore, he recommended that the tragedians submit their works to the rulers, for approval, without which they could not be performed. Aristotle's theory of tragedy It is clear that tragedy, by nature exploratory, critical, independent, could not live under such a regimen.

In the Poetics, Aristotle's famous study of Greek dramatic art, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) compares tragedy to such other metrical forms as comedy and epic. Aristotle's theory of tragedy He determines that tragedy, like all poetry, is a kind of imitation (mimesis), but adds that it has a serious purpose and uses direct action rather than narrative to achieve its ends. Aristotle's theory of tragedy He says that poetic mimesis is imitation of things as they could be, not as they are — for example, of universals and ideals — thus poetry is a more philosophical and exalted medium than history, which merely records what has actually happened.

The aim of tragedy, Aristotle writes, is to bring about a "catharsis" of the spectators — to arouse in them sensations of pity and fear, and to purge them of these emotions so that they leave the theater feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Aristotle's theory of tragedy This catharsis is brought about by witnessing some disastrous and moving change in the fortunes of the drama's protagonist (Aristotle recognized that the change might not be disastrous, but felt this was the kind shown in the best tragedies — Oedipus at Colonus, for example, was considered a tragedy by the Greeks but does not have an unhappy ending).

According to Aristotle, tragedy has six main elements: plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle (scenic effect), and song (music), of which the first two are primary. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Most of the Poetics is devoted to analysis of the scope and proper use of these elements, with illustrative examples selected from many tragic dramas, especially those of Sophocles, although Aeschylus, Euripides, and some playwrights whose works no longer survive are also cited.

Several of Aristotle's main points are of great value for an understanding of Greek tragic drama. Particularly significant is his statement that the plot is the most important element of tragedy:

Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of action and life, of happiness and misery. Aristotle's theory of tragedy And life consists of action, and its end is a mode of activity, not a quality. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Now character determines men's qualities, but it is their action that makes them happy or wretched. Aristotle's theory of tragedy The purpose of action in the tragedy, therefore, is not the representation of character: character comes in as contributing to the action. Hence the incidents and the plot are the end of the tragedy; and the end is the chief thing of all. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Without action there cannot be a tragedy; there may be one without character. . . . The plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy: character holds the second place.

Aristotle's theory of tragedy


Aristotle goes on to discuss the structure of the ideal tragic plot and spends several chapters on its requirements. Aristotle's theory of tragedy He says that the plot must be a complete whole — with a definite beginning, middle, and end — and its length should be such that the spectators can comprehend without difficulty both its separate parts and its overall unity. Aristotle's theory of tragedy Moreover, the plot requires a single central theme in which all the elements are logically related to demonstrate the change in the protagonist's fortunes, with emphasis on the dramatic causation and probability of the events.

Aristotle's theory of tragedy: Aristotle has relatively less to say about the tragic hero because the incidents of tragedy are often beyond the hero's control or not closely related to his personality. The plot is intended to illustrate matters of cosmic rather than individual significance, and the protagonist is viewed primarily as the character who experiences the changes that take place. This stress placed by the Greek tragedians on the development of plot and action at the expense of character, and their general lack of interest in exploring psychological motivation, is one of the major differences between ancient and modern drama.

Plato is answered, in effect and perhaps intentionally, by Aristotle’s Poetics. Aristotle defends the purgative power of tragedy and, in direct contradiction to Plato, makes moral ambiguity the essence of tragedy. Aristotle's theory of tragedy The tragic hero must be neither a villain nor a virtuous man but a “character between these two extremes,…a man who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty [hamartia].” The effect on the audience will be similarly ambiguous. Aristotle's theory of tragedy A perfect tragedy, he says, should imitate actions that excite “pity and fear.” He uses Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a paradigm. Near the beginning of the play, Aristotle's theory of tragedy Oedipus asks how his stricken city (the counterpart of Plato’s state) may cleanse itself, and the word he uses for the purifying action is a form of the word catharsis. Aristotle's theory of tragedy The concept of catharsis provides Aristotle with his reconciliation with Plato, a means by which to satisfy the claims of both ethics and art. Aristotle's theory of tragedy “Tragedy,” says Aristotle, “is an imitation [mimēsis] of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude…through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation [catharsis] of these emotions.” Ambiguous means may be employed, Aristotle maintains in contrast to Plato, to a virtuous and purifying end.

To establish the basis for a reconciliation between ethical and artistic demands, Aristotle insists that the principal element in the structure of tragedy is not character but plot. Since the erring protagonist is always in at least partial opposition to the state, the importance of tragedy lies not in the character but in the enlightening event. Aristotle's theory of tragedy “Most important of all,” Aristotle said, “is the structure of the incidents. For tragedy is an imitation not of men but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality.” Aristotle considered the plot to be the soul of a tragedy, with character in second place. Aristotle's theory of tragedy The goal of tragedy is not suffering but the knowledge that issues from it, as the denouement issues from a plot. Aristotle's theory of tragedy The most powerful elements of emotional interest in tragedy, according to Aristotle, are reversal of intention or situation (peripeteia) and recognition scenes (anagnōrisis), and each is most effective when it is coincident with the other. Aristotle's theory of tragedy In Oedipus, for example, the messenger who brings Oedipus news of his real parentage, intending to allay his fears, brings about a sudden reversal of his fortune, from happiness to misery, by compelling him to recognize that his wife is also his mother.

Later critics found justification for their own predilections in the authority of Greek drama and Aristotle. Aristotle's theory of tragedy For example, the Roman poet Horace, in his Ars poetica (Art of Poetry), elaborated the Greek tradition of extensively narrating offstage events into a dictum on decorum forbidding events such as Medea’s butchering of her sons from being performed on stage. And where Aristotle had discussed tragedy as a separate genre, superior to epic poetry, Horace discussed it as a genre with a separate style, again with considerations of decorum foremost. A theme for comedy may not be set forth in verses of tragedy; each style must keep to the place allotted it.

The salient features of Plato's attack on poetry

 

The salient features of Plato's attack on poetry