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such passions or tendencies."
ation follows:-" By pleasurable language I mean a language that has the embellishments of rhythm, melody, and metre. And I add by different means in different parts,' because in some parts metre alone is employed, in others melody."
You will observe that this Definition is
in two parts. In the first we are told what Tragedy is, in the second what it does." The first part states the "genus" and "differentia" of Tragedy: by genus it is, according to the first principle laid down on the first page, a form of Imitation; the differentia is stated in the clauses which gather up the results of the first three chapters, and contrast Tragedy successively with the various kindred arts, under the three heads of comparison already mentioned. The second part states the effect or office of Tragedy; namely, to work upon the feelings of Pity and Fear in a particular manner, which has not so
far been explained, and which in fact is not explained in any part of the Poetics. The first part takes its significance from the word Mimesis, or Imitation; the second from the word Katharsis, or Purgation. It is not too much to say that in these two words, rightly understood, lies the whole of Aristotle's teaching on Tragedy, so far, at least, as it is theoretical. We will return to them presently for a more particular examination.
C. 6. The inquiry starts afresh from this point, and the six constituent "parts" of Tragedy are determined. This is done by
a process something like chemical analysis; or, if we may vary the figure, like that by which the sections of the cone are derived from the solid figure, viewed under different aspects. On the first view of Tragedy you see that it is a performance given before the eyes of spectators: therefore Spectacle (in which term is included all that meets the eye-scenery, grouping
of persons on the stage, and the like) is its most obvious element. Ask next by what means these performers effect their imitation, and you find that they use words and music: therefore musical composition and verbal diction are also elements of Tragedy. Ask further what it is which these performers seek thus to imitate, and the answer is that they reproduce the actions of men, or men engaged in action; men who have each a moral character, and each an intellectual habit or faculty, which are the two determinants of all that is done or said. Hence the poet must reproduce Character and Thought (conventionally translated Sentiment), and he must further and above all reproduce the story or Plot, which is in fact the action itself; and these are three additional parts, or elements, of Tragedy. The six parts must be present in all Tragedy, though the relative importance attached to each may vary with different poets, and in different plays.
But the order of derivation is not the order of intrinsic worth. Plot stands far above the rest; and for this judgment, which is highly characteristic of Aristotle, but which must not be accepted without reserve, a series of reasons is given. Character is second, since men are only less interesting than men's actions. Thought and Language follow. Music and Spectacle are dismissed; because, though of great practical importance, they have little to do with the Art of Poetry considered apart from that which is subsidiary to it, and they do not concern the critic or theorist. The other four are treated in order. connection with Plot the following ques
C. 7. tions are discussed How long should What standard of Unity is
C. 8. a play be?
C. 9. required?
Must the incidents be true in
the same sense as the facts of the historian ? What is the place, to use a modern phrase, of "poetical justice"? C. 10. At this point, Plot is itself analysed into
four constituents: Peripeteia (or Evolution) and Recognition, which together are the distinguishing signs of a complex plot; Character, and Suffering, which, if unsupported by the other two, belong to the simple plot. This second analysis, valuable as it is, may be found confusing, the more so as Character figures twice over, once as an independent part of Tragedy, once as a part of Plot. The actions which may possibly be treated in a tragedy are then considered with special reference to their power of working upon Pity and Fear. Recognition receives a very full C. 16. examination, cases found in actual plays being considered and classified.
Under the head of Character four points are noted.
The characters must be good, C. 15. that is, must not fall below a certain level of worthiness and elevation; they must be suitable to conditions of age, sex, or station, like the characters found in Nature or in literature, and lastly uniform; and again