• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Poetics - Aristotle.

Extracts from this document...


The audience sank even further into their seats. They were afraid to blink, scared that they might miss a critical moment in the fate of their tragic hero. The crowd silently thought, "How could a man who was once ranked so highly for his virtuous life become entangled in such a scandalous plot?" His dignity will be forever scarred all due to a single mistake that was merely made in ignorance. And then the audience imagined, "Could this happen to me?" While viewing this tragedy, the Platonist would argue that the souls of the audience are being corrupted through the eventual downfall and negative attributes of the tragic hero. The appetitive parts of their souls are being fed by imitations, causing their rational functioning to slowly diminish in wake of their heightened desires. While Plato believes poetry plays an inferior role in his city, compared to other structural topics such as philosophy and mathematics, Aristotle discerns that tragedy and the process of katharsis enhance one's ability in understanding to become a just and ethical denizen. Taken at a superficial level, The Poetics illustrates an in-depth blueprint for how tragedies should be written. ...read more.


For example, poetry or art pleases the appetitive part of the soul, which in turn has the capability to override the rational side. If this were to happen, his citizens would lose their ability to calculate and eventually go astray. Socrates posits, "So we were right not to admit him (the poet and/or artist) into a city that is to be well-governed, for he arouses, nourishes, and strengthens this part of the soul and so destroys the rational one, in just the way that someone destroys the better sort of citizens when he strengthens the vicious ones and surrenders the city to them" (The Republic, 605b). Plato's concept of poetry, non-imitations such as hymns to the gods and eulogies to good people, yields only a rational citizen. However, Aristotle claims a citizen can view tragedy and still nourish both rational and appetitive parts of the soul in order to become an ethical citizen. While Socrates argues that imitation, especially in poetry and art, stands three degrees from the truth, Aristotle speculates that imitation is innate within all humans. He states, "Imitation comes naturally to human beings from childhood (and in this they differ from animals, i.e. ...read more.


Tragedy and other poetry, even as imitational ideas, stand as forms that develop one's emotions. In this logic, as opposed to a citizen of The Republic, a citizen of The Poetics will attain an emotionally balanced life, in which he will be better suitable to make rational and ethical decisions. "So for Aristotle the crucial point is not, as it is with Plato, to suppress your emotions; it is rather to feel the right degree of emotion in the right circumstances" (Heath, 39). Emotion and thought should not be separated; however, the two play roles in a symbiotic relationship to achieve an ideal citizen. Aristotle strives for an integration of thought and emotion, while Plato seeks only thought and rational reasoning. According to Aristotle, tragedy reveals the individual motivations of characters and their reactions to certain emotions, which in turn teaches ethical standards of life. While Aristotle and Plato portray their images of their model citizen, Aristotle's vision of the ethical citizen must entail exposure to tragic plots and katharsis. As the audience empathizes with the character's tragic performance, they can only learn from those experiences and gain philosophical understanding. The audience does not need to suffer the same fate of their tragic hero, since the process of katharsis will undoubtedly arouse emotion and awareness and hopefully encourage them to become ideal citizens. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ethics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ethics essays

  1. TOK Essay: Reason and Emotion

    The moral theory of consequentialism has served as the base of an ethical theory which has been used as a justification for some of the biggest atrocities ever committed by human beings, this theory is known as utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism that says that the value of

  2. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle on the acquisition of ethical understanding.

    Plato's concern in 'The Republic' is to create an ideal state. He demonstrated some of the earliest utilitarian ideas, showing how individuals should use their talents and abilities for the greater good. Aristotle however, showed his focus to be the greatest happiness for the individual and ultimately, Eudemonia, which can be attained through living virtuously.

  1. Explain how a Hindu marriage service might guide a couple in their married life?

    Because of this, arranged marriages have been common in Hinduism with parents introducing people to each other. However, most modern Hindus believe that they only get married if they see their true love. Most Christians believe that that a marriage is choice by the couple and that they can have

  2. Analysis of Moral Luck Views of Aristotle and Epictetus.

    Aristotle describes moral luck as an issue concerning the question: "How things beyond our control impact our responsibility?" Questions like "Where were we born?" or "Who our parents are?" are examples of questions relating to moral luck, in Aristotle's perspective.

  1. 'A critical study of a significant aspect or aspects of Plutarch's aims and achievements ...

    Plutarch makes it clear that Marius has achieved a lot, but, as Plutarch stated he was going to, talks more of Marius' moral faults and qualities than his military achievements. Plutarch is more ambivalent towards Caesar, the 'life of Caesar' is closer to a narrative history, unlike in the 'life

  2. Different religious and philosophical views on controversial topics.

    Sexual desire is also one of the main reasons for rebirth, so remaining celibate may help escape the cycle of rebirth although it is not necessary. Thus although it is not good to do so as it may prevent one from escaping the cycle, polygamy is acceptable.

  1. I have raised myself to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation ...

    "In the meantime the Intention was to be kept secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the Governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great Honor I thought it...About the End of April 1724, a little Vessel offer'd for Boston.

  2. Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Plato's 'Republic'.

    The Cave; the physical world imprisons a person by stopping them seeing the forms. The cave represents a world where everything comes to an end and will eventually die, however in the world of forms nothing will die or end.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work