Aesthetics, Aristotle. Poetics [the doctrine of imitation] - Reader on philosophy


Aristotle. Poetics [the doctrine of imitation]

We will talk about poetry in general, as well as about its individual forms, about the importance of each of them, and how the plot should be composed so that the poetic work is good, in addition, about how many and what parts it consists of, and in the same way, about everything else that relates to the same subject matter; we will begin our speech, in accordance with the essence of the matter, from the most basic elements.

Epic and tragic poetry, as well as comedy and poetry dithyrambic, most of the avtetics and cytaristics - all these, generally speaking, are imitative arts; They differ from each other in three ways: either by what is imitated, or by what they imitate, or by how they imitate, which is not always the same. ... In all the arts just mentioned, imitation takes place in rhythm, word and harmony, separately or together: thus, harmony and rhythm are enjoyed only by aveltics and kifaristika and other musical arts related to the same genre, for example, the art of playing in a siring, but with the help of rhythm proper, without harmony, some of the dancers imitate, because they are precisely through the pattern rhythms that reproduce characters, affects and actions, and that poetry that uses only words, without a size or with a meter, or mixing several sizes with each other or using one of them, still remains without definition ...

But there are some arts that use all that is said, that is, rhythm, melody and size; such are, for example, dithyrambic poetry and nomas, tragedy and comedy; they differ in the fact that some use it all at once, and others - in their separate parts. I somehow understand the differences between the arts about the means to be imitated.

And as imitators imitate the acting [persons], the latter must be either good or bad (for the character almost always follows only this, since in relation to the character all are distinguished either by perversity or virtue), then, of course, or better than we, or worse, or even such [like us], just as painters do. Polygnot, for example, portrayed the best people, Pavson - the worst, and Dionysius - like really existing. Obviously, each of the above imitations will have these differences and will thus be the one and not the other, looking at the subject of imitation: after all, in the dance, and in the flute and cithara game, such differences may arise; the same applies to prosaic and simple verse speech. Thus, Homer presents the best, Cleophonte - ordinary, and Hegemon the Fasil, the first creator of parodies, and Nikohar, who wrote "Deliade", - the worst. [...] The same difference between the tragedy and the comedy: the latter tends to portray the worst, and the first - the best people than the existing ones.

Another third difference is added to this, which is how to imitate in each of these cases. It is to imitate the same thing and the same thing, talking about the event, as something separate from yourself, as Homer does, or in such a way that the imitator remains himself, without changing his face, or representing all depicted persons as acting and active. That is, in what three distinctions is all imitation, as we said from the very beginning, namely in the medium, the object and the way, so that in one respect Sophocles could be identical with Homer, for they both reproduce people worthy, and in the other, with Aristophanes, for they both represent people acting and, moreover, dramatically acting. Hence, as some say, these works are called "dramas", because they depict the faces of the acting ... So, how much and what are the differences in imitation, it is said enough.

... Tragedy is an imitation of an important and finished action, having a certain volume, [imitation] with the help of speech, in each of its parts, variously decorated, through action, not story, accomplishing, through compassion and fear, the purification of such affects .

& quot; Decorated with speech & quot; I call it one that includes rhythm, harmony and singing; the distribution of them by parts of the tragedy is that some are performed only by meters, and others by singing.

And as imitation is performed in action, the first part of the tragedy, if necessary, would be an ornamental decoration, then a musical composition and a verbal expression, since this is exactly what imitation is done. By verbal expression, I mean the very combination of words, and under a musical composition - that which is obvious to all meaning. Since, further, it is an imitation of action, and action is performed by actors who need to be somehow in character and way of thinking (for through this we and actions are called somebody), then, naturally, two reasons for action follow from here - thought and character, thanks to which everyone has either success or failure.

Imitation of action is a plot; a plot of this, I mean a combination of facts, under the characters - that's why we actors call what else, but a thought - what talking prove anything, or simply express their opinions


So, it is necessary that in each tragedy there are six parts, on the basis of which the tragedy happens to be somehow. These parts are: plot, characters, reasonableness, scenic situation, verbal expression and musical composition. The means of imitation include two parts, to the method - one and to the object - three; In addition to these, there are no other parts.

... Must imitate good portraitists: they are precisely by giving an image of a person and making portraits similar, while at the same time depicting people more beautiful. So the poet, depicting angry, frivolous or having other similar traits of character, should represent such people noble ...

1. The first task [of this study] is this: should or should not music be placed in the list of subjects of upbringing? We put three questions on the purpose of music above. What does it represent: is it an object of upbringing, fun, intellectual entertainment? With good reason, music can be attributed to all these categories, and in all of them it obviously takes its share of participation. Fun has its appointee to give a rest, and rest, of course, is pleasant, since it serves as a kind of medicine against the sadness imposed on us by hard work. Further, intellectual entertainment, admittedly, should contain not only beautiful, but also give pleasure, because happiness consists precisely in the combination of the beautiful with the pleasure delivered to them. Music is considered all for a very pleasant pleasure, whether it will be instrumental or vocal-instrumental music.

2. And Musay says that "to mortals to sing is the most pleasant thing". Therefore, music as a means capable of amusing, with good reason, allows people to gather in such meetings where they meet to spend time. Thus, considering music from this point of view, it can be argued that it should serve as the subject of education for young people. Like all harmless entertainments, it not only fully corresponds to the supreme goal [of human life], but also brings a rest. And since a person rarely succeeds in attaining the highest goal of his existence, since he, on the contrary, needs frequent rest and resorts to amusements not for the sake of some higher goal, but simply for the sake of entertainment, it would be quite expedient if he would find complete relaxation in the pleasure delivered by music.

3. There are people for whom fun is the supreme goal of their life, because this, too, probably contains some element of enjoyment and can serve as a goal; but not an occasional pleasure can be such a goal. Aspiring to the pleasure that makes up the ultimate goal, people take for it another pleasure (ie, pleasure is accidental), because it also has some similarity with that pleasure which is the supreme goal of human activity.

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.