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Full text of "Aristotle's theory of poetry and fine art : with a critical text and a translation of the Poetics"

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HARVARD UNIVERSITY 



LIBRARY OF THE 

CLASSICAL DEPARTMENT 



FROM THE ESTATE OF 



CLEMENT LAWRENCE SMITH 

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^bistotle;s theory 



OF 



OETEY AND FINE AET 

WITH A CSinOAL TEXT AND A TBANSLATION 

or 

THE POETICS 

BY 

& H. BUTCHEI^LiitJ)^ LLD. 



ui TIB wimtnr ov iwwxwi ; fOMmtfV 
wMuum or Tmonrr oou^mb, oAiisaiwNi, somm 

OMIVIMITT €OI.MQ g| OSfOAO 



lonnon 

MACMILLAN AND CO. 

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1895 



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ABISTOTLE'S THEORY 



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POETBY AND FINE ART 



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PREFACE 

The present volume has grown out of certain 
chapters relating to the Poetics in the first edition 
of 'Some Aspects of the Greek Grenius.' These 
chapters have been enlarged, and partly re-written ; 
and further questions, not touched on in the earlier 
volume, and bearing on AristotWs theory of 
tragedy, are here discussed. A text and a trans- 
lation of the Poetics are prefixed to the Essays. 

It is just a hundred years since a critical text 
of the Poetics has been published in Great Britain. 
Tyrwhitt^s edition, which appeared at Oxford in 
1794, was, indeed, the work of an admirable 
scholar ; but since that time much light has been 
thrown on almost every page of this treatise. And 
yet even to-day, after all the labours of Gterman 
scholars, no editor can hope to produce a text 
which will not provoke dissent on the part of com- 
petent critics. For my own part, I find myself 
more frequently in agreement "with William Christ 
on questions of reading, than with any previous 



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▼i POETRY AND FINE ART 

editor. Suaemihl, to whom eveiy Student of Aris- 
totle is profoundly indebted, appears to me to carry 
oonjectore too £ur, more especially in the trans- 
position of sentences and the omission of words. 
On the other hand, Yahlen's adherence to the 
Parisian MS. (A*) borders on superstition, — ^if one 
may dare so to speak of the critic who in a pre- 
eminent degree has contributed to the elucidation 
ni the Poetics. 

The superiorly of the Parisian over all other 
extant MSS. is beyond dispute ; still I cannot share 
the confidence with which the best editors now 
speak of it as. the sole source from which the rest 
are derived. It is true there are no dedsiv^ 
passages by which the independent value of these * 
latter can be established. But that some of them 
have an independent worth is rendered highly 
probable by two considerations. First, by the 
appearance in them of words which are omitted in 
A% but are necessary to complete the sense. The 
missing words are not unfrequently such as a 
copyist could hardly have supplied. Secondly, by 
the number of instances in which the true reading is 
hopelessly obscured in A% but preserved in some of 
the so-called ^apographa.' No ordinary scribe 
could have hit on such happy corrections. While 
doubting, however, whether A* is indeed the arche- 
type of all extant MSS., I have, for the sake of 
convenience, retained in the critical notes the usual 



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PREFACE TU 

abbreviation 'apogr./ to denote any MS. or MSS. 
other tlian A^ 

The conjectures of my own which are admitted 
into the text are few in number. They will be 
foimd in iiL 3. 1448 a 33, ziz. 3. 1556 b 8, xziii. 1. 
1459 a 17, xxiv. 10. 1460 a 35, xxv. 4. 1460 b 17, 
xxv. 14. 1461 a 28, xxv. 16. 1461 a 35. The emen- 
dation in xxiii. 1, ivl fUrpqp fUfMinjctj^ for iv fUrpqp 
^ifMiTucfj^ will, I hope, appear as plausible to others 
as it is convincing to myself. In ix. 4 {ovrm rA 
Tvxivra opifiara), though I have not altered the 
traditional reading, yet for reasons stated in note 
2, p. 349, 1 suspect we ought to read oi rk rvxovra 
ovofiara, and I venture to press this suggestion. 
In a certain number of passages I have bracketed 
words, hitherto retained by the editors, which I 
take to be glosses that have crept into the text 
The passages are these — iii. 1. 1448 a 23, vi 
18. 1450 b 13, xviL 1. 1455 a 27, xviL 5. 1455 
b 22. But the detailed treatment of these and 
other questions of criticism and interpretation must 
be reserved for the more fitting pages of a com- 
mentary. 

Fortunately, the general views of Aristotle on 
Poetry and Art are not affected by the minor 
difficulties with which the Poetics abounds. In- 
complete as our material is when all scattered 
references have been brought together, the cardinal 
points of Aristotle's aesthetic theory can be seized 



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yfSd POETRY AND FINB ART 

'with some certainty. But his Poetics must be read 
in the li^^t of his other writings ; we must trace 
the links which connect his theory of Art with his 
philosophic system as a whole ; we must discover 
the meaning he attaches to 'Imitation' as an 
aesthetic t^rm, — a somewhat infelicitous t^rm, it 
must be pwned^ inherited by him fiN>m his prede- 
cessors, but henceforth charged with a new 
meaning. Such an inquiry will dispel the vulgar 
notion that still surviyes in popular manuals, that 
by * Imitation' Aristotle means a literal copy, a 
mere fiicsimile of the world of experience. The 
due to his real thought is to be found in the 
assertion that Poetry Ib an expression of the 
* universal'; that is, of the universal element in' 
human life. In interpreting the full significance 
of this conception frequent reference will of neces- 
sity be made to the wider principles of the Aristo- 
telian philosophy. 

In the following pages I have attempted to bring 
out some of the vital connexions which are thus 
suggested between Aristotle's theory of Poetry 
and other sides of his comprehensive thought In 
endeavouring to state his views and estimate their 
worth candidly and without exaggeration, I have 
not forgotten that Aristotle, more than any other 
writer, has suffered from the intemperate admiration 
of his friends. There have been periods when he 
held to be infallible both in literature and in 



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PREFACE IX 

philosophy. A Bovereign authority has been 
claimed for him by those who possessed no first- 
hand knowledge of his writings, and who certainly 
were not equipped with sufficient Greek to interpret 
the text A feur truer respect would have been shown 
him had it been frankly acknowledged, that in his 
Poetics there are oversights and omissions which 
cannot be altogether set down to the fragmentary 
character of the book ; that his judgments are based 
on literary models which, perfect as they are in their 
kind, do not exhaust the possibilities of literature ; 
that many of his rules are tentative rather than 
dogmatic ; that some of them need revision or 
qualification ; that, for example, the requisites laid 
down in chap. xiiL for the character of the tragic 
protagonist would exclude from the first rank of 
art some of the noblest figures of the Greek 
drama, — Antigone, Clytemnestra, and possibly 
Prometheus. On the other hand, we may well 
wonder at the impartiality of mind, which 
lifted him above some, at least, of the limita- 
tions of his age, though he could not wholly 
emancipate himself from the external rules and 
usages of the Athenian theatre. Above all we may 
admire his insight into the essential quality of 
Poetry, as a concrete expression of the universal 
To this result he was led by a penetrating analysis 
of the imaginative creations of Greece itsel£ 
Universalily is, indeed, their characteristic note. 

a2 



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X POETRY AND FINE ART 

The aocidents of hmnan nature seem here to fall 
into the background, while its larger lineaments 
are disengaged. 

A list of the more important works which treat 
of the Poetics will be found on page xviL I 
desire, howeyer, here to mention the books which 
haye chiefly aided me in the preparation of the 
Essays: K Mtiller, Creschichte der Kunst bei der 
Alten, Bresku, 1834 Yahlen, BeUrdge zu \ 
Aristotdes' Poettk, Wien, 1865. Teichmtiller, 
Aristatdische Forschungen^ Halle, 1869. Bein- 
kens, Aristotdes iiber Kunst, Wien, 1870. During, 
Die Kunstlehre des Aristotdes, Jena, 1870. Ber- 
nays, Zwei Ahhandlungen ilber die Aristatdische -^ 
Theorie des Drama, Berlin, 1880. 1 owe, more-'^, 
over, special and personal thanks to Pro£ A. C. ^ 
Bradley for yaluable criticisms on my earlier ,; 
yoLume, which I haye here turned to account Iv. 'v 
have reason also gratefully to acknowledge the ■') 
ringnlar care and skill displayed by Messrs. B. & R ]^« 
Clark's Reader. 1 

\ 
EniNBUBcm, Nommhsr 1894. % 



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CONTENTS 

PAOB 

8Din<mBy TEAirsLATioxa^ nc. •• zrii 

AHALIBU of AmiBTOTLETs TtMc» ^ * 1 

TiZT AMD T&AMSLATIQM OF THB iMto il 



Abistotlb's Thsobt of Poetbt and the Finx Abt&' 

CHAPTER I 

Abt avd Natitib 

A complete Mttiietio themy not to be found in Aristotk . . 107 

Tlie theoretio distinction between Fine end Ueeftil Art fint eeteb- 

liahedbyAristotie 109 

The aeying 'Art imitatee Katore ' tpedelly applied in Aristotle to 
Ueeftil Art^ which followe Ketore's methode and supplies her 
defects 110 



CHAPTER II 
'Imitation' as ah ABBTmmo Tbim 

'Imitation' as tiie common characteristic of the Fine Artss a 
cnnent phrase interpreted anew by Aristotle . • . . Uff 

The objects of aesthetic imitation are human Character, Emotion, 

Action (4^ vtf^, irpdt«t) • . . .110 

A work of Art is a likeness (^^m^) of an original, not a sym- 
bolical representation (nyicSer) of it US 

A woik of Art reprodnoee its original not as it is in itMl^ bnt as it 
iepmentedinssnsQoasfonntothe'phantaqr'C^w^vv^) • H^ 



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zn POETRY AND FINE ART 



TUtdMtilMof«ailh«tkMmbUBO«^bMimpcNrtaiitooiitaqMMM • 181 
IbtdiflemlMMMimwUchUMAittm'InitatiTe'sMwie . Itt 

FidatiigaadSeiilptaft 186 

Ikadag * 189 

FMtiy, witk Hone «id Daadog m fondiig a liai^ grovp . • 180 

y«mMn«l«MilofPottK7 188 

Aidiiteetav sot iadiidsd among tlMlmitatiTiAitt ... 188 
IirititiTi or FIm Art Ia hi bighert niftaitetatioBt jumtj Pbotiy, ia 
an Qgpteirioii of tlia vaiTenal olomtiit {H cs#Aav) in knmaii 
Hia. Imotharwofda,itlaaaidoaliMdima«tof kmaalili- 
ofeharMtv, cBotioii, aetioii— uidorfMrmtBaiiifaittOMMt • 140 
Fiaa Art and UatfU Art ia dUbreat ways oomplata ilia par poow of 

Natna 144 

Flato^ ia tlia JlqriiM<0» aaw in FIm Art a maro Mmblaae^ an iUMioD, 
aa oppooed to ilia laaUljt Ariatotla aaw ia it ilia iauigt of a 
Ufl^iaaU^ 148 



CHAFTEB lU 

Pomo Tevth 

TIm aatiUMria batwaaa Poatiy and Hirtory ia tlM iWto • 188 

PloHiyiaaotafaprodaetioBof omplrioal Uidt tlia *piobaUlitiM' 

and ^poMibOitiM' of Poetry contrattad with thoM of aipwianea 168 

PoatiyazoladoitliaralaofCbaace 168 

UmI anilj of Poatiy : Ariatotlo and Bacon hare agree . .178 

CoBeeptkmofapoeniaeaaoiguiiam 176 

Poaliyia'aaMra pliikaopbieal aadaldgfaer thing than History ' : 

it repreeenti the vniTenal through the partieolar . .178 

Aiktotk^Goethi^aBd Coleridge on the 'general idea' in Pdetry . 180 



CHAPTER IV 
Thi EiTD OF Fm Abt 

TIm and of Fine Art ia pleaaore. Ite lower forme afford the pleaenra 
of a paetimo {wmM) t ita higher forme, that noble enjoyment 
(8irywy4) which belongi to enprome happineee {OUi^mU) . 186 

TlM eontrut between Pkto and Ariatotle (1) aa to the valna of 

» (8) aa to Art Tiawed aa a pastime .... 180 



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CONTENTS zm 



Th6pl«Mimofth«littnrortpeeUtor(#t«?iif)Mtlit«idofArt • IM 
liodtm obj«etkMi to mtklag tlit «id of Art vetkU Ia o pltofonUo 

impreMion IM 

Boplytothooljoetkm IM 



CHAPTER V 

AKT AUD MOIAUTT 

ThetHMUttonalTiowiBGrMOtatMrtodtheinonlolBetofthoFoot. 200 
St«a Omnody profettad to ezordM o monl ftuietioii • • • 901 
Aristotle diftingulihot the edneatkmal from tlie eeethetio ftmetioii 
of Poetiyi hie critical eetimatee of Poetiy net on poialj 

Mfthetio groande S05 

Tet iome of hie nikt indicate a ooafiuioii of mcnl and aeatlietie 

e»cell e Bce: <.y, tragic oha i a et e r a mnet be €wm Mm , • 211 

Tet» in the m«in» he dediiTeljr^ecta the old didactic teadeiagr • 281 



CHAPTER VI 
TBI Fuxonoy of Tkaoxdt 

Arictotlo'a definition of Tragedy 228 

ThetragicJM/UirKf of pitj and iiMurt the medical metaphor • . 225 

The mndcal JToMoriit in the iWOiei 280 

The JCathar$($ impliee not only an emotional relief bit a lefining 

or darting of emotion 288 

How thlf clarifying proceea if eibeted 288 

The JCathar${$ theory connected with the general theory of POetry 

M a repreeentation of the nnireraal 248 

Under what conditione the XMariic treatment of emotion ie 

poerible . 281 



CHAPTER Vn 

Tbx Dbaxatio Umnxs 

Unity of Action ie the primary Uni^ ....... 288 

Tragedy ae an organic whole :* beginnings middle, and end' . . 284 

The law of Unity as applied to the epic and the drama ... 284 

The so-called 'Three Unitiee'. ... ... 287 



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m POETRY AND FINE ART 

•XMtj* (L$. OoBtiaaHy) 'of TixM' : th« prnidUng pnustke of tho 
OfMk itegt, M faddimtally nottd Vy Aiktotkt alterwardt 
Bade iMto a nilo of dramatic art 967 

'Aiiiil^ nrolatiott of tlit son': Tariowly iaterptolid i attmpt 
tomako an oxaet ooincidanoo boiwooQ tiMtimoof tho action 
aadtlMtiiiiooftlioropnieiitation S71 

'Ihdtj of Place* Mwben Bontioiied ia irietotle; dodieed from 
•UnilyofTlme' . . S74 

Uealieatmi of Time aad Place 877 

Ibe V|^ kw of 'Uiity of Actfea' oAe& eaboidinated to tlM two 

rUaitiee S78 



CHAPTBB VIII 
Tbi Ideal Tbaoio Hbbo 
Tte ideal ^n^ of protago&iat k dedoced by Arietotle (ch. ziiL) fkom 

the ftiBctioB of Tkagedy to produce pity and iiMur ... 180 
Tho aoTwal lypee of ozdiided cliaracteret Uameleea goodneees 

^gnal fillainy 288 

Ailetotk'e ideal piotago&iat: meaning of A^M^rrk . . . . S94 
Oi^jeeticn oiamfaed, that Arietotle'B mle learea no room for a tmo 

tr^giecolliifon 800 

Atlmnpte of critice either to explain away Arietotle'a wordo, or to 
teeo ofiry pky into agreement with hie rale .... 803 

AiiBtotU'emanMrtenUtiTenotdogmatk 806 

^ of the idea of the tragic i^Mifrk in the modem drama 808 



OHAPTEB IX 
Plot avb Chabactee ur Teaoedt 

Plot (pOHt) or Action (wpi(i») ie the primary element aceording to 

Ariatotles meaning of 'Action' 810 

Keoct oomo'JBMoi'and'DiOfieto*: theee two fiieton together con- 

fltitnte Character in ite largeat eenee 818 

"Kmjth^'^ with which Arietotle enbordinatee other elemente to 

•Action' 818 

TUa doctrine hae been ikeqnontlydiepated 881 

An inqniiy into the meaning of the term ' dramatic ' beare ont Arie- 

toCk'emainoontontion 888 



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CONTENTS XV 



Bat the intimate nktion between Aetion and Character needs to be 
more dearly bron^t eat t27 

Another olijeetion oonaidered. Plot» it ia eaid, oT e rp o weted 
Charaeter in the ancient drama ; not eo in the modem • S89 

Seneee in which the modem drema lajt increased s tress on the 

delineation of Character 890 

The artistio principle of the drama disoorered by the Greeks • . 888 



OHAPTEB X 
Thi Qxkxraluiko Fowzb of Comxdt 

of the word 'idealise.* In what sense Tragedy and Comedy 

respeetlTely idealise life 841 

The pleasors of the Indicroos as explained by Plato and by Aristotle 846 
Aristotle selects Comedy as an example of the onirersalising (acolty 

ofPoetry 849 

A distinction shoold be drawn between the generalisation proper to 

Tragedy and to Comedy 854 

The line^ however, that severs these two kinds of Poetry is less 

sharply drawn by modem dramatic art : homoor and pathoe • 867 
Comedy, in its purely sportive form, createe pMSonified ideals, 

Tngtdjf idealised persons 868 



OHAPTEB XI 

POXTIO UNIVXBaALITT IK QeBXK LITXRATUBI 

Aristotle's prindplee of Art reflect the spirit of Greek Art and 

Literatare 880 

Oriental Art not indaded in hie snrvey 868 

The Greek imagination under the control of reason . .864 

The Sanity of the Greek genius intimatdy connected with its 

Universality 868 

Poetic Universally as shown in the delineation of fomale diaracter 

In Greek Poetry 870 

Poetry and Phlloeophy in relation to the oniversal • ' . .872 

Poetry and History: 'Myth' or heroic history is one of the chief 
means by which the Greek poets ascend from the individoal to 
the oniversal, by which th^ idealise the real .... 878 



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EDITIONS, TRANSLATIONS, ETC. 

Thb following is a Uat of the chief editiona and tranaUtione of the ^i>eHe$f 
and of other writinga relating to thia treatiae, arranged in ohrooologioal 
order t— 

YaUa (O.), Latin tranalation. Yenice, 1498. 

Aldine text, in Mdoret OraecL Venice, Aldoa, 1608. 

Latin tranalationt with the annunaiy of ATeiroee (o&. 1198). Venice^ 

ArriTabene, 1816. 
Fad (A.) [Paceioa], AriUoUlU P^ie/t^ per AUaoamdnm FaceiwKit pairi' 

Hum FhreiUinmmf in LtUiim^m ammna. Venice, Aldni^ 1688. 
Trincareli, Greek text Venice, 1688. 
BoborteUi (Fr.), In libnm AriMOU d$ ArU Fodiea npikatUmm. 

Iloience, 1648. 
Segni (B.), BMnrica $ F^Uica tC AritMtU tmdoiU di Orw in lingtm 

vulgare, Florence, 1649. 
ICaggi (V.) [BCadios], In Aridoielii Uinm tU iVatto aqitefuiMifMi. 

Venice, 1660. 
Vettoil (P.) [Viotorioa], CommmUatim^M in primim libnm AridaUlie tU 

ArU Poetamm, Florence, 1680. 
OaatelTetro (L.), FotUea iT AriiUdeU vulgarimala. Vienna, 1670 ; Baale, 

1678. 
Ficoolomini (A.), AmudatiaiU nd libro deUa FoOica tC AridoUU, eon tm 

tradMicm M fMi$Hmo Hbro im lingua volgart* Venice^ 1676. 
Oaaanbon (L), edition of Aristotle. Leyden, 1690. 
Heinaina (D.) mMuikl. Leyden, 1810. 

Gonlston (T.), Latin tranaUtion. London, 1828, and Gamhridge^ 1898. 
Dader, Xa PoAigm PradmU en Frangaie^ wm dm remmrgum eriUqwm. 

Baria,1898. 
Batteaz, Lee queUiree FeitiqyM tCArieUde, ^Heruee, de Vida, de Dee^ 

pream, eveee lee iradHeti^ne H dee remeerguee pur rAtkd BedUm. 

Fkria,1771. 



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zrai POETRY AND FINE ART 

IM^Bstukj (T.), oomiiiMitiiy on Foiikt. Oxford* 1780. 

Bei^ De Fxtim Liber. Leipoig^ 178«. 

IbtartMJo (P.), £dntU dtir Arte Piodka d^ AritMde < WK tfuw^ w itf w 

Is iwftfetiiwg, Plwii, 1782. 
Twinmg (T.), AridaUe'i Treatm on FoeLry^ (fwuUOed with netee en the 

and wMineal tmitation. London, 1780. 
TyiM-J.), A(kmmentttryiUudrQHngtkePeeHeifAridatU^fexomfU$ 
taken tki^ from the wkioiempoete, TowMAiopr^fbDedanewafnd 
oorrottoi edUim ^the trandaiion qf the Foetie, London, 1798. 

T^iwhitt (T.), 2k Foetim Liber. Textum reeenmeUf veroionem r^/tneBU^ H 

ammadverekmibue iUuetmvU Thmnae TyrwkUL Oxford, 1794. 
BnUe (J. T.) fwmtnte. Otfttingon, 17M. 
HonoMnn (Godfr^), An Fbetiea earn oommmUaH4$. Lolpiig^ 1892^ 

Giiimham (K A. W.), Ik Arte Foetiea librwm donmo roeenouiit oommen' 

tariie ittnttravit, etc Leipcig, 1881. 
BannMT (Ft. t.), Ueber die FoeHk dee Arietoteiee undoein FerhdUnim m 

dtn nemem Dramatikem. Berlin, 1889. 
Spengd (LbX Ueber AritMeM FoeHk in AVhuidlnngen dor MiinohMitr 

Akad. pliiloi..lAi]oL a. IL Mnnieh, 1887. 

Bitter (FhX Ad eodieee antiquoo reeognitam^ laHne c on v eream , eom-^ 
wuniario iUuetraiam edidit Ihindoeue Mitter. Cologne, 1889. 

Egger (M. &), Eeeai our Vhidoire de la Critique cke» 2«e Oreeo, ouM do 
la Fo^ique ePAriotote et ePextraito do oa Fr Mhn o i, omo tradiue' 
tion/raoifaioe et eommontaire. Fuie, 1849. 

Benftje (Jacob), OrundxOge dor verlarenen Ahhtmdhmg deo Ariototeleo 

Ober Wirkung dor TragOdie. BreeUa, 1867. 
Siint-ffikire (J. B.), Foitiquo traduiiU onfram^ et aeeompagnde do notoo 

perpetueOeo. Peril, 1858. 
8Uhr (Ai(^ Ariototeleo wul die JTirkung dor TragOdio. Berlin, 1869. 

Stahr (AdoUX Geiman tranelation, with Introdnction and notes. Btntt- 

gert,1860. 
lAofOtt{J.),Ar%otetaeo^iberdonZwedkdorKunoL Peaeav, 1882. 

flweenrilil (F.\ German tranelation, with Introdnetion and notea. Leip- 

x^ 1865 and 1874. 
y9MBn(J.)pBeitrdgetuAriototeleffF^etik. Vienna, 1866. 
8fponff;i(L).AriototaiodU8tud4onIjr. Mnnieh, 1866. 
YaUen (J.) roeonouiL Berlin, 1867. 
XrfchaftlUrr ((k\ Ariototolioeko Forod^mngon. L BoUrdgomr Brmnmg 

der FoeHk deo Ariototoko. IL AriotMei FkOmgikie dor KumoL 

Hane,1869. 
Ueberweg (f.\ Geraan tranelation and notee. Berlin, 1869. 



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EDITIONS, TRANSLATIONSi ETC XIX 

Rdnkent (J. H.)» AritUdOei iOer JTtmit, h6 » md $ r$ «kr TmgdiU. 

Yiennft, 1870. 
I>iMikg{A.),JM$KwMaekr4d4tAriiMae$. Jena, 1870. 
Ueberweg (F.)» An F^fOica ad JIdem poU mimm m codieU € mHpiimi m i A* 

{PairigUntUmi). Berlin, 1870. 
^JW«ter (L), AridoUUa in Journal (/ PIUMogy, r. 117 ft and sir. 40 ft 

London and Oambridge, 1878 and 1886. 
Y9idak{J.)itenmnetnsuUeiadnoUaion4erUiaiaM^ Beilin, 1874. 
Hoore(E.),yahlen*i text with notes. Ozlirad, 1878. 
Christ (W.) feenuuie. Leipsig, 1878 and 1808L 
Benajs (Jacob), ZwH Abkamdl urngm iA$r AridaUli$6k$ TkmrU da 

Dramuu Berlin, 1880. 
Biandscheid (F.), Text, Gennan transbtiMi, critical notes and com* 

mentaiy. Wiesbaden, 1882. 
Wharton (E. R.), Vahlen's text with English translation. Oxiotd, 1888. 
Maigolionth (D.), Analeda OrietUalia ad Fodicam AHMtlmm. Lon- 
don, 1887. 
Bin$x^(0.),rMMijU4€rAr%M«. Ftois, 1887. 
Heidenhain (F.), Avmvi$ F^xtnpkratii ^ lUnmF^tUetu AritMdU JacA 

MamUnoimUrpnU. Leipiig^ 1880. / 

Packard (A. 0.\ AriddOi on tk4 AH^ P^dry. A Ztdmt wUh iw$ 

Appmidiim. London, 1801. 



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A 



ARISTOTLE'S POETICS 
ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS 

L ' ImiUtioii ' (jUfoi^it) the eommon principlo of the Arte of Poetry, 
Music, Deneing^ Painting, and Soolptore. Theee Arte die- 
tingniehed according to the Meane, the Objects, and the 
Manner of Imitation. ,The Means of Imitation are Rhythm, 
Language, and ' Harmony ' (or Melody), taken singly or com- 
bined. 

IL The Objects of ImiUtion. 

Higher or lower typee aie r e p r e sented in all the Imitatire 
Arts. In Poetry this is the basis of the distinction between 
TVagedy and Comedy. 

IIL The Manner of ImiUtion. 

Poetry may be in form either dramatic narratiTe, pore 
narratiTe (including lyric poetry), or pure drama. A 
digression follows on the name and original home of the 
Drama. 

IV. The Origin of Poetry. 

Psychologically, Poetry may be traced to two cauee% the 
instinct of Imitation, and the instinct of Harmony and 
Rhythm. 

Historically yiewed, Poetry diyerged early in two directions : 
traoee of this twofold tendency are found in the Homeric poems s 
TVagedy and Comedy exhibit the distinction in a defolopsd 
form. 

The sncoees iT s steps in the history of IVagedy are enumer- 
ated. 

Y. Definition of the Ludicrous (H TeXsl^), and a brief eketdh of the 
^ riee of Comedy. Pointe of comparison between Epie Pdetry 
and Tragedy. (The dhapter ie Ikagmentary.) 
B 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS 

.^tioa of Trigedj. Biz elemeDtt ia TVagedj : thrtt a 

Socnio PlratentiiMfkt (i rff Hmtt KUpm or 

Soig {jUK9wmkL\ Dictioa 0^) ; three into 

Ij, Plot {^6$m\ Cheraeter (fto). and Thought (« 

L<ity or the repreientatioii of the toUon, ii of priauy I 

G9ianoter end Tliooght eooie next in order. 



Plot most be a Whde, oomplete ia iteell^ and of ad 



VL^ 



Plot rnnet be a Unitj. Unity of Plot eonaieto not ia 
€>€ Hero, bat in Unity of Action. 

The parte rnnet be oiganicaU j oonneeted. 

^KlfOt oontinned.) Drmmatie Unity can be attained only 
obeenrance of Poetic, aa dietiact from Hietorio Trot 
Pbetiy ii an ezpreerion of the UniTenal, History of tl 
ticnlar. The role of probable or neoeenrj eeqnence aa i 
to tbe incidents. Certain plote eondemned for want of 
The beet Tragic elfoete depoid on the oombination 
IncTitable and the Unexpected. 

X (Plot oontinned.) Drtftnitioaa of Simple (4rX«?) and Com| 
{w9w\tfpiwu) Ploti. 

XL (Plot oontinned.) Sadden Rerereal of Fortane (vt^i 
Beoognition {hm,y9^kfim»\ and Tngie or diiastroos Ii 
{wi$m) defined and explained. 

TJL The *qaantitatiTe parte' {pipn umirk rh ror6r) of Tng< 
fined :— Prologae, Episode, etc (Probably an interpoh 

HIL (Plot oontinned.) What constitatee Tragic Action, 
change of fortane and the character of the hero aa n 
to an ideal Tragedy, ^kc nnbappy ending more trol^ 
than the * poetic justice' which is in &Toar with a ] 
aadienoe, and belongs nther to Comedy. 

2IT. (Plot oontinned.) The tragic emotions of pity and fear 
spring cat of the Plot itselC To prodace them by the I 
or Stags Spectacle is entirely against the spirit of T 
Examplee of Tragic Incidents designed to height 
emotional efilBet 

XT. The element of Character (aa the manifestation of moral i 
in Tragedy. Reqnisitee of ethical portraitars. The 
neoeesity or probabflity applicable to Character as 1 
The 'Deoa ex Machina' (a passage ont of place here) 
Oharaoterisidealiaed. 

XYL (Ptoteoatinned.) Beecgaitioat its Tarioos kinds, with tx 



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ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS 3 

XVII. Fktctical roles for the TiigioFbet: 

(1) To place the leene before his ejes, end to act the , 
parts himself in order to enter into Tirid gjmj^tbj with the 
dramatii permmae, 

(2) To sketch the bare outline of the action before proceed- 
ing to fill in the episodes. 

The Episodes of Tragedy are here inddentaUj contrasted 
with thoee of Epic Poetry. 

XVIII. Further roles for the Tragic Poet : 

(1) To be carefol aboot the Complication {diwf) and !¥• 
fumemetU (Mvts) of the Plot ; especially the JMtum^menL 

(2) To unite, if possible, raried forms of poetio excellence. 

(3) Not to oTsrchaige a Tragedy with details appropriate 
to Epic Poetry. 

(4) To make the Choral Odes— like the Dial<^goe—«norganio 
part of the whole. 

XIX. Thooght (Mmm), or the Intellectoal element, and Diction in 
Tragedy. 

Thooght may be expressed either by the dramatic speeehee 
—composed according to the roles of Rhetoric— or throoi^ the 
dramatic incidents, which speak for themselTes. 

Diction falls largely within the domain of the Art of De- 
clamation, rather than of Poetry. 

XX. Diction, or Langoage in generaL An analysis of the parts of 
speech, and other grammatical details. (Probably interpolated.) 

XXL Poetic Diction. The words and mod«s of speech admissibb 
in Poetry : including Metaphor, in particolar. 

A passage— probably interpolated— on the Oender of Nouns. 

XXIL (Poetic Diction continued.) How Poetry com bi nes eleration of 
langoage with perspicoify. 

XXIIL EpicPoetry. It sgrees with Tragedy in Unity of Actiim s herein 
contrasted with History. 

XXIY. (Epic Poetry continued.) Further points of agreement with 
Tragedy. The points of differenoe are enumerated and illus- 
trated,— namely, (1) the length of the poem ; (2) the metre | 
(8) the art of imparting a plausible air to incredible fiction. 

XXY. Critical Objections brought against Poetry, and the principles on 
which they are to be answered. In particular, an elucidation 
of the meaning of Poetic Truth, and its difference fimn common 
reality. 

XXYL A general estimate of the comparatiTe worth of Epic Poetry and 
Tragedy. The alleged defects of Tragedy are not essential to it 
Its poiitiTe merits entitle it to the higher rank of the two. 



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A*« the Pamuia maiiiiacript (1741) of the 11th 
centoiy: genenllj — ^hnt perhaps on insuffi- 
dent OTidenee— eappoeed to he the «rehet]rpe 
from whieh all other extant HSS. direetlj or 
indiieetlj are deriyed. 

Apogr. mm one or more of the MSS. other than A^ 

Aiabe* the Aiahk Tersion of the Podia (Parii 888 AX 
of the middle of the 10th century, a Tenion 
indepeii4ent of our extant HSS. (The qnota- 
taona in the critical notes are from the literal 
Latin tranaUtion of this TersioD, as given in 
Maigoliouth's AndUela OriefUalia.) 

AUL« the Aldine edition of JZfcatom G^mees pnhlished in 
160a 

Yahlen-i Yahlen's text of the PoefMt Ed. 3. 

'VaUen eoai « a coi\jectiire of Yahlen, not admitted hj him into 
the text 



[ ]ai words with manuscript anthOTity (indnding A^, 
which should he deleted from the text . 

< > at a ooiyectural supplement to the text 

* *ai a lacuna in the text 

t ■• words whidi are corrupt hut have not heen satis* 
ftctorilj iest<«ed« 



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API2TOTEAOT2 
nBPI nOIHTIKHX 



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AP12TOTEAOT2 HEPI HOIHTIKHS 
I Tl€/A woiifT$Kfjs avrfj^ re tcaX t&p ^H&p avrfj^, ffp rwa 

locf fUXXu KoKm i(€iP ^ woitjci^, in Si itc wocwp koX 
mtrnp iarl fwpU^p, o/jloU^^ Si teal mpl t&p SKKmp Stra rfj^ 
oMf^ ioTi fA€$oSov, XlywfAep ap^ap^poi icarh ^wr$p wp&' 
TOP ami rmp wpwrmp. hrairoUa fi^ tcoX ^ rffi rparfffSLa^ 2 
mhiai^ h% Si KttiuflSLa tcaX ^ SiBvpaiAfiairoiffTueii tcaX rf^ 

15 aSkriTUcfji^ ^ irXc^cmy $caX tciBapiOTUcrji^ fracai ru7%i£vou(r4i^ 
oSvoi iufi/9Ja€»^ T^ irvpoXop, Sicn^pown Si oKKviKmp rpioiv, 3 
ij ykp TfS ip Mpoi^ fufi€ia$iu ij njS trepa ij rf M* 
pm9 MoX i»ii ihp airhfP rpimp. &air€p 7^/) koX j(piiAaai 4 
KoX <r)(riiiaak iroXX^ fUftovpral tip€9 aw€i$cd^ovr€^ (oi fikp 

so &A rixn^ ol Si SiiL mpf^^tasi), fT€po$ Si &^ t^ ^fxavfj^, 
oSrw SCOP T»S? ^IpfffUpoi^ Wp^MU9* &waaiu ijAp iroiovprtu 
ri^p idijuiatp ip l^f*^ teal Xiy^ ical apfioplf, tovtoi^ £* 
4 X^pU 4 fin/wffiipoi^, olop appmfUf liip ical ^vOfif XP^' 
/MMM fnipap ij Tf avkfymcif teaX ^ suOapiCTiK^ tUkP ef rive^ 

Mff A •• Hmtrm apogr. s Icmtvti A^ 13. X^ym^mt apogr. t Xiyo^icr 

A^ 17. TV Ir FonUiaiiuier s 'imitetnr rebna direnit ' Antbt : rAi 

tImiA*. Ml fMHiff]*peraoiiM'Ai»bis ^tfr«#fMtggL 21. mU 

*^«Mir.t «ilA«s ffirAkL 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS 

I I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its several 

iMT ft species, noting the essential quality of each; to inquire 
into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem ; 
into the number and nature of the parts of which each 
species consists; and similarly into whatever else falls 
within the same inquiry. Following, then, the Older of 
nature, let us begin with the principles which come 
first 

Epic poetiy and Tragedy, Comedy also and dithyiambic 2 
poetry, and the greater part of the music of the flute and 
of the lyre, are all in their general, conception modes of 
imitation. They differ, however, from one another in 3 
three respects, — ^the means, the objects, the manner of 
imitation being in each case distinct 

For as there are persons who, by conscious art or 4 
mere habit, imitate and represent various objects through 
the medium of colour and form, or again hjj^e voice; 
so in the arts above mention^, taken as a whole, the 
imitation is produced by ^^jtlup. langua ge, and * harmony/ 
either singly or combined. ^ 

Thus in the music of the flute and the lyre 'harmony ' 



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8 L 4— lo. 1447 * «5— «447 b 24 

S5 fr€pa$ ivyxjatfovauf oiaai tomuTtcm t^ SviKifUP, olop 1) r&P 
avpSyymp, aurf ii rf ^^f^ [jUfJMVtrrai] X^P^ ipiwAa^ i 
]} T«Mr ipXf^^^^» ^ 7^ odroi &A rfiy cyrnAari^oiAhmv 
pv$im9 fufunhmu teal ffifi koX frdOtf «al ir/x£^i9* ^ Si 6 

ua^ T0i9 ciTf fuf)fpva'a f/L/er* aKKifkwp €l$* hi TiP$ yhfei yp^iihnri 
rw9 ftirpm^, ^avwvfko^^^ rvf)(a¥U aiaa fA^XP^ rov vvv* 7 
to wih jkp &p i)(aifAetf iiyoiAoaai KOivov roi^ Xo^pcvt^ seal 

Tn? &A rpi§ih'pmp ^ ikeyelnp ^ r&v SXXmpri^p t&p roiov^ 
rmpwoiohvri^fdfjufa'iP* wkifp ol apOpmirolyt avpdwrovri^ 
r^liirp^ ro wouIp iKe/eioiroiov^, roi^ ii iwcmvioi^ opo/id' 

15 l^avauf, avx J^ icarh rtjp idf^iicip wo^/qrh^ oXX^ tcotpfi Karh rh 
liirpop vpoaarfop€vopT€^. ical ^kp ttp larpuchp ^ ^vaixip 8 
1% Sik r&P liirpmp iicj>€pvHnv9 airm tcdkop etiOaaip, ovSip 
Si tcoiPOP iaitp ^O/ii^pf MoX *Efiir€SoKKit irX^y rh fUrpop, &i 
Tor fiip woiffTffP iUcaiap koKup, top Si ^vcioXiyop /mKKop 

so ^ woifynip* ofAoU^^ Si le&p c7 rt^ iwapra rh pkrpa yjrpfwp 9 
mMoSro T^y yiiut^w icaBamp Xaipii/imp hrUfiiT€ ILiprath 
pap fwcriiP pa^jt^pSlop i( Jnrdpiwp r&p fUrp^p, $caX roOrop 
woityriiP vpoaarfoptvrioip. vtpX phf oip rovmp SM^piaOw 
ravTOP Toy rpinmp* daX Si tm^ di woca j(P^^^^ 'roi9 €tpfff> 10 

SS. rvyxif^ww apogr. 1 rvyx^um^m A^. roiaGnu adcLapogr. : ' aUm artet 
■imilM Ti' Antbi. Sd. luiuthnui deL 8pengel, qaod oonfirmftt Artbi. 

i7. 4 •P^^-s **n instnunenti laltetioiiit 'Arabs: ot A<: ot<iroXX0i> 
HeiBiiat. 39. iwwmU teolaa. Ueberweg. fiXMf # rvSk t^poa] # T«£r 
^i^i&^i^ripMS oonieo. Yablen. 1447 b 9. 4miniyMf add. Bemayi, con- 

finnaate Anba 'qvaa liBe nomine wtadhnc' rvyx^am «0r« Sodcowt 
Tvyx^bMwaoodd. 15. mitA rV apogr. s rV mtA A«. 16. in^utip 

Heinrinis *iap]ijsioa* Arabs. 'IdempracstatATSRoea' (MaigolioaUi) t 
IMivulroodd. S2. MUrvOrir apogr.t mUA*: •^^^MUAld.yBakkar. 
S4. itf apQgi;:«CA«t 'hominst qui' Arabs. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS L 4—10 9 

and rhythm alone are employed ; also in other arte, such 
as that of the pipe, which are essentially similar to thesa 
In dancing, rhythm alone is used without ' harmony ' ; for S 
even dancing imitates character, emotion, and action, by 
rhythmical movement 

The art which imitates by means of language alone, 6 
and that either in prose or verse — which verse, again, may 
144711 either combine different metres or consist of but one kind 
— ^has hitherto been without a nama For there is no 7 
common term we could apply to the mimes of Sophron and 
Xenarchus and to the Socratic dialogues; or, again, to 
poetic imitations in iambic, elegiac, or any similar metre. 
People do, indeed, commonly connect the idea of poetry 
lor 'making' with that of verse, and speak of el^;iac 
poets, or of epic (that is, hexameter) poets; implying 
that it is not imitation that makes them poets, but the 
metre that entitles them to the common nama Even if 8 
a treatise on medicine or natural philosophy be brought 
out in verse, the name of poet is by custom given to the 
author; and yet Homer and Empedodes have nothing 
in common except the metre: the former, therefore, is 
properly styled poet, the latter, physicist rather than poet 

So too if a writer should, in his poetic imitation, 9 
combine every variety of metre, like Chaeremon — ^whose 
Centaur is a rhapsody in which all metres are mingled — 
we must, according to usage, call him simply poet So 
much then for these distinctions. 

There are, again, certain kinds of poetry which 10 
employ all the means above mentioned, — namely, 
rhythm, melody and metre. Such are dithyrambio and 
nomio poetry^ and also Thigedy and Ciomedy ; but be- 



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10 L lo— nL I. 1447 b 95 — 1448 a 19 

S5 /utmH^, Xlym Si oZbr pvOi^^ seal fUku seal ftirp^, &<nr€p 
ij Tf rdr tiBvpt^ifiuc&v iroltfai^ icaX ^ tAp vi/imv tcaX 1j 
Tff rparf^fBia $caX 1) K^/M^pBla, huu^povci Sk &n ai /ihf 
iftia waciP ai ii tcarh fUpo^. ravra^ lihf oSy X^« r^ 
iio/^opifi r&p rtxjp&P, tp oh troiowmu r^v /i^/n^o-iy. 
H ^irel Si iu/AowTa$ oi fu^vfAevo$ wpirrrovra^t avdffieff S« 
Tovrov^ ^ cwovSalov^ fj ^vkov^ ^hnu (rh yiip f^Ori ir)(fiS6v 



ocl roxmn^ iucoKovOel fwpoi^, kokI^ ykp maX aper^ rh 
Sia^(pova$ wamsi)f ^tim fiekrlopti^ ^ tcad* ^fia^ ij ^elpova^ 
5 ^ Koi roiovTav^9 &air€p ol yptuf^eU* Hokvyp^tro^ pip ykp 
scpdmn^, Havaw^ Si p(€//x»u9« ^iopvaio^ Si ofiolot^ ^Ko^ep* 
S^jKdip Si Sn Kol T&p XtxB^ia&p ituurrtf p*p>iia'€»p l^$ 2 
rayraq r^ Suu^pk^ ical !aTa$ hipa r{S frtpa fufkno'dai 
iWTCfP liip rpiirop. «al yhp h opytfoti icaX ovX^o'Ci koX S 

to sci0apia'€& !irn y€pia$€u ravra^ rh^ apop^t^Tfira^* ical[ro] 
mfA roi^ X070V9 Si teal rip^ '^CKopyerplaVi otop ^Op/ffpo9 
pip fiekrlov^, KXco^y Si opolov^, 'Hyif/M^v Si o Sdaio^ o 
T^ wap^fSla^ wonica^ wp&ro^ mil 'HiKo^dpfi^ o riiP Ai/Xf. 
aSft 'fddpQV^* opotc^ Si teal wepl roi^ SiSvpdpfiov^ icaX wepX 4 

1579^ popov^* &air€p rfkp TSjuKkonra^ TipoOeo^ seal <E^iXo- 

f€P09, p*p>iia4uro &p ri9* ey 7^ ain^ Si Suul>opf teal ^ 

Tpay^fSla wpa^ rtp^ K^pxpSlop SUartftcePp ^ pip yiip p^c/^ 

pov9 i Si 0€\tIov^ pApMiada^ fiovKerai t&p pup. 

TEL tn Si rovrmp rplrti Suul>opk ri C09 tscacra rovrm 

98. Mifpi/tfim Apog?. 28. w&rcu apogr. «9r apogr. t od A«. 89. off 
y«ttorii «2tA«. lM8ft8.MM(f ...di^apogr.s ffa«ia...ipc74A«. 

t. ry apogr. s H A: 13. i ante via add. apogr. 18. AciXci8a A« pr. 
naa. 18. A^wt^ yi^ Yahlen ed. 8 adnot : ii^wt^ yfit codd. t dwwMp 

*Afnfis OattelTotio: At Uip^t Yettori. 18. ^iftilinuf 8r nt] fort 

•oehideBdiim (Yalikii). ry tOri 9k Yettori: 'in oadoin dimopaiitla' 
Araliat tm^ 81 ry IL Oaaaabon s «^ 81 ry oodd. 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS L lo— lEL i 11 

tween them the difference is, that in the first two cases 
these means are all employed at the same time, in the 
latter, separately. ^ 

Such, then, are the differences of the arts with respect 
to the means of imitation, 
n Since the objects of imitation are persons acting, and 

IMS A 

these persons most be either of a higher or a lower type 
(for moral character mainly answers to these divisions, 
goodness and badness being the distinguishing marks 
of moral differences), it follows that we must represent 
men either as better than in real life, or worse, or 
as they are. It is the same in painting. Polygnotus 
depicted men as nobler than they are, Pauson as less 
noble, Dionysius drew them true to life. 

Now it is evident that each of the modes of imitation 3 
above mentioned will exhibit these differences, and be- 
come a distinct kind in imitating objects that are thus 
distinct Such diversities may be found even in dancing, S 
flute-playing, and lyre-playing. So again in prose com- 
positions, and in verse unaccompanied by music. Homer, 
for example, makes men better than they are; Cleophon 
as they are; H^mon the Thasian, the inventor of 
parodies, and Nicochares, the author of the Deliad, worse 
than they are. The same thing holds good of dithyrambs 4 
and nomes ; here too one may portray lower Qrpes, as 
Timotheus and Philoxenus represented Cyclopes. The 
same distinction marks off Tragedy firom Ciomedy; for 
Ck>medy aims at representing men as worse, Tragedy as 
better than in actual life, 
m There is still a third difference — ^the manner in which 
each of these objects may l)e imitated. For the means 



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12 nL 1—4* 1448 a 90—1448 b 3 

tofUfi^oiTO 09 T»9* Mol rfkp h Tol^ obtoi^ icaX rh avrh 
luiMnZadoi ioTUf M fiip airaffjfiXXoPTa (^ frtpop t$ 747^0- 
/icyor, mawtp ^OfUfipa^ mult ^ ^ t6v airrop seal ^ furo' 
ffaXKarra), ^ mmrra^ C09 wpdrrarra^ ical tptpyowra^ [roi^ 

MS icTU^, flk ^irofi€P KOT apxas, iv oh T€ zeal h ical &^. &<rr€ 
r$ fih o atrro9 ftp eTi; fu^fjrnf^ ^O/jLiip^ Xoif^oicXIj^, /u/iovptcu 
ykp &/i4f>» oTTavialov^, t$ Bi *Apurro<l>dp€$9 wpdrropra^ yhp 
fUfwvPTOi mal Bp&pras dfi^. S$ep $cal SpdfiOTa KoKfi' S 
c^ai Tiv€^ avrd ^xurw, Sri fufunhrroi ip&vra^. hw koX 

90 iammnrnhmu r^ tc rparpfUa^ tcaX rfj^ tct»ii4fiLa^ oi Aa>. 
/MCK (t^ lihf yhp tcmfiupiiaii oi tAeyapeh oX tc hnavda 
flk hci Ttjfi wop ainoh hf^yyoKpaTia^ ytpoiihrq^, maX oi i/c 
TLuctKia/ititutWtpykp fjiP *EnrLj(apfyo^ iroiffni^ <oi;> iroXX^ 
wpimpo^ Ay l^jiwpihov $caX Mdrpniro^, teal rfj^ rparftpila^ 

2S hnm T&p ip Il€X4nr op pf}4 n jp) • iroiovfAepoi rh opo/uvra cfffmop* 
airol fUp ffkp sctipM^ ra^ irepiouclSa^ m^Jp ^fnurtp, 'A^- 
poiavi Bi iiifiov^t C09 /c»/A^fBoi^ oif/c air& rou tctofiafyip Xe;^- 
$arra^ oKkA rp tcarh kJ^iuk wXdpjf ar$fia^op£pov^ he Tod 
um^Summ^, KciX ih iroAcJy avrdi phf hpop, ^ABffpalov^ Si 
trpoTTOP wpocoffopevtiP. mpH phf oip t&p iuul>op&pi 



tL Mpih, . • 7«yr^mffP«r] fort l«g. <#> M^dTry7AX«rrm<Md*> 
Irc^ Tt ytypS^trm Bywmter mo. GompoMh* 28. «^lrr«f] fiovt teclii- 

dnidvm (Bywite) s wiwrm L OMMboB. rd^ fuft/ovfthmn mobuL 26. 
MaAftdd.apogr. M. t^addidL 80. «fr«t et 'A^ifPiOivf 8pMigel t 

9hm el *A#«mSh ood^ 1M8 b 1. «■! n^ vwc& • • • irfQ0m y 9ptimif 

om.Attim. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS IH 1—4 IS 

being the same, and the objects the same, the poet may 
imitate by narration — ^in which case he can either take 
another personality as Homer does, or speak in his own 
person, unchanged — or he may imitate by making all his 
actors live and move before ns. 

These, then, as we said at the beginning; are the 
three differences which distinguish artistic imitation, — 
the means, the objects, and the manner. So that from one 
point of view, Sophocles is an imitator of the same kind 
as Homer — for both imitate higher types of character ; 
from another point of view, of the same kind as Aristo- 
phanes — for both imitate persons acting and doing 
Hence, some say, the name of ' drama ' is given to such 3 
poems, as representing action. For the same reason the 
Dorians claim the invention both of Tragedy and Comedy. 
The claim to Comedy is put forward by the Megarians, — 
not only by those of Greece proper, who all^ that it 
originated under their democracy, but also by the 
Megarians of Sicily ; the poet Epicharmus, who lived not 
long before Chionides and Magnes, being from their 
country. Tragedy too is claimed by certain Dorians of 
the Peloponnese. In each case they appeal to the 
evidence of languaga Villages, they say, are by them 
called tc&iituy by the Athenians hfjfioi : and they assume 
that the name Comedians is derived not from ict^fj^eiv^ 
'to revel," but from the performers wandering about 
i4tt»the villages {/cAfuu), when still excluded firom Uie city. 
They add also that the Dorian word for * doing ' is Sp&p, 
and the Athenian, wpdrruy. 

This may suffice as to the number and nature of the 4 
various modes of imitation. 



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14 IV. 1—8. 144^ b 4— >3 

lY ~ iotxaat Si y€inffjau$ fih^ SXm^ rifif iroi/ffru^ alrUu Svo 
5 rufi9 ttttX aSrtu ^vaucaL ri tc ykp fUfitiaOtu irvii^urw 2 
ToS? iwOpAmm^ iic fraiSwf i^, kol rotrr^ Suu^ipova^ 
rim JXXmr Cf^ ^^ fUfiugTucmrar6p iar$ 9caX t^ /Ao^if • 
tf)fi9 voMiTOi &A lUft^ottt^ rh^ vpwra^9 tcciX ro j(fdp€i,p 
ToSf /ufi^fioat vinnra^. criikdw ii rovrav rh ^VfAfiaipov 3 
wini Twr ipymp* h ykp avrh XumfpA^ opAfAev, rovn^v t^9 

OiipUnf Tf §Mop^ii^ T&p €vnii4ndrmp 9caX v€icp&v, aXriop Sk 4 
tuH TovTOV, tn iuaf66»mw ov /aovop toU <l>ikoa'i^i^ ^$4rrov 
aXKk tuX roU SKKoi^ o^aoU^^, oXX* iwl fipaxP 'foipwvav' 

15 atp airrm. Stkykp toSto ')(jaJipo%Mri ri^ ^iva^ ofAim^^trk 6 
cvitfiaipu $€»pavPTa^ fLovOdpeuf KciX avXkoyif^^aOtu rC hca- 
crop, olop Sri oSto9 hcupo^, iwtl ikp ^ Tvjfff frpo€»paK<i^9 
aix i fUfM/qfM TTOii^i rtfp ^jSopifP aXX^ &A rifp amp- 
yaalap ^ ri^p ^(foihv ^ h%k rotavrtiP rtvi^ XXXriP ahiop, 

ao Mark ^vaw hii Spto^ ^fup rw fUfitiaOcu teal 1^9 dp^wpla^ 6 
seal roO /^f$w, rh ykp ^iirpa Sn ftipui r&p ^v$fA&p 
ioTk ^atftpifp, if ^^PX^ Tf^vtciiT^ 9cdX airrh fiaXiora icarh 
lumplifp vpo6rfC(PT€% tyippffcap rifp voiqaip i/c r&p airoax^'" 
Zuuri^irmp. hti&nrAtrOfi Sk tcarh rh olK€ta ijdt) ^ wottici^* 7 

S5 ol /ikp yitp oyip6r€poi t^ icaX^ ifuftovpro 'H'pd^^ $caX 
T^ rmp rowirmp, ol ik €VT€Xicr€poi rk^ r&p ^vKmp, irp&» 
TUP ^ftiyovi woio!iPT€9, &<nr€p irtpoi tfjufov^ icdX iytcAfua. \ 
tAp fiip aip vpo ^Ofiu/jpov ovSepi^ <tx9iJyep ehnlip tomvtop 8 



& dhm. apogr. s mhmi A*. IS. rodrm apogr. : r§Or0 A«. 18. 

•^iHenDtaii: t^ieodd. 20. 1« ooaL Vahlen (Beitr.) : M oodd. 

S2. mbL mhk] wf^ mMl AkL, Beklur. 27. ir^M Speogd s 9nfm 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS IV. 1—7 15 

Poetry in general seems to have sprang horn two 
causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. First, the S 
instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, 
one difference between him and other animals being that 
he is the most imitative of creatures ; and through imita- 
tion he acquires his earliest learning. And, indeed, every 
one feels a natural pleasure in things imitated. There is S 
evidence of this in the effect produced by works of art 
Objects which in themselves we view with pain, we de- 
light to contemplatewhen reproduced with absolute fidelity: 
such as the forms of the most ignoble beasts and of dead 
bodies. The cause of this again is, that to learn is a 4 
lively pleasure, not only to philosopheis but to men in 
general; whose capacity, however, of learning is more 
limited. Thus the reason why men enjoy seeing S 
a likeness is, that in contemplating it they are en- 
gaged in learning, — ^they reason and infer what each object 
is': 'this,' they say, 'is the man.' For if you happim 
not to have seen the original, the pleasive will be due not 
to the imitation as such, but to the execution, the colour- 
ing, or some such other cause. 

Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. Next, 6 
there is the instinct for harmony and rhythm, metre being 
manifestly a species of rhythm. Persons, therefore, with 
this natural gift little by little improved upon their early 
efforts, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry^ 

Poetry now branched off in two directions, according 7 
to the individual character of the writers. The more 
elevated poets imitated noble actions, and the actions of 
good men. The more trivial sort imitated the actions of 
meaner persons, at first composing satires, as the former 



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16 lY. 8 — 19. 1448 b 99 — 1449 ^ 13 

vMij/iOv cJko9 Si cImu iroXXoii9> air& Si ^Ofuipov ap^fiipoi^ 

5» evny, otor ixdmnf o Mafiytrtf^ $eal rk rouwra. hf oh Ka^ 

rk ri ip§kirmnf lofLfielop ijXBt fih-pop, &i ical la^fieiop tca^ 

Xurtu yfir, Smhrf V^fV roxntf IdfifiU^w oXXi^v^* tc€iX 9 

if iwomo rdr waXeu&p oi ijAp Jjpa^ne&p ol ii Idfifiwf irovq- 

ToL maw€p Si icaX rk cwovSdia iiakiara irovffrii^ ^O^po9 

35 j)v, /1W09 ykp o^ Sr$ cS oXX* [Sri] $eal fu/jLiitru^ SpafAa* 

TM^ iiroiffa€P» o(nw9 tud rk rij^ se^fiipSia^ cxt^/juvra 

vpSmn^ inr&€i^9 ov ^riyop oKKh ro yeXoJop Spa^ro* 

inMi/^cK* o ykp Mapytrti^ opaXoyop ep^e4« wnrep *lkia^ 

umm sad ^ ^OSvcceui wpo^ rc^ rparfffhla^^ aHm teal oSro^ frpo9 

Tik KWfMifSia^. wapti^apeioff^ Si rfjq rpar^fSia^ KciX Ktt- 10 

fu/^M^ oi i^* hcaripav t^p iroifjaw 6pfi&PT€^ tcarh rtfP 

oUdop ^wnp ol ijAp avrX r&p IdfAfi^p tc^fi^Scwoioi iyi^ 

5 POPTO, oi Si apjl T&p hr&p • rparfffSoSMLaiccLKoi Sik to 

IMfd^opa KciX hm§iimpa rh a^iMxa ttpiu ravra iKtlpwp. 

ri fiip oip hriaicorirw €l &p* iyei ffifi 1} rpatftpUa roh 11 

^WiF iseopik 4 06, aim T€ koO* avrh Kplpertu ^ [pal] 

KoX w/w rh Oiarpa, oKKo^ X6yo9. y€POfUpff <8'> oip am 12 

>o ^V'X?^ ayTocr^c&aaran;, itai aMi Kok i\ Kmiup^La^ kcX f\ phf 

iari tAp ifapxpprwf top SiOvpapfiop^ 1} Si awo t&p Th ^oX- 

>Mck h h% /col pvp ip iroXKaS^ t&p iroKimp SiafUpei po- 

/ufo/upo, icaTh fwcpop v^^^ irpoarfopT^p iaop iytypero 



S5. altinim 4n taoliit. Bonits, quod confimL Artbt. 9/mimnicii$ A«: 
iftLfmmt^ §,^ogt. IMS a 7. cf «/w Ixa apogr. : wmpixn A«: V ^ct 
TaUftB. t. Kfhwnul^ i«i. | mU A«! x^^^tm <&«i mU tpogr. : icpSHt^ nU 
ForaUMamer: Kfbnoi # [miL] «•! BnniMit fort 1^. Kfbwnu 4mu # 
oL •• >w#i^«0r>pogr. : 7«9fHi^«9i'A«i Ttr^i^ 4' «0r B«kker. 

10. ■ irir ;m i n > m r» ap(«r., Bdckort cdrwxclMi^Turijf A«. 18. Imi- 

. s hmjUwrnp A«. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS IV. ?— " 17 

did hymiis to the gods and the pnuaes of famous men. 
A poem of the satiiical kind cannot indeed be put down 8 
to any author earlier than Homer; though many audi 
writers probably there were. But from Homer onward, 
instances can be cited, — ^his Maigites, for example, and 
other similar compositions. The iambic metre was here 
introduced* as best fitted to the subject: hence the 
measure is still called the iambic or lampooning measure, 
being that in which the lampoons were written. 

Thus the older poets were distinguished as writers 9 
either of heroic or of iambic verse. As, in the serious 
style, Homer is preeminent among poets, standing alone 
not only in the excellence, but also in the dramatic form 
of his imitations, so he too first sketched out the main 
lines of Comedy, by dramatising the ludicrous instead of 
writing personal satire. His Margites bears the same 
iM* relation to Comedy that the Iliad and Odyssey do to 
Tragedy. But when Tragedy and Comedy had once 10 
appeared, writers applied themselves to one or other 
species of poetry, following their native bent They com- 
posed Comedies in place of lampoons, and Tragedies in 
place of Epic poems, the newer forms of poetry being 
higher and more highly esteemed than the old. 

Whether Tragedy has as yet perfected its proper 11 
types or not ; and whether it is to be judged in itself, or 
in relation also to the stage,^ — this raises another question. 
Be that as it may. Tragedy— as also Comedy — ^was at 12 
first mere improvisation. The one originated with the 
leaders of the dithyrambic, the other with those of the 
phallic songs, which are still in use in many of our cities. 
Tragedy advanced by slow d^ees; each new element 

c 



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18 IV. 13 — ^V. a. X449 • *4 — 37 

15 rparf^fUa iwavcaro, i^^ i<rx€ t^p airrij^ ^vcw. ical ri 19 

Xof ^yoTV Acol rk rev X9pav ^lkdTfwa€ tcaX rhp Xiyop 
wptn aym p i on t )r wap€a/c9vaa€P, t/mS? Si teal ateipHtypa^Uap 
So^HHck^. in Sk rh /A&ftda^ im /wcp&p fivOmp tcaX X^ H 

JO fem^ ytkota^ &A ri iic aarvpucov fura/SaKeip infri Jm^ 
ayuwpdfi. TO Tff fUrpop isc rerpaiJitrpoiv iaiifitlop iyipero* 
ri fiLip ykp wp&mp rerpaiAkrpf ixp&pro &A t^ aarvpitcifp 
KoX ipx^^ffT u emripop cZmu t^ wolffinp, Xi|c«»9 ^ yepo^Upff^ 
avrfi 4 ^^^ ri qUhop fUrpop eS/M, iiiKurra yhp Xefcr$» 

sS^rar tAp iktrpwp li la^ifieUp ierip* arnulop £2 Toifrov* 
wkSara ykp ia/ifieta XiyQfA€P ip rg iidKiicrf r^ wp^ 
oXXf{Xov9# ^d/ierpa Sk iKtrfdxt^ teal iicfialpopre^ t^ Xetc 
rue^ ip/iopla^. in Si iw€iavSU$p wXt^Bij. tcaX rh SKK* 
m ftcaara moafufifpHu Xiyeroi icr^ ij/up tlpfipipa* 16 

jovdX^ ffhp tb tam^ Spyop cfi^ Su^Upoi tcaO^ itca^rap. 

V 1} Si K miu/lUa icrXp wrmp tlwopLep pifu/^i^ i^av^ 
Xoripmp pJbf, a6 phnoi tcarh waaop MUclaPp oXX^ rov 
aUrjQHwhnroyeKoiop fiopiop^ ri ykp yekoiop itmp ipAp- 
Ttiitd 1% tcaX ciayp^ &Pfih%nwp icai ov ^CLprruc&p^ otop 

35 €u0i^ ri y€koiap vpoa^nrop aicyp^p n luX Suarpafifiipap 
&f€V oBvPfi^. a« pip oip rffi rpay^fSla^ pMrafiJurt^^ tcdH 
&* ip iyip oPTo oi XtXaiBaaiPp ^ Si ic^ptpUa &A t^ p^i 

19. <4 X^ <ff> \^mn Chiiit Omiwani ToeaU oollato Aiabe id ease 
llaigolioatb lOfpie. oidw tjm Oraecnli ^fyy oy Ca vmrpuit 28. 4XXa 
ibap<^.: AXMf ▲•: AXXafb HannaiiJB. 29. vi^ ^^ ^Ar ro^rwr 

Tm9niadd.Ald.uttlmiu 32. 4XU<«irATft'y^^iSbr,> rtO<a'> 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS IV. 12— V. 3 19 

that showed itself was in turn developed. Having passed 
through many changes, it found its natural form, and 
there it stopped. 

Aeschylus first introduced a second actor; he dimin- 13 
ished the importance of the Chorus, and assigned the 
leading part to the dialogue. Sophocles raised the number 
of actors to three, and added scene-painting. It was not 14 
till late that the short plot was discarded for one of 
greater compass, and the grotesque diction of the earlier 
satyric form, for the stately manner of Tragedy. The 
iambic measure then replaced the trochaic tetrameter, 
which was originally employed when the poetry was of 
the satyric order, and had greater affinities with dancing. 
Once dialogue had come in. Nature herself discovered the 
appropriate measure. For the iambic is, of all measures, 
the most colloquial: we see it in the fact that con- 
versational speech runs into iambic form more frequently 
than into any other kind of verse ; rarely into hexameters, 
and only when we drop the colloquial intonation. The 
number of 'episodes' or acts was also increased, and the 
other embellishments added, of which tradition tells. 
These we need not here discuss ; to enter into them in 16 
detail would, probably, be tedious. 

Ciomedy is, as we have said, an imitation of characters 
of a lower type, — not, however, in the full sense of the 
word bad ; for the Ludicrous is merely a subdivision of 
the ugly. It may be defined as a defect or ugliness 
which is not painful or destructive. Thus, for example, the 
comic mask is ugly and distorted, but does not cause pain. 

The successive changes through which Tragedy passed, S 
and the authors of these changes are not unknown. It 



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so y. 8 — ^VI. 3. 1449 A 38 — >449 1> '4 

ifi mm i^ ipyw iSmme^, iXX' i$€k(nrrai fjaap. fjitf Si 
0r)(fiii4vra t«mi airfjfi ixovatf^ ol Xeyofi^poi avrfj^ voi/tfrcLi 
§uniiMfimHnmu. rU Si irpoo'^nra inriSmiceif ij irpokiyov^ 3 
S^ wXiiOtl fnroKpvmw iuu Sea rotavra, tf^fiwira*. ih Sk 

iic 2«iceXXcK fjKJBtt r&v Si ^A$rivfiinv Kpdrtf^ irp&ro^ ^P^ 
ii^i§iaK^ rifi tofjkffuc^ tSiiK icaOoKov iroUip Xi^itv^ ical 
IMvBwf^. 1} /4^ oSy hrawoda r$ rparpphUf f^tjfpi yhf <tov 4 

onv T|» £2 T& fUrpop JnrXow fx^inf ical AirarffiXiap thnUf 
ravrg iuM^ipovcip* Sr^Sir^ fi^i^icth Jj fihf Jri /idKiara m^ 
parol inrh fda^inptoSw ^Xiov 4hwi^ fwcphp i^cXKdmiP, 1) 
a imnroUa Aipurro^ r^ XP^'V* ^ toi^y &a^/>ei* tcairoi 
15 TO ir/Miroy ofnoU^^ iy rai^ rparf^BUw rwro iwoiow ical iv 
ToS? earco-iy. p^ptf 3* ^<ni tA /4^ ratrrd, rh Si tSut rrj9 5 
Tparfffiia/i. SUiw€p Sari^ ir€pl rparppSla^ olSe awovSaia^ 
aal iJMvkfi^, olSe icai wepl iw&v h pky yitp iwowoila 
Sx^h virdpj(€$ r§ rparftpSUft k Si avr^, oi iravra iv r^ 
M^twawowfm 
VI W€pi oSr T^ iy i^afUrpoi^ fUfifirisctj^ ical irepl 
tcmpufSla^ tarepov ipwfA€Pp ir€pl Si rparfpSia^ X(y»fA€P 
Jofokafiim^ avr^ itc r&v elpffp^ymv r^p ywo/itpop Spop 
rfj^ovata^. Sar$Poiprpay^pSiafdp/rfirt^V'pd^€f»^airovSala^2 

IMf b 4 wptklym ▲•: X^yovt HarnMUin. 6. 'Krlxmpfim ml *6pfM 

•eefaM. flnwnftl <4m49ffF 7^ 4'ti|f> 'Er^xP^V^t inl ^ipfut pott fX^ 
BywatMr, ooUato ThemittiOy Or. zztIL p. 987 A, reete, vt opinor. 9. 

|i4l(^ liipiv ^^tv prffikm oodd. 1 ^i^xp* ^ r«0 M^p^ l^rnrbitt : /i^xP^ 
ftUm <rwB Uk Xi^ 40L>fthf&9 prffikmf Ueberw^ 12. Bmfiptt 

H«nBaaa» conimat Anibi. 19. mMii ▲•: «^ '^V* < *^ ^*^ 

at. jp mhmphfuBtnKyt AytXn^^rm codd. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS V. a— VL a 21 

i4«0» is otherwise with Comedy^ which at first was not seriously 
treated It was late before the Archon appointed a 
comic chorus; the performers were till then voluntary. 
From the time, however, when Comedy began to assume 
certain fixed forms, comic poets, distinctively so called, 
are recorded. Who introduced masks, or prologues, or in- 9 
creased the number of actors, — these and other similar 
details remain unknown. As for the plot, it came originally 
from Sicily ; but of Athenian writers Crates was the first 
who, abandoning the ' iambic ' or lampooning form, gener- 
alised his themes and plots. 

Epic poetry agrees with Tragedy in so for as it is an 4 
imitation in verse of characters of a higher ^rpe. They 
differ, in that Epic poetry admits but one kind of metre, 
and is narrative in form. They differ, again, in length : 
for Tragedy endeavours, as far as possible, to confine itself 
to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed 
this limit ; whereas the Epic action has no limits of time. 
This, then, is a second point of difference; thougli at first the 
same freedom was admitted in Tragedy as in Epic poetry. 

Of their constituent parts some are common to both, 6 
some peculiar to Tragedy. Whoever, therefore, knows 
what is good or bad Tragedy, knows also about Epic 
poetry : for all the parts of an Epic poem are found in 
Tragedy, but what bebngs to Tragedy is not all found in 
the Epic poem. 
VI Of the poetry which imitates in hexameter verse, and 
of Comedy, we will speak hereafter. Let us now discuss 
Tragedy, resuming its formal definition, as resulting from 
what has been already said. 

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is S 



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23 YL 2 — 7. 1449 b 25 — 1450 a 10 

MS tcaX reKiiiK fiiy^o^ ix^wn^^ ^Bva-fih^ \oyip x^P^^ ^^ 
ory Twr tlS&p ip rai^ ^pioi^, hpwrt^v §ca^ ov &* away- 
y€Kia^, &* ikicv tcaX ^fiov irtpalvova-a r^y r&v roiovTWV 
wadfiitmwf KoOapaw. . \iym Si ffiwr/jJvcv fjthf \oyop rov S 
ij(!'^WTa j^vOfiov icaX apftoptap tcaX ^UKo^, to Si X^P^^ ^^^^ 

50 CiSeo'i rh &A lUrpnv ivuL ^lovop wepalpea-Oiu koI WiiK^p frtpa 
hik fUkov^. iir^ Si irpdmnm^ irounhrrai ri)v fdfjbfi<np, i 
wp&mtp fiLip i( avdffscff^ &p €tff ri, fiLopiop rparffpSla^ 6 
r^ Syjrem^ KoaiAO^, Ara lUKoiroda luX Xi^t^, iv rotrroi^ ykp 
TTOioihrriu r^ pifioicw. Xeysf Si Xi^iP fjth airr^p rifP t&p 

3S furpwp avpOtaiVt luKofnoiiap S^ h rifp SvpafUP ^av^phv 
i^u waff OP. hrA S^ wpdfew^ itni ^fiffci^, wpdrrerai Si 6 
inr^ ramp irparropmp, 0^9 opoffKff iroioth npo^ elpiu /card 

Tff TO 1j$09 ACol T^ StdpOUtP {Slk yhp TOVT09P tCoX tA9 

umm wpd(a^ dpoL ^<i/icp itoue^ rtpm^ iri^vtcep Si atrias Svo t&p 
wpa^emp dpoi, Sidpouof luii fjOa^, koI icarii ravra^ tcaX 
Tvyjfmown 9uX wtt^rnrf)(apcvai, wapre^Y tarip Sif rr}^ phf 6 
wpdfem^ o fw$a^ 1} pifi/i^i^* Xiy» yhp /avOop tovtop t^ 
5 cvp$&rtp T&p wpartikStrtwPt tA S^ ^A;, koSI' % iroiov? rwa^ •' 
&HU ^>afi€P T0U9 wpdrropra^, Sidpouuf Si, ip Saoi^ Xiyop- 
r€9 iwoSeucpvacip n fj xal airo^>alpopr€U yptip/rfp. dpdffKff 7 
oSp wdtnfi rparfq^Sia^ /lipfi elpoi !(, koO* h void n^ icrlp 
4 rpajfSla* ravra S* iaii /m)^09 /col ijOfj xtd Xi^i^ teal 
wo Bi d poia tcaX Sn^i^ tcaX luKonroda. oh flip yhp fupouprtu, 

25. M#ry T^rnrbitt : itdrrmt oodd. 28. woBjuiArm oorr. apogr. : 

pm h pii erm ▲•• 89. piKm] pkr^ Yettori: mU pikm teoliia. l^' 

wUtt S5. pir^m'\ y^^rw Henuom, eoll«to 1460 b 14. 86. 

vi#«F] «8#v If aggL 86. M i^ r^bru^ . . . wijmt in pArmtheri 

Thnvot 1460 a 1. wifwctw U i^pogr. : Hfwcof A*. alHat Christ: 

•Irlseodd. 8. I^Bneken: l^oodd. 4. roOrorlr^iOralfaggi: aeolai. 
Ghiiit lb mHA^t ml'AiHpogr. 8. Km§w9UA^t co^'Avwiapogr. 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS VL a— 7 S3 

serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude ; in langoage 
embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the 
several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; 
in the form of action, not of narratiye ; through pity and 
fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. By S 
'language embellished,' I mean language into which 
rhythm, * harmony,' and song enter. By ' the several kinds 
in separate parts,' I mean, that some parts are rendered 
through the medium of verse alone, others again with 
the aid of song. 

Now as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it 4 
necessarily follows, in the first place, that Scenic equip- 
ment will be a part of Tragedy. Next, Song and Diction, 
for these are the means of imitation. By 'Diction' 
I mean the mere metrical arrangement of the words: 
as for 'Song,' it is a term whose full sense is well 
understood. 

Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action ; and an 6 
action implies personal agents, who necessarily, possess 
certain qualities both of character and thought It is 
u these that determine the qualities of actions themselves ; 
these — ^thought and character — are the two natural causes 
from which actions spring : on these causes, again, all 
success or* fEulure depends. Hence, the Plot is the imita- 6 
tion of the action : — ^for by plot I here mean the arrange- 
ment of the incidents. By Character I mean that in 
virtue of which we ascribe certain qualities to the agents. 
By Thought, that whereby a statement is proved, or a 
general truth expressed. Eveiy Tragedy, therefore^ must 7 
have six parts, which parts determine its quality — 
namely, Plot^ Character, Diction, Thought^ Sceneiy, Song. 



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S4 VI 7—13* »4So » "—35 

Suo fUfni i^rltfp «k ii fUfunhmu, ii^, h Si fUfuwmu, rpta, 
«m4 waph raSra aifih. roimw fi^ oSy iXlyov ain&v 8 

iyy€i^ iX^ waw tcaX IjOo^ tcaX /tv$cp tcaX Xi(i¥ tcaX fiiko^ 

15 icaX iidpoiot^ io'aviw^. iktrfiorw Sk rovrmv iarlp 1) r&v 9 
v/Nry/ioTvy av^Toai^* 1) yip rpoff^fSla pifuifak icriv 
9VK mOpirtrwf oXX^ irpd^m^ xal filov tcaX €vS(up4wla^ 
<tcai m a te oSai f M4nnWp 17 Si €vSiup4>pla> tcaX ^ KOscoSoipopla 
iy wpd^i iariv luX to rlXo9 wpa^i^ r$^ ierlv, ov iroi* 

90 or99« darlif Sk tcarik pky rik HOff iroiol rtve^, icarh Si rk^ 10 
wpd^ei^ cu&u/iove9 fj rawapriop. oitcow Sww^ r^ fjOff /u* 
fAi^awPTtu wpamwriVt oXX^ rik ffifi <rv^apaXafJkl34ivovci» 
SU^ rk^ irpd^i^* wm rit wpdyfAora xal 6 fAvOa^ WX09 
T^ TparffSia^t ri Si WX09 fi^urrop airdvr^p. tri Svw 11 

2$ fiip wpd(€m9 oiic tb yipoiro rpoffipSia, Sv€v Si ^0&p yi- 
povr* &p. ai ykp r&p pit^p r&v wXdarw^ aijd€i9 rpofppSUu 
CMj)y irol Skm9 iroM^ral voXXol rotovroh otop tcaX r&p ypa» 
^wp Zev(t9 irp^ HoXvypforop iriwwdep^ 6 /a^ yhp Ho- 
Xuypmra^ iffoOh^ riOcrfpd^o^, tl Si Zevf i&>9 ypa^ ovSip 

JO hC^ ^^* ^^ ^^ '''^ H^&h ^ H<r€i^ i^Ouck^ ml Xi^i 13 
seal Sia^oi^ ei wefroirffAha^, 06 Tron^ct^ h 9fp rrj^ rpar/fp* 
Sia^ Spyop, iXKk woXv /aoXXov 1} /caroSecar^poi^ rovrok^ 
icexp^fiip^ rpay^pSUh ^Xf^va-a Si pvOop icdi avaraaw irpay* 
yjptmp. ir/>09 Si Tovro*9 rk fjLtyurra ok '^^vxo^^oiy^l ^ 18 

15 rpoff^fSta, Toy fUiOw fUpri iarip, aXrt ir€piir4r€uu tcaX i»a» 

11. 0^ My« uMh ^ dw9^ eodd. x tKlyov oM^ <&r«rrft> 1^ dirtSW 
^ywaters c^ »Jyu mMh <4XU Wrrct> 1^ dwd^ Banian. 18. 

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VM0nr eonL Yahkn. #ip««^aXa^i^dtMimr Spmigel 1 wv/ianpOm^ifii^mmp 
a: M. X4« mU Imu^ YaUen: XIC^ ml duL^wtat eodd. 11. 

i#add.ap<^. t *Mq«aqiiaiii' Araba: fort t W a ^ Qt llaigoUoiith. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS VL 7— 13 25 

Two of the parts constitute the means of imitation/ one 
the manner, and three the objects of imitation. And these 
complete the list These elements have been emplojed^.S 
we may say, by almost all poets; in fact, eveiy play con* 
tains Scenic accessories as well as Chanicter, Plot, Diction, 
Song, and Thought 

But most important of all is the structure of the 9 
incidents. For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but 
of an action and of life,— of happiness and miseiy ; and 
happiness and misery consist in action, the end of human 
life being a mode of action, not a quality. Now the 10 
characters of men determine their qualities, but it is by 
their actions that they are happy or the reverse. Dra- 
matic action, therefore, is not with a view to the repre- 
sentation of character: cb^:actercopi€»Jinj|ig_8y^^ 
1^2JI^ action. Hence the incidents and the plot are the 
end of a tragedy ; and the end is the chief thing of alL 
Again, without action there cannot be a tragedy; there 11 
may be without character. The tragedies of most of our 
modern poets fiail in the rendering of character; and of 
poets in general this is often trua It is the same in 
painting; and here lies the difference between Zeuxis 
and Polygnotus. Polygnotus delineates character well: 
the style of Zeuxis is devoid of ethical quality. Again, 12 
if you string together a set of speeches expressive of 
character, and well finished in point of diction and 
thought^ you will not produce the essential tragic effect 
nearly so well as with a play, which, however deficient in 
these respects, yet has a plot and artistically constructed 
incidents. Besides which, the most powerful elements of 19 
emotional interest in Tragedy — ^Reversals of Fortune, and 



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86 VI 14 — 19- «4S^ » 36—145© b 19 

ywmpta€i^. fn atf^lop &n tcaX oi iyj(€ipathm^ woituf irpo^ 14 

irpoffiuvra cvPicrdtHU, olbr tcaX oi irpmroi iroifiral (rj(€ioP 
Swant ^ . apxh f»hf oSr tcaX olov ^^v)(^ o fw$a9 t^ rpa- 

40 7f»Sia9t Sempw H tA ^^. wapawXi^iw ydp icrtv /col 16 
um% hrl lifi ypa^ueii^^ el ydp ri^ ivaKd'^i€ roh KoKklarot^ 
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yptufn^a^ utcova. tart0T€fdp/tia'$^wpd^€€^icdiSii^TavTriP 
liiKurra rw wparrovrmp. rplrop ii 1) BititHHa. rovro Bi 16 
5 ioTtP rh XeyfiF hvpaa$€U rh hovra luX rik opfMrrrcvra, 
Sw€p M r&p Xiy»v t% iroXiTucf}^ «m4 fnrropudi^ ipyov 
i^rlp' oi pAp jkp apj(a!io$ woXvrucSi^ iirolovp Xiyovra^, oi 
hkwvjnfropimm. icrw Si ffic^ pivih roiourowh STfXotrifP 17 
wpoalpwtp, omvld ri9 ip oU ovtc ftrr^ HiXop fj irpotu- 

lopemu ^ ^euyci* Sump oific i'/pvcw fjdo^ t&p X&yw^ ip 
otv pufi* Skt^ tarip S r$ irpocupwriu ^ ^evyci o Isjtymp. 
htopoia tit ip oh airoi€ucpvoval ri <&9 iorip fj &^ ovic icTiP 
4 tcoBoKov Ti amwfHUPOPTiu^ rhuprop Si [t&p pip Xifymp"] ^ 18 
X^i9* Xjyii Sit wnrtp vpcmpop €ipfiT<u, Xi^ip tha* rifp 

15 Siik T^ opopuuria^ ippnjptioPt h ical hr\ t&p ip^Urp^p tcaX 
iwi T&p Xijmp Ijfl^i Ti)p airri)P Svpapav. t&p Si \ovir&p 19 
\wipT€\ 4i p€komUa pyirfiorop t&p ^Svcpidrmp, ^ Si 2^49 
^ftvxfVfmyuAp piPt &Te)(pirraTOP SH icdi fiKurra olxetop Ttfi 
iFotiifrueiJ9* <{0'>«»9 y^ 1% Tp<vppSLa^ Svpopu^ /cal Svw 



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codd.: 74^ HiraMim. 0. ht^ rtt* Bekker, omiito Ir o& d^c 

«m . • • ^i^Yci. Sio IbfgolUmtli oolkto Anbe. 11. 5 n apogr. : $ 

tit ▲•• IS. TAr^XiYMTMoliuL 17. Wrrw A* : aeoliii. 6p«ngel x 
r i^ogK* 19- i<r«M MeiMr s 1^ A* t ^ *pogr« 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS VL 14— 19 27 

Becognition scenes — are parts of the plot A farther 14 
proof is, that novices in the art are able to elaborate their 
diction and ethical portraiture, before they can frame the 
incidents. It is the same with almost all early poets. 

The Plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, 
the soul of the tragedy : Character holds the second place. 
A similar fact is seen in painting. The most beautiful 15 
i4n» colours, laid on confusedly, will not give as much pleasure 
as the chalk outline of a portrait Thus Tragedy is the 
imitation of an action, and of the agents, mainly with a 
view to the action. 

Third in order is the Thought, — ^that is, the facul^ of 16 
saying'What^.jjgialble^.and pertinent in^ civen^^rcum- 
stances. In the case of the dramatic dialogue, this is 
the function of the political or the rhetorical art : for the 
older poets make their characters speak the language of 
civic life; the poets of our time, the language of the 
rhetoricians. Character is that which reveals moral 17 
purpose : it shows what kind of things^ in cases of doubt, 
a man chooses or avoids. • A dialogue, therefore, which 
in no way indicates what the speaker chooses or avoids, 
is not expressive of character. Thought, on the other 
hand, is that whereby we prove that something is or is 
not, or state a general maxim. 

Fourth comes the Diction ; by which I mean, as has 18 
been already said, the expression of our meaning in 
words ; and its essence is the same both in verse and 
prose. 

Of the remaining elements Song holds the chief place 19 
among the embellishments. 

The Sceneiy has, indeed, an emotional attraction ot its 



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38 VL 19— Vn. 4* 1450 b 20—1451 a i 



rmk iei r^ awrraaw tUnu r&p wpafffidiwv, iireti^ tovto 
2S teal wpSnw Koi iiJ^iorw t% rparf^pSia^ icrlv. tctlrtu Hi 3 
^§JM T79 rpar/ffiiap tcXc^ck tuii SXi;^ irpd^w^ €lvai id- 
inq^rw iypwrq^ n fUyeffa^* iarw yap oKov tcai p/rfih ^x^ 
fiiy€0O9. oKop Si icrw ih ^oy apx^v icai pJk^ov luX rt- 8 
Xnrniw. ap^ Si icrw 8 axnh phf /iti i( av6rfiefi^ pjfrr 

nkevjii Si rovpaPTiOP 8 avrh imrf JtXXo wi^VKW €lp€U fj 
i( avayxi^ ^ A9 iirl rh iroXv, p/trik Si roxho SKko ovSiy, 
pAffop Si 8 KoL atrrh p/tr* ShXo Koi putr iMlpo irepov. 
Set Spa roi^ ^wt^r&Ta/^ €i pvdov^ p^ff mhOtif Irv^ev 

55 iptjfwQa^ pfllfff twov hvx^ rtXevrop, &XXi^ KexpfjadM ralk 
upnipimu^ lSia&9. In 8* ^ircl ri tcak6v tcaX J^^p §cal iirav i 
wpStfpa 8 avpiffTfiK€P iK TiP&p ov p6vop ravra rrrarfphfa 
Set fx^tP oXX^ icaX pbp0o^ vwapja^w pii rh rv^ip* ri 
ykp scdkip ip la&fiOu tcaX rd^$ iirrlp, &^ o0r« vdmuKpw 

49&^ r$ yipotro scdSJop H^op, 0V7%€7riu yi^p 1} O€(opla iyyi^ 

roO ioHuaOfirQV ;^p^ifov yufopiptf, otre irappiy^dt^t oi ykp 

yskmipm ^ Btmpia ytpenu JIXK* of;^a« roU OettpoOci ri h 



41* xf^^mmdaa. Bonits. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS VL 19— VIL 4 29 

own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistio, and con- 
nected lerat with poetio theory. For the power of Tragedy, 
we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation 
and actors. Besides, the production of scenic effects de- 
pends more on the art of the stage manager than on that 
of the poet 
VII These principles being established, let us now discuss 
the proper structure of the Plot, since this is the first, 
and also the most important part of Tragedy. 

Now, according to our definition. Tragedy is an 2 
imitation of an action, that is complete, and whole, and 
of a certain magnitude ; for there may be a whole that 
is wanting in magnitude. A whole is that which has S 
beginning, middle, and end. A beginning is that which 
does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but 
after which something naturally is or comes to be. An 
end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows 
some other thing, either by necessity, or in the regular 
course of events, but has nothing following it A middle 
ia that which follows something as some other thing 
follows it A well constructed pbt, therefore, must 
neither b^n nor end at haphazard, but conform to the 
type here described. 

Again, if an object be beautiful — either. a living 4 
organism or a whole composed of parts^ — ^it must not 
only have its parts in orderly arrangement, it must also 
be of a certain magnitude. Hence no exceedingly small 
animal can be beautiful ; for the view of it is confused, 
the object being seen in an almost imperceptible moment 
of time. Kor, again, can an animal of vast sice be 
beautiful ; for as the eye cannot take it all in at once, 



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30 Vn 4— Vra. 3, MSI a 2— as 

icaX T^ SKow iic Tffi du^pla^t olop tl ^pU^p eraiU^p cTi; 
t^op* Am Set KoOdfnp iirl r&p awfidr^p tcaX M tSp 6 
{fMHr SxjttP fi^ ^ktff€do^9 rovTO li €vavpcirrop elpoi, adrm 
5 Acol iirl T&p fiiiOmp ^€iy fiiip fiijica^, rovro Si fd/M^/A^ytv- 
Top cZmu. Toy finitcov^ Spa9 <o> fiiip wp^ roi^ iff&pa^ 6 
«m4 r^ alaOiprtp oi t^ t^X*^ ^^t^* €» 7^ jfici hcarrhp 
rfHVpjp^iaii afptpt^€ffOa4t irph^ /cXr^jniSpa^ ^ ff^wpU^oprOt 
mamp mni xal SKKim MOcuruf. 6 Si xar* oArijp ri^ 7 
to^vatp rw vpitfiuvro^ Sp<^» otl fikp o full^ufp fiixP* Toy 
0VpStik99 cJyoi icdKKU^p iarl Karh to fiiyeOo^, i^ Si 
ovXA? &o/:>^ainra9 €4ir€&» ip Saf fn&fiOu tcarh t^ coe^ 
4 T^ opajicaSop ^^ ytypofihfcfp avfA0alp€i tk tvrvxlap 
he SvffTv^laii fj i( €iTV)(ia^ c J9 Swmr)(lap p^rafid^XuPt 
Ym 1x0909 8po9 iinip rot) /a&fiOov^. fiuOa^ ^ itrrlp €U 
0UX Anrtp rufh ctoprai idp ir€pl fpa f* voXXA 7^^ 
«m4 Atrnpa T^ Iirl avfAfialp€$9 i( &p [^i^i^] oiSip itrriP 
fp* cih999 Si tcaX wpd(€$9 iph^ iroXKal etciP, i( &p 
§da ovSqtla jlpenu irpa(i9. &i iroprt^ ioUaa-tP i/utp' 3 
aoTowtty iaoi r&p wowfr&p ^HptucXvjiSa SffOfjlSa koX tA 
TOfoyra ironifiora irewo$iiieaa'iP* doprai ydpp iirtl tU fip 
o 'H/nmA%, fpa tcai top pUBop ttvtu vpaai/iKtiv. o fi*S 
''Oftftipo'i &air€p icai rik ShXa Si4ij>ipei KaX rovr ioucep 
KoKA^ SUip ijToi Sik rix^nfp 4j S^k ^wrw* ^OSAratutP ykp 
^5 'troi&p oim iirol/qa€P Swopra S^a ain^ ffvpifiif, otop vX^- 



14n a 8. 0mttdruif] 0vmi/Ur%t9 Bywtter. 6. i tdd. BoraUii. 

S. Kkiffifytuf apogr. 9. M0mmw IL Sohmidtt *aieat ■olemu 

dieevd ^ititm i^ao ttoipoit %t aUquisdo' Arabs: ^a#iy eodd. 
17. ny M apogr.! rOt yiim A« (ot IMT a] ITX^l^rfifr moIim. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS VIL 4— VUL 3 SI 

i4n a the unify and sense of the whole is lost for the spectator. 
So it would be with a creature a thousand miles long. 
As, therefore, in animate bodies and living organisms, a 6 
certain magnitude is necessary, and that such as majr 
be easily embraced in one view ; so in the plot, a certain 
length is necessary, and that length one that may be 
easily embraced by the memory. The limit of length in 6 
relation to dramatic competition and sensuous present- 
ment, is no part of artistic theory. For suppose a 
hundred tragedies had to be played against one another, 
the performance would be regulated by the hour-glass, — 
a method, indeed, that is familiar enough otherwise. But 7 
the limit as fixed by the nature of the drama itself is 
this : — the greater the length, the more beautiful will 
the piece be in respect of such magnitude, provided that 
the whole be perspicuoua And as a general rule, the 
proper magnitude is comprised within such limits, that 
the sequence of events, according to the law of probabilify 
or necessity, will admit of a change from bad fortune 
to good, or from good fortune to bad. 

Vni Unity of plot does not, as some persons think, consist 
in the unity of the hera For infinitely various are the 
incidents in one man's life, which cannot be reduced to 
unity ; and so, too, there are many actions of one man 
out of which we cannot make one action. ' Hence the S 
error, as it appears, of all poets who have composed a 
Heradeid, a Theseid, or other poems of the kind. They 
imagine that as Heracles was one man, the story of 
Heracles ought also to be a imity. But Homer, as in S 
all else he is of surpassing merit, here too— -whether 
from art or natural genius — seems to have happily diA- 



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38 Ym. 3— IX. 5. 1451 a 26—1451 b 11 

T^MU §ihf hf rf ^^>P04raY» fJUMtnjpiu Si wpoinroiiia'turdai 
ip rf ^>TW^ ^^ ovSkp Oaripav y€iH>fUpau apofficaSw ^ ^ 
CMci^ Oartpw y€i4a0ait aXXk mpl fila^ wpa(iP otav Xiyo- 
/i€y T^ 'OStMrovioir avpiarffoep, ofidn^ tk /rol r^y IXio- 
JO So. jfpii odr maBannp koX tv Tai9 SKKm,^ fuijurfrucai^ 4i fua 4 
/dfmfo^ Mi hrrw dhw teal rir /ivOop, iml wpafyw^ id- 
/M|a»9 icTif fuS^ T€ fZroi tcaX ra^Tf^^ SXaf^ teal r^ fiipfi 
wpwimHU tAt wparfiimwp a6r»^p &ar€ fMeraTi$€fUpov 
TUf^ futpov^ ^ JulHupovfUpov Su»ij>ip€irOai teal tciveiaOai to 
15 SXor* t ykp wpoaop ^ §»ii wpoahw iMifikp woUi iirlSffXop, 
mtiip iMopui9 rw tKov iarU. 

IX ^ampiip Sk he r&p elfifffUpmp icaX Sri ov rh ri^ yipo* 
fUwaXtyup, toOto mntiToD iprmp iarlp, iXK* ota Avyhoiro 
seal rk iupari^ scoria ri cAc^ ^ li AparfKoiov. o ffhp 8 

Mn» iaropuc^ tcaX o iroii;T^ oi r^ ^ i/Afierpa yJrftw ^ A/urpa 

»aX ovih ^TTov itp dfi Urropla tk /bier^ /Urpw ^ Sv€v fd- 
rpmPt iXkk rovnjf Buu^ip€h Tf» t^p itkp rh yepofi^pa Xi- 

5 y*iP9 TOP a ota Ap yipotro. &o teal j>{ko<ro^m€pop koX 3 
cmwAuimpoip TroUict^ taropla^ Iciip* ^ fjiip yhp wottfci^ 
/AoXXor T^ tca$oXov, ^ 3* Urropla rk icaff hcaarop Xiyei. 
ioTiP 3i 9ca0oKov pipt rfS iro^ rh wouk Arra <rvpfialp€$ 4 
Xiy€iP ^ wparm$p icark to tUhi^ 1j rh ipoyicdiop, o5 cro- 

10 %a2>nu ^ wohfai^ ipopara hnnO^fUvfit rh tk tcaff tsca- 
^TOP, rl *AXiri^ia3i|9 hrpa^ep ^ rl hrad€P. hrX pAp ohf tQ9 5 
S7. V 4 Apogr- s V A«. 38. X/ysyicv apogr. t Xiyotfuw A*t Ar 

JbM^i'^] h m ^ M^w ii tuf^tnr Ifugolionth, oolUto Arabe 
'eommpaln;* 16. vtui; Ml^Xtr 1^ apogr. S7. t^ n^ ^pogr. i 

•in# A*. 1411 b 4. Tt^ • . . T^ *PV« i ^^^ . • • rd A* t 

Ti9f» • • • ti 8pMgtL lO. n^ ^pogr* i ^ A*. 



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ARISTOTL£*S POETICS VIIL 3— IX. 4 M 

oemed the tratL In oompofling the Odyaaqr he did not 
bring in all the adventnieB of Odyssenfr— ench as his 
wound on ParnasBus, or his feigned madneas at the 
mustering of the host — ^incidents between which there 
was no necessary or probable connexion: bat he made 
the Odyssey, and likewise the Iliad, to centre romid an 
action, that in our sense of the word is one. Ab there- 4 
fore, in the other imitative arts, the imitation is one, when 
the object imitated is one, so the plot, being an imitation 
of an action, must imitate one action and that a whole, 
the structural union of the parts being such that, if 
any one of them is displaced or removed, the whole will 
be disjointed and disturbed. For that which may be 
present or absent without being perceiyed, is not an 
organic part of the whole. 

IX It is, moreover, evident from what has been said, that 
it is not the function of the poet to relate what has 
happened, but what may happen, — what is possible 
according to the law of probability or necessity. The 3 

i4ii» poet and the historian differ not by writing in verse or 
in prose. The work of Herodotus might be put into 
verse, and it would still be a species of history, with 
metre no less than without it The true difference is 
that one relates what has happened, the other what may 
happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and 3 
a higher thing than history : for poetry tends to express 
the universal, history the particular. The universal tells 4 
us how a person of given character will on occasion speak 
or act, according to the law of probability or necessity ; 
and it is this universality at which Poetry aims in giving 
expressive names to the character& The particular is 

D 



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34 IX. 5— lo. 1451 b I a— 37 

y&Ow h$k rw eUirmp clhw rh rt^omra Mfiara inrcri- 
Oiaawp Mol otS% S»amp oi tofiffairoiol ir€pl liv icaff hcaarow 
15 VDioJmy. M Si 7% rpatffjphia^ t&p fpjfoiUimv ivofjutn^v 6 
tfn^j ^a rj<M > ofrior ^ &n inda^w itm ri iwarov. rh fjihf 
o8y ftii ye^pxwa fAirm irurrfuo/icy cZmu Svyarii, rh Si 76- 

i§iMm9!ykp h rovrtp rd tc wp6^iiaiu icaX rk ivifiaiu irc- 
mAffnu, KoX ovSh firrw tv^pahfti* &ar^ oi waviw^ cImu 8 
fi /i i y r fcy TW wapaieSofMipmp fiM^tv, mp\ o(k a/ rpay^^iUu 

15 €»7&9 iarrtxttrOa*. koL ykp jtkoiov tovto {V^!y, ^irt I moI 
tA yiNip t^a oXXyoiy yymp^iJLdiarw aXX* 5/M»y €b^paL»€iwdih 
Ta9* fi^Xoy ody Ic rwrtw Sri top woifjr^p fioKKop t&p 9 
fivOmp ebnu Su mnffriip ^ rAy fJrpmp, Ihr^ woifyrifi Karh 
r^ fUfifi^ icTiPp fUfutrai Si rk^ wpd^t^. §ckp &pa irvpfiy 

j^ytpofupa woi€tp, oiOip f/rrop woitfrri^ ion* t&p ykp yepo- 
litpmp hna ovSh /roiXue* TOUMVTa cZmu ota &p tlte^ yepiaOoi 
teaX Supark ytpiaOiu, naff % itcetpo^ airr&p wowfnfj^ ioTiP. 

T&p Si SKK»p pvdmp tcaX wpd^tmp at iwMiPvSyiSti^ 10 
ddp j(€lpumu. \iy» S* iir€$aoSuiSff pvOop ip ^Tk hr€ur^ 

^ o&a /icr* SXKaiKa 9(n tUo^ c6t* ipitytctf Apm. toul^m 
Si irMoSmcu viro plip t&p ^o^Xm/p mMjT&p &* avTOv^, 
6ri Si T&p irpiB&p Sik rot^ inroKpiTA^* irfmpUrpaTa 



It. •Irw] * B aqiuiqnam* Aimbt! fort l^gendiim 0^! ef. 1411 a 87. 
iutwMm n ftpogr.» Bekker. 14. r^ A«! W)r apogr. 19. 

^ Mm ftpogr., SiiMmiliL SI [«iMu]T Spengel 82. ml <•«« 

<XXiM> IvmH^ SMemibls ml htmirk ym^Mtu aeeliia Christ 88. 

AXmt I^Uttt AvXAr eodd. 87. hroicptria A«! c^trit apogr. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS IX. 5—10 S6 

— for example — what Alcibiades did or suffered. In 6 
C!omed7 this is now apparent: for here the poet first 
constructs the plot on the lines of probability, and then 
assumes any names he pleases ; — ^unlike the lampooners 
who write about a particular individual But tragedians 6 
still keep to real names, the reason being that what is 
possible is credible : what has not happened we do not 
at once feel sure to be possible : but what has happened 
is manifestly possible ; • otherwise it would not have 
happened. Still there are some tragedies in which one 7 
or two names only are well known, the rest being 
fictitious. In others, none are well known, — as in 
Agathon's Flower, where incidents and names alike are 
fictitious, and yet it pleases. We must not, therefore, 8 
at all costs keep to the received legends, which are the 
usual subjects of Tragedy. Indeed, it would be absurd 
to attempt it ; for even familiar subjects are famih'ar only 
to a few, and yet give pleasure to alL It clearly £d11ows 9 
that the poet or ' maker ' should be the maker of plots 
rather than of verses; since he is a poet because he 
imitates, and what he imitates are actions. And if he 
chances to take an historical subject, he is none the less a 
poet ; for there is no reason why some real events should 
not have that internal probability or possibility which 
entitles the author to the name of poet 

Of all plots and actions the epeisodic are the worst 10 
I call a plot 'epeisodic' in which the episodes or acts suc- 
ceed one another without probable or necessary sequence. 
Bad poets compose such pieces by their own &ult, good 
poets, to please the players; for, as they write for 
competing rivals, they draw out the plot beyond its 



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S6 IX. lo— XL I. 145 1 b 3S— 1453 a 36 

um^Xatm tutarpi^€Uf apoffscdfoprai li i4>€^. iml Si ov 11 

tuHtkfuimv, raSraii ytwenu [teal] futKurra iraw yhnfTiu 
wapk rifp io^, MoX fuXKop <^ay> &* JEXXiyXa* to ykp 12 
5 Oaviioai^ ai$rQ»9 fi^i fioKKov ^ A inrh roO aAro/Adrov $cai 
r^ rv)pf9, hrA teal r&w ieirh rvxt^ rwra Oavfuurutrara 
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awSpik^ 6 rw Mlrva^ iw ''Apyti iirhcT€W€if ihv aXriop rov 
Oatwrwf TfS M/rui, Otmpown^ i^im^trmp* Iomm yap ra 
10 TOMwra WK €uc§ yevicOoA. &ar€ Aydrficq roi^ ixhovtov^ 

X ud Bi r&p fiv$ofp ol pkp iiwkol oi Si wewXey^Upoi, 

»aX ykp ai wpd^ei^ &p /u/ii^€K ot fsvOot tUnp inrdpypv- 
atp €V0^ datu TOUMrrai. Xiyw ii airXljp pip wpa^w ^ 3 

15 yt^o/Upfi^ imrtp Apumu avp€j(tw tud /ua^ Svnf wepvm- 
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S* ^lip ^ furk &patfPupurpov ^ irepvirertla^ 4 ip^tp 1} 
fiberdfiaak iaitp. raXna Si Sci yipttrdM i( avrffi rfj9 av- 3 
arda^^q rw pv$ov, &ct€ Ik tAp wpoyef€Pfipipmp avfifiaip€ip 

JO i) ^( opcpficti^ ^ icari^ to tUh^ ylyptirdiu roOra* Siwl>ip€i 

ykp woKJb vrh ytyp€(r0ai rait &A raSc ^ p^rit rdBe. 

XI £07» Si wepiwema pip ^ th ri ipaprlop r&p wpar^ 

rophmp p/trafioXJit tcoBairep elptiTM, teal rovro Si A^irep 

Xlyop/tp Kwrk r^ ^Iseh^ ^ iawftcdiop* &<nr€p h TfS OiU* 

J5 WO& Minp «#9 €v^pap&p rip OlSlwovp teal ivaXKd^ap rov 

wp^rip^ p0fripa^fioVtSf9i\iliHrwh^^Ptro\nMi^ 
88. wftenhwm apogr. : v«^rt(r«yrff A«. 1469 a 8^ mU mcIqi. 

fluwnihl. KtA #iiXi#T« mU iiS^Xm 9rtuf ydwtrm va^ rV ^^i^ codd. i 
cocradiBflis. 17. I'lrrirftSiiMmiU: MXIfitA*: M tf mr if ft (h. «. 
8^;i'ie«f)Ta]iliiit M^ftTdMrpafitapogr.t M rp«(it ft Utberweg. 
90. rm9rm1rimwHm Bonitii Ibrt roete. 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS IX. lo— XL I S7 

capacity, and are often foroed to break the natural con- 
tintdtj. 
MM* Bat again. Tragedy is an imitation not only <tf all 
complete action, bat of events terriUe and pitifoL Such 
an efifoct is best produced when the events come on as 
by surprise ; and the efEsct is heightened when, at the 
same time, they follow from one another. The tragic 12 
wonder will then be greater than if they happmed of 
themselves or by accident ; for even accidents are most 
striking when they have an air of design. We may 
instance the statue of Mitys at Argos, which fell upon his 
murderer while he was looking at it, and killed him. Such 
events seem not to be due to mere chance. Plots, therefore, 
constructed on these principles are necessarily the best 

X Plots are either Simple or C!omplicated ; for such too, 
in their very nature, are the actions of which the plots 
are an imitation. An action which is one and con* S 
tinuous in the sense above defined, I call Simple, when 
the turning point is reached without Beversal of Fortune 
or Becognition: C!omplicated, when it is reached with 
Beversal of Fortune, or Becognition, or both. These S 
last should arise from the internal structure of the plot, 
so that what follows should be the necessary or probable 
result of the preceding action. It makes all the difference 
whether one event is the consequence of another, or 
merely subsequent to it 

XI A Beversal of Fortune is, as v^e have said, a change 
by which a train of action produces the opposite of the 
effect intended ; and that, according ^ our rule of prob- 
ability or necessity. Thus in the Oedipus, the messenger, 
hoping to cheer Oedipus, and to free him from his alarms 



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S8 XL I— <. I4SJ a 27—1452 b 13 

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wtwpayfU^mp diro^oyeSr, r^ Si awdfjwu. a»arfpwpun^% 
3D hit &o7r€p «al raHpofia afffuUp€$, i( arpfola^ t*9 ypwnv 

iwrvxJMV ipiCfUtwp* KaXkUrrti ik avayiH&puri^, irav i^ 
wtptmirtuu yumpTM, otop fx'^i ^ ip r^ OlSlwoBi. tlaip/AipS 
dp KtA SXXtu ioMMTpwplat^* /rol 7^ wpit^ &i^vx^ ^ ^^ 

3S rvyifpra icriP «#9 <i>w€p ^pi^rtu avfifialv€i, ical el wi- 
vparfi r^^^ /tii whrpajep iarw a^arpmfltriu^ dXX* i\ /ui- 
XioTS TOt) /AV^ov mX ^ fuiXurra 7% wpd^tc^ ^ etpfffihnf 
iarip* 17 7«^ roiovrti oporpfj^pun^ koX wepiwirtia ^ iKeov 4 

»» l|^ ^ ^ofiop, olmp wpa^v 1} rparppZia fdfMffins inroiceiTiu* 
ht ik «al li irvx/up fcal rh €vrvx'^tp iwl r&v rtHOvrofv 
avfifiiiamu. hrA S^ ^ ivayvcipuri^ rw&viimvavarfPfapiai^t 6 
al /Up Oaripw wph^ rhp fnpop /Upop, irav § 5^\o9 Hrepa^ 
Srh icriP, M 8i Af/ufnyripov^ Bet ipayvatplaai, otov ^ 
/tip *I^iyhma r^ ^Opiarg AvtyprnptaOti itc rij^ iripf^m^ 
rifi iwiaroKSji^, iicdpw Sk irph^ r^p ^l^i/fiv€uiv SXktfi €B€i 
Jtparjpmpta^m^* 1 

Sio pip dp TOt) pvOov pipfi mpl ravr* iorlt W€p0rir€ut 6 
10 ical ioKPfPtipun^, rplrw tk wdOo^. rovrvp ii trepmirua pip 
sud ioKPpfipun^ ^ptfrtu, wdOo^ Si ion wpa^i^ ^apnitii ^ 
iSppffpdt olop otrtipr^ ^optp^ Odparoi teal al irepi^* 
SupUu icaX rpiati^ icaX oca rouwrtu 

SS. Fort fltav Bywater. S6. twrufCn <5>ri^8peiigd : i^rhf&rwtpA^i 
lvTir^AfyijpAl(L,Bekker. rvi^i/SaiMu^apogr, 86. f/A^apogr.: <i/d^A«. 
Sa. mU WMptmirmm Mdm. SmemihL nU <ft4Xi^* 4iiw ra2> vt^WrciA f 
AMrooiiLTalile&. 14M b 1. ifwr apogr. t tflipr A«. 2.lnM]/rfi^ 
SvMBdhU poa, eomaiata poat iminmnu. 8. Ircl 8^ 4] iwtl I' ^ Bekkar. 
4. impm Bwnaja t In^ptt oodd. 7. tf«i(rfif Bywtktm t ^«i^ eodd* 

9. w^ Mdaai ll'ggt t «^ ami Tidttiir Icgina Anba (llaigoliomh) : 
w^ fwMk Twiniqfi It. tV rt apogr. 1 ^ A*. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XL 1—6 89 

about his mother, reveals his origin, and so produces the 
opposite effect Again in the Lynoeus, Lynceus is being 
led out to die, and Danaus goes with him, meaning to 
slay him ; but the outcome of the action is, that Danau3 
is killed and Lynceus saved. 

A Becognition, as the name indicates, is a change 2 
from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate 
between the persons destined by the poet for ^ood or bad 
fortune. The best form of recognition is coincident with 
a reversal of fortune, as in the Oedipua There are 8 
indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most 
trivial kind may sometimes be objects of recognitioiL 
Again, the discovery may be made whether a person has 
or has not done something. But the form which is 
most intimately connected with the plot and action is, as 
we have said, the recognition of persona This, combined 4 
with a reversal of fortune, will produce either pity or 
\m% fear ; and actions producing these effects are those which, 
as we have assumed. Tragedy represents. Moreover, 
fortune or misfortune will depend upon such incidenta 
Becognition, then, being between persons, it may happen 5 
that one person only is recognised by the other — ^when 
the latter is already known— -or the recognition may need 
to be on both sides. Thus Iphigenia is revealed to 
Orestes by the sending of the letter; but another means 
is required to make Orestes known to Iphigenia. 

Two parts, then, of the Plot — ^Beversal of Fortune and 6 
Becognition — ^tum upon surprises. A third part is the 
Tragic Incident The two former have been discussed. 
The Tragic Incident is a destructive or painful action, such 
as death on the stage, bodily torments, wounds and the like. 



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40 xn. I— xm 2. 145J b 14—35 

15 wpaT€fHm d;iro/ici% icark ii rh wotrop teal w & Suup€mu 

m dt n mv TOVTOy fSia Si rh inrh 7% atetipij^ teal tdfAfiOi. 

JO wapHaUf hmcilUoif Si M^po9 Skw T/Mvyyfi£a9 t^ fiera^if 
Skm9 jfppucw fUkw, c|bSo9 Si /^po9 SKov rparfijpZLa^ 
fic0* t ovic Itrri ;(o/9od f^tko^^ j(pp4Jcov Si ir<:^x>So9 /^iy 1^ 

awawatcravtcaXrpoxoUvptcofifUf^iiO/njpa^tcoi^ 
as <Tiflir> Jnri ciapnfi. fUpti ii rparpphloi oU /Ah Jk dfSca-i 3 
i€i jfpiiaOfu vpimpw ^wofuv, xarh Si rh iroahv mX eft 



JLUI &9 hi id arcxifyfrOoi /rol h Se7 evKafieMM oi/y- 
i^Txima^ To^ fiiOov^ teal w6$€P Scrtu ri 1% rpay^la^ tp^ 

10 Toir, ^^c{^ ^ dfi; Xcnr^ tok yuy €lpff^Upoi^. irniH) ody 3 
Stt ri^ trwOtciP ehtu r^ iciiX\i<rn;9 rparfffHa/^ fi^ imhSji¥ 
oXXA ««rXi7/A&^ iral ravriTy i^0€pm ical iki€a^ €lp4U 
lUfUfweiljlP, Twro yhp IBiw r^ roiavTfj^ fUfui^m^ iirrLif, 
wpmrw /lir SijKofif &n o6r€ roif^ hrieuMi SpBpa^ Bet furor 

15 fiiXKomwi ^aU€aOaA i( €%nvxi^ ^U Swrrvxlav, aif ffhp 

14. Totuikoe cap. Mdiu. Bitter, raeto^ Hi opJBor. S8. A^Wettplialt 
Aw A«. 29. TiOr add. Chrkt pifaeeonte Bittar. tCr ^ 1^ «Om 

Mapogr.s iCr^ M A«. 88. dr apogr. s 1^ AV t3L wwwKef 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XIL I— XIU J 41 

XII [The parts of Tragedy, which must be treated as 
elements of the whole, have been already mentioned. 
We now oome to the quantitative parts — the separate 
parts into which Tragedy is divided — namely, Ftologos, 
Episode, Exodos, Choral element ; this last being divided 
into Parodos and Stasimon. These two are sung by the 
whole Chorua The songs of the actors on the stage, 
and the Commoi, are sung by individuals. 

The Prologos is that entire part of a tragedy which S 
precedes the Parodos of the Chorus. The Episode is that 
entire part of a tragedy which is between whole choral 
songs. The Exodos is that entire part of a tragedy 
which has no choral song after it Of the Choral part 
the Parodos is the first undivided utterance of the 
Chorus : the Stasimon is a choral ode without anapaests 
or trochees: the Commos is a joint lamentation of 
chorus and actora The parts of Tragedy which must be 3 
treated as elements of the whole have been already 
mentioned. The quantitative parts — ^the separate parts 
into which it is divided — are here enumerated.] 

CIII As the sequel to what has already been said, we 
must proceed to consider what the poet should aim at, 
and what he should avoid, in constructing his plots ; and 
by what means Tragedy may best fulfil its function. 
A perfect tragedy should, as we have seen, be arranged 3 

j^ on the simple n^t^the complicated plan. It should, more- 
over, imitate actions which excite pity and fear, this being 
the distinctive mark of tragic imitation. It follows 
plainly, in the first place, that the change of fortune pre* 
sented must not be the spectacle of a perfectly good man 
brought from prosperity to adversity: for this moves 



A, 



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4H XTTT, t— 6. 1453 b 36—1453 a 33 

^ofi€piif ouSi A<«MW toSto JXXi^ luapw i^rw* o6rt ro^ 

Tovr* iirrl vJanmw* auSh^yiipixu&p Betpoirtyitp ^iKiv- 
umm 6pmwoifo6T€ ikntvi^ dire ^ofi€pov i<mv* i^aSrhva^Spa 

^iKMpmitmf ij(pi &p ^ rouUrnf axHrraai^ iXK^ oSt« iXMOv 
^irn ^iSor, o fjAy ykp irepl rhp it^d(iw i^rtp Svarvx<nhrra, 

si ii inpl rip iikoimPt SKoi^ /ih mpl rir apdfiop, ^/3o9 Si 
we/A r^ SfUHOPf mcT€ oSre ikeeufim oSre i^fi^pht^ l^ro* rh 
avfifiduHm. ofimfi&parovrmpXoiwi^. Stm Bi rot4nrro^ S 
i liJfrt iprrg Zio^ipmp teal BucMoaipjj, |iifrt &A tuuctap 
'^ #*0X^P^ ^MerafidXXnp u^ rifp twrnrxfap &SXk tC 

10 ofiofnlop Tipd, T&p ip fiefdkff S6fy Sptwp teal €imr)(Uft 
olofP OlShrov^ «al Sviarq^ «al 0/ itc r&p ixhovtwp y€P&p 
hn^MPek JMpt^. &p6rfiefi &pa rhp tcoKik tx^^^^ iuvOqp 4 
QifKoyp ebnu fAoXkop ^ itrnXoup, &inr€p T$ph ^>aa'$, ical fie- 
rafidKkup aim c J9 €irvj(Uuf he twrrvxio^ iXKA tovpoptIcp 

MS if nhvxla^ ej? iwrrvxtav$ /a^ &^ ^AOxOffpUiP ikkk &' 
ilioprtap /nydXMfP ^ oTav €lpfqT<u ^ fitKrUnn^ iiSXkop ^ 
X^pop^. cfiiuHotp Si «al li yvfpoiupop* wp&rop plh yhp 6 
ol woiifraX 70^ rt^^rro? fivdcv^ amfplBftovp, pup Si wepl 
ikljaif oUtm al [tcdKKioTiu] rparffSUu avprlOePTM, otop 

join^ ^AXjcfioimpa koX OtBlwcvp Koi ^Opianfp /rol McXio-* 

^ fraSw teipk ^ Wdf^aiu. ^ piw oip icarh r^p ri)(prip 
MdKkiaTtiTpaj^fStaiKravTffirfi9^nHrrda€»^icrL SibscaLt 



MBSaL •! rdrapogr. s •! t^A«. fi. tK^t/th • • • rdr l^ioior Mollis. 
SitlH;%«odnMooallim.Anbt(]ItfgolioiiUi). 19. ni^Xwrmmdn. 
CUilt InlM BOA wtik (liMgolkmUi). 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XIIL a— 6 43 

neither pity nor fear ; it simply shocks us. Nor, again, 
that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity : 
for nothing can be more alien to the spirit of Tragedy ; it 
possesses no single tragic quality; it neither satisfies 
the moral sense, nor calls forth pity or fear. Nor, 
na again, should the downfedl of the utter villain be 
exhibited. A plot of this kind would, doubtless, satisfy 
the moral sense, but it would inspire neither pity nor 
fear ; for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear 
by the misfortune of a man like ourselves. Such an 
event, therefore, will be neither pitiful nor terrible. 
. There remains, then, the character between these twoS 
extremes, — that of 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. He must be one- 
who is highly renowned and prosperous, — a personage like 
Oedipus, Thyestes, or other illustrious men of such fiEunilies. 

A well constructed plot should, therefore, be single, 4 
rather than double as some maintain. The change of 
fortune should be not from bad to good, but, reversely, 
from good to bad. It should come about as the result 
not of vice, but of some gr^t error or fi^ty, in a character 
either such as we have described, or better rather than 
worse. Th^ practice of the stage bears outour view. At 6 
first the poets recounted any legends that came in their way. 
Now, tragedies are founded on the story of a few houses, 
—on the fortunes of Alcmaeon, Oedipus, Orestes, Mele- ' 
ager, Thyestes, Telephus, and those others who have done 
or suffered something terrible. A tragedy, then, to 
be perfect according to the rules of art should be of 
this construction. Hence thqr are in error who censure 6 



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44 Xm. 6— XIY. t. 1453 a 34—1453 b 10 

ol 'EupiwHg iyicdk€vPT€9 rovr^airh iiMprivowrw^lri roirro 
^ Zpf h ToS? Tpay^fiUu^ teal woXKtd avrov ej? Suon^^ 
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ik /UjiOTOP* iirl ykp r&p atcffp&p icaX r&p arfmpwf rpatfi" 
wimmu ai tmovtmm ^cdpoPTM, Ap icaropOvOAaiPt teal 6 
BAp4iwlSff9 €l ical rk SKKa pii tS oUopofj^t oXkk rpa- 
^yucmrari^ yt r&p iroiffr&p ^aiprrtu. S€VTipa S* ^ wptirti 7 
Xeyo/Upii vwo Tiv&p i^TiP [(rwrraa^'l ^ &irX^ rt T^y oiSoro* 
ci^ fx'ovaa, tca$dw€p ^ ^OStHra^iOp «al reXtvT&aa i( ipop- 
rta/f ToSp fi€Krloc$ icaX jf/dpoatp. hoiUi Sk elMU wpmrtf &A 
ri^p rifp d^mpmip &90tp€wp* iscoKavOavci ykp oi mnf/raX 

ami rparffjfhiaii ifiopii ^XXA piaKKop 1% /rai/A^»Su»9 oUela* 
hutl ykp €i &p fxOiOTOi &aiP ip r^ pvOtp^ ohp *Opi<rrrf^ 
teal APfiaOo^, ^tkoi ytPopMPOi hrX tcXcvt^ ifipx^Prai 
«al amOpfiatcu ovStl^ inr^ oiBtpi^. 
XIV mntp pip oip rh i^fitphp teal {K€€$php ix rffi i^lte^^ 
MM» yvfP€ffOaif ioTiP Si $cai i( avrfj^ r^ avardaeo^^ r&pwpay- 
jidrmp, &W€p iorl wpirtpop ical woiffTov iptCpopo^* Myhp 
«al Sp€u toS opop aUrm avp€OT4ipai rhp pvOop, &aT€ top 
S ase o voPTa ri, wparfpara yipopiepa tcdi ^pLir^tP /rol tKe€lp 
he r&p avpfiaipoprwp* irrep &p wdOoi ri^ Akoiwp rhp rov . 
OiShrav pvdop. rh Sk hih rffi i^n^s rovro wapacxtva- 2 
(€iP artxyiirtpap icaX xopfjyla^ Mp^pip ianp. ol Bipifro 
^fi^pop &A T^ j^«»9 akkk rh r€par&S€^ popop irapa- 
10 a'M€vd(oPT€^ ovSip rpay^sSlf scoipmppvinp* ov yhp waaop 

2L rtOr^ wM Tlnitot: wMl Bfliit r^ wM oodd. Tahlen : Itedndsiidiim 
ooBLJhigolkmtlicoUAtoAnaM. 36. <•!> vvXXiU KnebeL tl. 

Hpmm itehM. Twining. S4. Mrpm A«t ^mt^ apogr. 36. 

•Inp <4> cmL Yahlea. S7. triFBonitxt AF«leodd.t «ar •( SpengtL 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XIEL 6— XIV. 2 45 

Euripides jurt because he follows this principle in his 
plays, many of which end unhappily. It is, as we 
have said, the right ending. The best proof is that 
on the stage and in dramatic competition, such plays, 
if they are well represented, are most tragic in their effect; 
and Euripides, foulty as he is in the general management 
of his subject, yet is felt to be the most tragic of poets. 

In the second rank comes the kind of tragedy which 7 
some place first Like the Odyssey, it has a double thread 
of plot, and also an opposite catastrophe for the good 
and for the bad. It is generally thought to be the 
best owing to the weakness of the spectators ; for the 
poet is guided in what he writes by the wishes of his 
audienca The pleasure, however, thence derived is not 8 
the true tragic pleasure. It is proper rather to C!omedy, 
where those who, in the piece, are the deadliest enemies 
— ^like Orestes and Aegisthus — go forth reconciled at 
last, and no one slays or is slain. 

XIV Fear and pity may be aroused by the spectacle or 
^^* scenic presentment; but they may also result from the 
inner structure of the piece, which is the better way, 
and indicates a superior poet. For the plot ought to be 
so constructed that, even without the aid of the eye, any 
one who is told the incidents will thrill with horror 
and pity at the turn of events. This is precisely the 
impression we should receive from listening to the story 
of the OedipuEL But to produce this effect by the mere 2 

I spectacle is a less artistic method, and dependent on 

extraneous aids. Those who employ spectacular means to 
create a sense not of the terrible but of the monstrous, 
are strangers to the purpose of Tragedy ; for we must 



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46 XIV. 3—^ I4S3 b "— 3« 

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T^ ami A^ ical ^fiov &^ fuiuria'^m^ M ffioviiv wapa- 
ciC€vd^€iw rip iroMfniv, ^a»€p^ «#9 rovro hf T0i9 irpir/^^ 
a$9 ifvwoiftiTiw. woia oSir ieivk ^ irou» oUrph ^alvrra* 

15 TW ^vparvwrowrmPt \afiwit€P. ipdyKff Hi ij ^>Ckmp tXpoi 4 
«/>09 oXXiJXov^ tA^ TOiatrro? wpd^$s ^ Ixfip&p ^ /m;^- 
ripup. ikp fikp oSp ix^p^ ixfiP^* ciXkp tKt€iphp oire 
woi&p a6T€ fUKXmp, wX^p icar* avrh rh wd0o9* oH* &p 
fMfirripm^ tXfnrrt^* irop S* h tok ^ikUu^ iyyhnjrtu rA 

^ovd$i§9 otop el o£cX^o9 aSeXf^p ^ vlis waripa ^ fiifn;/) 
viap ^ vH^ f'V^P^ awotcrelpu ^ fUXXn H n SKKo roiovrop 
Sp^ raSra ^ffnfriop. roi^ /Up oip wapeiXa^fifUpov^ pvOov^ 6 
Xue»y €iim hmp^ Xiy«» Sk olop i^p KKvrtu^crpap inroOor 
pmHTOP vworw^Opiarov KtLirrip*Epi^{iXapfviro Tod*A\cfia^ 

as mpo9, airop ii eipictceiP M $cai roU wapaieSo/Upo^^ ypic 
cOiu icoXcik* ri fii /caX&9 rl Xiyo/bicif, dwn^itw aa^oTepop. 
hT^ /tip ykp cOrm ylpeaOtu rifp wpa($Pp &<r^€p oi waKcucl 6 
iwolovp cJS^TCK ical ytyp^tcopra^, icaOinrep icaX lEvpiwlSvf^ 
hrolffO^pamvscreipavp'aproi^watSti^TifpMiiBeiap. toTU^Sk 

10 vpafoi fiip, ipfpowpra^ ii wpa^ rh Stivop, elff varepop 
iptPfpmpUrtu rtfp ^iklop, Aairep o Xo^Kkiov^ OiBlirov^* 
liip oSp !(» rw SpdfMTO^f h S avrp rg rpwpfHf 



14Ubl6. I^SpeDgel: Meodd. 17. 4cM'l 4c^/»^ dfromiry Bekk. 

praeeante FksL Amu^] <^a^^ •M'> Atftr^ Utberweg. 20. «l 
MX^SjllNUgt 4MA^oodd. 22. Ipjapogr.t I^A«. 28. 

rapogr.1 i fr tp ur A*. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XIV. 2—6 47 

uot demand of Tragedy every kind of pleasure, but only 
that which is proper to it. And since the pleasures 
which the poet should afford is that which comes from 
pity and fear through imitation, it is evident that this 
quality must be stamped upon the incidenta 

Let us then determine what are the circumstances 
which impress us as terrible or pitifuL 

Actions capable of this effect must happen between 4 
persons who are either firiends or enemies or indifferent to 
one another. If an enemy kiUs an enemy, there is nothing 
to excite pity either in the act or the intention,-— except 
so far as the suffering in itself is pitifuL So again with 
indifferent persona But when the tragic incident occurs 
between those who are near or dear to one another — 
if, for example, a brother kills, or intends to kill, a 
brother, a son his father, a mother her son, a son his 
mother, or any other deed of the kind is done — ^here we 
have the situations which should be sought for by the poet. 
He may not indeed destroy the firamework of the received 6 
legends — ^the fact, for instance, that Clytemnestra was slain 
by Orestes and Eriphyle by Alcmaeon — ^but he ought to 
show invention of his own, and skilfully adapt the tradi- 
tional material What is meant by skilfully, let us 
explain more clearly. 

The action may be done willingly and with full 6 
knowledge on the part of the agents, in the manner of 
the older poets. It is thus, in fisict, that Euripides 
makes Medea slay her children. Or, again, the deed of 
horror may be done, but done in ignorance, and the tie 
of kinship or friendship be discovered afterwarda The 
Oedipus of Sophocles is an example. Here, indeed. 



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48 XIV. 6—9- I4S3 b 33— I4S4 a 13 

•toy o 'AXj^ioM^r o 'Aoru&V^oi^of ^ o TffXtyopa^ h r^ 
rpmviiorlf *OSvaa€L tri Sc rplrw wapk ravra rh /UXXo^ 7 
35 va wiHW Tk TJMr ipffsdarmp &* Srfpowy ioHVfv^pUrtu irplv 
woiij^mi. seal wapk ravra oitc $<Fr$v SXXe^. 4j ykp irpa^ 
hwfKfi 4j fiif teal €tScra9 ^ fiif €lScra9* rourmp Si ri ^ 
ffumatwrra /AcXX^oioi icaX fiif irpa^M %€//>*aToy* r6 tc yi^p 
pdopi^ iX!^ ^ ^^ r/MiTMCoy* awadh ydp. SUwMp ovieU 
l4Hm wouZ ofiolm^, mI pif oXiydiu^, otop h ^Avrirfivg rop Kpiopra 
o AXpmp. rh Sk irpafyu i€vr€pop. fitknop Si rh iffpoaupra 8 
^ wpa^ai, wpd^opra Si opayp^piaa^* ro r€ yiip fuaphp 
ay wp6a'§<mp teal ^ MWfPtkpiai^ itarkqicrucip. xpdriarop Si 9 
S TO r€kivraSeip, Xly$^ Si olop h r^ TLptc^prg ^ M^piinj 
/Ukku Toy viip iirotcr€ip€tP9 a'rotcr€(p€$ Si oH, dXX* ayf- 
ffprnpurtp, seal ip r^ ^^iy€P€tf ^ iSA^ rhp iSeXi^, teal 
h rp'^EXkg o v&9 r^ I'V'^p^ ixSiSoptu /AiKknp ivrfprn* 
pi^€P. &A yiip rcOro, Smp wiSXai ^tpffrai, ov w§pl woKkk 
to yhnf ai rparf^^Stai tMip. ^fjjrovpr^ yhp oitc iwi rix^V^ 
oXX* &wi rvxn^ ^ipop to rounrrop irapafftc€vd^€iP ip roU 
fMoi^. i9aytcd(apra& oip M raira^ rh^ oUla^ iwatfrop 
S^utu tA romHra cvpLfiififiM wiBfi* 



SS. h*MXKpidm h Oiyphintt i *KkKiuJm^ A<. 84. rl B<mitsi r^ A<. 
14M a a "BO^ ] *Amirf YakkeDMr. 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS XIV. 6—9 49 

the inddent is outdde the drama proper; but cases 
oocur where it &lls within the action of the play : we 
may dte the Alcmaeon of Astjdamas, or Td^;onus in the 
Wounded Odyssena Again, there is a third case, where 7 
some one is just about to do some irreparable deed 
through ignorance, and makes the discovery before it in 
don& These are the only possible ways. For the deed 
must either be done or not done, — and that wittingly or 
unwittingly. But of all these ways, to be about to act 
knowing the consequences, and then not to act, is the 
worst. It is shocking without being tragic^ for no 
u disaster foUowa It is, therefore, ncTer, or very rarely, 
found in poetiy. One instance, however, is in the 
Antigone, where Haemon intends to kill CSreoa The 8 
next and better way is that the deed should be 
perpetrated. Still better, that it should be perpetrated 
in ignorance, and the discovery made afterwards. There 
is then nothing to shock us, while the discovery pro- 
duces a startling effect But the absolutely best way is 9 
the last mentioned. Thus in the Cresphontes, Merope is 
in the act of putting her son to death, but, recognising 
who he is, spares his life. So in the Iphigenia, the 
sister recognises the brother just in time. Again in the 
Helle, the son recognises the mother when on the point 
of giving her up. This, then, is why a few families 
only, as has been already observed, furnish the subjects 
of tragedy. It was not art, but happy chance, that 
led poets by tentative discovery to impress the tragic 
quality upon their plota They are compelled, therefore, 
to have recourse to those houses in which tragic 
disasters have occurred. 

E 



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50 XIV. 9— XV. 6. 1454 * U— 3^ 

W€pli §ihf oiw 1% T&p irparfiiATWP avardo'et^s Koi irol^ 

15 ov^ Tii^ diNu hel T0V9 iwdov^ ^tptiroi Uavm. 

AY ircpl {^ tA ^A; rirrapd itrrw &p Sci irraxd^etrOai, hf 

pip teal wp&TOP aira»9 'XPfiark f. 2^€i £i ^^09 fihf ihp 

mawtp iKt)(0fi mn^ ^kopepop o X0709 ^ 1} irpa^i^ irpocUr 

p^aip itpa [^ Xp^l^rrhp Si ikp 'XpficrriP. icrip Si ip 

mhcdar^ yipei* teal yhp yvpi^ icrw XPV^^ '^^ SavKo^, 
Kotroi ye taa^ tovtwp rh fiip %€ipoi^, to Si Skc^ ^>aV' 
Xop ioTtP. Se&repoip Si rk appoTTOpra* earip yitp opSpelop 2 
fbep Ti J)tfo9» oXX* ovx apfWTTOP yt/paixl oirra»9 opSpelop 
4 Sco^ ihnu. rpirop Si ro Spoiop. raiho yitp frepop rov 3 

2$XPV^^'^ TO J)tfo9 icaX apfiOTTOP iroifjcai &inr€p ^pfjrai. 
riraprap Si r^ ofuiKop. k&p ykp opw/uiKo^ rf9 ^ o ri^P 4 
fUfuiatP wapixid$p icaX rounrrop ij0o^ {nroridek, SpM^ o/ui- 
X&9 oPfAfAoKop StS ehfou iarw Si irapaSeifffia irovffpia^ pip 6 
^ov9 p^ apariKoiuv olop 6 MepiKao^ o hf Tf *0p4<rrg, rov 

30 Si atrpevoih tud pif ippArropro^ S re Optjpo^ ^OSva-cim^ ip 
if ^vXXff seal ^ 1% MeXapiinrff^ /i^^9> rov Si ivfopoKov 
il ip AvXiSi ^^Hyip€ia* ovSip yi^p iouctp 1) ucerevavca t§ 
varipf. XP^ ^ ^ ^ '^^^ ffieciP wuirep teal ip rf r&p 6 
wparfparmp avcrcurei oA ^ffrehf ^ to apar/icaZop fj to eUo^, 

^&cT€7wroimnvPTkTiH4»vTa\irf€wfji^^ 

4 ^M&^t icai ToSro perk rovro ylpeaOtu fj oparffcaiop fj eUo^. 



19. f tedudeBdiim, rel <4 nt Ay> f conL Vahlen: <1tif>Ttpa 
<i>il Bywftter : # ^ori^ Diintiwr 1 wpealpwlw tip*, ^0Xor fth iia^ 0ai^if 
it Xfm^^ 'c.r.X. apogr. 28. n %999 Heimaim : r6 i^or oodd. o0rwf 

eoDL YaUmi, et Polit iiL 4. 187T b 20: • * tim A«: r^ apogr. 
2S. Amjp djpfmi fort aedudendain : (kwtp dj^iynu Honnann : l^^Tiwn 
ante ftmp atatoit Spengel, quern feq. Soaemihl. 29. dra7«a/ov 

apogr., Bjwater : iamrfnSmX*'. draTraiat Thurot •br aediia. K llUller, 
Sua. ad. 1, Chriat 80. <t«0> 'OlvrWMr Bywaier. 81. Sxem^ 

phmiT>gd>iptfwrpoat^jyif intwddiasecgpL Vettori ; cfl Snaemihl, Christ 
8S«t8Cidprym2irHtniiaaiL ,8«. <i^> MUroOraBywator^fort rtcta. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XIV. 9— XV.. 7 51 

Enough has now been said concerning the structure 
of the incidents, and the proper constitution of the plot. 
XV In respect of Character there are four things to be 
aimed at. First, and most important, it must be good. 
Now anj speech or action that manifests a certain moral 
purpose will be expressive of character: the character 
will be good if the purpose is good. This rule applies 
to persons of every class. Even a woman may be good. 
and also a slave ; though the woman may be said to be 
an inferior being, and the slave is absolutely bad. The S 
second thing to aim at is propriety. There is a type of 
manly valour ; but for a woman to be valiant in this 
sense, or terrible, would be inappropriate. Thirdly, S 
character must be true to life: for this is a distinct 
thing from goodness and propriety, as here described. 
The fourth point is consistency : for even though the 4 
original character, who suggested the type, be inconsis- 
tent, still he must be consistently inconsistent As an 6 
example of character needlessly bad, we have Menelaus 
in the Orestes: of character incongruous and inappro- 
priate, the lament of Odysseus in the Scylla, and the 
speech of Melanippe: of inconsistency, the Iphigenia at 
Aulis, — ^for the suppliant Iphigenia in no way resembles 
her later sel£ 

As in the structure of the plot, so too in the por- 6 
traiture of character, the poet should always aim either 
at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a 
given character should speak or act in a given way, by 
the rule either of necessity or of probability; just as 
this event should follow that by necessary or prob- 
able sequence. It is therefore evident that the un- 7 



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02 XV. 7— XVL 2. 1454 a 37—1454 b 21 

^a9€p^ ody &n teal r^ Xva9$^ r&p /a6$wp i^avroO Set rov 7 

;^ai% teal ip r§ *lXia& rk irtpl rhv imvwXovp* aXX^ /ai;- 
Xf''^ XP^7<rWo9 iwl rk S(m rot) SpdfAara^, ij i<ra irph rot) 
ji y0v ep h ojl^ otop tc St^pttwop tlShnUt ^ iaa Hcr^pop h 
5 &mw wpoaffop€va€€9^ seal offftKla^* iinuna yiLp diroS/- 
2o/i€y To!S( tfco«9 opop. Skoyop Si fMfShf ttpoi ip roi^ irpay^ 
fUMci^, €l Si fuj, S(m rfj^ rparppSla^^ olop rh ip r^ OlShroSi 
rf ^lO^otcKiov^. iw€l Si fUpftfcU itrrw if rparftjfSia fieXri' 8 
opmp <4 tea6^> iipa^, SeliufulaOcu roit^ offoOoif^ iUopcypd" 

10 ^au9* teal ffkp hctlpoi afiroSMpT€^riiptSUMP p^p^P OfuUavs 
woimhmficdKKtmf^ypd^HnHnp* oUrmKalropirotfirffpfUfAOV' 
/icpor seal ipyCkov^ seal ^v/uw^ seal rSXKa rk Touivra 
Sx^fPTOfi iwX r&p ^d&p, TIHOVTOV9 SpToif iwuuceU iroieip* 
[wapaSttyfia {rKXafpirfira^] otop rip *Aj^iXXia ^Affddmp mal 

i$^Ofti9ipa9. raura <Si^> Set Suvnipdp icaX wph^ rotrro^ r^9 9 
wtipi^rk if opdyxfi^ iucoKovOowra^ aUrOtic€t^ r^ iroi/ffruc^* 
icaX *fkp Kwf aink^ hrrw ipaprraptiv iroXKiiu,^, ^pfftM Si 
ir€(A outAp ip T0S9 ixStSofUpot^ Xiyoi^ i/copm. 



XVI opajptipun^ H ri fiip iarip, €tprjriu irpirepop* ^Stf 
JO Si apo^fp^punm^t vpiArti phf 1) wnyporimi mX § irXeUrrg 
XpApTtu Si Anplop, 4 Sik r&p offfnU^p. roinmp Si rh phf 2 

14M b 2. IwMmw apogr. t kwXaXhf k: 7. r* Tel rd apogr. t n»t 

A«: tA Aid. 9. 4 raT «/Hiff Stahri MpMm oodd. 14. ««^- 

Utf^ WMk^fknirm Mdw. BrMnttor. 16. li^ If? Aid., Bakkers li^ A«t 

Mapogr. ri$ wfkrkf^rkvfkrktwpiifgt.i ri$wfkrk$ Jl: 90. 
i w k im r^ vpofp. i 4 vXtUrf A*. 21. 4 •pog'* 1 # A^ 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XV. 7— XVL 2 63 

raveUing of the plot, no less than the eomplicatimi, 
iiMfemiist be brought about by the plot itself, and not by 
Machinery, — as in the Medea, or in the Betum of the 
Greeks in the Iliad. Machinery should be employed 
only for events external to the drama,— ^ther such as 
are previous to it and outside the sphere of human 
knowledge, or subsequent to it and which need to be 
foretold and announced ; for to the gods we ascribe the 
power of seeing all things. 'Within the action there must 
be nothing irrational If the irrational cannot be excluded, 
it should be outside the scope of the tragedy. Such is 
the irrational element in the Oedipus of Sophocles. 

Again, since Tragedy is an imitation of persons who 8 
are above the common level, the example of good portrait- 
painters should be followed. They, while reproducing 
the distinctive form of the original, make a likeness 
which is true to life and yet more beautiful So too 
the poet, in representing men quick or slow to anger, or 
with other defects of character, should preserve the Qrpe 
and yet ennoble it In this way Achilles is portrayed 
by Agathon and Homer. 

These are rules the poet should observe. Nor should 9 
he neglect those appeals to the senses, which, though not 
among the essentials, are the concomitants of poetry ; for 
here too there is much room for error. But of this we 
have said enough in our published treatises. 
XVI What Becognition is has been already explained. 

/e will now enumerate its kinda 
First, the least artistic form, which, from poverty of 
wit, is commonly employed — ^recognition by signs. Of S 
these some are congenital, — such as ' the spear which the 



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54 XVL a— d. 1454 b aa— 1455 * S 

avfu^tnOf otoy '* ^^TX^T*^ ^'^ ^povat Fifyci^S? ** ^ wrripa/^ 
oTov? ^ r{» BuecTTj; Kapiclpo^, ra Si iwUrrfTa, koX tovtw 

S5 Sipaut Koi olw hf ry Tvpol Sik 1% cica^ff^. Itmp Si /col S 
rovTOiif 'Xffi^iu ij fiiKriOP ^ x^ipop, otop ^OSvcaei^ &A 
T^ ovX% SXXm^ apeypmpio'Ofi vwi t^ rpo^v xaX Skka^ 
vwi r&p irvficT&p* dai yitp ai fih wlaree^ tv&ca arexy^' 
repeu, seal ai rouurrfu iractUf ai Si ix irepiwerela^, &^^ 

jp irtp 4i ip TOi9 Niirr/KM9> fi^Xrlov^. Swnpa* Si ai ireiroi- 4 
^lihnu vwh Tov woiffravt &^ Arexpoi. otop ^Opiarfj^ ip ry 
^il>tj€pd^apefpipia€p8Ti*Opiimf^* iK^iPti pkp^kp SikTrj^ 
iwurrokij^, itceipo^ Si airra^ Xiy€i h fiovXtrai o voiffrri^ oXX* 
PiS% o /ii$o9* S^ t^ffv^ Ti T^ €lpfifUpff^ apapria^ iirrlp, i^tjiP 

j5 7«^ itif hna /col ipefK€ip. /col ip r^ XoifHucKiov^ Tffpei 17 

rfj^ iC€pmlSo9 ^Pti* ii rpln^ Sik pat/ipflffi t{» aiaOMai 6 
mm Ti ^FTtty wnr€p ^ ^y Kinr/9UM9 tok ^ucaioyipov^, iSa>p ykp 
TJ^y ypa/^nfp bcKavctP, seal ij ip ^AXkIpov airoXiy^, cucowop 

' ykp ToS tuOapurrw /col ppffc^^U iScucpvc^p, SOep apeypm^ 

ptff&ficap. rrrApmi Si^iM avXKoyiCfwVp otop ip Xof^poi^, 6 
S in S/ioft09 rt/9 ikifKvdgp, 6/AOio^ Si ov$€U a>X ^ o *Opiim^, 



24. W€^ti4fma Ptaii at apogr. ptiuMt wtpii4ppta A«: vipl d<pai« 
Aid. 26. •br apogr. : tT A<. 26. <^> *Oaiwc^ Bywfttor. 

9L <^> *OH<^T^ Bywtter. 84. li^^nffonYAlilMi! aiM^ry^A«. 

$«. 4 rpini Bjmagjbkt fm npi A<! r^nf ^ apogr. X466 a 1. r^t 

apogr. X T^ A*. 2. ivtXiTv apogr. t 4«^ X^Twr A<. 4. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XVL 2—6 65 

earth-bom race bear on their bodies/ or the stars intro- 
duced by Carcinus in his Thjestes. Others are acquired 
after birth; and of these some are bodilj marks, as 
scars ; some external tokens, as necklaces, or the little 
ark in the Tyro by which the discovery is effected. Even S 
these admit of more or less skilful treatment Thus in 
the recognition of Odysseus by his scar, the discovery is 
made in one way by the nurse, in another by the herds- 
men. This use of tokens for purposes of proof — and, 
indeed, any formal proof with or without tokens — ^is an 
inartistic mode of recognition. A better kind is that 
which results from the turn of fortune ; as in the Bath 
scene in the Odyssey. 

Next come the recognitions invented at will by the 4 
poet, and on that account wanting in art. For example, 
Orestes in the Iphigenia reveals the &ct that he is 
Orestes. She, indeed, makes herself known by the letter ; 
but he, by speaking himself, and saying what the poet, 
not what the plot requires. This, therefore, is nearly 
allied to the fault above mentioned : — ^for Orestes might 
as well have brought tokens with him. Another 
similar instance is the 'voice of the shuttle' in the 
Tereus of Sophocle& 
1465* The third form of recognition is when the sight of 5 
some object calls up a train of memory: as in the 
Cyprians of Dicaeogenes, where the hero breaks into 
tears on seeing a picture; or again in the Lay of 
Aldnous, where Odysseus, hearing the minstrel play the 
lyre, recalls the past and weeps; and hence the recognitioa 

The fourth kind is by process of reasoning. Thus in 6 
the Choephori: — ^'Some one resembling me has come: 



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56 XVL 6— XVn. I. I4SS » 6— 2$ 

fAro^&patKrikuOtif. icol i) IloXue^v rod cro^Aoroi; ^rcpl r^ 
*I^i7€ma9* eMC09 7^ t^ *Opi<mjp avTCKoyUrao'diU, Sri Ij r 
oiA^h M&ff Mci avrf avfifialpei 0v€(r0ai. xaX h r^ 
SeoSlcTov TuSe^ $ri iKOmp As eifp^mw viop avro9 diroX- 

loXvnK. ica) ^^To!9 4^ii^^SaA9» JSouo-aiY^r^i^T^oyoin^- 
XoTifa'ayro T^y eifiopfUpffP in ip rovr^ etfuipro &iro6ap€lp 
avrai^, ical ^hp i^eriffi^op ipravOa. Simp Bi tk koX <rw- T 
$er^ he wapaXoyiO'fwv rot) Oaripov, olop ip r^ ^OSvacti r^ 
^jttuSoffftkf o iihf *fkp rh T^{6y 1^ ypwr€<r$ai ft o£;^ 

15 impatcu, ih hi^ m hii hcdpov aparfpmpicvPTt^ £«^ rovrov» 
jrof^tfv wtLpakfTfiapJup. iraa&p Sk fi^X/rlimi iparfpt&pun^ 1) 8 
i( airUp r&p wparjf/iarwp 1% iicrrk^^^^^ yf^fpoiiipfi^ &* §U6^ 
rmp, oUp [o] ^ r^ So^<MeXiov9 0^ira& icol r^ *l^vf€PtUf* 
^h^ykp fiovKiodiu iwiB^iptu ypdfifMTa. al ykp rouwrai 

miuipaiSvwrmpireiroi^lihmPiniii^ U^ 

r€p€U Si tU ix ^vXKoyurfAOv. 

XVn B^t a TOtk iMcv% <nwicr6wu Koi rg Xi^i cwfcnnp^ 

yd^€a04U in paKioTa irph iiipArwp n6ifi€P0P* aSiw ykp 

i» ipopy^rara [o] op&p Acirtp wop* avroU ytyp6p£pa^ roif 

a$ wpwrropatrnw eiplatcoi rh wphrop teal litcurra &p Xopfidpoi 



e. lUkifdSmr apogr. s JUkutlBmn A«. 10. ^crci^t lUiz : ^twUaa A«. 

IS. T«0 #1171^ Banian^ pneeimte Hermann : roO Stdrfimf oodd. 14. 

^M^apogr.: rlM^A*. 16. 1^ »j^ lyrwhitt : 1^ ic' cod<L 16. 

iwditn AULy Bekker: wm^^i codd. Loons antem prope dosperatns eat 
'llnlto plnra l^giaoe Tidetnr Aiaba qnam nootri oodioea praebent' (Mar- 
goBoatiiX 17. iKwXHtm apogr. : wKHtm A«. 1%. i tedna. Yahlen. 
SO. wtfOtftJmif apogr. (d. X4M b 34), Yahlen od. St 6^/MMr A«: 9€ftUm 
YaUened-a. S2. m««f^7d{^v6^]dr<yrYdrirte8naemihL S4. 

cPB^^yiiffwra apogr. t iinfiy40iwf% A*. • om. Ahu 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XVL 6— XVIL I 57 

no one resembles me but Orestes : therefore Orestes has 
come.' Again, there is the discovery made by Iphigenia 
in the play of Polyeidus the Sophist It was natural 
for Orestes to reason thus with himself: — ' As my sister 
was sacrificed, so too it is my lot to be sacrificed.' So, 
again, in the Tydeus of Theodectes: — ^'I came to find 
my son, and I must perish mysel£' So too in the 
Phineidae : the women, on seeing the place, inferred their 
fate : — ' Here we are fated to die, for here we were 
exposed.' Again, there is a recognition combined with a 7 
false inference on the part of one of the characters, as in 
the Odysseus Disguised as a Messenger. A man said he 
would know the bow, — ^which, however, he had not seea 
This remark led Odysseus to imagine that the other 
would recognise him through the bow, and so suggested 
a fsdse inference. 

But, of all recognitions, the best is that which arises 8 
from the incidents themselves, where the startling effect 
is produced by probable meana Such is that in the 
Oedipus of Sophocles, and in the Iphigenia ; for it was 
natural that Iphigenia should wish to send a letter 
by Oreste& These recognitions stand on their own 
merits, and do not need the aid of tokens invented for 
the purpose, or necklaces. Next come the recognitions by 
process of reasoning. 
XVII In constructing the plot and working it out with the 
help of language, the poet should place the scene, as £Btr 
as possible, before his eyea In this way, seeing every- 
thing with the utmost vividness, as if he were a spectator 
of the action, he will discover what is in keeping with 
it, and be most unlikely to overlook inconsistencies. 



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58 XVn. 1—3. 1455 a 26—1455 b 10 

[to] rk vinpaprla. ctiiutov Si tovtov ft hrenfiaTO Kapxlv^* 

o ffop *Aful>idpao^ i^ lepov Junjei, ft M op&pra [top 

$&ir^p]iKa¥Oav€», ivl Si rij^ <nnpni^ i^€ir€a€P Svaj(€pa' 

vdtnwp ravTO r&v Oear&v. oaa Si Svparhp koX toJ? c^xn- 

30 fUM4np avpair€pya^6fL€P0P. indavwraro^ yhp awo rfj^ ovr^ 2 

^uaca»90i ip TOK irdOea-lp €laip koX ;^ci^Aa/i/ci o ;^€i^{ro/A€yo9 

Mci j(aKewaip€i o opyi^ofiepo^ aKijOiPm-ara, &o etfif^uov^ ^ 

irotfprucii itrrip ^ iiopucov* roirwp ykpol fAipeSTrXaaroi 01 Si 

itc^rarucol €law. rovrov^ T€ toi^ Xoyovs xal roif^ ireiro^ffifU* 3 

w/k% POU9 Sei KoX airrop trotovpra iKiiOtaBcu tcaOoKoVt eW* oirc^ 

hmaclSuAp icaX jrapareiptuf. Xiym Si oirroK Ap Oe^peiaOai 

rh KoBoKoVf otop r^ ^I^iyepela^* rvOelaij^ tipo^ Kopif^ xaX 

ailKUwrOelaif^aSi^XM^ roU dvaaaiPtiSpvpOeLari^ Si eU SS>aiP 

5 xipa¥, ip i polity ffP Toif^ ^ipovs 0v€iP vg 6€^, ravTffP €<rj(€ 

T^p Upwjvprpt XP^^ ^ iMn-Mpop tjS aSeXtf^^ crvpififf iKBeip 

rffi ieptia^ (to SH Sti aveiXep o Oeos Sid ripa alrlav, ^(» tov 

KoBokov [iX£€iP iK€Z\, ical i<f>* S n Si, t^m rov fivOov), Mw 

SH KoX Xq^eU 0v€<r04U ^UKSmp opeprnptatp, eW* ck Evpi- 

10 viSfj^ SO* <k TLok;u€iZo^ iiroUftrep, Kark to eUo^ thrmp on 

8S. rh om. tpogr. 27. ^bq^cc apogr. : t9 thti A^ hpiarra oodd. : 

hfOtfT &r Vablen. r^ ^c«rj^ aeclnd: rhiif rociyr^y Dader, Snsemihl. 
90. Aw* «^r9t r^ lyrwhitt : quod li recipimus, legend, ot iw roct wdSe^lw 
dvvf (t. Bl)aot 4ir* wbr. r^ ^vr. 49 roit k.tX 84. iK^ranKU 

Yettofi : i^ierm^riKd codd. Hniot loci ordo tarlwtiir ; et sunt qoidem 
plum hnivamodi in hoc capite. ro^rovt re ro^ rel redr rt apogr.: 
Tuirmn rt A* (Vablen, Chriit), sad no Graece quidem didtnr: rpCt 
rt Xkymn mU iWt wn^€ihip^faiip9ut oonL Vahlen, hand acio an recte, 
vt aenana ait, 'aren the traditional atory, when recaat by the poet, 
abonld be akatched in ita general outline.' Qnod si non vaoeperia, 
ml «Mr veM0rra aedndandum etaa anapicor tanqnam gloat, ad Tai)t 
wtrmipi^wmn, X466 b 2. wmpanlwtuf Vettori : wtptrd^tw A^ 6. 

an^fiUv] fort ^i<#ov Yahlen« ^i^#m^] fort ra^dXav Yahlen. Sedndendum 
Tidatv a«t MA iml (BdLkor bd. 8) ant ^ raO ra^dXav (DOntier, 
flMomiblX 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XVII. 1—3 59 

The need of such a rule is shown bj the fault found in 
Carcinua Amphiaraus was on his way from the temple. 
This tact escaped the observation of one who did not see 
the situation. On the stage, however, the piece £Edled, 
the audience being offended at the oversight. 

Again, the poet should work out his play, to the best 
of his power, with appropriate gestures ; for those who 3 
feel emotion are most impressive hj force of sympathy. 
One who is agitated storms, one who is angry. rages, 
with the most lifelike reality. Hence poetry implies 
either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. 
In the one case a man can take the mould of any 
character; in the other, he is lifted out of his proper sel£ 

The poet, whether he accepts the traditional subjects, or 3 
HHfe invents new ones, should, in shaping them himself, first 
sketch the general outline of the play, and then fill in 
the episodes and amplify in detail The general plan of 
the Iphigenia, for instance, may be thus seen. A young girl 
is sacrificed ; she disappears mysteriously from the eyes 
of those who sacrificed her; she is transported to 
another country, where the custom ia to offer . up all 
strangers to the goddes& To this ministry she is 
appointed. Some time later her brother chances to 
arrive. The &ct that the oracle for some^ reason 
ordered him to go there, is outside the general plan of 
the play. The purpose, again, of his coming is outside 
the action proper. However, he comes, he is seized, and, 
when on the point of being sacrificed, reveals who he is. 
The mode of recognition may be either that of Euripides 
or of Polyeidus, in whose play he exclaims very 
naturally : — ' So it was not my sister only, but I too. 



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60 xvn. 3— xvm. i, 1455 *> "— 3» 

Koi hmuOtP fi awnipia. fierh ravra Si ^817 {nroOhrra rk 4 
opofiOTa iw€uroSuwp, air«»9 H S^rriu oUtta r^ iirticvSia, 
otop h T^ ^Oplirrg fi fuuda &* ^ tkn^ Koi ^ «*«»• 

15 TfifAa Sik 1% tcaOdpawt^. iy §thf oip roU hpdpMffW rd 6 
hrtioiSui ovrrofio, 1) 8* iwairoUa Tovroi9 ^tcvvrra*. t^ 
7«^ ^OtvaiT^aii fwcpo^ o XS^fo^ itrrUf* airoiff/AovPTO^ nva^ 
inf woKkk xaX wapa^vTiarrofUpov virh rav lIoa€$B&po^ koI 
IMHnf tmn, eri Si rmv cSxo& o6iw^ iypvrwv &im rk j(fiV' 

woiiora vwh funjimipmp &paKiaK€<r0<u ttaX rhp vihp hrifiov» 

XeyetrOoi, airo^ Sif a^acpetriu ;^€vuM'd€l9 icai iparfP^pUra^ 

[tm^ air^l iwidifupo^ aAih^ yukp icAfftf roir^ S* ixOpoif^ 

St/^$€ip€. rh §thf fAv XSiop Tovro, r^ 8* JtXXa hrtiaoSio* 

xvm hm Si iroo^ rparffjfSla^ rh fiip Sic^ to Si Xvci^, 

JS rk fthf i(m$€p icol Spm t&p t<rw$€P iroXKoK^^ ^ Sici^, rh 
Si XoMTor ^ \6c$^. Xtym Si Siaip itkp tlpcu r^v air* op- 
yrjfi fUxp^ rwTov rot) /Upav^ h Sirxarop icrtv i( oi fierafiaU 
vcurcK €UTVJ(tapi^i^9\virlP Sirffpoirh r^ afi)(fj^ rrj^ fAerO' 
fiofnm^ l^txP^ rikoitn* &inr€p hf tjS Avyicei r^ QeoShcrov 

30 Siat^ fthf rd Tt wponrtTrparf/Upa teal ^ rot) waiSlov X^i9 
KoiwdKu^i^ avT&p 81^ t <\MHri^ 8* ^> airirfj^ airUict^^ 



VL Mp ipm ww (Tel Upm^i) apogr. s ip§im€Uf A«« 17. fuicp^ 

apogr. : fitucfh A«t '•ermo noa ett longot' Anht^ h. •• td 
imKfh (IfaifiakNitii). 19. M apogr. t Ard A<. 21. ^ oonL 

YaUait M oodd. 22. iw4t a^rte aeclati: aMf aedus. SpangeL 

25i. w9hXUu poat l{^##tr coUocaTit Uebenr^ 28. <^ff avrrvx^f 

09fipmbm f l( c^rvxlat «(ff 9v0Tvxf^> addenda eeee oonL Yahlen. 81. 
4«M)r 9ii <d««Y«#yi Xtfnt I* 4> oonL Yahlen, lipumt pro dvryi^ 
end. Chiiati 'et laptna inCyitii^ et ea quae patefeeit» aohitio antem 
eat qMd ftabat ete.* Aiaba. Da 4 wMk^ 8^ eqnidem Talda dnbito. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XVIL 3— XVIIL I 61 

who was doomed to be sacrificed ' ; and by that remark 
he is saved. 

After this, the names being once assumed, it remains 4 
to fill in the episodes. We must see that they are 
relevant to the action. In the case of Orestes, for 
example, there is the madness which led to his capture, 
and his deliverance by means of the purificatory rite. 
In a drama, the episodes are short, but it is these that S 
give extension to the Epic poem. Thus the story of 
the Odyssey can be stated briefly. A certain man is 
absent from home for many years; he is jealously 
watched by Poseidon, and left desolate. Meanwhile his 
home is in a wretched plight — suitors are wasting his 
substance and plotting against his son. At length, 
tempest-tost, he arrives and reveals who he is; he 
attacks his enemies, destroys them and is preserved him- 
self This is the essence of the plot ; the rest is episode. 
Ill Every tragedy Mis into two parts, — Complication 
and Unravelling or DAumement. Incidents extraneous 
to the action are frequently combined with a portion of 
the action proper to form the Complication ; the rest is 
the Unravelling. By the Complication I mean all that 
comes between the beginning of the action and the part 
which marks the turning point from bad fortune to good 
<or good fortime to bad>. The Unravelling is that which 
comes between the beginning of the change and the end. 
Thus, in the Lynceus of Theodectes, the Complication 
consists of the incidents presupposed in the drama, the 
seizure of the child, and then <the arrest of the parenta 
The Unravelling> extends from the accusation of murder 
to the end. 



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62 XVnL 2—5. I4S5 >> 3a— HS^ » ^7 

ToS Oatforov f^XP^ rov WXov9. rparpphlti^ Si etSi; €Jo-l Wo*- 3 
^apa» [Twrothra 7^ /col t^ /a^ ^^A; J 1) /a^ irc7rXc7- 
/lo^y ffi TO oXoy ^orly irepurir^ia teal ivarfvi&pun^, <i) Si 
a«->^t> V ^ iraOfrruci^, olov oX Tt Maur^ icol oi *I^^oi^i 
■• 17 Sii7^««i7,o2aira4 ^tfM»TiS€9 ml o ni7Xev9. t ri fiir^op- 
Tor oi|9 1 olor ciT Tt ^piUS€^ Kid TLpofi/qBtif^ kcX Sea iv 
^^Sov. fidKurra fih aip avaanra Sei ir€ipaa'0a$ ^eiy, ei 3 
$i fkfj, T^ liiffurra §cai irXcZcrra, ^ltXXc»9 Tt ical ck y&i^ 

/^p09 orfoO&v iroiffT&Vt ifcdarav toS IBlov arfoOov a^unnri 
Toy ha frmpfioKkiw. BUaiw Sk /col rparffpUav ShXqv 
Koi T^ mnriv Xeytiy ouS€ir<l> fo-tK «i9> tjS ftutf^i' toOto 
S^, £y fl avT^ irKoiCff tcaX Xu<ri^. iroXkol Si irX^foyre^ tS 

10 Xvotfo-i iOMMik* St! Si 4f^^ otl KpaT€iaOai. ^pif Si iirtp 4 
dptfTM iroKKoKi,^ /iefivijirOai teal /i^ iroiew hrawouKov av* 
oTfffia rparfffiiav. hrtmouKov Zk X^i» \S€\ to iroXufivOop, 
otom d r$^ iw rij^^IXidSo^ Skov iroioi pvOov. ifceipipyi^ 
Siii ri iLtjKOs XofAfidvei rh fUptf to vphrov fiiyeOo^, iv 

15 ik T0S9 Bpdfuuri iroXb irtipk rifp vwoXry^iP airofialv€i. Cfi* 5 
/it!by a, Scoi wipaof *lKtov SXajp hrolffo-av koX fiif Kark 
fUpa^ &<nr€p EiptwiSfi^, <4> ^^fiffP kcIX //tif &<nr€p At- 



8S. Tt#«dr» yhp . . . A^x^ aaoliu. SoMmihl ed. 1. rd fUpuH rd ft^$w Svm. 
ad. 2 tee. Utberweg. S4. <4 M 4rX4> com definitione deesaetosp. 

Tahkn. 14M a 1. Td M Wro^ror dift] Td M rcipariMcf Sohnder : rd 

9i H m ffr o if <^ iwMI^ tXm . . . wmpiKpamM M ^ rcipan& >^ XJaberweg (of. 
Sosemihl) : r6 « Hrmfrw Ifir (oC 14M a 6) Bywatar. Sad rd cr8iy iii 
Imw koo aadam ntiqiia aaaa dabant qnaa in zxIt. 1. 4* rt apogr. : 

YfA*. d. ^irtkrav apogr. sfra#rarA«. 8. aMcrlCrwt cSwBonitss 

•Wr Srwf fv oodd. roOra] 7«M Teiohmiiller : ra^ Buzaiaii. • 10. 

c^anSfHai (ot Pdit TiL 13. USl b 88) YaUan, ' pranaamnt ntramqna' 
Aiaba : i y ar tf r# a > eodd. IS. M altamm om. apogr. 17. #add. 

VaUaiL 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XVIIL 2—5 63 

There are four kinds of Tragedy, — ^first, the Com- 2 
plicated, depending entirely on reversal of fortune 
and recognition ; next, the Simple ; next, the Pathetic 
(where the motive is passion), — such as the tragedies on 
uAjax and Ldon; next, the Ethical (where the motives 
are ethical), — such as the Phthiotides and the Peleua . 
< We here exclude the supernatural kind >, such as 
the Phorddes, the Prometheus, and tragedies whose 
scene is in the lower world. The poet should endeavour, 3 
if possible, to combine all poetic merits ; or fiuling that, 
the greatest number and those the most important; 
the more so, in fSaoe of the cavilling criticism of 
the day. For whereas there have hitherto been good 
poets, each in his 0¥m branch, the critics now expect 
one man to surpass all others in their several lines of 
excellence. 

In speaking of a tragedy as the same or different, the 
best test to take is the plot Identity exists where the 
Complication and Unravelling are the sama Many poets 
tie the knot well, but unravel it ilL Both arts, 
however, should always be mastered. 

Again, we should remember what has been often said, 4 
and not make a Tragedy into an Epic structure. By an 
Epic structure I mean one with a multiplicity of plots : 
as if, for instance, you were to make a tragedy out of 
the entire story of the Iliad In the Epic poem, owing 
to its length, each part assumes its proper magnitude. 
In the drama the result is £Eur from the expectation. 
The proof is that the poets who have dramatised the 6 
whole story of the Fall of Troy, instead of selecting 
portions, like Euripides; or who— unlike Aesohyk 



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64 XYin. 5— XIX. 3. 1456 a 18—1456 b 3 
axy^^t 4 hcwiwrcvaw ^ luucw orfmvi^QinaMf hrtX /col * Ato- 

so iw TDK airXoi9 irpdyfuuri\ trroya^rrtu &v fiovKovrai Oav^ 
fuurrm^* rpajucov ykp ravro teal ^nkdvdpcyirov. Simp ii 6 
rovTO, Stow o ao^)a^ fiiv fierh wcvffpla^ Bi i^warffOyt&cmp 
Sioti^o^f teal o avip€io^ flip &iuco^ Si i^tti;^^. ianv Bi 
rovTo c»ko9 &<nr€p *Ayd0ci>v Xiy€h ^o^ ^hp ylveadai 

9$voXkk seal tropin ro tlsco^. tcaX top j(ppov hi fva Sell 
vwakafielp t&p {nroKptr&p teal fiopiov elvtu rou SKov koX 
0VPaympil^€a04U /i^ wnrep 'EvpurlSp aXX* &air€p So^tcXel. 
TDK Si Xoiirdh ra fSofUpa <mfSip> fiaXXov rou luvdcv ti 
ShXii^ rparppSia^ iciiv Sih ipfioKifia fSovaiv frpwrav 

joip^iurro^ ^AydOw^a^ rou roiovrcv. tcalroi rl Sia^pei ^ 

ilifioktita fSeiP ij el pijcip i^ SKKov eh £XXo apfiorroi 

^ iweuroSiop Skop; 

XIX mpl fiiv aip r&p oKkuffp ijStf etptiroi, Xoiwop Si irepi 

Xi^ew^ teaX Siopoia^ eliretp. rh flip oinf wepi rifp Sidpouip hf 

35 rok vepH jiftfTopueffi KelaOw, rovro yitp ISiop pShXop ixeiptf^ 
riJ9 fuOoSov. SiTTi Si Kara rtfp Suohmip ravra, ica vwo 
rou Xiyav Set irapaaKeva^rOrgpoA. fUpfi Si rovrmp r6 re awo- 2 
SeucpvPM tcaX to Xveip koX to wd0ff irapaaKeva^eiP, otop 
wm% ekeop ij ^^fiop ij opyijp teal oca roiavTa, teal Sri fieyeOa^ 
teal luicporrqra^. SffKop H Sri kcX [ip] roi9 irpdypaaiP airb 3 
tAp avT&p ISe&p Sei p^p^o'dcu. Stop ^ iKeeipa fj Sewh ^ 

19. c«2 Ir . . . vpdy/i/a^ Mclm. SmemiliL 20. rrox^fcroi Hemtins t 

#r«xdf(imu oodd. 22. M add. apogr. 24. tUh] koI tUbt 

SoMmilil, qui rpmyuA^ . . . ^iXii^p(#rdr pott irni^v eollocat 27. 

Hrrtp. • . iiaw€fi} Q9T€pwup . . . 6wcp vap4 Aid., Bekker. 28. (^M^mfa 
Jfaggi, 'qnM auraotiir ' Anbt : iidifupa A: Mh add. Yahlen, 'nihil 
...aliiidamiaiiis'Anbt: •dadd.UiggL 38. i^apogr.: 48' A«. 

84. mU H«nnaiiii: # oodd. 1468 b 2 ^uv^nn^r A*: ^fUKfiin/rm 

•pojp. Ir ioelaa. Uobonrog (cL Spengal). 8. ilcdr apogr. s c(8cdr A«. 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XVIIL 5— XIX. 3 66 

have taken the whole tale of Niobe, either fSEol utterly or 
figure badly on the stage. Even Agathon has been 
kno¥m to fSEol from this one defect. In his reversals of 
fortune, however, he shows a marvellous skill in the 
effort to hit the ^popular taste, — ^to produce a tragic 
effect that satisfies the moral sensa This effect is 6 
produced when the clever rogue, like Sisyphus, is 
cheated, or the brave villain defeated. Such an event 
is probable in Ag^thon's sense of the word: 'it is 
probable,' he says, Hhat many things should happen 
contrary to probability.' 

The Chorus too should be regarded as one of the 7 
actors ; it should be an integral part of the whole, and 
share in the action, in the manner not of Euripides but 
of Sophocles. As for the later poets, their choral songs 
pertain as little to the subject of the piece as to that of 
any other tragedy. They are, therefore, sung as mere 
interludes, — a practice first begun by Agathon. Tet 
what difference is there between introducing such choral 
interludes, and transferring a speech, or even a whole act, 
from one play to another ? 

It remains to speak of the Diction and the Thought, 
the other parts of Tragedy having been already discussed. 
Concerning the Thought, we may assume what is said 
in the Bhetoric; to which inquiry the subject more 
strictly belongs. Under Thought is included every effect 
which has to be produced by speech ; in particular, — S 
proof and refutation ; the excitation of the feeUngs, such ' 
as pity, fear, anger, and the like; the heightening or 
extenuating of £Act& Further, it is evident that the S 
dramatic incidents must be treated from the same points 

p 



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66 XIX. 3—3^ 3- H5^ b 4—^8 

furfdka ^ €Uira iijf wap€uncev6f,€vp* irXiiv roomrw &a- 

iw Tj* X^Ty tnro rov Xiywra^ wapaatc€wi(€<r04U tud irapk 
Tor X070V ylyp^aOai. rl ykp hw fXfi rmi Xtrfwrt^ Spyw, c2 
^auwTO ^ffii| & Sci tcaX fiif &^ riy X^Toy ; rSy Si ire/>l r^ 4 
Xi£i9 Ir /i^ i^Tiy €Z5o9 0€mpta^ rh a^iuvra 1% Xi^MK* 

10 il limy cJS^Mu T^ inroKpvrucf^ tuiX rw r^ roiavTfpf hc^^ 
T09 ^PX^''^''^''^''''^^^' ^'^ '''^ iPToX^ Kid rl €vj(ii koI Siii^ 
790119 icai ckrciX^ koI ipiirf^t^ xal inrimpurt^ Koi d ri 
SkKoroioihap. inipkyhprijprovTmpypAatwij&fPOiaPovihS 
cJ9 T^ woifirucfip hnrtfuffia ^>ip€r(u 6 ri teal &^wp oirov- 

15 iSjfi. rl ykp Stf r$9 vwoXdfioi ^pM/mjaOtu & Tlpwrarfipa^ 
iwtr$fMf, Sr$ €V)(W0(U olo^aofc^ hrvrdrru dminf "fi^PiP iu^ 
Se OwT ri Top icdKAirai ^^\p woUu^ ri ^ fiif iirtTo^k 
icruf. Sii irap€l4r$m m^ SKki^ seal oi r^ ^ron^TMe^ hv 

XX [1% Si Xi^MK Jnrdai^ rdS* iari rh fiipff, trroixiiiw 
ffvXKafiii avpSwfu^ Svofia j^fia [ApOpov] irrAci^ \6yo^. 
9rwj(fimf phf oSr icriM ^pf^ iSuUpera^, ai waaa Ski 
iXK* i( ^ wi^v/M ^vperif ytrjfy€<r0(u ^yij* teaX yhp r&v 
OfipUnf cjaly ahiolprroi ^mpoi &w cvSe/dop X^ci oroi- 
MS X^top. raurtf^ Si fUptf ro Tt ^pijtp koI rh ^fAUfxufPOP seal 3 
Si^pop. iffriP SIk ^pij€p /iip <ri> &p€U wpoafioXlj^ i/PP 
^mpiiP iucovcnl/Pt i^d^wfop SIk rh p£riL wpoafioXij^ i)(cip 
^mpifp Ac ou oTy ^y , olofP rh S lulX rh P» S^pop Si rh fierh 

a. ^dMKTOteripds ^«9«£r«eodd. 4I9 A M Tjnrbitt : 4I9 OutelTttio t 
i^ U* mMl Sotemilil: 4Mft oodd. Tablen ad. 8: | Mm Yalilen ed. 2. 
SL M>ir McfaM. Hartuag (ef. Sotemilil)! ante t^otm potidt Spengal 
(qsod aoaftnk Anba)s #Mfr#Mt <#> 4^^ir «r«^ /%« StoiatUL 
Sib #vp#iTik apogr^y Anba * aonpoiitaa tooL 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XIX, 3— XX. 3 67 

of view as the dramatic speeches, when the object is to 
14M to evoke the sense of pity, fear, grandeur, or probability. 
The only difference is, that the incidents should speak 
for themselves without verbal exposition; while the . 
effects aimed at in a speech should be produced by the - 
speaker, and as a result of the speech. For what were 
the need of a speaker, if the proper impression were at 
once conveyed, quite apart from what he says ? 

Next, as regards Diction. One branch of the 4 
inquiry treats of the Figures of Speech. But this 
province of knowledge belongs to the art of Declamation, 
and to the masters of that science. It includes, for 
instance, — ^what is a command, a prayer, a narrative, a 
threat, a question, an answer, and so forth. To know or 6 
not to know these things involves no serious censure 
upon the poet's art For who can admit the fault 
imputed to Homer by Protagoras, — that in the words, 
' Sing, goddess, of the wrath,' he gives a command 
under the idea that he utters a prayer ? For to call on 
some one to do or not to do is, he says, a command. 
We may, therefore, pass this over as an inquiry that 
belongs to another art, not to poetry. 
XX [Language in general includes the following parts : — 
the Letter, the Syllable, the Connecting words, the Noun, 
the Verb, the Inflexion, the Sentence or Phrasa 

A Letter is an indivisible sound, yet not every such S 
sound, but only one from which an intelligible sound can 
be formed. For even brutes utter indivisible sounds, 
none of which I call a letter. Letters are of three S 
kinds, — ^vowels, semi-vowels, and mute& A vowel is 
that which without contact of tongue or lip has an 



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68 XX. 3—8. 145^ b «9— ^457 » lo 

JO rmm t/jnnmf it¥eL ^mwifp yiw6ft€POP iucovarov, otom to F teal 
T& A. raSra Si Suuf^ipu <rp^/ia^ Tt roO arifiaro^ tcaX 4 
riwot^ Kol hanrvTffn Kali ^Ckirnfr^ Koi fui^u Kol fipayy- 
nyn, in Sk o(vnfn teaX fiapvnfn /col tj* i^ff* fr^pl &v 
KoS* &atfTOV h TOK lurrpiicoii irpoa^icu O^mptiv. avXKafiif 6 

€xo9T9i* ical ykp rh FA Sp€V rot) P avXKafiii tud fierh 
70V P, o2by T^ FPA. iXKk tcaX rovrmp ffempfjaai r^ &a- 

1MV» 1^ atrn xmXuu oirt watt ifmvifp fdav atipuiPTueifv he wKuo^ 
pmm ^mpAp, w€^wcvia [cw\rlB^rOai tcaX iwl r&p &Kpmv 
Kcia hr\ ToS iMiiffou* Ij ^tn^ &afffi09 ^ ix irXeiopt^p fiip ^fl»- 
p&m lua/it cfifiotmsciip Si, iroieip iri^vKW /Uop <niy4MPruci)p 
5 ^mpffPf o2or ri iji^ «cal to ir€pl /col rk SXKa* <^> ^i^ 7 
iaiffio^ 1j Xiyav ipj^v fj riko^ ^ Siopurfiop SffXjoi, fyf pij 
apftirru ip ipx5 ^^T^'v rifihnu icaff avnip, otop fUp, ^froi, 
SL [^ ^mp^ dffff^o^ 1^ ofht KCi>\v€i oliT€ worn ^mpipf 
§da9 miiuMiPTUt^ he irKn&pwp ^>mpSsp ir€^vicvia Ti0€a6ai koX 
loM r&p &cpmp seal M rov fUaav.] Spofia Si ion ^wfii 8 

S5. Ftat i i^%¥ intnddiMe Tidetar <4 ^| A^iftrov tnX 4^a^(6rov>. Pott 
^tm^ iXiHnm ooni Christ <i) rXit^Mir ii^4mtm mU ^«H^ lxoiTOff>. 
S«.M27^TdrA...T99P]l>nrhitt:«U7^TdrPdrevroOA...M«raroO 
AA«: MUYft^TdAdrevT99rP.. .^irrdroOrPM. Schmidt: MUT^TdTP o^c 
1^ #«XXii/l4^ iXX4 ^irrd t99 A lUrgolionth, colkto Aiabe, 'nam Fet P 
sine A boh CMiant lylkbun, qnoniam tantam finnt cjrllaba com A.' 
14BT a S. vf^iMRMk H$9^$ai Winstanley: wM^wnXdif ^wrWt^Bai oodd. 
i-6. loont Taldo pertoriMtns. In nttitiiendo teeutiit sum Snsemihl 
(pnoeiiiitt Hartniig). Ita Tvlgo l^tnr: mU M T6r iUp^ mU M ro0 
#i4fw^ V M ^M^m (► M i^i^i^rnr apogr., Bekker) & ifod rtBhm, 
mJf aMr (wir^ Tjrnrhitt), iXm lUw, inn, U M a^). 4 ^«iH^ A^i^im 
4 4k wkmknm ph ^mOm piis r yw rrupOr (ri^Mrrur^ A*) M vMcik W^ctr 

tAit # lbi^i#yi^ lipXii; ii^ rh Ap4l {f. fil A«! ^«^ Aid., Bekker) inU 
fivt^MlTAIMUk ' 8-10. # • . • #i4fmr aedos. Beii, Hermaim. 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XX. 3—8 69 

audible sound. A Bemi-vowel, that which with such 
contact has an audible sound, as S and B. A mute, 
that which with such contact has by itself no sound, 
but joined to a vowel sound becomes audible, as G and 
D. These are distinguished according to the form 4 
assumed hj the mouth, and the place where they are 
produced; according as they are aspirated or smooth, 
long or short ; as they are acute, grave, or of an inter- 
mediate tone; which inquiry belongs in detail to the 
metrical treatises. 

A Syllable is a non-significant sound, composed of a S 
mute and a vowel <or of a mute, a semi-vowel> and a 
vowel : for GA without B is a syllable, as it also is 
with B, — GBA But the investigation of these differ- 
ences belongs also to metrical science. 
i4fra A Connecting word is a non-significant sound, which 6 
neither causes nor hinders the union of many sounds 
into one significant sound ; it may be placed at either 
end or in the middle of a sentence. Or, a non-significant 
sound, which out of several sounds, each of them signi- 
ficant, is capable of forming one significant sound,— -as 
a/A^ 9re/>/, and the like. Or, a non-significant sound, 7 
which marks the beginning, end, or division of a sentence ; 
such, however, that it cannot correctly stand by itself at 
the beginning of a sentence, — as /lip, ^o«, ii. 

A Noun is a composite significant sound, not marking 8 
time, of which no part is in itself significant ; for in 
double or compound words we do not employ the 
separate parts as if each were in itself significant. Thus 
in Theodorus, * god-given,' the i&pw or * gift ' is not in 
itself significant. 



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70 XX. 8— XXL I. I4S7 » "—34 

mm ^fioPTUcop* hf jkp T0i9 &irXoi9 ov p^/M^a Jk teal 
mni Koff aM cfffuuuop, otop hf rf Bco&ipy ri t&pw 

IS yov ffi ovSh Mp09 offfuUvei icaO* avro, &amp tcai M r&¥ 
wo/iwrmp* rh /i^ yap &^poMro9 fj XevtcAp ov Cff/udyu rh 
wim, ri £i fiaBi^ei ^ fitfiiZucw irpo<r^fiaip€i rh ^ r^ 
wapSunu xpov€P ro ii top irapAajKudirm. 9rrao-i9 S* iarXv 10 
M^/AOTo? ^ ^futro^ ^ lilkp TO Kara ri rovrov fj rovTff atf^ 

so fuupop ical Sea roMsSra, 17 Si tcara rh hi tj woXKoh, oUp 
SpOpmwoi ^ SpOpmwa^, ^ ii kotSl re yiroKpiTucd, otop kot* 
ipmrrqawhrLrafyp* to yap <3ip*> ifid&ur€pijffdiil^€irr&a'i^ 
^fiaro9 scare ravra ra etSnf icrip. X0709 ^ ^1^ cvpSerii 11 
atiiMPTU^ ffi hna lUpti icaO* airra offfuUpu ri* oi yap 

ts Swa^ Xoyo^ ix jniparmp lulX ovopArtiv avyicttreup otop o 
rov opOpA^ov opio'/io^, £KK* hfHyerai &P€v j^tipArtiP cZmu 
XoToy, /i^po9 fUpTOi ael T4 offprnpov i^i, olov iv tjS fialU^ 
^u ISXimp ro Kkkwf. €U Bi iixri X0709 Si^^' ^ y^ iy 12 
^palpmp, ij o itc wXeiopmp awSiap^, otop ^ *lXki9 pip 

30 evpSicp/f €kp o Si rov ipBpJmov tj? hf injpaipeiP.'] 

ZXI Mparo^ aaSff rhpip iirkow, airXow ii Xiy^ t p^i 

itc^afipatpoprtpp ov/zMiTOi, olop yfj, t^ ii SiirXow* rovrov 

Si rh pip iK cffpalpopro^ teal aaripav (^rXi^y oiK h t{S 

ifpopam anipalpopro^ mal aai^pov), rh Si im cvipat»6prmp 

17. wrlSpengeL pM[u apogr. : pMfHw A«. 19. r6 add. apogr. 

22. V add. YMw. pi^ apogr. t ifiiZit^ A«. 27. /M4^ 

apogr.: pMi^ A«: "Ir ly fiM^w,** Kkimw h XX^wMt Sntemihl 
(pnoouto IL Sehmidt). 28. rh KX^««r Bigg: h KKiw oodd. 29. 
^^"'MrAH^ APV* : ^M'MrMMi' A«. 80. ly apogr. t r^ A«. . 88. mU 
ip^/tm aoelM. U«iiig^ eommato poaito post wipuUtmm t. 84. 

(oClnba'aontaaoniMlicaiiaiiiiioiiiiM^; Ibrt racto. 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS XX. 9— XXL I 71 

A Verb is a composite signifioant sound, marking > 
time, in which, as in the noun, no part is in itself signi- 
ficant. For 'man,' or 'white' does not express the idea 
of 'when'; but 'he walks,' or 'he has walked' does 
connote time, present or past. 

Inflexion belongs both to the noun and verb, and 10 
expresses either the relation ' of,' ' to,' or the like ; or 
that of number, whether one or many, as 'man' or 
' men ' ; or the mode of address — a question, it may be, 
or a command. 'Did he go?' and 'go' are verbal 
inflexions of this kind. 

A Sentence or Phrase is a composite sound, some of 11 
whose parts are in themselves significant ; for every such 
combination of words is not composed of verbs and nouns 
— ^the definition of man, for example — ^but it may dis- 
pense with the verb. Still it will always have some 
significant part, as the word ' Cleon ' in ' Cleon walks.' 
A sentence or phrase may form a unity in two ways, — IS 
either as signifying one thing, or as consisting of several 
parts linked together. Thus the Iliad is one by the 
linking together of parts, the definition of man by the 
unity of the thing signified.] 
XXI Words are of two kinds, simple and double. By 
simple I mean those composed of non-significant elements, 
such as 7^. By double or compound, those composed 
either of a significant and non-significant element 
(though within the whole word this distinction dis- 
appears), or of elements that are both significant A 
word may likewise be triple, quadruple, or multiple in 
form, as are most magniloquent compounds, such as 
Hermo-caico-xanthua 



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72 XXL I— d. 1457 a 35—1457 >> «« 

woXKmrXoOp, otoy rk woXkk r&v fuyaXiU^Pp otov ^Epfwicai* 
umh Mo^awOifi. &ira9 Sk Spofid iaruf ^ tcvpwv ^ yK&rra ^ /iero* S 

Ikhww ^ iffiXkarffAhfw. Xiy^ H mvpun^ flip ^ xP^vrai S 
icaaroi, yX&rrop Si ^ tnpoi, &ar€ ^xuftphv Sri koI yX&r- 
5 Tov icol tcvpiw cZmu ifviHvrhfP rh aini, fiii roi^ airrwi Si* 
rh ykp aiyww Kvwploi^ fthf Kvpiw, ^pSt^ Si yX&rra. /m- 4 
ra^opk Si iartp wifuvro^ oKkmpiou hti^pik ^ ifirh rfA 
'yimw9 iwitlSoi ^ ofiro rav dSav^ M rh yipo^ 4j airh rav cf. 
Sov^ ivl €tSa9 1j icark ri Ja^dKoyop. Xiy€» Si iwi yhwv9 fiip 6 
loiwi^Saip oU»**wffi^Si ikOifjl^ icTtitcm^*^ rhykp opfAtSpiartP 
loTOMU Ti. Jar €tSov9 Si iiri yiva^, ^*^ Sif iwpV ^OSvinrei^ 
iaOkk I0/97CF*** T^ 7^ fLvptcp woXu <rl'> iarip, ^ mp iarrX 
imiiniKkov tciypiffrai. anr* iHScv^ SH hrX €Z5o9 olov **j(aKK^ 

awi^ltv)(j^ipArai9^ teal**TafU^pir€ipi$x^ ipravOa 

15 7^ ri /lip apiaoi ra/i^Sp, ri Si r€L/iSp ipiatu tlpfiictp* 
S/i^ 7^ d^eXtf 2r rl hrriM. ih hi optSXcjop Xiy^, Stop 6 
ifioim^ ixjf ri Setmpop wpo^ ri wp&rop teaX ri riraprrop 
wpa^ TO rptrop* ipu yiip optI rov Stvripov rh rirapTap 1j 
arrl rw rrriprw ri Sempop, teal tpUrewpoarMaaiP ivff 
so oS %tfu wfiq I IffTU \iyf» SH olop o/jloU^^ ij(l^ ^uiXi; vph^ 
AiimwaPMdiojrU wpi^^A^* ipArUpwriiP^iahiipiunrtZa 



S«. ptrfm XHm At "iniirtaiiky t pin^Mm •far Bekkwr <d. > t fuyaXJm^ 
TaUmis iMyn^M^r^ eodd. 14BT b 2. i^wnitOvw Spoigtl (et 14M 

ml). i.H<ni.apogr. 12. W add. Twinlag. 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XXL 2—6 7* 

um% Every word is common or proper, strange, meta-S 
phorical, ornamental, newly-coined, extended, contracted, 
or altered. 

By a common or proper word I mean one which is 3 
in general use among a people ; by a strange word, one 
which is in use in another country. Plainly, therefore, 
the same word may be at once strange and common, but 
not in relation to the same peopla The word atyvpop, 
* lance,' is to the Cyprians a common word but to us 
a strange one. 

Metaphor is the application of an alien name by 4 
transference either from genus to species, or from species 
to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, 
proportion. Thus frt>m genus to species, as: 'There 6 
stands my ship'; for to be at anchor is a species of 
standing. From species to genus, as: 'Verily ten 
thousand noble deeds hath Odysseus wrought '; for ten 
thousand is a species of large number, and is here used 
for a large number generally. From species to species, 
as : ' Drew away the life with the blade of bronze,' and 
' Cleft the water with the vessel of unyielding bronza' 
Here apvo'tu, 'to draw away,' is used for rafuw, 'to 
deave,' and riiy^iy again for dpt^ai,---each being a species 
of taking away. Analogy or proportion is when the 6 
second term is to the first as the fourth to the third. 
We may then use the fourth for the second, or the 
second for the fourth. Sometimes too we qualify the 
metaphor by adding the term to which the proper word 
is relative. Thus the cup is to Dionysus as the shield 
to Are& The cup may, therefore, be called ' the shield 
of Dionysus,' and the shield ' the cup of Ares.' Or, again. 



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74 XXL 6—12. 1457 b 23—1458 a 10 

PUm, Koi hnripa irpiq ^fUpav* ipti roiinnf rifp iawipa^ yfj^ 

2$ hwrfii^ filov. hAoi^ S* oific Sarof tpofia te€lfievop r&v JonL 7 
Xoyoy, JXK' ovSh^ ^rrcip ofioUt^ XtxPrfo^oA* olov ih rhw 
Koprwhif /i^ a^nhfoi inr€tp€Uf, ri ii ri^p ^Xi^a iirh rev 
ijXXov iampviMW* oXX* ofioU^ lj(€i toSto irp^ rhv ffXioy teaX 
rhawet/mtrirpo^Tiv scapir6p9Sihdpf)Ta$**cw€ip<»p OtoKrUrra^ 

JO ^ikoya.** &Ti Si r^S rpcmf roxmf vrff^ §iera^pa^ xptjadai 8 
tcaX £Kkm9, vpocarfopeKKramra r^ iXkirrpwp iiro^rjaai r&v 
cUtlm^ T4» olav el rifif aairtia iliroi ^lahrpf /iif "Apem^ oXX* 
Soww. wewoi/tffAhwv £*^0Tly 8 SXm^ ^ Kokovfuvop inrh rw&w 9 
01^709 rl0€r4U o iroifini^, Boteet ykp Svia cZmu rouwra, olov 

15 rk tcipara ipmiyaii tcaX rop Ufiia &pffrrjpa. hreKrerc^Ahw 10 
n% a iaru^ ^ Juj^jfpfifkhfw rh iih ihv ^vi^epri fuucparipf tee^ 
'XR'lliyhfW f rot) oUeiov ^ avXKafip ififiepKqfiiirgt rh Sk hv 
a^pflfihfop Tft f airov, iire/errra/Upcn^ ^ otop rh 9roXcc»9 
wSkqa^ tcaX rh Hi^kio^ <ni;X^ scai rh JIfikelBov>' IIi;- 
Xf|ia£ed», a^juniikipw tk olov rh Kpl lulX rh t& tuiX **/jda 
yiiferai ofLijkoripmp Syjt.** i^Xkarf/jUpcp S* iarlp Srop 11 
TOtf ivo/Aofoftihov rh /iip tcardKehrg rh Sk woip, otov rh 
" Se^irtphv leark /ia(oy ** iarrl rov ie^iov. 

\ayr&m 8i r&v ivofidrwv rh fiiw Sppeva rk ih 0i^a rh 12 

10 Si ^urafi, &ppwa /ih Sea reXnn^ cf 9 rh N tcaX P tcaX % iud 



/Ntv#lvrMt/NtvA«yftlileih 25. rOr A« t r^ apogr., Bekker. 29. 
<T^4^cirni>T^MC^awOMtolTetro. 82. dXV tf«F«r Y ettori t 4XXa 
•fi^MT eodd. 14M a 1. Mx^ip/iw Hermaim. 4. IlfX^M oU r^ 

HqMlw add. IL Schmidt d. If Tettoris Iff A« (h. 6. AOf t«1 

M^If). Id oU Z apogr.9 llaggi s om. A^ 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXL 6— 12 76 

. as old age is to life, so is evening to day. Evening may 
therefore be called ' the old age of the day/ and old age, 
* the evening of life ' or, in the phrase of Empedocles, 
' life's setting sun.' In some cases one of the terms of 7 
the proportion has no specific name ; still, the metaphor 
may be used. For instance, to scatter seed is called 
sowing : but the action of the sun in scattering his rays 
is nameless. Still this action bears to the sun the same 
relation that sowing does to him who scatters the grain. 
Hence the expression of the poet, 'sowing the god- 
created light' There is another way in which this kind 8 
of metaphor may be employed. We may apply an alien 
term, and then deny of that term one of its proper 
attributes ; as if we were to call the shield, not ' the cup 
of Ares,' but ' the wineless cup.' 

A newly-coined word is one which has never yet 9 
been in use, but is invented by the poet himself Some 
such words there appear to be: as ipvvy€^, 'sprouters,' 
for Kipara, ' horns,' and apfiri^p, * supplicator,' for Up€v%^ 
' priest.' 
^M% A word is extended when its own vowel is exchanged 10 
for a longer one, or when a syllable is inserted. A 
word is contracted when some part of it is removed. 
Instances of extension are, — wohai^ for irolsMmf IliyX^ 
for TlfiKio^, and Jiri\qiaZ€fii> for ILriKetlovi of contrac- 
tion,— -^/9i, SA, and ^, as in ida ylverai afju^orip^p i^. 

An altered word is one in which part of the ordinary 11 
form is left unchanged, and part is re-cast ; as in &{«- 
rtphv Karh li^ov, tt^iTMpov is for ^€^^09. 

[Nouns in themselves are either masculine, feminine, 12 
or neuter. Masculine are such as end in y, p, 9, or in 



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76 XXL IS— XXH 3. 1458 a 11—33 

S^a im Tovrov m^mvnu, rairra S * iarlp Bvo, "9 koI B» 0i$X6a 
Si Sea he TJ#F ^wnfitrrmp tfe t€ rk AA fAOicpd, ohv et? H 
tuA Q, icai r&p iw€ser€iPOfUpmp €h A* &<m Ura <rv/ifiatpu 
wXiiO€iJ^S<rarhSpp€patcalrh0iikea. rhyi^'^ scaXrhB 

15 ToArd iffiw. €k Sk i^mww aiihf ipo/ia reKivr^, aiSi t/9 

^m^ijew fipayv. cfc fid ri I rpla yJxpWt ii£Kk koi^u wkirtpi. 

ci? Si ri T wbm. rk hk fieraii^ €h ravra iical N ical £•] 

ZXn X^tm9 Si ap€Tit <ra^ tulX §iii ranrt^v dvau iriMr 

^ear d ni /ih oSr icrtw 1} itc rmv mvpt^p ipo/idrmu, SXXk 

9orair&9ii. irapdS€tyfAa Si ^ KXMOi^wrra^ wohfo'^^ teal 1} 
XOe^ikov. aepofii Sk tcdi i^aXKdrrovea ro tSunn^ickv 1^ toS? 
{cyawS? tMXP^M^* (€jfuum Si Xiy€» yK&rrat^ teaX /Aero- 
^piof icdi iwheraa'tw tud iroy ri wapk ri tcvpwv. iXh! &f 2 
n^ fya Siropra rouwra iro$ii<rg, ^ aiifVfiia iartu ^ fiapfia- - 

sS/M^/c^* i» ^ oSy i$c fA€T(U^op&p, aXwffUL, iktf Si iic 
^Xmrr&w, fiapfiap^ffyM* ah^ty/iari^ re ykp tSia nHrtf tarl, 
ri Xiyarra vwapjQnrra aSyvara aww^iu. teark fiiw oip 
T^ tAp <£XXi»f> ipofidrafp cvv$€iri» ov% oliv t€ tovto 
woiijaMficark Si rifPiura^pkif hS^xfrai^ olov **SpSp* tZSoy 

yt^wvfkx^oKi^iw* apipiicoXKiia'aPTa,*^tcaXTkr^ itcr&v 

yXmrrSm fiap/SapiCfAo^. Set dpa x€Kpaa0al wc^ toutoi^* ro 3 
/iipykp §iii tSimriKip woiiiati fiftfSi ranr€w6vf olov ^ yXSirra 
teak 1} i»itra/^opk tuiX 6 idapM^ luHi r2XXa rk tipfifiha. 



14. irX4l«»pogr. : rX^^ A«. 16. ante ruMk add. ly 2 l^rwliitt 

17. pott vIptc add. apogr. r^ wQn r^ Wlrv rh yUm rh 86p» rb S^rv, 24. 
nrMMmmrm yfl rti M/m Airaytm apogr. 1 kw tfvarm A*. wmUrg apogr. : 

««4nu ▲•• 28. iXXMT eooi Maigolkmth, oolkto Arabe ^laliqiia 

BNdBa*s nfUrn TjnMtt 91. «f<r^^ Mm^ a aod. LampridU 

at Anba'ilMiaeaBtarkMe*s mn^Mat cetari oodd. 



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ARISTOTLrS POETICS XXL is— XXH 3 77 

8Qme letter oompoiuided with t» — these being two^ ^ 
and {v Feminine, each as end in vowels that aie ehvaTB 
long, as 17 and m, and— of vowels that admit of lengthen* 
ing — those in a, Thns the number ci letters in which 
nouns masculine and faninine end is the same ; for ^ 
and ^ are equivalent to endings in t. No noon ends in 
a mute or a vowel short hj natua Three only end in 1, 
— fUKi, tcififu, whrtfii : five end in v. Neater noons end 
in these two latter vowels ; also in 9 and «.] 
1X11 The perfiBction <rf style is to be dear without being 
mean. The style which uses only common cht proper words 
is in the highest degree dear; at the same time it is 
mean : — ^witness the poetry of Cleophon and of Sthenelos. 
That diction, on the other hand, is lofty and raised above 
the conmionplaoe which employs onosoal words. By 
onosaal, I mean words rare or strange, metaphorical, ex- 
tended, — anything, in short, that diffiurs firom the normal 
idiom. Yet a style wholly compoeed of soch words is S 
either a riddle or a jargon ; a riddle, if it consists of 
metaphors; a jargon, if it consists of rare or strange 
worda For the essence of a riddle is to express true 
facts under impossible combination& Now this cannot 
be done by any arrangement of ordinary words, but by 
the use of metaphor it can. Such is the riddle : — ' A 
man I saw who on another man had glued the bronse 
by aid of fire,' and others of the same kind. A diction 
that is made up of rare or strange terms is a jargon. A S 
certain infusion, therefore, of these dements is necessary 
to style ; for the rare or strange word, the metaphorical, 
the ornamental, and the other kinds above mentioned, 
will raise it above the commonplace and mean, while the 



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78 XXIL 4—7. 1458 a 34— 145S b ai 

^Sf|, ri a icvpiw r^ aat^ifpuatf. aiic iKdxurrw Si Mp<^ * 
MM% ^vfifiJtXXeTa& ^ TO aa^ rfj^ Xi^w^ tcaX ^ IBwrnx^ 
ai hfticri^m^ icciL awoicairal koX i^aXKoffol r&w ivoiiAr 
rmf* hik fiih ykp ro SKKm^ tyjunf ^ ck ri Kvpiop, wapii 
rh €M»tfo9 ytypofM€PW,Tb ^ ISutnxhp woniceiti^ Si ri scoi* 
^vtnmpraOeimdiraiTbaa^iirnu. &<rr€aiic6p$ik^ltiyin^6 
auf oitwvnijAm^ r^ roiovnf rpimp r^ SiaXitcrav sad &a- 
xmfA^fSawrr€9 top woiffr^p, otop "EtVicXelSff^ o &(y)(aSo^9 ^ 
j^^SiOP woiup, €l T«9 So^o^ iicrdptiP i^ ifw6<rop fiovktroh 
iafifi€iro$iiaa^ fp avrg r§ >i^i. ***lSnnx^ipffP €lSop Mapa- 

10 d&pdU fiaSU^apraT sad "[avic ipy* ipdfupo^ rhp iicdpov iK^ 
Xiffopop.^ ri liip oSir ^alpetrOal irw^ j(pmfi€Pap rovr^ r^ 6 
rpifw^ ytXoiop, rb Si fjiirpav icotpip ifirdpTi»p icrl r&p /m- 
pifp* §ceX yitp iktro/^pai^ sad yXiirrra*^ sad roi^ SXXoi^ ^ 
^tSeo'i j(pmft€pa9 im-peirm sad iwlrfiSe^ M r^ yekota rh 

IS oM itp inreprfoiravro. ro Si ip/iirrop Saop Su^pu hrX 7 
rmp iw&p B^mptUrSm ipTiOmipwf r&p <scvpUi^p> ipopArwp 
cf? ri §Urpap. sad hr\ rfj^ yXAmf^ H sad iwl r&p /itra- 
^p&p sad iwl r&p SXkoofp lS€&p /AtrariOeU &p r«9 rii 
tcvpia ipofAora suariSoi Sr^ &\ii$^ \iyofA€P* oiop rh airh 

JO iroiifcrayro9 lapfitiop Ai^yyKav sad 'EvpiiriSav, hs Si /aApop 
tpo/ia /itraBipTO^t Juni [scvplov] tU^diroi^ yKArraPp ri 



14M b 1. m/fufiiXKtrm A«: oyi/SiCXXflmu apogr. 9. "Bvix^^ 

BttniaB pftMUto lyrwhitt {'Ewtx!^)i Ijrm, xipuf A*. 10. 

wm] iarptwfh Twiaiiigi w4jmtt Hormaim. 15. ipsakrw apogr. : 

i^in m nt A.: le. #rdr] /r w n U iWP l*ynrhitt jni^(i#r oonL YalilaL 
IL 0mm $4wfu Aid. : imwin$iwTm k\ K¥pim ndndandum oonL Yahloi : 
Mfftv ^md> § i m $kn9 HdMiu. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIL 4—7 79 

use of proper words will make it perspicuoua But 4 
I » nothing contributes more to produce a clearness of 
diction that is remote from commonness than the exten- 
sion, contraction, and alteration of words. For hj 
deviating in exceptional cases from the normal idiom, 
the language will gain distinction; while, at the same 
time, the partial conformity with usage will give per- 
spicuity. The critics, therefore, are in error who censure 5 
these licenses of speech, and hold the author up to 
ridicule. Thus Eucleides, th^ elder, declared that it 
would be an easy matter to be a poet if you might 
lengthen sylhtbles at will His travesty consisted in the 
mere form of the verse, for example : 

lSfirv)(ipflv tlBop MapaB&pdSe fiaZiH^ovrat 
or, 

oifK Sp 7* ipofiepo^ top itulvov tSXifiopw. 
To employ such lengthening at all obtrusively is gro- 6 
tesqu& Here, as in all modes of poetic diction, there 
must be moderation. Even metaphors, rare or strange 
words, or any similar forms of speech, would produce 
the like effect if used without propriety, and with the 
express purpose of being ludicroua How great a differ- 7 
ence is made by the appropriate use of lengthening, may 
be seen in Epic poetry by the insertion of ordinary forms 
in the verse. So, again, if we take a rare or strange ' 
word, a metaphor, or any similar mode of expression, 
and replace it by the common or proper word, the truth 
of our observation will be manifest. For example, 
Aeschylus and Euripides each composed the same iambic 
line. But the alteration of a single word by Euripides, 
who employed the rarer term instead of the ordinary 



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80 XXTT. 7— la 1458 b 89—1459 a 9 

fihf ^aiwenu MiXor to fi' tMki^. Alfrxfi^^ H^ f^p 

tsitk iarrX roi) iaOUi rh doiparai fieriOffxei^/ icai 

vvm Si /A* a^ okiyo9 t€ koX aimSatf^ sad &iuei^} 

yfir Si /A* iiiy futcpo^ r€ xai Jur0€if$se^ mA iuS^i^* 

Mi 

&|9 TOV9 rparf^fhoif^ ifMf^fS€h in h oiSeU ^ tliroi h r§ 

SutkixTf roAroi^ j(p&PTM, oIok t^ Sm^iArmp Sfiro iXKi^ pif 

dSJari Sm/i^prmp, Mtd ri aiOep sad rh iyi^ Si p$Pp sad rb 

v»*AxAX^ iripi £Kkk pif 7r€pl *A;(iX>i«»9» sad Sea SXXa 

TOiotfra. &A 7^ ri pii cImu ip roi^ scvpUn^ iroUt rh pii 

iSimmsAp fp rp Xi|c» Sirapra rk imaSra* isctlpo^ Sk rwro 

4ypo€U SoTiP Si piya phs jh iscdcrf r&p elptfpipmp irpeirAp- 9 

5 TiK XP^^^'^ ^ SiirXoh opipaai sad yKtbrrM^t woXb Si 

piyiffrms Ti pera^puchp cImm. pipw ykp ravro o6t€ wop* 

SXXov iait Xaffup edf^viof t€ offp^Up itm* rh ykp c3 

ptra^ipcas rh ri Spoiop de^pup iartp. t&p £* ipoparmp rk 10 

*phf &irXa paXurra ippirrru roi^ SiOvpdpfiot^, ai Si y\£r- 

•JimdxwiLTM. 

S4. ^ (vil r*) add. Bitter. ^wyrflMr' id Kanek. 2«. a«Miff Gka- 

lilfvtTO (fw. lea OdjM. L «.), Anlw *iit Hon oonTwil^'t Am»it 

codd. : 4Uurvf O^yM. L e. M. / d««lAi«r eodd. : t^ aik^Uir Yahlfln : 

f wohw. Btuwiihl id, L M. lAm apogr. t iCr^ A«« 14M 
a4. filnaa;: WkA«. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXII. 7— lo 81 

one, makes one verse appear beautiful and the other 
trivial Aeschylus in his Philootetes says : 

Euripides substitutes doivarai 'feasts on' for ip^Ui 
' feeds on.' Again, in the line, 

pw Si li iw oXlyo^ r€ fcal ovnSapo^ koI dcMti^, 
the di£ference wiU be felt if we substitute the common 
words, 

vvp Si li ii>p lutcpi^ re koX aadevuc^ seal a€*&^. 
Or, if for the line, 

Sl^pop [r'] otifciKiop iuaraOtU oXJ^p t« rpdm^oPt 
we read, 

Si^pop iiMj(dfiphp KOToBA^ fwcpdp T€ Tpdw€(ap. 
Or, for ^Upe^ ffoScM'iP, ^mm9 tcpdl^ovaip. 

Again, Ariphrades ridiculed the tragedians for u^ing 8 
phrases which no one would employ in ordinary speech : 
for example, SmiiArmp &iro instead of anrh S^iAdrw^, 
%ai$€P, iyib Si pip, *A;^iXXic»9 Tripi instead of irefA 
*Axi)OUt^, and the like. It is precisely because such 
phrases are not part of the common idiom that they 
give distinction to the style. This, however, he fiuled 
to see. 

It is a great matter to observe propriety in these 9 
several modes of expression— compound words» rare or 
strange words, and so forth. But the greatest thing by 
far is to have a genius for metaphor. This alone cannot 
be had from another ; it is the mark of a gifted nature, 
— for to make good metaphors implies an eye for 
resemblances. 

Of the various kinds of words, the compound are 10 
best adapted to dithyrambs, rare words to heroic poetry, 

o 



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83 XXn. lo— XXm 3. 1459 a 10—33 

wortu To£p i{|pdN«oSp, ai ii fuera^paX roh U^AfieUn^. §ceX h 
lihf ToSp i)/MM4MH9 tpiuana Xp4^^f^^ '^^ tlp/vmhof ip Si Toi% 

tfOiTO* Ivn Si tA TOiotrrari tevpwp KaX§iera/^pikKaL idiriui^. 

IS ir«pl /A^F o8r rpwf^fiiaii icaX 1% ^ r^ wpdmuf fUfj^ 

0W9 J^Tit i)/tty MMyA tA etpfifiipa. 

JULlll my>l Si 1% &i;7i;fuiri«^ ical iy<l> /A^py fu^Mrn^, 

Sit So 701^9 fMov^ ica$air€p ip nu^ rparfffhLai% avpeardvai 

Spafianseoif^ /col vicpl /mot irpa^w Skffp tuiX rtXitop, ^ou- 

ao <ray ipx^ ^ fJ^a koX rtKo^p &* &<nr€p {fSov ^ {(Xoy 
iro«9 T^y oUdop ffiovi/fp, htiKov* sad p^i ofAola^ Urropta^ rh^ 
cvprfiti^ &HU9 h ah ivofficfi cvp^l /ua^ irpd(€»^ woietadai 
Sf^XtM-ur iX^ M^ XP^^'^* ^^ ^ rovr^ awififf wepl ha 
i^wXtiov99&picaTrwdt^hvx€Pix^iirp^SkXri>^ &air€p2 

ts yap tcark roA^ ttdroi^ ypowov^ Ij r* ip XciKapSvi iyipero 
pauiMyta koL 1) fp %uc€>dtf Kap^iotAwp fidxn oiSiy 
wpo9 Ti oM avPTelpovaai riKo^, o£ro» icai ip roU ^^f^9 
Xpipoi^ ipUnt ytperai $dr€pop fierh ddrtpop, i( &p h 
ovSh yiperai riko^. irjaeiop Si oi iroXKol r&p woiffT&p rwro 

30 Bp&4r$. Sio, icirep dirofA€P ^Si;, koI ravrg deawiaia^ ip 3 

^a¥eifi^Ofujpa9 wapii roi^ SKKov^^ Tf» /ii/Si rhp w&KefJLOP 

seaiir€p ^xiofpra ifx^ ^ riko^ hnx^ipfia'ai ttoUIp oKop' 

Xtop ykp itp /iiya/f koX oifK €vavpoirra^ IfuXKep ictcBtu, 

IS. cAr Harktt mU eodd. «rMf om. Aid. 17. M (rel 4p M) f^irpif 

eooiad (et 1M0 b 11, 145»b S8) : 4p ifofUrp^ Heintiiit: ^^^eodd. 
18. #«PimiMA oonL Yahlen : •wi#T!ib«4 oodd. 21. Implair^^wiSmt 
oodd. : Im^ka rAt #w##rtit Dadflr, fort note. 26. pov/iaxfa apogr. t 
tmhmxn A*. 28. #wr4 Httppif Hennaiiii : fitrk ^uHpmt eodd. 81. 
ry q[M)gr. : H A*. 88. My (ree. oorr. ^i/y«f ) . . • cMrorTw • • • 

iMr^dfmrm A* 1 pdym • • * tJir rf p wr w> • • . imrpimfw poaito oommate pott 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIL lo— XXIIL 3 83 

metaphors to iambic. In heroic poetry, indeed, all 
these varieties are serviceable. But in iambic verse, 
which reproduces, as &r as may be, familiar speech, the 
most appropriate words are those which belong to conver- 
sational idiom. These are, — ^the common or proper, the 
metaphorical, the ornamental 

Concerning Tragedy and imitation by means of 
action, this may su£Glce. 
XXIII As to that poetic imitation which is narrative in 
form and employs a single metre, the plot manifestly 
ought to be constructed on dramatic principlea It 
should have for its subject a single action, whole and 
complete, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. 
It will thus resemble a living organism, and produce 
its proper pleasure. Herein it differs from the ordinary 
histories, which of necessity present not a single action, 
but a single period, and all that happened within that 
period to one person or to many, little connected together 
as the events may be. For as the sea-fight at Salamis 3 
and the battle with the Carthaginians in Sicily took 
place at the same time, but did not tend to one result, 
so in the sequence of events, one thing sometimes 
follows another, and yet the two may not work up to 
any common end. Such is the practice, we may say, of 
most poet& Here again, then, as has been already 3 
observed, the transcendent excellence of Homer is 
manifest. He never attempts to make the whole war of 
Troy the subject of his poem, though that war had a 
beginning and an end. It would have been too vast a 
theme, and not easily embraced in a single view. If, 
again, he had kept it within mbderate limits, it must 



^. 



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84 XXm 3— XXIV. J. 1459 a 34— 1459 b ao 

3$yv9 ^ Iv piipoi am-okafiiuf hreiaoSloi^ k^xPV^^ ovt&p 
wokkoh, olop pe&p icaraXay^ sad SXXq^ iw€uro6lo$^, oh 
Sidka/Afime^ r^ woiftfcuf* ol £* JtXXoi mpl tpa 7roiova'& 
umhfuA W€pl iya 'jfpifpov sad filap wpi^w iroXu^p^t otop 6 
rk Kvwpia woiiiira/9 sad r^y luscpkp ^Wiabct. rot^pwp isc 4 
fshf TXidSoi sad ^OSvcatla^ fUa rptpy^fSia iroMrai isuk' 
ripwi ^ ivo liimUf isc ii Kvnpl^p woKKsd sad rrj^ fu^ 
5 scp&s IXmJ&k [irXicp] iscrm, oiov &irKwp Kplci^, ^ikoscni' 
T99» N«oirroXc^M099 ^ipthrvko^p irrta/yfU^ Adiaupcu, TXlov 
wipci^ sad oftriirXov^ [sad Xlpmpsad Tp^fdB€^]. 
^^V ^^ ^ [iniii]rhdiffTavTh Se* ixiuf rifp hrawoUap ry 
rparf^fii^ 1j ffiip airXSiP 1j ireirkeyfLipffp fj ^Bucrfp ^ Tradff 
10 riMf/p* sud rk fUpff i^i» ^uKimoda^ sad &^i»^ 
TOirra* sad ykp Trepnrem&p Se« sad avarfPwpUrtioP sad ira» 
Offfidrmp* eri r^9 Buusoia^ sad rifp Xi^iP S^^iP saiKA^. oU 3 
twaciP ^OfAMipo^ sdxfffrai sud irp&TO^ koX tsaxvm. sad yap 
sad r&p iroiijfAan»plsaiT€papavpi<rrf)K€P tj fshs *I\w airkovp 
15 Ktd wa$fjTUcipp ^ Si ^OBwrtrean ireirXeyfUpop (avarpfipiai^ 
yitp hiokov) sad ^ucif* irpb^ Si tovto^^ Xi(€i sad Suwolf 
iropra vrnpfiiffhaiscms* Sua^p€i Si savrd rt rf}^ avarda'€w^ 3 
rhfiifsa^^iwairoUasadrh pytrpop. rw pAs oip fu^sMv^ opo^ 
isans^ o dpfffUpo^* Swaadtu yiip Su avpopao'Oai rifP ap^v 
» sad TO tIXo9» dfi ^ ttis tovto, ft r&p phs ap^aUop tKoT" 



S& wMkf\ Mdiu. Christ: wM^ Heinaiiis. 8^ «& *pogr- > ^ pr* 

A«tt€et6fieodd. 14Mb2. K^pia Tynrhittt mnrpcdiA*. 5. 

wkkm ft mU 2lniP ml Tf^Utt ttdiis. HemuuuL 8. M ^Mgr. : 84 

k: 18. ImpSk apogr. x lovte A*. 18. 4amymfl9m$ Gbrict. 

18. 8lipogr. t 7^ A«. 17. wiprma AUL 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIIL 3— XXIV. 3 86 

have been complicated by the variety of the incidents. 
As it is, he selects a single portion, and admits many 
episodes from the general story of the war — such as 
the Catalogue of the ships and others — ^thus diversifying 
iMb the poem. All other poets take a single hero, a single 
period, or an action single indeed, but -with a multi- 
plicity of part& Thus did the author of the Cypria and 
of the Little Iliad. For this reason the Iliad and the 4 
Odyssey each furnish the subject of one tragedy, or, at 
most, of two ; while the Cypria furnishes many, and the 
Little niad eight — the Award of the Arms, the 
Philoctetes, the Neoptolemus, Eurypylus, the Mendicant 
Odysseus, the Laconian Women, the Fall of Ilium, the 
Departure of the Fleet. 
XXIV Again, Epic poetry must have the same species as 
Tragedy: it must be simple, complicated, 'ethical,' or 
' pathetia' The parts also, with the exception of song 
and scenery, are the same; for it requires reversals of 
fortune, recognitions, and tragic incident& Moreover, 
the thoughts and the diction must be artistia In all 2 
these respects Homer is our earliest and sufficient model 
Indeed each of his poems has a twofold character. The 
Iliad is at once simple and * pathetic,' and the Odyssey 
complicated (for recognition scenes run through it), and 
at the same time * ethical' Moreover, in diction and 
thought he is unequalled. 

Epic poetry differs from Tragedy in the scale on S 
which it is constructed, and in its metre. As r^purds 
scale or length, we have already laid down an adequate 
limit We must be able to embrace in a single view the 
beginning and the end ; which might be done if the scale 



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86 XXIV. 3— 7« 1459 b a I — 1460 a 5 

Tmi9 al inMrnmi^ tUw^ irpo^ Si to ttKSjOo^ rpay^fSi&p r&v 
<j? §da9 €ucpoaa$9 r^OtfMhwp irapiiKOiep. jf^ci Si irph^ ro 4 
hmcrdp^rBm to ^aiytOo^ woKv n ^ inxnroda tSiop &A 
ri ip liip T§ rparffpSuf ^ ivSiyetrOM &fAa Trparrofiepa 

inroKpmnf fnipo^ ftivop* iv Si t$ hrmroiltf Sik rh Suf/rftrw 
ebnu iirri iroXX^ §ii(ni ifia iroieiv irepaivofupct, u^* &p 
oticdmp &nmp ov^irriw o rot) troifiiian^ trfKO^. &ct€ tovt 
€xiu ri ayaBop €^9 fiieycikoirphrtiap tud rh furafiaXKeip top 

30 cMCOuorra icaX iireuroSiovp opofiotoi^ hreuroSioi^* Th yip 5 
ofUMOP Taj(y irXtfpovp ixwiirrtip mnei r^ TparftfZla^. to Si 
yJkrpw ri iip^biMP iarh r^ mipas fip^K€P. el ydp ri9 ip 
oXXfTiA i/ytrp^f SwfffiiiaTu^p fdfAifi<np wouhto fj ip iroXKoi^, 
aitrpewh itp ^aipoiTO* to yetp ^pvucop cTcuriiiwraTOP ical 

3S i^MmSioTaTOP t&p iitrprnp iarip (SA koX yKorrra/9 icaX /mto- 
^opOT Sij(mu liakurra* Treptrrff ycip teal <TavTg> ^ Sifjytf^ 
§UKTU^Iil§isia^^TmpSXKMp). ThSiiofAffeloPicaXTeTpdfierpop 
mm KungTuciL icaX ri §ihf ipyriirrueoPfTh Si irpcucTUCop. h-i Si aro- 6 
wmm p oP t c{ futfpvoi ri9 airro, &^ir€p Xaipi^fAMP. Sio ovSeU 
l»wcpkp cvoTaciP ip £KK^ we/roifficep fj rfS ^p^9 oXX* wr- 
W€p dwof»€P airrif ^ ^vat^ SiSdcMi to ap/wrrop airrff [&-] 
5 mip&aOau ^Ofm^po^ Si tXKa Tt ttoXXA i^io^ iwaipeiadtu icol 7 



a6L ml eodd. t ml tvuh^ Twining : cAr rm^rau Bywmter. 87. 

#U>iff«t apogr. t gbnim A*. 1460 a 1. KunfrvA koI Vthlen 1 Kunfrumi 

A*. a. #Hyi^ AUL t turypdm apogr. : /iirtt^ A* (ftiit 1/1% 9t 11 extre- 

■mm in Htnm eorr.), et Anbt *ti qnit neKirat' li. e. cf a^ yi^ii (Mar- 
goliMrtk). 4. «^ apogr. 1 mdr^ A*. 6. a^tMa* BoniU : 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIV. 3—6 87 

of the whole were reduced as oompared with that of the 
ancient Epic, and the poem made equal in length to the 
tragedies, taken collectively, which are exhibited at one 
sitting. 

Epic poetry has, however, a great — a special — 4 
capacity for enlarging its dimensions, and we can see the 
reason. In Tragedy we cannot imitate several' actions 
carried on at one and the same time. We must 
confine ourselves to the action on the stage and the part 
taken by the players. But in Epic poetry, owing to the 
narrative form, many events simultaneously transacted 
can be represented ; and these, if relevant to the subject, 
add mass and dignity to the poem. Tlus particular 
merit conduces to grandeur of efifect ; it also serves to 
divert the mind of the hearer and to relieve the story 
with varying episodea For sameness of incident soon 
produces satiety, and makes tragedies Ml on the stage. 

As for the metre, the heroic has proved its fitness by 6 
the test of experience. If a narrative poem in any 
other metre were now composed, it would be found 
incongruoua For the heroic of all measures is the 
stateliest and the most imposing; and hence it most 
readily admits rare words and metaphors ; as indeed the 
narrative mode of imitation is in this respect singular. 
On the other hand, the iambic and the trochaic 
UM% tetrameter are stirring measures, the latter being suited 
to dancing, the former to action. Still more absurd 6 
would it be to mix together different metres, as was done by 
Chaeremon. Hence no one has ever composed a poem on a 
great scale in any other than* heroic verse. Nature herself^ 
as we have said, teaches the choice of the proper measure. 



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88 XXIV. 7— lo. 1460 a 6— a6 

i^Kal5i% /ioyo9 r&p wo&fir&p ovic iffvou h iuiroUivairrov. 
ainw ^fkp hS top wo&frrifp iKdxurra Xiye^p" ai ydp ion 
tcark raXhu fUfMfni^. oi /ih oip SKKo^- airroi /ih &' SKov 
af^mpt^oprai, fuftavpnu Si SXJya icai oKiydsu^* 6 Se oKlya 

10 ^poijuanrajMJH^ evOv^ ttaarfti SvSpa ^ yvpouca 1j oXXo r i 
[^09] sui ovUp' aiftfi oXX' t^wra fjOff. S€l/ikpoipip rai^ 8 
rpajfSlai/9 wouSp rb davfuurrop, imKKop S' ipBix^^ ^ 
T^ twQWOiUf TO SKoyop, &* ft ^vfifioLpti fioKurra ro $av- 
fuurrop, &A rh /iif opap eh top irpdrropTa* iwel r^ irepl 

15 TfiP^EiCTOpo^ Sim(iP M cicfipij^ SpTa yekalla &p ifxtpehf, ol 
/icF loTttrre? tcai ov himKOPT€^» o ii avaptvwp, h ii ro*9 
hno'tpXapOdpt^, to Si dav/uurrop ^v* crfffuiop Si* irdvTe^ 
yap wpoffTiOhm^ iararffthXovtnp ck xoLpi^op^tpoi. SeSlSa^ep 9 
Si fidKurra^Op/rfpo9 icaX Toif^ aXXov^ ^^vS^ Xiyeip (&9 SeL 

JO «jTi Si TovTO irapaXoyur/A^. cSopt€u yitp &pOpwiroi, Stop 
TovSX Spto^ ToSl f fj yiPo/UpovylpfiT€Up flTb itmpop icTW^ 
Koi TO wpimpop etptu fj ylpeadtu* tovto Si i<m ^evSo^. Sih 

&^ ^ T& Wp&TOP ^jf€vSo^9 oXX' OvSi TOVTOV SpTO^ aPiifftCff 

ehmi ij yepiadai [fj] irpotrOeiPoi* &A yitp Tb touto elShftu 
as oKiffii^ Sp, waptiKoyi^erai ^pAp ^ ^^v^^ seal Tb vp&TOP ck 
Spm wapaSevf/ia Si tovtou he t&p 'Hhrrp^^p. irpocuptiaOoL 10 



IL 4#0fOBL Beii: IcgmtArabsi flT^BonUo. o^M'd^^apogr. : oM/ra 

Ghikl» Ibrt note. 18. <Xoy«p Yettori : MXtyweodd. At'dYettori: 

Meodd. 14. #rtl tA apogr. s Irccftt tA A*. 21. X apogr. x V A«, 
ree. eorr. f. SS. YfPilrtfM conL Christ 28. m itt BonitSp Christ. 
A]UvllA«x4XX'sWTCe.coiT.: iXX« M ood. BobortoUi, Boniti : iXX« 
ri YaUsa t IDOi^ I Christ St 4 teehis. Bonits, Christ t f Yahlob 
98. Tv^fw BoborteUi s Ts8rs A* : rw^rm apogr. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIV. 7—9 89 

Homer, admirable in all respects, has the speoial merit 7 
of being the only poet who appreciates the part he 
should take himselt The poet in his own person 
should speak as little as possible; it is not this that 
makes him an imitator. Other poets appear them- 
selves upon the scene throughout, and imitate but little 
and rarely. Homer, after a few prefatory words, at once 
brings in a man, or woman, or other personage ; none of 
them wanting in characteristic qualities, but each with 
a character of his own. 

The element of the wonderful is admitted in Tragedy. 8 
The irrational, on which the wonderful depends for its 
chief efiects, has wider scope in Epic poetry, because there 
the person acting is not seen. Thus, the pursuit of 
Hector would be ludicrous if placed upon the stage^ — the 
Greeks standing still and not joining in the pursuit, and 
Achilles beckoning to them to keep back. But in the 
Epic poem the absurdity is unnoticed. Now the wonderful 
is pleasing : as may be inferred from the fact that, in 
telling a story, every one adds something startling of his 
own, knowing that his hearers like it. It is Homer 9 
who has taught other poets the true art of fiction. 
The secret of it lies in a fallacy. For, assuming that if 
one thing is or becomes, a second is or becomes, men 
imagine that, if the second is, the first likewise is or 
become& But this is a false inference. Hence, where 
the first thing is untrue, it is quite unnecessary, provided 
the second be true, to add that the first is or has become. 
For the mind, knowing the second to be true, &lsely 
infers the truth of the first There is an example of this 
in the book of the Odyssey containing the Bath Scene. 



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90 XXIV. lo— XXY. 9. 1460 a 97—1460 b 11 

T€ SS aSwara €uc6ra ^lSKKov fj Svparit 6firl0apa* tou9 t« 
Xiyavq fi^ avptaraaOtu he ^p&v aKvfWf» <iXX^ yy&KAora 
pSbf furiSh ix^w JtKvfoVp €l Si /if;, lifo».roS fiv0€Vfuvra^, &c^ 

^ Tf Spd^uvri, mcmp iv 'HXirr/9f olrkTl vOut airafffiXXoih 
TC9, ^ hf Mu0'<H9 o a^yo9 & Teyia^ €A9 r^y Muo-(air ^«M»y. 
JloTC Tii Xiyciy iri appptjTO tiv o fwOo^ ytXolop' i^ ^PX^ 
jiip 9u Set awfurraa'Oiu raovrov^* &v Si 0§ icaX ^ahfrgrai 
35 €vXo7orr^EM»9» Mi)(wd€u tcaX Stoww <Sv> * hrel §ceX rk iv 
^OSvaaelf Hkoya rit> irepl rifp itcBtaw J^ oAk Ap 9fy avetcrh 
MM% S^Xoy itp yipoiTOp €l avrh ^at?Xo9 iroifiT^ ironiceie* mv ik 
ToSp aXX4M9 irfoBoii irot/qrifi a^Mvi^ei ffiivmv rb irvwav. 
r§ Si X^€& Set SuiTroveuf iv T0S9 apyot^ pykpe^w Koi iir/re 11 
^ucoh iMfr/re SiaiKnfriKot^* atroKpvnrt^ ykp irdKtp 1^ Xtav — 
5 Xa/im'ph Xi(i^ rd re ^ A; teal rk^ Suivola^. 
XXV w€pl Si irpopKqpATwv icaL \u<ni»Vt he iroamf re §caL 
woimw dSSp itrrtVp &S* ttp dempovcip yhfoir tiv if>ap€p6p. iirel 

eUomnroWp apdrftetf fUfuiirOai rpi&v ivrmv top ApiOp^p ip 
10 n ad, 1j yhp ota ^ 1j iimp, ^ old ^acvp luiL Soscet, fj ota 
^tNuSeL raXnaS i^arffiKkrraiXk^ <cij kv/^m^ opi§AaaiP> 3 



Ml <l> OUlwmn Bywater. 8& IwMxwBwi apogr. Ir addidL 

14M b 1 «Mf«f Heintiat: rwif^ft eodd* s iwd^vvr SpengaL 6. tm 

i^ogK. s M A** 7. voW aUdr apogr. : voW Ar cttdr A*. 9. n^ 

a^ ^ Ttl ry a^#Hi»apogr. x rO^ dpt0nQif A*. 10. 4 •^ *PV* > 

•feA*. IL # aiytotg Jp^awr coaL Yahlib 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXIV. lo— XXV, I 91 

Aooordingly, the poet should j^fer probable im-lO 
possibilitiee to improbable poesibilitiee. The tragic plot 
must not consist of incidents which the reason rejecta 
* These incidents should, if possible, be excluded ; or, at 
least, they should be outside the action of the play. 
Such, in the Oedipus, is the ignorance of the hero as to the 
manner of Laius* death. The irrational parts should not 
be within the drama, — as in the Electra, the messenger's 
account of the Pythian games ; or, in the Mysians, the 
man who comes from Tegea to Mysia without speaking. 
The plea that otherwise the plot would have been 
ruined, is ridiculous. Such a plot should not in the first 
instance be constructed. But once it has been framed 
and an air of likelihood imparted to it, the absurdity 
itself should be tolerated. Take the irrational incidents 
connected with the landing on Ithaca in the Odyssey. 
How intolerable they might have been would be 
Mio^ apparent if an inferior poet were to treat the subject 
As it is, the absurdity is veiled by the poetic charm with 
which the poet invests it 

The diction should be elaborated in the pauses of the 11 
action, where there is no expression of character or 
thought On the other hand, character and thought 
are merely obscured by a diction that is over brilliant 
XXV With respect to critical difficulties and their solutions, 
the number and nature of the sources from which they 
may be drawn may be thus exhibited. 

The poet being an imitator, like a painter or any 
other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three 
objects, — ^things as they were or are, things as they are 
said or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. 



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9S XXV. a— 6. 1460 b la— 33 

aiMfrriot ^ 1^ 7^ /ica^ <i£n;i^, 1} £^ /var^ ovfAfiefiffica^. €l 4 
§thf fop <Tft> wpouKero fUfn^aaOai <^ opOw ^ ifu- 
finiaaro &*> aSvpofuoPp atn% 1} ifULprla* tl Bk <&^> 
TO vpoeKiaOiU ^ ipO&^p aXKik top tmrop <&fi>' &fi^ rh 

ao £e|iA TTpofitpkfiK&ra ^ ri /co^ hcdartip rtxytiP ofAdprfffia 
otom TO tear iarpuapf ^ SKKoip rt)(PtiP [^ aSvpora weiroiviTiu] 
iravuttHniPp €v scoff iavTifP. wrrt htl rk hrvr^iurifiara hf roi^ 
vpopKqiMOffi^p he Twr^p ifr^aicvirwPTa Xveiy. vp&rop ^ikp ti 5 
Wf^ airriip liip rixyv^ ahvpara wewoiffrcUp iiiiapmfTMp 

as «XX* ipOSi^ ij^ el TVfxapeh rau riKov^ rod avr^ (to yhp — 
riko9 ^lfniTai)p el aSrt^ iicwKrf/cruuorepop ij airrh ^ oXXo 
irom fklpo^. vapdiei^fia ^ TOv^^iiCTopa^ Bu0^t^. elfUproiro 
rikog ij fAoXkop ^ <fi^> 1^01^ ipeBijoero virafy)(€iP icaX Kark 
^rrgp irtpX ravTWP rixPfpf, [^/Aa/9T^o^ai] cvk opOm* Bel 7^/> 

10 tl ipBi)(rr4u SKm^ fiffBoft^ fifJMprrfjadiu. Sri worip^p iarl 
TO a^MprrfifiOp tAp tcarh rtfp ri)(VfiP ij tear* SKXo avpfitfitf- 
tw ; ikarrap ykp «» ft^ gf Scf Sn jfXa^09 OifkeM teipara 
avK i/u fj u ofUfirJTc^^ eypa^jttp. wpo^ Bi tovtoi^ H^ 6 



iJN^rtr^ry ^iMtii#«^«cuac\ 1& c< apogr. t 4 A«. Mi add. Ueber- 

weg, 19. i^* add. Yahlen. 21. # di^mru wtwUirrQi sedua. Diintser t 
rixn^ hrmapwShf [<] dMrara rcvWiyrai Christ 23. cl] tA A^ W tap. 

•or. tA vpk c^rV ^V '^^xn^' pleriqne add. 24. W add. Yalileii 

aata dMnira. 24. it^fnu] cfl^ifnu Heiiiaiiias rv^roi IL Sdhmidt 

2& # M fmr Ueberwag^ frrar A«s # fmr rec A«, YahlaB. 29. 

tpa^rjiiii aadna. ^jwatars V>4^*^r«* Aid.* Bakker. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXV. a— 5 93 

The vehicle of expressioii is language,— either common 3 
words or rare words or metaphors. There are also many 
modifications of language, which we concede to the poeta 
Add to this, that the standard of correctness is not the 3 
same in poetrj and politics, anj more than in poetrj and 
anj other art Within the art of poetrj itself there are 
two kinds of &ults, — those which touch itii essence, and 
those which are acddentaL If a poet has proposed to i 
himself to imitate something, but has imitated it 
incorrectly through want of capacity, the error is 
inherent in the poetry. But if the fSedlure is due to the 
thing he has proposed to do— -if he has represented a 
horse as throwing out both his right 1^ at once, or 
introduced technical inaccuracies in medicine, it may be, 
or in any other art — ^the error is not essential to the 
poetry. By such considerations as these we should 
answer the objections raised by the critics. 

First we will suppose the poet has represented things 6 
impossible according to the laws of his own art. It is 
an error ; but the error may be justified, if the end of 
the art be thereby attained (the end being that already 
mentioned), — ^i^ that is, the effect of this or any other A 
part of the poem is thus rendered more striking. A case in 
point is the pursuit of Hector. If, however, the end might 
have been as well, or better, attained without violating the 
special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified : 
for every kind of error should, if possible, be avoided 

Again, does the error touch the essentials of the 
poetic art, or some accident of it 7 For example, — not a 
to know that a hind has no horns isa less serious matter 
than to paint it inartistically. 



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94 XXV. 6 — la 1460 b 34 — 1461 a 17 

hmyi&Ta& on aitc oKofOij, iXK* Urt^ <tk> ^ — otop teal 
3S So^otcKij^ S^ avT09 fihf oTov^ iu woUiP, 'EvpuriSfiv Si oZoi 
€taim — TovrjfXuriap. €l Si ^i€Tip€^, iri cCrt^ ^mcIv* otop 7 
rk W€pi 0€&Pp taw^ 7^ a(iT€ fiiKriop o6t» Xiyeiv oir* SKafii}, 
mm oXX* «'> irvx^P Aamp Btpo^nipti* <iXX* oip ^MCi. rh 
a tam^ ai PtKriap iiipp oXX* oirm^ ^Ip^cy, otop rk irepl rmp 
tnrKmPp " SrfjdM Si a^iP^Opff hrX cavptrrijpo^* ** ^ oir^ yhp 
rir* ipofu^op, mnrtp fud pup TXkupioL wtpli Sk rov tcaX&9 8 
5 ^ fi^ iccX&9 ^ tlpf/Tal TiPi ij vhrpoiCTiU, oi liipw cMwriop 
w airi rh veirpayfUvop 1j el/nffUpop fifkhropra, el airovSaSop 
^ ^mSkop, iiKKk tcaX eh rhp wpdrrwra 1j Xlyopra wpi^ tp 
^ St9 ^ OT^ ^ oS ip€sc€P, otop ^ fuil^opos iffodou, tpa 7^- 
ptfTtu, ^ §uliopo^ tcoKOVf tpa awoyipffrat. rh Si wp^ rtfp 9 

toXifiP op&pra Sei SuiKveiP, otop ykurrg *' obpfja^ pkp irpS^ 

Tor**** tawi jhp ov rov9 ijfuopov^ Xiyci oKKk roi^ ^u- 
XcMMKt fcai rhp AoX»pa **o^ f^* ^TOieISo9/i^ hpfKCud^^^ 
ov t6 cwfLa AavfAfurpop oKKk rh wpicwwop aic^pop, to 
Top €U€iS^ oi Kp^T€9 evfTpocmirop icdKoOcr teaX ri ** (!»/>^ 
isrtpofp Si tUpoM**^ oi ri Sxparop A^ oIpS^Xu^^p ^XX^ ri 
OSttop. ri Si Kark /Aera^pkp etpfirtu, otop " wAvre^ yJkp 10 
^ Oeol Tf Kok apipt^ BiiSop irappir)((LOi* ** * ifJM Si ^cip 
> JKMlx.152! * Ib.160. • Ib.Xs%l6. 

* /ik iL 1, dXXoi /tip fa $f9l Tff noX Mpn IwwPKOfivmd 
cMir voiv^tM. 
/ik X. 1, IXXm fUw v«jp4 r^ivrlr i^trrfct UumxBuQw 

94. in eonL Yahlen. 85. B^^vidipr Heiniiiis: tdpiwlhit codd. 

S7. •0rw apogr. : 90t9 A9, 14fl » 1. W oodL YaMeiL SCcpo^cCmi .Tel 

g i wi ^^ fi apogr. : Ser«^ibnf A« : v«^ 8cm^c(mi RitUr. tdr 1>rwliitt t 
•« A\ Wr rie.>«s •0rw8p6BgeL «. Wapogr.t « A«. 8. tlbr 

« A«i tlbr W apogr. 9. 4 ite. A« add. 18. H A«s tA 

SpngiL «i(rm OitfenluA s dXXM A«. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXV. 6—9 96 

Further, if it be objected that the description is not 6 
true to tact, the poet maj perhaps reply, — ^'But the ^ 
objects are as thej ought to be ' : just as Sophocles said 
that he drew men as thej ought to be drawn ; Euripides, 
as they ara In this waj the objection maj be met If, 7 
however, the representation be of neither kind, the poet 
msLj answer, — ^'This is what is commonlj said.' This ^ 
applies to tales about the goda It xnaj well be that 
these stories are not higher than &ct nor yet true to 
MA* £Eu^t : thej are, very possibly, what Xenophanes says of 
them. But anyhow, 'this is what is said.' Again, 
a description may be no better than the tact: 'still, 
it was the fact ' ; as in the passage about the arms : 
' Upright upon their butt-ends stood the spears.' This 
was the custom then, as it now is among the niyriana 

Again, in examining whether what has been said or 8 
done by some one is right or wrong, we must not look / 
merely to the particular speech or action, and ask 
whether it is in itself good or bad. We must also con- 
sider by whom it is said, to whom, when, in whose 
interest, or for what end ; whether, for instance, it be 
for the sake of attaining some greater good, or averting 
some greater evil 

Other difficulties may be resolved by due regard to the 9 
diction. We may note a rare word, as in ovp^ fiip 
vp&Tov, where the poet perhaps employs ovpfja^ not in 
the sense of mules, but of sentinel& So, again, of Dolon : 
'ill-fftvoured indeed he was to look upon.' It is not 
meant that his body was ill-shaped, but that his fiaoe 
was ugly ; for the Cretans use the word cuoS^, ' well- 
favoured,' to denote a £ur face. Again, ^^prnpoif Sk 



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96 XXV. ID— IS. 1461 a 18—33 

^iiroiiT i9ir^ioifToTpwucopi0pii<ni€»pAvX&pavpirfywv 
ff SfioBw* **^ rh yhp iritrr^ ami rw woXKol tcarrk fiera- 

JO ^opkp ^pffrait to 7^ vop iroKv n* /ml rh ** dhi S* ififio- 
/M?**' /MT^ fiera^pdif, rhykpypiopifMrrarop fiopop. Kara 1 
ii vpoa^fiUa^p mnrep *Iinri(K SKu€p o Qdaio^ to ** SlSofL€P 
hiol"^^icaX*'niibhf^icarairieeraiSiifipfp.^^ rkhkhuupi^l 
au, otop *EjfiircSoicX^ '' aZ^a Bk Oprff i^vopro, rh irpUp pA^ 

t% $ap oBwHvf <€lptu^ Zfopd T€vplp fcitcpfgro.^ r^ Bk ap^i- I 
ftok^f, " Topfij^/vey Si wXim yi/f**** to ykp irluUo a^l- 
fidkjop icTiP. rh Si $carct ro eOo^ T79 Xc{ea»9* r&p K€Kpa- 1 
lAmp <ip$a> oIpop ^aaw elpoi, [od€P weirolffTtu ** tcpfj/Ai^ 
MOTCvrrov Koaairipou),^ * Sdep elfyqrai Vtunf^rfiii^ ''Ail 

10 oboj^ocuci,**^ oifWiPOPTVP oIpop, teal j^oKtUa^ roif^ top dSufpop 
ipya^o^iipov^. eltf £* Ap rovroyt <«eal> icark fiera^pap. iel li 
Si teal irop Spofid n vwepaPTWfid ri Sok§ Cff/judptip, hri- 
ctunntp iroaaxih &p (nffiolpoi rovro ip rfS €lpijfUp^, otop 

^ IUmdz.ll, Ijru&r'HwtHimH'rpmK^dBriatup, 

$w6itmt^ «^ iroXX4 t4 koUto 'IXiMc wpi, 

* IK zriiL 489, oTif a' ^Wm^ ^m Xocrpdr 'Qffcaroto. 

• Ik xxL 297, aiai^Mr M •! c^xpt 4^r«cu. 8ed in Hiade iL 15 
(de quo hie igitor) Tpcitvrt M ridf ' i^^rm. 

* Ik zxiiL S28, H/UwvC raimtftfcrcu ^/>v^ 
*/».Z.251, #M(X«7A^rd(i(Fcrai,/ry^fta'4(^, 

rdr M* ftMp dm ^, rptrdni 9* ht fuipti Xiknwrmi, 

• /k XXL 592. ' 75. XX. 234. 

19. Toffapogr.: am. A«. 25. cImu add. Vettori colkto AthenMO. 

i^fd Athcnaeiis s fSd codd. xiicpifn A% i no. top. acr. : k4kpit0 apogr. : 
icfyra Kanton ad. Empedodet. 26. irXiw A9 1 wkiw apogr. : 

w>dmf AR irXiCw] vXfiW t«1 irX^or apogr. 28. huk addidit <5drtt> 
ndr KWftUwttif Tahlons <5dm V0>iidr KtKpm/'iipmf Uebenrcgt vor 
MKfUftthmf BofaiaiL 5#cv ww of iyr a i • • • mr^vfipoM aoelua. Cbiitt 
29. I#CF il^fnu . • • ilbw in eodd. pott iprft^^fidprnn, hno lorooaTit Maggi 
•00. ood. LampridiL SI. nl add. Hoinsini. 88. ^iifttLUm dim 

YaUoBs rywiroM A^s #i ^4 i> fHF toI nifmlMu apogr. s #ir^iiMi«ya]ilonod. 8. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXV. 9—16 97 

Kipai€, ' mix the drink livelier/ does not mean ' mix it 
stronger' as for hard drinkers, but 'mix it quicker/ 

Sometimes an expression is metaphorical, as ' Now all 10 
gods and men were sleeping through the night,' — ^while at 
the same time the poet sajs : ' Often indeed as he turned 
his gaze to the Trojan plain, he marvelled at the sound 
of flutes and pipes.' ' All ' is here used metaphorically 
for ' many/ all being a species of many. So in the 
verse, — ^^ alone she hath no part . • / ^i;^ 'alone,' is 
metaphorical; for the bert known may be called the 
only ona 

Again, objections may be removed by a change 11 
of accent, as Hippias of Thasos did in the lines, — 
BlSofi£0 (BM/ioi) Bi oi, and t^ /a^ oS (ov) tcarairiOertu 

Or again, by punctuation, as in Empedodes, — * Of a 13 
sudden things became mortal that before had learnt to 
be immortal, and things unmixed before mixed.' 

Or again, by ambiguity of construction, — as in 13 
irap^^^§cm^ tk irkim vv^, where the word wXit» is 
ambiguous. 

Or by the usage of languaga Thus some mixed 14 
drinks are called olpo^, ' wine.' Hence Granymede is said 
'to pour the wine to Zeus/ though the gods do not 
drink wine. So too workers in iron are* csalled 
Xa)^a^, or workers in bronze. This, however, may 
also be taken as a metaphor. 

Again, when a word seems to involve some incon- 16 
sistency of meaning, we should consider how many 
senses it may bear in the particular passage. For 
example: 'there was stayed the spear of bronze' — ^wel6 

H 



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98 XXV. 16—18. 1461 a 34—1461 b 17 

u^fioi, tcarrk t^ Korairrucpv ^ ^ I^aviM^ir Xirt^h Sri ^^ 
0X07119 ^rpavwoXafLfidwawn^ koX avroi tcara^^fi^iaiiuvoi 
mKKo^wT4u Koi 109 ^Ipipcora^ S r^ 8cmc<« tinrifi&a'af, it¥ 
inrtmunitm i rp ain&p oti^i. rwro Sk irhrwOM r^ irepl 
5 ^hedpun^. utamu ykp aviip Adtcmva ehnu* Srcmn^ oSf 
rh liii iwrvytlif lim TfiKi/i4i/)(CP airr^ w AasceSal/AOpa 
ikBmna. rh £* lam^ j^4 &amp ol Kie^d\ap49 ^€uri* irap^ 
mSrrih ykp y^fuu Xiyavo'^ rinf *Oiuaaia koX mUhu *hcdBunf 
oXX* a&K ^hedpimf. &* ifkipmipa hk to vpifiksiipa tUi^ 

10 iaruf. SK»9 Si ri iSwarw pkv irp^ rijp voLqaiP ^ wp^ 
ri fiiKrum ^ wpit^ t^ S^{ay Sci iofitfiw. irp^ t€ ykp liiP 
irobticuf aipenmpov viOatfip aSihwrwIj wirtBavw icai iwa^ 
rim* <«Mil d iSwaTap> rowvrav^ thnu, dlav^ Z€i)f«9 
typa/^9 iXkk fiiKnw* r^ yap wapdSiir/fia Set iwepixi^iP* 

15 v/>^ <£*> i ^Mcuf, rSkoja* fArw re icai Sn wori ovte SKo* 
Tor IffTsr* «i«e^7ic^ koX irapi ih eU^ ytveirOiu. rk S* vTf- 
MurTi#9 ttptipJbni ohw atcvmuf, mairtp oi h roi^ Xiyoi^ 



^ IKte» 379; Tf y 9€xrf /tufki^w #yx**> 



t& Maddldis fiksedva Bywite. i»l4<fM>,iWooiiLYaiaeii: M^c- 
nu* iSpM 4 ik#UlXirr'dvnf^v«Xi/ioiyUelNffwieg. InterpnnztmntpoftMct 
hnkipm^LmUiuoML 14tl b 1. Ipm] Imm Yettori. 8. f<>9««m4 
rt OMtdfitro : •I^V^mlnA*. 4. «^r6r Heinsiiii: «^r6r eodd. 8. 
«*rArBiklur.: «*rArcocUL 9. 9i'AfdprnmUM(g^t ftmtUfinumeodd., 

Btkkff. ia ili«««U^Hflnium]i,l(Drtf«ett. 4«p»fiid.,Biklw,i^ 
iwfea. 13. mU W aa^Miirwr oonLYahlaiL «b«ff Aid*, Bekkirs tlbr 

codd. IC r add. UtbOTWVg (oonL Yahlao). 1«. ^vMirliit 

Twiaim^ Ante 'q«M ditto Mat to BMdiiA eoatnrii't ^vMrrto db 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXV. i6— 18 99 

should ask in how xnanj ways we may take 'being 
checked thera' The true mode of interpretation is the 
iiiib precise opposite of what Glaucus mentiona Cities, he 
says, jump at certain groundless conclusions; they pass 
adverse judgment and then proceed to reason on it ; and, 
assuming that the poet has said whatever they happen 
to think, find fault if a thing is inconsistent with their 
own tknciy. The question about Icarius has been treated 
in this jGashion. The critics imagine he was a Lacedae- 
monian. Thej think it strange, therefore, that Tele- 
machus should not have met him when he went to 
Lacedaemon. But the Cephallenian story may perhaps 
be the true one. They allege that Odysseus took a wife 
from among themselves, and that her father was Icadius 
not Icariu& It is merely a mistake, then, that gives 
plausibility to the objection. 

In general, the impossible must be brought under 17 
the law of poetic truth, or of the higher reality, or of 
received opinion. With respect to poetic truth, a prob- 
able impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improb- 
able and yet possible. If, again, we are told it is 
impossible that there should be men such as Zeuxis 
painted. ' Yes,' we say, ' but the impossible is the higher 
thing ; for the pattern before the mind must surpass the 
reality.' To justify the irrational, we appeal to what is 
commonly said to ba In addition to which, we urge 
that the irrational sometimes does not violate reason; 
just as ' it is probable that a thing may happen contrary 
to probability.' 

Inconsistencies should be examined by the same rules 18 
as in dialectical refutation— whether the same thing is 



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100 XXY. i8— XXVL 2. 1461 b 18—1469 a i 

Sk&fxoit u rh oM Kid wpo^ rh airrh teal iaavrm^p cSorc 
Koi €wrw ij vpo^ & €WT^ \iy€^ ij h 6p ^poviiAO^ {nroOij- 

JO TOi. opO^ S* iw&rtfioiP't^ fcal iXoyuf teal iJ^yOriplt^ irav p^ 19 
iaf6rftcff^ aHofg^ l^fih^ yprffTtfrM r^ aKjo^ff^ £<nr€p 'EvpnrlStf^ 
T^ AJyUt ^ r§ irovffpuf, Hairtp hf *Opi<rTg rod McveXoov. 
rk pkv oSir iiriTifiiifAara he whm ttS&p ^ipovaw, ^ ffhp ck 20 
aSvpora fj ck Sko^a ^ ^ ffKaffeph ^ Jk inreyamia ^ <»9 

S5 vapk ripf opOirrrra rffp /card rk)(ytiv. ai tk Xu0V«9 he r&v 

^ptl/Uwmif ipi$lA&p cKewritu, ttalp Bi SiiSesca. 

JDOfl irirepw Si Pikrlmv ^ hrvirout^ fu^Mffci^ ^ 1} rpaff$Kii, 

Suar0piia€$€pS»Tt^. €lycip^1iTTWit>opritcrffi€\TWPpTOia6' 

Ttf i* f^ vp^ fiArUv^ Oun-d^ itrrw ael, Xlav SijKop Sri 17 

JO Siratrra fUftavfUmi if^oprueii* Jk ydp ovk aUrOavophwp &p 
/til aird^ vpwr&j, voXkijp tdpficaf kipovptcu, otop oi ^vKo^ 
ankqrai scvk$6fA€P0i A^ hUrtcop Up fUfuSaOtu^ fcaX fkicopre^ ^ 
Tor scopw^aSop &p ^tcvXXav avX&iriv* 1} fiip oSp rparftphla 2 
rouKurq iariPfJk icaXoi jrparepop roif^ wrripov^ ain&p ^pto 

35 vwascptrd/i' i^Xlopyhp vTrepfidXKoprawiOffieopoMuppla'KO^ 

riip KtAXimrlSfgp ixoKu, rotavrtf Si So^a tcai ire/>l Iliy- 

umw^Sapmf ^* m9 S* oStm ixpiwri irpo9 afnov^, 17 Skti rixyvi 



18. ArrtMU«Mr]o0n«f rffMUc<mi^«MrcoiiLChrUt 19. ^^i^iot 
apogr. J ^ipdr^MT A«, ^plmH^ rec A«. 20. iXtr^ nX fux9mUg^ 

YMmi ikryU nl iux0fiM «odd, Chrirt. 22. r^ Jdy^ « rf 

ftpogr. (Wftigo) : rO afytti^nr A^ 27. fitXiim apogr. : /MXtmt 

A«. 29. a' 4 apogr. : «« A«. dd, Xkr Yahloos MOkr oodd. 

IL MTifirTst apogr. % ctrtGrrm A^ 1412 a 1. 4ic««^ <^P<V* * ^ tx&vn 

A*, c^ro^ HiiBiim f mh9^ eodd. 



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ARISTOTLE'S POETICS XXV. l8— XXVL t 101 

meant, in the same relation, and in the aame sense ; 
whether the poet contradicts either what he says himself 
or what is tacitly assumed by a person of intelligence. 

The element of the irrational, and« similarly, deprayity 19 
of character, are justly censured when there is no inner i 
necessity for introducing theuL Such is the irraticmal 
element in the Aegeus of Euripides, and tiie badness of 
Menelaus in the Orestes. 

Thus, there are fivet sources from which critical SO 
objections are drawn. Things are censured either as 
impossible, or irrational, or morally hurtful, or inoonsis- 
teiit, or inaccurate in respect of some special art The 
answers should be sought under the twelve heads above 
mentioned. 
XXVI The question may be raised whether the Epic or 
Tragic mode of imitation is the higher. If the more 
refined art is the higher, and the more refined in every 
case is that which appeals to the better sort of audience, 
the art which imitates indiscriminately is manifestly 
most unrefined. The audience is supposed to be incap- 
able of apprehension, unless something of their own is 
thrown in by the performers, who therefore execute 
divers movements. Bad flute-players pirouette, if they 
have to express the motion of the discus, or drag the 
coryphaeus about when they play the accompaniment of 
' Scylla.' Tragedy, it is said, has this same defect We 2 
may compare the opinion that the older actors enter- 
tained of their succes8or& Mynniscus used to call 
Callippides 'ape' on account of the extravagance of his 
Miift action, and the same view was held of Pindarus. Tragic 
art, then, as a whole, stands to Epic in the same relation 



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lOJ JLXYL a— d. 146a a t— 146a b 5 

$vpmT99§Af <o3ir> ov T79 VM«yn«79 1} tumrfopia &hi^ rff^ 
vwotcpmsofi, iwA fan w€fH€prd(€tr$a& Tofe oiy/itffow iwi 
^ifySoSm, <vip [iarl] XmaUrrpar^, fud iifiamh iw€p 
hnU Mpcm0iO9 o *OvovmP9. cZra wSk tdmiavi taraaa 
ifwoSotufiaaria, Amp fmfi* tpXV^^^ ^^ ^ ^mukw^ Imp 

mmI KaXX4inr% JiriTi^TO icai pw JtKkoi^ A9 oiic tktu$ip4K 
TvpoZmk tufam/Utrnv. tn ^ rpayfUa mL St^eu iMyijn«K 
ir«M» ri airr^, mamp ^ hrmoda' hik yAp rw opotftm^ 
mxw ^tuKpiL itroia rh icru^* cf oSy iim rd y* iXKa 
icpdrrmt^, roM y€ owe i^arftcaSaif auri vwapjoup. iirr^ 4 

15 2* iwA rit wian i)(u Satanpti iwawoUa, koX ydp r^ pirpv — 
^0m yffi^Oait KtH Sri ov fwcpiiw Mp^ '^^ pavaiK^v tcai 
Tick f^^ci^^ &* &9 a/ ^SowU ^vAffTomM hnkf^ikirrwra. eZra 
mtX ri iwapffh tx^ xai bf r§ Jawp^iati ical hrir&p ipymtf* 
tr^ Tf ip ikirron p^tcu ih rikoif r^ p^p^^riw^ tlpoi* 6 
m^ TO yitp adpaJmpap j|f&oy tj woXkf iC€Kp€LfUpcip r^ XP^^V* 
Xlym 2' otop 0II n^ riip OiSlirovp 6^ top io^KKiov^ 
ip SwwiP Saot^ 1} *lXui9« Irf ^rrop [^] |i^ pipfl/ici^i 
^ T&ir ^irovoiAir* ofipMOP Si* he yitp iirouuraup [jupi^ae^^] 
SvXitmn rptPffiUu ylpoPTa&* Aart ikp pkp fpa pSOop 

t. «r add. Y«ttori: tfril Christ 4. W apogr. : 4 A*. C tdr 

add. Bpnttf, UMiag. 7. 4rri sedua. SpengeL li ^ ltr m apogr. s 

l«MrraA«. 12. a^t apogr. : a^t A«. 14. a^ apogr. s a^ 

A«. Im I* 4vil tA Oampflfi t Iml*, In Uaaaar: IrttrmiiMcodd. 1«. 
mU vAt IfBf ] sedna. Spa^gal : ooUoeaTit poat 4pafy4mtrm Gkmpen s ml 
rV^lfvAR^Baklur. 17. Ii' At Tel afr eonL Tahlen 1 li' ft codd. 

IS. dw aTw Wo Maggi; dwaT rty f ratA^. 19. r^ri Wiaataalqrt CkNapan. 
l«iSbL fiw'tliagl^t fMirfi^ogr.t Hari^A*. 9.#fl9MfA^ 

t. Alt 4 «b AM. 4. p»p4inm aaoliM. QoBpan. 



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ARISTOTLE^ POETICS XXVL «— 6 103 

as these different generations of actors do to cme another. 
Epic poetry, we are told, is addressed to a coltiYated 
aadience, who do not need gesture; Tragedj, to an 
inferior publia Being then unrefined, it is evidentljS 
on a lower level 

Now, in the first place, this oesMue attaches not to 
tiie poetic but to the histrionic art; for geetkmlatkm 
may be equally overdone in epic recitation, as by Sosis- 
tratus, or in lyrical competiticm, as by Mnasitheus the 
Opuntian. Nezt> all action is not to be condemned — 
any more than all dancing — ^but only that of bad per- 
formers. Such was the £Etult found in Callippides^ as 
also in others of our own day, who are censured for 
representing ill-bred women. Again, Tragedy like Epic 
poetry produces its efBact even without action; its 
quality can be found out by reading. If, then, in all 
other respects it is superior, this &ult, vre say, is not 
inherent in it 

And superior it is, because it has all the epic 4 
elements— it may even use the epic metre — ^with the 
music and scenic effects as important accessories; and 
these afford the most vivid combination of pleasures. 
Further, it has vividness of impression in reading as 
well as in representation. Moreover, the art attains its 5 
lb end within narrower limits; for the concentrated effect 
is more pleasurable than one which is spread over a long 
time and so diluted. What^ for example, would be the 
effect of the Oedipus of Sophocles, if it were cast into a 
form as long as tiie Biad 7 Once more, the Epic imita- 6 
tion has less unity; as is shown by thii^— that any Epic 
poem will furnish subjects &t several tragedie& Now 



^;! 



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104 XXVL 6—8. 1469 b 6—19 

£br he vXuitmp vpdftmp ^ avytct^fUpi^, Acmp ^ *IXuk 
ij(^ voXXii TOfotmi /A^ icaX ^ X)66a'atta & icaX ttaff lovr^ 
10 j^)^ ItiydOo^* Kolroi roSna tA irouj/iora cvwtmiiup «^ 
Mi%CTa« ipiOTU Koi try ft£X4cra fua9 vpdfMrn^ fdpfffCi^. 
d «8r TOvroiY Tf Sui^ipu wwn;p icai tr^ r^ r^ t^C^ ^ 
IJpTy {i$i ffAp a& ri^ rvyfi^awf 4fiw^ wom^ abrJ^ SXKd 
ri^ dptUihnpf)^ ^a9€fA0 in mpdrrmp &» d^ /loXXoy toO 

wi/A /iip «8r rpayfitai9 teal iwvwoUa/f, moI airr&pS 
mA tAt dfifir suX tAp /MMpm, suX wiaa suX rl Sia^ip§&, 

Xiawmw, ^ipff/iaOm rQamntu « « « 



I iynr]iitt» fort feet*. 7. #iiyM>^PV 

Bmqns vW #i^r^ codd. port M^ <«ir M rXi(Mf> Aid., 

U MdXir> QmrngmtL 9l A add. i^ogr. 10. mItu rm9rm H 

<Ald.tMlt«Hi«r^irr«A««kpM«MMdd. IS. « apop. s il A«. 



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ARISTOTLFS POETICS XXVL 6—8 105 

if the rtorj be worked into a unitjr, it will, if oondaelj 
told, appear tnmcated ; or, if it oonfoim to the proper 
Epic scale, it will seem weak and waterj. « « • 
What I mean bjr a etorj compoeed of several actions 
maj be illustrated from the Hied and Odyssej, which 
have manj parts^ each with a certain* magnitude of its 
own. Yet these poems are as perJBct as possible in 
structure; each is, in the truest sense, an imitstion of 
a single action. 

I^ then,Traged7 is superior to Epic poetij^in all these 7 
respects, and, moreover, fulfils its qpedfic function better 
as an art — ^for each art ought to produce, not anj chance 
pleasure, but the pleasure proper to it, as already stated 
— ^it plainly follows that Tragedy is the hi^^ art, as 
attaining its end moro perfectly. 

Thus much may suffice concerning Tragic and E|pio8 
poetry in general ; their several species and parts^ with 
the number of each and their difforences; the causes 
that make a poem good or bad ; the objectionA of the 
critics and the answers to these objectiona • « « 



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ABISTOTLE'S THEORY OF POETBY 
AND THE FINE ABTS 

CHAPTER I 

ART AND KATURB 

Arlstotlb, it must be premised at the outset^ has 
not dealt with fine art in any separate treatise, he 
has formulated no theory of it, he has not marked 
the organic relation of the arts to one another. 
While his lore of logical distinctions, lus tendency 
to rigid demarcation, is shown eyen in the province 
of literary criticism by the care with which in 
the Poetics he maps out the subordinate divisions 
of hiB subject (the different modes of recognition, 
the elements of the plot, etc.), yet he nowhere 
classifies the various kinds of poetry ; still less has 
he given a scientific grouping of the fine arts and 
exhibited their specific differences. We may con- 
fidently assert that many of the aesthetic problems 
which have been since raised never even occurred to 
his mind, though precise answers to almost all such 
questions have been extracted fiN>m lus writings 



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108 POETRY AND FINE ART 

hj the unwise zeal of his admirers. He has how- 
ever left some leading principles which we shall 
endeayonr to follow out 

There is a special risk at the present day attend- 
ing any such attempt to bring together his 
fragmentary remarks and present them in a con- 
nected form. His philosophy has in it the germs of 
so much modem thought that we may, almost 
without knowing it, find ourselyes putting into his 
mouth not his own language but that of HegeL 
Nor is it possible to determine by general rules 
how £ur the thought that is implicit in a philo- 
sophical qrstem, but which the author himself has 
not drawn out^ is to be reckoned as an integral 
part of the system. In any case, howeyer, 
Aristotle's Poetics cannot be read apart from his 
other writings. No author is more liable to be 
misunderstood if studied piecemeal The careless 
profrision with which he throws out the suggestions 
of the moment^ leaving it to the intelligence or 
the previous knowledge of his readers to adjust 
his remarks and limit their scope, is in itself a 
possible source of misapprehension. It was an 
observation of Gbethe that it needs some insight 
into Aristotle's general philosophy to understand 
what he says about the drama ; that otherwise he 
confuses our studies ; and that modem treatises on 
poetiy have gone astray by seizing some accidental 
aide of his doctrine. If it is necessary, then, to 



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ART AND NATURE 109 

interpret Aristotle hj himself it will not be nnfisdr 
in dealing with so coherent a thinker to credit him 
with seeing the olmous conclusions which flow 
from his principles, eyen when he has not formally 
stated theuL To bring the substance of his special 
teaching into relation with his fundamental tenets 
is a yery differ^it thing from discoyering in him 
ideas which, eyen if present in the germ, could 
only haye ripened in another soil and under other 
skiea 

The distinction between fine and usefrd art 
was first brought out fully by Aristotle. In the 
history of Greek art we are struck rather by the 
union between the two forms of art than by their 
independence. It was a loss for art when the 
spheres of use and beauty came in practice to be 
disseyered, when the useful object ceased to be 
decoratiye, and the things of common life no 
longer gaye delight to the maker and to the user. 
But the theoretic distinction between fine and 
useful art needed to be laid down, and to Aristotle 
we owe the first dear conception of fine art as a 
free and independent actiyity of the mind, outside 
the domain both of religion and of politics, haying 
an end distinct from that of education or moral 
improyement He has not indeed left us any 
continuous discussion upon fine art The Poetics 
famishes no complete theory eyen of poetry, nor 
is it probable that this is altogether due to the 



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110 POETRY AND FINE ART 

fragmentary fonn in which this treatise has come 
down to us. But Aristotle is a systematic thinker, 
and numberless illustrations and analogies drawn 
from one or other of the arts, and scattered through 
his writings, show that he had given special 
attention to the significance of art in its widest 
sense; and that as he had formed a coherent 
view about the place which art held in relation to 
nature, science, and morality, so too he had in his 
own mind thought out the relation in which the 
two branches of art stood to one another. 

•Art imitates nature' (if rtxyti /a/Miriu r^y 
^iir), says Aristotle, and the phrase has been 
repeated and has passed current as a summary of 
the Aristotelian doctrine of fine art Tet the 
original saying was neyer intended to differentiate 
between fine and useful art ; nor indeed could it 
possibly bear the sense that fine art is a copy or 
reproduction of natural objects. The use of 
the term •nature' would in itself put the matter 
beyond dispute ; for nature in Aristotle is not the 
outward world of created things ; it is the creatiye 
force, the productive principle of the universe. 
The context in each case where the phrase occurs 
determines its precise application. In the Physics ^ 
the point of the comparison is that alike in art and 
in nature there is the union of matter {jSKai) with 
constitutive form (€ZSo9), and that the knowledge 

1 Ph0. iL S. 194 a 81. 



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ART AND NATURE 111 

of both elements is requisite for the natural 
philosopher as for the physician and the architect 
In the Meteorological the reference is to cooking 
as an artificial mode of producing results similar to 
those produced hj the spontaneous action of heat 
in the physical world; digestion (ir^i?) itself 
(according to the medical theory of the day) being 
giyen as an instance of a process of cooking 
(fy^i^) carried on by nature within the body. 
Again in the de Mundo^ the order of the universe 
is explained to result from a union of opposites ; 
and three illustrations, derived from painting, 
music, and grammar, are added of the mode in 
which art, in imitating nature's diversity, works out 
harmonious results. In most of the instances 
above quoted ^art' is limited by the context to 
usefdl art ; but the analogy does not rest there. 
Art in its widest acceptation has, like nature, 
certain ends in view, and in the adaptation of 
means to ends catches hints from nature who is 
already in some sort an unconscious artist 

While art in general imitates the method of 
nature, the phrase has special reference to usefiil 
art, which leams from nature the precise end at 
which to aim. In the selection of the end she acts 
with infallible instinct, and her endeavour to attain 
it is on the whole successful But at times she 

^ MiUar. iv. 8. 881 b 6. 
• De Mm^ 6. 896 b 18. 



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sassac 



lis POETRY AND FINB ART 

makes mistakes as indeed do the schoolmaster and 
the physician ; ^ fBolures rather than mistakes they 
should be called, for the fetolt is not hers; her 
rational intention is liable to be frustrated by 
inherent flaws in the substances with which she is 
compelled to work. She is subject to limitationSi 
and can only make the best of her material* 

The higher we ascend in the scale of being, the 
more does nature need assistance in carrying out 
her designs. Man, who is her highest creation, 
she brings into the world more helpless than any 
other animal, — ^unshod, unclad, unarmed.* But in. 
his seeming imperfection lies man's superiority, for 
the fewer the finished appliances with which he is 
provided, the greater is the demand for intellectual 
effort By means of the rational faculty of art, 
with which nature has endowed him richly, he is 
able to come to her aid, and in ministering to his 
own needs to fulfil her uncompleted purposes. 
Where from any cause nature fedls, art steps in. 
Nature aims at producing health ; in her restorative 
processes we observe an instinctive capacity for 
self-curing.^ But she does not always succeed, and 

1 JPftyi. ii a. 199 a 88. 

• Op. lb Port Amm. iv. 10. 6S7 a 16, i} N ^&rit Ik rfiy 
McxofMri»y woU$ rh fiikrurror. 

• Ik PmL Anim. iv. la 667 a Si. 

• Fkfi. iiS. 199 b SO, Ittrf tl h tq rixy-g hwitih ivwi rw^ 
Kmi iw ^vra* gtfiXtaru ti A^Aor irmw rif larpiAg ovrif imvrir* 



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ART AMD KATURE 113 

the art of the jdiyBicuui makes good the defeet 
He diacoTen one of the links of the chain which 
tenninates in health, and uses natoze's own 
machinery to start a series of movements which 
lead to the desired resoltw^ Again, natoie has 
formed man to be a Apolitical »nimaL'* Family 
and tribal life are stages on the way to a more 
complete existence, and the term of the process is 
reached when man enters into that higher order (tf 
commimity called the state. The state is indeed 
a natural institution, but needs the political art to 
organise it and to realise nature's full idea. The 
function, then, of the useful arts is in all cases 'to 
supply the deficiencies of nature * ; * and he who 

1 Udwr. TL 7. 103S b 6, ytyvcTSi Si^ r& vyi^ ywr^g my rw 
ovriK* iwtdlq toSc i^yuio, iwaytni ct vycl? imu roSi iwap^ 
oto¥ ifugXArr/TOf u <i touto, BtpiiArqm, kwX cvrwi iutl voci^ im 
&¥ iyarfu tit TOVTO o avrif Svmroi iaxorov voUw. tha ^ ^ 
iwh Tovrov nivryns wobfrit ircAcmi, i} crl r^ dyiatvccr. 

S Pot. L 2. 1268 a 2, aytfpMrof ^urci woXvruciv (for. 

* PoL ir. (tu.) 17. 1837 a 1-2, wSau y^ r«x*^ ^ waAia ri 
r/xxr AcoroK rijs ^vtrn^ Povknai apawXifpovv. The context here, 
in its referenee to education, limits the ecope of tcx*^ to nsefnl 
art In PhyL ii 8. 199 a 16, ij rixvti ri fiy crtrcAci i 4 ^&n9 
dSvrarti JarMpyAirwrOaij t& ii fuf^irai it it probable that the die* 
tinction if not, as would at first sight seem, between useful and fine 
art, but between two aspects of usefiil art The sentence is not 
quite logical in form, but the mesningis that useful art on the one 
hand satisfies those needs of man for which nature has not fully 
prorided, on the other hand its proceises are those of nature 
(fu^iToi sc T^y ^urty). The two danses respectivelx mark the 
end and the method of usefiil art The main argument of the 
chapter is in fsTour of this view. 

I 



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114 POETRY AND FINB ART 

would be a master in any art must first discern 
the tme end by a study of nature's principles, and 
then employ the method which she suggests for 
the attainment of that end. 

* Nature taught Art/ says lUKlton; and the 
same Aristotelian idea was in the mmd of Dante, 
when he makes Virgil condemn usury as a departure 
from nature: 'Philosophy, to him who hears it, 
points out not in one place alone, how Nature 
takes her course from the Divine Intellect, and 
from its art And, if thou note well thy Physics,^ 
thou wilt find, not many pages from the first, that 
your art as four as it can, foUows her (Nature), as 
the scholar does his master. • • • And because the 
usurer takes another way, he contemns Nature in 
herself and in her follower (Art), placing elsewhere 
his hope.'* The phrase on which we haye been 
commenting is the key to this passage : useful art 
supplements nature, and at the same time follows 
her guidance. 

> Wmw xL 07-111, Oarljk't TnoidAtioiL 



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CHAPTER II 

'DOTATIOK' as an AESTHSnO TIRM 

The term ^ fine 'art' is not one that has been 
transmitted to us from the Greeks. Their phrase 
was the ^imitative arts' {fu/i/nrucal rij^iw), 'modes 
of imitation' {lu^ttn)^ or sometimes the * liberal 
arts' (tKfvOipioi rtxwu). 'Imitation' as the com- 
mon characteristic of the fine arts was not origin- 
ated by Aristotle, nor even by Plato. The phrase 
had previously been current both in popular speech 
and literary idiom, and marked, in particular, the 
antithesis between this form of art and industrial 
production. The idea of imitation is connected in 
our minds with a want of creative freedom, with a 
literal or servile copying : and the word, as trans- 
mitted from Plato to Aristotle, was already tinged 
by some such disparaging associations. The 
Platonic view that the real world is a weak or 

^ He AppliM the term fufiiljtntt only to poetiy end mmic (Pod. 
L SX ^^^ ^ conet^nt qm of Uie yerb fUfidurOiu or of the e^i^^^^ 
fMAfiflTucii in eonnezion with the other arts above enomenited 
proTee that aU alike are eounted as arts of imitation, 



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116 POETRY AND FINE ART 

imperfect repetition of an ideal archet}rpe led to the 
world of reality being regarded in a special sense, 
and on a still lower plane, as a world of mere 
imitation. Aristotle, as his manner was, accepted 
the current phrase and interpreted it anew. True, 
he may sometimes have been misled hj its 
guidance, and not un&equently his meaning is 
obscured hj his adherence to the outworn formula. 
But he deepened and enriched its signification, 
looking at it from many sides and in the light of the 
masterpieces of Oreek art and literature. 

This will become apparent as we proceed. 
Meanwhile — ^if we may so £Eur anticipate what is to 
follow — a crucial instance of the inadequacy of the 
literal English equivalent 'imitation' to express 
the Aristotelian idea is afibrded by a passage in 
eh. XXV. The artist may 'imitate things <m they 
aught to be\*^ he may place before him an 
unrealised ideal We see at once that there is no 
question here of bare imitation, of a literal tran- 
script of the world of reality. 

It has been already mentioned that 'to imitate 
nature,' in the popular acceptation of the phrase, is 
not for Aristotle the function of fine art The 
actual objects of aesthetic imitation are threefold 
— ^, irciA;, wpdfei^^ By ^A; are meant the 

n idf ^ ykp ob ijr ^ irrw^ ^ oU ^curi kcU Scmcci^ ij ob dvfu iil, 
6m alio nM67 it 
iCp.PMe.L6. 



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' IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 1 17 

characteristic moral qualities, the permanent disposi- 
tions of the mind, which reveal a certain condition 
of the will: iraOfi denotes the more transient 
emotions, the passing moods of feeling : wpafu^ are 
actions in their proper and inward sense. An act 
viewed merely as an external process or result, one 
of a series of outward phenomena, is not an object 
of aesthetic imitation. The irpofi^ that art seeks 
to reproduce is an inward process, a psychical 
energy working outwards ; deeds, incidents, events, 
situations, being included under it so far as these 
spring from an inward act of will, or elicit some 
activity of thought or feeling.^ 

Here lies the explanation of the somewhat 
startling phrase used in thePoetics, cL iL, that *men 
acting ' are the objects imitated by the fine arts : ' 
— ^by all and not merely by dramatic or narrative 
poetry where action is more obviously represented. 
Everything that expresses the mental life, that 
reveals a rational persdnality, will fSall within this 
larger sense of ^action.' Such actions are not 
necessarily processes extending over a period of 
time: they may realise themselves in a single 
moment ; they may be summed up in a particular 
mood, a given situation. The phrase is virtually 

^ Op. Etk Nie. L S. 1098 b 16, r&f ti wpi^ mU rim 

' PoilL ii 1, cvil n fufiovrroi ol /Ufiov/Mvoi irpd^tTorruf 
ic.r«A. 



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( M 



118 POETRY AND FINE ART 

an equivalent for the ^, 'ird$fi, irpd(€i^ above 
ennmerated. 

The common original, then, from which all the 
arts draw is human life, — ^its mental processes, its 
spiritual movements, its outward acts issuing from 
/deeper sources ; in a word, all that constitutes the 
inward and essential activity of the souL On this 
principle landscape and animals are not ranked 
among the objects of aesthetic imitation. The 
whole universe is not conceived of as the raw 
material of art Aristotle's theory is in agreement 
with the practice of the Greek poets and artists 
of the classical period, who introduce the external 
world only so far as it forms a background of 
action, and enters as an emotional element into 
man's life and heightens the human interest 

We may now proceed to determine more nearly 
the meaning of * imitation/ 

A work of art is a likeness (ofiolm/ia) or re- 
productum of an original^ and not a symbolic 
representation of it; ^ and this holds good whether 
the artist draws frx>m a model in the real world 
or from an .unrealised ideal in the mind. The 
distinction may be shown by Aristotle's own 
illustrations. A sign or symbol has no essential 
resemblance, no natural connexion, with the thing 
signified. Thus spoken words are symbols of 

^ This point is worked out in detail bj TeichmtiUer, Am- 
mamh$ Fmrmkmgm^ iL 146-164. 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 119 

mental states, written words are symbols of spoken 
words; the connexion between them is con- 
yentionaL^ On the other hand mental impressions 
are not signs or symbols, but copies of external 
reality, likenesses of the things themselyes. In 
the act of sensuous perception objects stamp upon 
the mind an impress of themselves like that ot a 
signet ring, and the picture {^(bn-aafia) so engraven 
on the memory is compared to a portrait {(^ypd- 
^fio, fUm).* Thus the creations of art are, as it 
were, pictures which exist for the 'phantasy/ 

Of this fstculty, however, Aristotle does not 
give a very dear or consistent account. He defines 
it as ' '^ the movement which results upon an actual 
sensation": more simply we may define it as the 
after-efiect of a sensation, the continued presence 
of an impression after the object which first 
excited it has been withdrawn from actual ex- 
perience.'* As such it is brought in to explain 

^ D4 InUrpni. L 1. 16 a 3, Icrri /jiv otv rii i¥ tq ^rj rmp 
^v^. In ell. S. 16 a 87 th« ooDnezion is laid to be tnrk 

s De Mm. H Bemim. I 460 a 87—461 a 17. Op. ds InUrprd. 
L 1. 16 a 7, where the iraAf^ra or mental imprMnoof aie taid 
to be ifiouifiara of reality. 

* & Wallace, AriaMWi Ft^ehoUgyt Intr. p. IzzzriL : aee the 
whole lection relating to thia sabject, pp. lzzxTi.-zevii The defini- 
tion is inib iiiiiiiii. iiL 8. 489 a 1| i} ^rrao'ta ly c&f ic/yi}otf dvk 
rrjs mMi^mmt rfji Jcai^ ivipytuiw yiyi^/Myi|^ So d$ Semm 1. 
469 a 17. "^ 



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120 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the illusions of dreaming and other kindred 
phenomena. But it is more than a receptivity 
of sense, it is on the borderline between sense and 
thought. It is treated as an image-forming faculty, 
by which we can recall at will pictures previously 
presented to the mind^ and may even accomplish 
some of the processes of thought' If in default of 
a nearer equivalent we call it * imagination * — ^that 
is, an image-making fstculty — we must remember 
that Aristotle's psychology takes no account of the 
creative imagination, which not merely reproduces 
objects passively perceived, but fuses together the 
things of thought and sense, and forms a new 
world of its own, recombining and transmuting 
the materials of experience.* 

We have thus advanced another step in the 
argument A toark of art reproduces its original, 
not as it is in itself, but as it appexirs to the 
senses. Art addresses itself not to the abstract 
reason but to the sensibility and image-making 
fiiculty ; it is concerned with outward appearances ; 

> De Anim. UL 8. 427 b 17-20. 

s D$ Anim. liL 10. 433 a 10. 

* The idea of a cieaUve fjBusulty uting but transfonning the 
empirical world is not unknown eitber to Plato or Aristotle^ but 
tbe J have no diBtinot word to denote this tacvltj. In Philoetratus 
{arc 810 a»Ik\ ViL ApolL vi 19, ^tarrwria is the active imagina- 
tion as opposed to the fieultj of /ufujait. ^vrturta, i^^ ravra 
(is. the sculptured fonns of Uie gods by a Pheidias or Praxiteles) 
Jpyirmro m^mripa lufi'/jiimn ivifuavpyii' fAtfuqtnt /Ur ykp 



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ART AND NATURE 111 

of both elements is requisite for the natural 
philosopher as for the physician and the architect 
In the Meteorological the reference is to cooking 
as an artificial mode of producing results similar to 
those produced hj the spontaneous action of heat 
in the physical world; digestion (ir^i^) itself 
(according to the medical theory of the day) being 
given as an instance of a process of cooking 
(fy^i^) carried on by nature within the body. 
Again in the de Mundo^ the order of the universe 
is explained to result from a union of opposites ; 
and three illustrations, derived from painting, 
music, and grammar, are added of the mode in 
which art, in imitating nature's diversity, works out 
harmonious results. In most of the instances 
above quoted 'art' is limited by the context to 
useful art ; but the analogy does not rest there. 
Art in its widest acceptation has, like nature, 
certain ends in view, and in the adaptation of 
means to ends catches hints from nature who is 
already in some sort an unconscious artist 

While art in general imitates the method of 
nature, the phrase has special reference to usefiil 
art, which leams from nature the precise end at 
which to aim. In the selection of the end she acts 
with infallible instinct, and her endeavour to attain 
it is on the whole successful But at times she 

^ MiUar. iv. 8. 881 b 6. 
> De Mm^ 6. 896 b 18. 



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lis POETRY AND FINE ART 

makes mistakes as indeed do the schoolmaster and 
the physician ; ^ fiGolnres rather tiian mistakes they 
should be called, for the &alt is not hers; her 
rational intention is liable to be frustrated by 
inherent flaws in the substances with which she is 
compelled to work. She is subject to limitations, 
and can only make the best of her material' 

The higher we ascend in the scale of being, the 
more does nature need assistance in carrying out 
her designs. Man, who is her highest creation, 
she brings into the world more helpless than any 
other animal, — ^unshod, unclad, unarmed.* But in. 
his seeming imperfection lies man's superiority, for 
the £Bwer the finished appliances with which he is 
provided, the greater is the demand for intellectual 
effort By means of the rational faculty of art, 
with which nature has endowed him richly, he is 
able to come to her aid, and in ministering to his 
own needs to fulfil her uncompleted purposes. 
Where from any cause nature fails, art steps in. 
Nature aims at producing health ; in her restorative 
processes we observe an instinctive capacity for 
self-curing.^ But she does not always succeed, and 

1 Jftyi. iL a. 199 a 88. 

^ Op. d$ Part Aniw^ ir. 10. 6S7 a 16, i} ti ^writ U rSv 

• D$ PmL Anim. ir. la 687 a 84 

« P9k|i. iL S. 199 b 80, &rr ft frr^r^JMVTiT^ lMi(d(rov, 
mmk iw ^uTfc ftdXumL ti SSjkw irmw rcf tarptvg avr^ imvT6¥* 
rmir^ yip ioun¥ i^ ^'^fnt. 



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ART AND NATURE 113 

the art of the physician makes good the defect. 
He discovers one of the links of the chain which 
terminates in health, and uses nature's own 
machinery to start a series of movements which 
lead to the desired result^ Again, nature has 
formed man to be a * political qknimaL'' Family 
and tribal life are stages on the way to a more 
complete existence, and the term of the process is 
reached when man enters into that higher order of 
community called the state. The state is indeed 
a natural institution, but needs the political art to 
organise it and to realise nature's full idea. The 
function, then, of the useful arts is in all cases * to 
supply the deficiencies of nature ' ; * and he who 

* MeUor. tl 7. 1038 b 6, yiyvenu ji) t% iyth vwrlja'avTOi 
ovnts' crciS^ roSi i^icio, iviyKti ci vyih imxu roti vwafi(atj 
otov jftaA^n^Ta, C4 Si rovro, Otpfnirrpra. koI ourwf itl yoci^ Imv 
£v iydyy tts rovro o avrdf Svvarai irxarov woUlv. ttra ^Siy i| 
dtri TovTov KiVfyris wohfri'i #caXc4ro4, fi iwXih iymivtiv, 

^ PoL L 2. 1258 a 2, avOpwnn ^urct iroXirucov (j^v. 

* PoL ir. (tIL) 17. 1337 a 1-2, irocra ykp rixyri xnX rcuScui r& 
ir/MKrAcciroK r^ ^wtioi fioiX^Tai avawkripovv. The context bera, 
in its reference to education, limits the scope of rcxvii to nsefnl 
art In Phyi. ii. 8. 199 a 15, ^ rc'xvi; t& ftiv crtrcAcft a i} ^Vt« 
i&warti iwtpyaawrOai^ t& Si fufuirai it is probable that the dis- 
tinction is not, as would at first sight seem, between useful and fine 
art, but between two aspects of useful art The sentence is not 
quite logical in form, but the meaning is that useful art on the one 
hand satisfies those needs of man for which nature has not fuU j 
provided, on the other hand its processes are those of nature 
(/bUfMiToi sc T^v ^Ariv), The two clauses respeetiTelj mark the 
end and the method of useful art The main argument of the 
chapter is in iaTour of this view. 

I 



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lU POETRY AND FINE ART 

would be a master in any art most first discern 
the trae end by a study of nature's principles, and 
then employ the method which she suggests for 
the attainment of that end. 

* Nature taught Art/ says Milton; and the 
same Aristotelian idea was in the mind of Dante, 
when he makes Virgil condemn usury as a departure 
firom nature: * Philosophy, to him who hears it, 
points out not in one place alone, how Nature 
takes her course tcom the Divine Intellect, and 
from its art And, if thou note well thy Physics,^ 
thou wilt find, not many pages from the first, that 
your art as fiur as it can, follows her (Nature), as 
the scholar does his master. . . . And because the 
usurer takes another way, he contemns Nature in 
herself, and in her follower (Art), placing elsewhere 
his hope.'* The phrase on which we have been 
commenting is the key to this passage : useful art 
supplements nature, and at the same time follows 
her guidance. 

1 Phy$. iL S. 
< JVimo zL 97-111, ObxIjWb TnndAtion. 



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CHAPTER II 

'imitatiok' as an absthbtio term 

Ths term 'fine'art' is not one that has been 
transmitted to us firom the Greeks. Their phrase 
was the ^ imitative arts ' (/u/Mrracal Tixf^)t * modes 
of imitation' (/a/ii^€i9),^ or sometimes the 'liberal 
arts' (iKivOipioi r^p^yoi). * Imitation' as the com* 
mon characteristic of the fine arts was not origin- 
ated by Aristotle, nor even by Plato. The phrase 
had previously been current both in popular speech 
and literary idiom, and marked, in particular, the 
antithesis between this form of art and industrial 
production. The idea of imitation is connected in 
our minds with a want of creative freedom, with a 
literal or servile copying : and the word, as trans- 
mitted from Plato to Aristotle, was already tinged 
by some such disparaging associations. The 
Platonic view that the real world is a weak or 

^ He applies the term /u/it^o'Cif only to poetiy and muaic (JPc$L 
L 2\ but the constant use of the verb fu/jL*ur$a^ or of the a^jectiTe 
fufiffruc69 in connexion with the other arts above enumerated 
proTes that aU alike are counted as arts of imitation. 



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116 POETRY AND FINE ART 

imperfect repetition of an ideal archetype led to the 
world of reality being regarded in a special sense, 
and on a still lower plane, as a world of mere 
imitation. Aristotle, as his manner was, accepted 
the current phrase and interpreted it anew. True, 
he may sometimes have been misled by its 
guidance, and not unfrequently his meaning is 
obscured by his adherence to the outworn formula. 
But he deepened and enriched its signification, 
looking at it from many sides and in the light of the 
masterpieces of Greek art and literature. 

This will become apparent as we proceed. 
Meanwhile — ^if we may so fiur anticipate what is to 
follow — a crucial instance of the inadequacy of the 
literal English equivalent 'imitation' to express 
the Aristotelian idea is afforded by a passage in 
cL zxY. The artist may 'imitate things <m they 
ought to he' :^ he may place before him an 
unrealised ideal We see at once that there is no 
question here of bare imitation, of a literal tran- 
script of the world of reality. 

It has been already mentioned that * to imitate 
nature,' in the popular acceptation of the phrase, is 
not for Aristotle the function of fine art The 
actual objects of aesthetic imitation are threefold 
— HO^, wttdfi, wpd(€$^} By ijOff are meant the 

^ Po$L ZXT. 1, Mymi fUfuM^ rpAv ivruv riv apiOfjAp iv 
rt itlf ij y«ip otm ijr ^ imy, ^ o2a ^uTi teal iojcci^ ^ o2a cfvcu iit 
860 alio pp. 167 £ 

s Op. PMtL 5. 



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' IMITATION » AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 117 

characteristic moral qualities, the permanent disposi- 
tions of the mind, which reveal a certain condition 
of the will: wdfftf denotes the more transient 
emotions, the passing moods of feeling : wpa^ are 
actions in their proper and inward sense. An act 
viewed merely as an external process or result, one 
of a series of outward phenomena, is not an object 
of aesthetic imitation. The wpa(i^ that art seeks 
to reproduce is an inward process, a psychical 
energy working outwards ; deeds, incidents, events, 
situations, being included under it so far as these 
spring from an inward act of will, or elicit some 
activity of thought or feeling.^ 

Here lies the explanation of the somewhat 
startling phrase used in the Poetu», cL iL, that *men 
acting ' are the objects imitated by the fine arts : * 
— ^by all and not merely by dramatic or narrative 
poetry where action is more obviously represented. 
Everything that expresses the mental life, that 
reveals a rational personality, will fall within this 
larger sense of * action.' Such actions are not 
necessarily processes extending over a period of 
time: they may realise themselves in a single 
moment ; they may be summed up in a particular 
mood, a given situation. The phrase is virtually 

^ Op. JBtA. JVm. L 8. 1098 b 15, r&t M irpci^ tmi tdm 
' Pod. ii 1, iwA M fu^wmu ot fufioi^/icyo* wpirrw^rmt 



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118 POETRY AND FINE ART 

an equivalent for the ijOti, wd$fi. wpd^^ above 
ennmeiatecL 

The common original, then, from which all the 
arts draw is human life, — its mental processes, its 
spiritual movements, its outward acts issuing from 
/deeper sources ; in a word, all that constitutes the 
inward and essential activity of the souL On this 
principle landscape and animals are not ranked 
among the objects of aesthetic imitation. The 
whole universe is not conceived of as the raw 
material of art Aristotle's theory is in agreement 
with the practice of the Greek poets and artists 
of the classical period, who introduce the external 
world only so far as it forms a background of 
action, and enters as an emotional element into 
man's life and heightens the human interest 

We may now proceed to determine more nearly 
the meaning of ' imitation/ 

A work of art is a likeness {ofiol»^) or re- 
production of an original^ and not a symbolic 
repre^ntoition of it ; ^ and this holds good whether 
the artist draws from a model in the real world 
or from an .unrealised ideal in the mind. The 
distinction may be shown by Aristotle's own 
illustrations. A sign or symbol has no essential 
resemblance, no natural connexion, with the thing 
signified. Thus spoken words are symbols of 

^ Thii pomt it worked oat in detail \(j TeiohmtUler, Aru- 
mdmh$ JWwAiMfiis iL 145-154. 



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' IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 119 

mental states, written words are symbols of spoken 
words; the connexion between them is con- 
ventionaL^ On the other hand mental impressions 
are not signs or symbols, but copies of external 
reality, likenesses of the things themselyes. In 
the act of sensuous perception objects stamp upon 
the mind an impress of themselveflf like that ot a 
signet ring, and the picture {^drraa^fia) so engraven 
on the memory is compared to a portrait ({>y/Nf- 
^/M, fhcm)} Thus the creations of art are, as it 
were, pictures which exist for the * phantasy/ 

Of this &culty, however, Aristotle does not 
give a very clear or consiBtent account. He defines 
it as ' '^ the movement which results upon an actual 
sensation'' : more simply we may define it as the 
after-effect of a sensation, the continued presence 
of an impression after the object which first 
excited it has been withdrawn from actual ex- 
perience.'* As such it is brought in to explain 

I D$ IfiUrpni. L 1. 16 a S, im iiiw oSr rk iw tq ^rg riv 
^vQ. In eh. S. 16 a S7 Um connexion it laid to be ttmri 

> Be Mfm. ii Bmifii. L 450 % S7— 451 a 17. Cp. ib hdmfr^ 
L 1. 16 a 7, where the ra^iara or mental impieenona are taid 
to be jfMKii/iara of reality. 

* K Wallace, AritUMi Pr^ehoUfffh Intr. p. IxzxriL : eee the 
whole lection relating to thie eabject, pp. lxxxTi.-xoTii The defini* 
tion ii inib Amm, iiL 8. 4S9 a 1, i) ^rrwU Ir Ciif Kbmfn^ imi 
7fj[9 mUrO% \ Tm % r^ icai^ ivipy€ia^ yiyvofaimi^ So i$ Somm 1. 
459 a 17. '^ 



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ISO POETRY AND FINE ART 

the illusions of dreaming and other kindred 
phenomena. But it is more than a receptivity 
of sense, it is on the borderline between sense and 
thought. It is treated as an image-forming faculty, 
by which we can recall at will pictures previously 
presented to the mind ^ and may even accomplish 
some of the processes of thought' If in de&ult of 
a nearer equivalent we call it * imagination * — that 
is, an image-making &culty — we must remember 
that Aristotle's psychology takes no account of the 
creative imagination, which not merely reproduces 
objects passively perceived, but fuses together the 
things of thought and sense, and forms a new 
world of its own, recombining and transmuting 
the materials of experience.* 

We have thus advanced another step in the 
argument. A work of art reproduces its original, 
not as it is in itself, hut as it oppexxrs to the 
senses. Art addresses itself not to the abstract 
reason but to the sensibility and image -making 
feumlty ; it is concerned with outward appearances ; 

> De Anim. iii 8. 4S7 b 17-20. 

< Be Anim. m. 10. 433 a 10. 

* The idea of a oeatiTe faculty using but traii«formiiig the 
cmpirioal world it not unknown either to Plato or Aristotle, but 
tbej have no diatinct word to denote this faculty. In Philoetratua 
(cire, SIO iulxX ViL ApoH vL 19» ^Mmwrta is the active imagina- 
tion as opposed to the faculty of fi//Ai}<rif. ^vtcut&i, I^, ravra 
{JUL the sculptured fonns of die goda by a Pbeidias or Pnudteles) 
dfyiffmro oo^tnipa fufiijtnmt tuffuovpyit* idftofyrif /lir ykp 



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' IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM ISl 

it employs illusions ; its world is not that which 
is revealed by pure thought ; it sees truth, but in 
its concrete manifestations^ not as an abstract idea. 
Important consequences follow from the doctrine 
of aesthetic semblance, first noted by Plato ^ — 
though in depreciation of fine art — and firmly 
apprehended by Aristotle. Art does not attempt 
to embody the objective reality of things, but only 
their sensible appearances. Indeed by the very 
principles of Aristotle's philosophy it can present 
no more than a semblance; for it impresses the 
artistic form upon a matter which is not proper 
to that form. Thus it severs itself from material 
reality and the corresponding wants. Herein lies 
the secret of its emancipating power. The real 
emotions, the positive needs of Ufe, have always 
in them some element of disquiet By the union 
of a form with a matter, which in the world of 
experience is alien to it, a magical effect is wrought 
The pressure of everyday reality is removed, and 
the aesthetic emotion is released as an independent 
activity. Art, then, moving in a world of images 
and appearances, and creating after a pattern 
existing in the mind, must be skilled in the use 
of illusion. By this alone can it give coherence to 
its creations and impart to its fictions an air of 
reality. The doctrine of aesthetic semblance and 

1 For the imporUneo of this oontribution to aesthetk thooij, 
•ee BoMnquet^ Hvdwrjf tf AuUidie^ pp. SS^O. 



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13S POETRY AND FINE ART 

of ri mBwip, which depends on it, is carried so 
&r that the poet working by illusions 'ought 
to prefer probable impossibilities to possible 
improbabilities.' ^ 

While all works of art are likenesses of an 
original and have reference to a world indepen- 
dently known, the various arts reflect the image 
from without by diflerent means and with more 
or less directness and vividness. 

Music was held by Aristotle, as by the Greeks 
generally, to be the most 'imitative' or represent- 
ative of the arts. It lb a direct image, a copy of 
character. We generally think of it in a different 
way. The emotion it suggests, the message it 
conveys^ corresponds but little with a reality 
outside itself, with a world of feeling already 
known. We cannot test its truth by its accordance 
with any original. It is capable of expressing 
general and elementary moods of feeling, which 
will be variously interpreted by different hearers. 
It cannot render the finer shades of extra-musical 
emotion with any degree of certainty and precision. 
Its expressive power, its capacity to reproduce in- 
dependent realities, is weak in proportion as the 
impression it produces lb vivid and definite. But 
to Aristotle, who here accepts the traditions of his 
country, the very opposite seems true. Music is the 
express image and reflection of moral character. 

^ P(ML xxIt. 10, xxT. 17 : tee pp. leO-lsa 



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' IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 123 

'In rhytlims and melodies we have the most real- 
istic imitations of anger and mildness as well as of 
courage, temperance and all their opposites.' ^ Not 
only states of feeling but also strictly ethical 
qualities and dispositions of mind are reproduced 
by musical imitation, and on the close correspond- 
ence between the copy and the original depends 
the importance of music in the formation of 
character. Music in reflecting character moulds 
and influences it. 

A' partial explanation of the prevalence of such 
a view is to be found in the dependent position 
which music occupied among the Greeks. It was 
one of the accessories of poetry, to which it was 
strictly subordinate, and consiBted of comparatively 
simple strains. Much of its meaning was derived 
from the associations it called up, and from the 
emotional atmosphere which surrounded it. It 
was associated with definite occasions and solemni- 
ties, it was accompanied by certain dances and 
attached to well-known words. 'When there are 
no words/ says Plato, *it is very difficult to 
recognise the meaning of harmony or rhythm, or 
to see that any worthy object is imitated by them.' ^ 

* Pol ▼. (Tiii.) 5. 1340 a 18, Sfrri Si i/touifMara fiAXurra wapa 
riis ikffOiV^t ^uircif iv rott ^fiott teal rols fiiX^rw iprpfi «a4 
wpairrjT09 hi f ivSpU^ Koi fn^poavyijs koI wa¥Tuv riv hmt^ 

riw¥ TOVTOif. 

> Zoiof it 669 R On the whole tabject of Oreek moiic eee 
Th$ MotUt t/AncmU Gr$ik Muik bj D. B. Monro (Qxicnd 1894), 



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124 POETRY AND FINE ART 

But even apart from interpretative words it would 
seem that the ethical significance of music was 

which, h o weveTi was not pabliahed in time to be made me of in 
the text Mr. Homo alter iniinting on the doee connexion 
between words and melodj thus proceeds : *The beanty and even 
the penmasiTe effect of a voice depend, as we are more or less 
aware, in the first place npon the pitch or kej in which it is set, 
and in the second place npon sabtle variations of piteh, which give 
emphasii^ or light and shade. Answering to the first of these 
elements^ ancient mnnc, if the main contention of this essaj is 
right, has its system of Modes or keys. Answering to the second 
it has a series of scales in which the delicacy and variety of the 
intenrals stiU fiU us with wonder. In both these points modem 
muric shows diminished resonrces. We have in the Keys the same 
or even a greater command of degrees ci pitch ; bat we seem to 
have lost the close relation which once obtained between a note as 
the result of physical facts and the same note as an index of 
temper or emotion. A change of key affects us, generally speaking, 
like a change of cdlonr or of movement — ^not as the heightening 
or soothing of a state of feeling. In respect of the second element 
of vocal expression, the rise and iaU of the pitch, Greek music 
possessed in the multiplicity oi its scales a range of expression to 
which there is no modem paralleL The nearest analogue may be 
found in the use of modulation from a migor to a minor key, or 
the reversa But the changes of genus and 'colour' at the 
disposal of an ancient musician must have been acoustically more 
striking^ and must have come nearer to reproducing, in an idealised 
form, the tones and inflexions of the speaking voice. The tendency 
of music that is based upon harmony is to treat the voice as one 
of a number of instruments^ and accordingly to curtail the use of 
it as the great source of dramatic and emotional effect The 
consequence is twofold. On the one hand we lose sight of the 
direct influence exerted hy sound of certain degrees of pitch on 
the human sensibility, and thus ultimately on character. On the 
other hand, the music becomes an independent creation. It may 
stiU be a vehicle of the deepest feeling ; but it no longer seeks the 
aid of language^ or reaches its aim through the channels by which 
language influences the mind of man.' 



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' IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 125 

maintained by Aristotle and his schooL In the 
Problems we find it said, ' Melody, even apart from 
words has an ethical quality/^ Though we may 
not be able entirely to comprehend the Greek point 
of view as to the moral import of music, we must 
bear in mind that the dominant element in Greek 
music was the rhythm; the spirit and meaning 
of any given composition was felt to reside especi- 
ally here ; and the doctrine which asserted the 
unique imitative capacity of music had for Aris- 
totle* its theoretic basis in this, that the external 
movements of rhythmical sound bear a dose 
resemblance to the movements of the soul. Each 
single note is felt as an inward agitation. The 
regular succession of musical sounds, governed by 
the laws of melody and rhythm, are allied to those 
vpd^i^ or outward activities which are the ex- 
pression of a mental state.' 

This power which belongs in an eminent degree 
to the sense of hearing is but feebly exhibited by 

* ProbL xix. 27. 919 b S6, koX yip iiv i arcv Xtiyov /uAof,'^ 

> In PrM. xix. 29. 920 a 8, the question is asked, &cl r* o! : 
j^vOfiol Koi T& fiiktf ^vri ottra rjOwiv coorcv; and the answer 
suggested is ^ 2rft Kivijirtis cJcrir «5(nrc/> ica2 a! wpi^i^ ; fjSfti Si i| 
fU¥ h4py€ui -^Ouchv kqX woUi ^Oot^ o2 Si X^f^^ '^ ^ XP^f*^^^ 
ov woiovviv ii»olm. Again in PnhL xix. 27. 919 b 26, the 
similar question Stdk rl ih iKowihw ftivov ij0o9 Ixci tup cu- 
frOrfrSv ; is put, and again the answer is ^ art Kivtyrw cxct ^vov 
ovxs ^^ i i^i<kot ^iM$ Kivci ; • • . dXXi rifi hrofuhnii t% towSt^ 
iwfitif al(r0av6fjL€Oa #c«vifcrii»€. It is added cu Si tcivi^it aSroi 
ir/MucTiicai c&r»y, a! Si wpA^it ijOovi fni/JMria irriv» A distinction 



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136 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the other senses. Taste and touch do not directly 
reflect moral qualities; sight, but little, for form 
and colour are /rather signs of moral qualities' 
than actual imitations of them.^ This passage of 
the Politics would seem to imply that painting and 
sculpture directly render little more than the out- 
ward and physical features of an object, and that 
they convey moral and spiritual £eu^ almost wholly 
by signs or symbols. Here, it might be thought, 
we are introduced to a type of art foreign to the mind 
of Greece, an art in which the inner qualities are . 
shadowed forth in outward forms, with which they 
are conventionaily associated, but which suggest no 
obvious and immediate resemblance. 

But the phrase here used, like many of Aristotle's 
obiter dicta, must be taken with considerable lati- 

if further drawn between the Kin^i$ produced hy tight and by 
hearing, but the preciee meaning ii not be jond dispute and need 
not detain ut here. 

The daasifieation of melodies into ^tfcica, ivOwa-uwrucoy 
TfMKTuci {PoL ▼. (viiL) 7. 1341 b 33), corresponds^ it may be . 
observed, with the three objects of imitative art 17A/, vd&ti^ 

' PoL V. (viiL) 5. 1340 a 28, ^fifiip^Kt Si r&v airOrrriiy cv 
fii(¥ TOtf oAXoif /ii;6iv vwapx€iv ifMoUtpa rots ^O^riVf otov iv rots 
osTOif teal roU ytvaroisj aXX iy rots iparoU ^/mi* <rx^fiara 
yip Strr^ roiavra, oAX* M lUMpiv, • • . Iri $} ov#c Itrrft rovra 
i/MNM/iara ruv fiO&¥, Akkk frqfUia /ioXAov t& yiv6fuva irx^/iara 
Koi xp^l'^'^ ^^ tjOSr^ The two passages just quoted from the 
ProbUmi go farther and declare that sound alone carries with it 
any Immediate suggestion of moral qualities; sight, taste, and smeU 
are expressly excluded. This is perhaps an exaggeration of the 
proper Aristotelian view. 



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' IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 137 

tade and in conjunction with other passages. Some 
emphasis, too, most be laid on the admission that 
form and colour do, in however slight a degree, 
reflect the moral character, and on the qualifying 
'rather' prefixed to the statement that they are 
* signs of moral qualities.' They are indeed less 
perfect manifestations of these qualities than music, 
whose rhTthmical and ordered movements have a 
special affinity with the nature of the soul, and re- 
produce with most directness the moral life, which 
is itself an activity, a movement^ Still feudal ex- 
pression, gestures, attitudes, are a dialect which 
nature herself has taught, and which needs no 
skilled interpreter to expound They are in the 
truest sense a natural, not an artificial medium of 
expression, and convey their meaning by the force 
of immediate suggestion and without a conscious 
process of inference. If symbols they may be called, 
they are not conventional symbols, but living signs 
through which the outward firame follows and reflects 
the movements of the spirit; they are a visible token 
of the inner unity of body and souL 

^ PoL T. (▼iiL)-5. 1840 b IS, ica/ Ti9 coacc ^rvyyivtta raU 
apftoviats koU rots ^v$fioU cfvoi, wheie the tenae, u the context 
ahowa, ia that harmoniee and rhythms have a certain affini^ wth 
(hs mnd. Hence, Aristotle proceeds, some have wrongljr inferred 
that the soul itself is a harmony. Cp. PrM xiz. 88. 080 b 8S, 
^vdfA^ Si xaipoiuv Sik T^ yviiptfiov tcci rrrayfiivov dpi$/jA¥ Sx^ty^ 
Kci Kir€iv ij/j£s rcray/Acnuf * olK€uyripa yitp ^ rtrayfiiyq Kivtutnt 
^V0Y«T^dr«ucTov,&rTCica2icaT&^u7iy/ua^ Plsl TImn^ 47 D^ i} 



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138 POETRY AND FINE ART 

The reading of character by gesture and fietcial 
expression, as explained by the Aristotelian school, 
rests on an assumed harmony not in the case of 
hearing only but of other organs of sense also, 
between the movements within and those without^ 
The comparisons, moreover, elsewhere made between 
painting and poetry as expressive of character cease 
to be relevant if we suppose that form and colour 
have no natural, as distinct from a conventional, 
significance in rendering the phenomena of mind. 
Aristotle no doubt holds that sound is unequalled 
in its power of direct expression, but he does, not 
deny that colour and form too have a similar capacity 
though in an inferior degree. The instinctive move- 
ments of the limbs, the changes of colour produced 
on the surface of the body, are something more than 
arbitrary symbols ; they imply that the body is of 
itself responsive to the animating soul, which leaves 
its trace on the visible organism. 

Fainting and sculpture working through an inert 
material cannot indeed reproduce the life of the 
soul in all its variety and successive manifesta- 
tions. In their frozen and arrested movement 
they fix eternally the feeling they portray. 
A single typical moment is seized and becomes 

^ Phymognonk L S. 806 a 28, cic re yaif> rSv Minja-mv ^wwyv^ 
/lOvoSiri, kqX be rmw vyrniirmv^ icoi Ik twf x/mi/m^twf, mX Ik rmv 
rfiinf tAw hrl rov vpotnifw o v ifA^Mivofuimv, 806 b 88, ri 8i 



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'IMITATION' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 139 

representatiye of all that precedes or follows. Still 
shape and line and colour even here retain something 
of their significance, they are in their own degree 
a natural image of the mind ; and their meaning is 
helped out by symmetry, which in the arts of repose 
answers to rhythm, the diief vehicle of expression 
in the arts of movement Aristotle does not himself 
notice the analogy between dancing and sculpture, 
which is brought out by later writers, but he would 
have perfectly apprehended the feeling which sug- 
gested the saying, * The statues of the classic artists 
are the relics of ancient dancing/ ^ The correspond- 
ence lies in the common element of rhythmic form. 
This, which was the soul of Greek music and Greek 
dancing, would not on Aristotle's general principles 
lose all its expressive power when transferred to the 
material of the plastic arts, modified though it may 
be in the transference. 

Even dancing, we read in the Poetics^^ imitates 
character, emotion, action. The expressive power 
of dancing, admitted by Aristotle and by all Greek 
tradition, receives its most instructive commenti^ 
in Lucian's pamphlet on the subject, which, when 
due allowance is made for exaggeration and the 
playful gravity so characteristic of the writer, is 
still inspired by an old Greek sentiment Rhetori- 

^ Athen. xiv. 86 p. 689, irri Si tcaXrii tmt ipx^dm huMVfffm 
dyikfUMTVi r^ iroAoias ipxi^fnm Ac/^mu 
^ Pod. I 6. 



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izr 



ISO POETRY AND FINE ART 

cians and musicians had already written treatise 
on the art, and Ludan in handling the same them 
imitates their semi-philosophic manner. Dancing i 
placed in the £ront rank of the fine arts, and all th 
sciences are made contributory to it. The dance 
must have a fine genius, a critical judgment c 
poetry, a ready and comprehensive memory ; lik< 
Homer's Calchas he must know the past, the present 
and the future. Above all he needs to have mastere< 
all mythology £rom chaos and the origin of th< 
universe down to Cleopatra, queen of Egjrpt, and t 
be able to reproduce the legends in their spirit an^ 
their details. He must avoid the 'terrible solecisms 
of some ignorant perform.ers. Like the orator h 
should aim at being always perspicuous ; he mus 
be understood though he is dumb and heard thougl 
he says nothing. Dancing is not inferior to traged] 
itself in expressive capacity; it is descriptive o 
every shade of character and emotion. Moreove 
it harmonises the soul of the spectator, trains th< 
moral sympathies, and acts as a curative an< 
quieting influence on the passions. 

Poetry unlike the other arts produces its effect 
(except such as depend on metre) through symbol 
alone. It cannot directly present form and colou 
to the eye ; it can only employ words to call ui 
images of the objects to be represented ; nor neec 
these words be audible; they may be merely writtei 
symbols. The sign too and the thing signified ar< 



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* nCITATIOM ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM ISl 

not here so linked together by obyions suggestion 
that their meaning is at once and everywhere appre- 
hended; they vary with race and country, they 
cannot claim to be a universal language, Tetpoetiy, 
though it makes use of symbols which have to be 
interpreted by the mind, ib no exception to Aris- 
totle's principle that fine art is not a body 
of symbols. The image it presents ib not one 
which through artificial means or remote associa- 
tion reminds us of a reali^ already known. 
Though signs are the medium of expression, the 
representation is not purely symbolical; for the 
signs are those significant words which in life are 
the natural and familiar medium by which thought 
and feeling are revealed. The world which poetry 
creates is not explicitly stated by Aristotle to be a 
likeness or 6fiol»fM of an original, but this is implied 
all through the Poetics. The original which it 
reflects is human action and character in all their 
diverse modes of manifestation ; no other art has 
equal range of subject matter, nor can present so 
complete and satisfying an image of its original 
In the drama the poetic imitation of life attaios its 
perfect form ; but it is here also that the idea of 
imitation in its more rudimentary sense is at once 
apparent ; speech has its counterpart in speech, and, 
if the play is put on the stage, action is rendered 
by action. Indeed the term imitation, as popularly 
applied to poetry, was probably suggested to the 



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132 POETRY AND FINE ART 

•Greeks by those dramatic forms of poetry in wlii< 
acting or recitation produced an impression alli< 
to that of mimicry. 

Poetry, music, and dancing constitute in Ari 
totle a group by themselves, their common eleme 
being imitation by means of rh}rthm — ^rhythm whi 
admits of being applied to words, sounds, and t] 
movements of the body.^ The history of the 
arts bears out the views we find expressed : 
Greek writers upon the theory of music ; it is 
witness to the primitive unity of music and poetr 
and to the dose alliance of the two with dancin, 
Together they form a natural triad, and illustrate 
characteristic of the ancient world to retain as ind 
visible wholes branches of art or science which tl 
separative spirit of modem thought has broken i 
into their elements. The intimate fusion of tl 
three arts afterwards known as the * musical ' ar 
— or rather we should perhaps say, the alliance < 
music and dancing under the supremacy of poeti 
—was exhibited even in the person of the artis 
The office of the poet as teacher of the chon 
demanded a practical knowledge of all that passe 
under the term 'dancing,' including steps, gesture 
attitudes, and the varied resources of rhythmic^ 
movement Aeschylus, we are told,' ' was the ii 

1 PotL L S-6. On tike vadtf of this gxoap cp. Pdekard, AritUn 
m A$ AH^Podry (Uaemilltfi 1891X pp. 1(^S1. 
s Atlkenaeiis L 39. 



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* IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM ISS 

ventor of many oicheBtic attitades,' and it is added 
that the and^it poets were called orchestic, not 
only because they trained their choruses, but also 
because they taught choral dances outside the 
theatre to such as wished to learn them. 'So 
wise and honourable a thing/ says Athenaeus,^ 
* was dancing that Pindar calls Apollo the dancer/ 
and he quotes the words : ^Opxn^, iyXatd/^ Jofd^^m^, 

Improvements in the technique of music or in 
the construction of instruments are associated with 
many names well known in the history of poetry. 
The poet, lyric or dramatic, composed the accom- 
paniment as well as wrote the verses ; and it was 
made a reproach against Euripides, who was the 
first to deviate from the established usage, that he 
sought the aid of lophon, son of Sophocles, in the 
musical setting of lus dramas. The very word 
iro4/tirv^ * poet' in classical times often implies the 
twofold character of poet and musician, and in later 
writers is sometimes used, like our * composer/ in 
a strictly limited reference to music 

Aristotle does full justice to the force of rhythmic 
form and movement in the arts of music and dancing. 
The instinctive love of melody and rhythm is, again, 
one of the two causes to which he traces the origin 
of poetry,' but he lays little stress on this element 
in estimating the finished products of the poetic 

1 xiv. 26. • PO0L IT. 6. 



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; i 



t r.'Rit- : ! 

- • 
'. 134 POETRY AND FINE ART 

1 i • ■ 

art In the iS/ietonc^ he obeerves that if a sen 
i I * has metre it will be poetry ; bat this is sa 

. a popular way. It was doubtless the rec 
opinion/ but it is one which he repeatedly coi 
in the Poetics. There he declares that it i 
metrical form which makes a poem.* Na; 
seems to go further and to maintain that you 
have a poem without metre.^ 

A question has been raised whether he 
indeed commit himself to this extreme view, 
as there is some uncertainty of reading in a ci 
passage of the text/ it may be rash to ass^ 
dogmatically. But the general tenor of his rei 
in the Poetics^ taken in conjunction with a q 
tion £rom Aristotle preserved by Athenaeus/ 

^ Bk£L iiL a 1408 b 80, && fivOfjAv Mixtiv Thv Xiyov, 

> Cp. Flato^ Phaedr. 858 E, iv fiirpt^ &s iroiip^ tj ovcv 
if ttuin^f : and Bqpub. x. 601 B on tlie ic^\rf<ns of melo 
rhythm : stripped of these adornments poetical compotiti< 
j ^ * , I like &oes from which the bloom of youth is gone. Oorg. 50 

rtf wtpiikmro rffi Tiw^tti irwnjs t6 tc f»iXo$ Kci rhv fivOf, 
ih fiirpor, oAAo n ^ kSyoi ytyvovnu r6 Xtiw6fJL€vov ; 
» Pod. i 7-8 ; iz. 8. * PoeL i 5 ; ix. 

, . « Cp. Prickaid, AruMU m the AH (f Podry, pp. 60-61. 

j '. • PoeLie. 

^ Athen. xL 505 b, *ApumyriXfi9 Si iv r^ rcpt woitirm 
yfii^i ** ovKovv ovSi ififUTpovt Tovs KaXovfiivov9 Sli^/MI^OS 
/n^ ^SifU¥ cfvoi kiyovf iccu luikrfm^ ^ rovs'AAcfa/uvov tov 

theiefbro to deny that the mimes of Sophron' (whose ver^ 
shows that they aie imitatiye or mimeticX * though in n 
metrical^ — or again the dialngiws of Alezamenus of TeoS| tl 



f' 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 135 

to show that he was inclined to extend the mean- 
ing of the word ' poet* to include any pioee wiit^ 
whose work was an 'imitation* within the aesthetic 
meaning of the tenxL^ 

Bocntie dialogiiM that irere written, — are prose end et the nne 
time imitetiont * (end hence, poetic compotitions) f On this pewegp 
•ee Bemaji, ZM Abhandl¥mgm 4Hir di$ An§Mdi9ek4 Tharig dn 
Drama, p. 83. Cp. Diog. Leert iii 87, ^fttfol 3* 'A/>iototcXi|v rip 
rSiv Xiymr fficaF ovrov (XIA^rtivof) /mto^v von^^iorof c&vi nl 
W€(ini kiyov, 

^ Cp. Sir Philip Sidnej, An Apology fir Podry: *The gieeteit 
pert of poets have apparelled their poetical inTentku in that 
nnmberoos kind of writing which ia called yeiee. Indeed hut 
apparelled, verte heing but an ornament and no canae to poetrj, 
smoe there have been manj most excellent poefs that nerer Tenified, 
and now awarm manj Tendftere that need ncTer answer to the name 
of poets. For Xenophon, who did imitate so ezcellentlj as to giipe 
xm tffisitm iutU imptrii — ^the portraiture of a just empire under the 
name of QyTas (es Cioero saith of him)— made therein an ahsolnts 
heroical poem.' 

And again : ' One maj be a poet without Tersing^ and a Ternfier 
without poetry.' 

Shellex, A D^mce of Poetry : * Yet it is bj no means sssentiil 
that a poet should accommodate his language to this traditional fonn, 
so that the harmony, which is its spirit, be obeerred. The practice 
is indeed oonyenient and popular, and to be preferred, mptdaSlj in 
sQch composition as includes much action : but every great po^ 
must inevitably innovate upon the example of his predecessonHa^ 
the exact structure of his peculiar versification. The distinction 
between poets and prose writers is a vulgar error. • . • Plato wit 
essentially a poet — the truth and splendour of his imageiy, and 
the melody of his language are the most intense that it ia poesibk 
to conceive. • . . Lord Bacon was a poet His language has a sweet 
and nugestic rhythm, which satisfies the sense, no less than the 
almost superhuman wisdom of his philosophy satisfies the intellcGt' 

Oervantes, Dan QmaooU: *An epic may also be as wdl wiittea 
in proee as in verse.' 



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1S6 POETRY AMD FINE ART 

A poem in prose was a thing unknown within 
Gieek eipeiience, and Aristotle is slow to break 
with the established tradition. He accepts it, but 
half-heartedly, and the result is some slight in- 
consequence or wavering in his point of view. In 
his definition of tragedy (ch. vi 2) * embellished 
language' {^Svcfthn^ X0709) is included among the 
constituent elements of tragedy ; and the phrase is 
then explained to mean language that has the two- 
fold charm of metre (which is a branch of rhythm) 
and of melody. But these elements are placed in 
a subordinate rank and are hardly treated as 
essentials. They are in this respect not unlike 
sceneiy or spectacular effect {S^)f which, though 
deduced by Aristotle £rom the definition, irnot 
explicitly ntentioned in it The essence of the 
poetry is the 'imitation'; the melody and the 
verse are the 'seasoning' ^ of the language. They 
hold a position, as Teichmttller observes,' similar to 
that which 'external goods' occupy in the Aris- 
totelian definition of happiness. Without them a 
tragedy may fulfil its function, but would lack its 

^ Thflgr an iJUo/Mra : PotL vi 10| 1} fM^XowoUa iiiyurrov rfiv 
^SvoyM^Tw. Op. SktL iiL 8. 1406 a 18 (of AlddamM' use of 
epiUMtiX ^ 7^ iJUo/MTt Xf^if^^ ^^ ^ Xixritari roif crctfcTtHSy 
•-tfiigr an not flia aaiica bat the diah itaelt Flat Bip, x. 607 Aj 

Plot fl^mfii TiL a 4, r& /uAot kqjL i ^yin Stnnp j^r crl rf 

< Afid9kUkh$nndimgm,iL 864. 



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' IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 1S7 

perfect charm and fail in producing its fall effect 
of pleasurable emotion. 

Aristotle, highly as he rates the aesthetic 
capacity of the sense of hearing in his treatment 
of musici says nothing to show that he values at 
its proper worth the power of rhythmical sound as 
a factor in poetry; and this is the more striking in 
a Greek, whose enjoyment of poetry came through 
the ear rather than the eye, and for whom poetry was 
so largely associated with music. After all, there 
can hardly be a greater difference between two 
ways of saying the same thing than that one is 
said in verse, the other in prose. There are some 
lyrics which have lived and will always live by 
their musical charm, and by a strange magic that 
lies in the setting of the words. We need not 
agree with a certain modem school who would 
empty all poetry of poetical thought and etherealise 
it till it melts into a strain of music ; who sing to 
us we hardly know of what, but in such a way 
that the echoes of the real world, its men and 
women, its actual stir and conflict, are £dnt and 
hardly to be discerned. The poetry, we are tdd, 
resides not in the ideas conveyed, not in the 
blending of soul and sense, but in the sound itself 
in the cadence of the verse. 

Tet, false as this view may be, it is not perhaps 
more fSalse than that other which wholly ignores 
the effect of musical sound and looks only to the 



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1S8 POETRY AND FINE ART 

thought that is conveyecL AmtoUe comes peril- 
OQsly near this doctrinei and was saved £rom it, 
we may conjecture — i£ indeed he was saved — only 
by an instinctive reluctance to bid defiance to the 
traditional sentiment of Greece. 

His omission of architecture from the list of 
the fine arts may also cause surprise to modem 
readers; for here, as in sculpture, the artistic 
greatness of Greece stands undisputed. In this, 
however, he is merely following the usage of his 
countrymen who reckoned architecture among the 
useful arts. It was Unked to the practical world. 
It sprang out of the needs of dvic and religious 
life and the greatest triumphs of the art were 
coimected with public &ith and worship; To a 
Greek the temple, which was the culmination of 
architectural skill, was the house of the god, the 
abode of his image, a visible pledge of his pro- 
tecting presence. At the same time, — and this 
was the decisive point — architecture had not the 
'imitative' quality which was regarded as essen- 
tial to fine art Modem writers may tell us that 
its forms owe their origin to the direct suggestions 
of the physical world — of natural caverns or forest 
arches — and in the groined roof they may trace a 
marked resemblance to an avenue of interlacing 
trees. Such resemblances, however, are much 
fiiinter in Greek than in Gothic architecture ; apart 
ttom which the argument fix>m origin would here 



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* IMITATION * AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 1S9 

be as much out of place, as it would be to main- 
tain, in relation to music, that the reason why 
people now ^07 Beethoven is, that their earliest 
ancestors of arboreal habits found musical notes to 
be a telling adjunct to love-making. 

Be the origin of architecture what it may, it is 
certain that the Greeks did not find its primitive 
type and model in the outward universe. A 
building as an organic whole did not call up any 
image of a world outside itself, though the method 
of architecture does remind Aristotle of the 
structural method of nature. Even if architecture 
had seemed to him to reproduce the appearances 
of the physical universe, it would not have satis- 
fied his idea of artistic imitation ; for all the arts 
imitate human life in some of its manifestations, 
and material objects only so fur as these serve 
to interpret spiritual and mental processes. The 
decorative element in Greek architecture is alone 
* imitative * in the Aristotelian sense, being indeed 
but a form of sculpture; but sculpture does not 
constitute the building, nor is it, as in Gothic 
architecture, an organic part of the whole. The 
metopes in a Greek temple are, as it were, a setting 
for a picture, a firaune into which sculptural repre- 
sentations may be fitted, but the firaune is not 
always fiUed in. The temple itself, though con- 
structed according to the laws of the beautiful, 
though realising, as we might say, the idea of the 



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140 POETRY AND FINE ART 

beaatifdl, jet is not ' imitatiye ' ; it does not^ 
according to Greek notions, rank as fine art 

From the course of the foregoing argument we 
gather that a work of art is an image of the 
impressions or 'phantasy pictures' made by an 
independent reality upon the mind of the artist, 
the reality thus reflected being the hcta of human 
life and human nature. To this we must make 
one addition, which contains the central thought of 
Aristotle's doctrine. ImitcUive art in its highest 
farm, namdy poetry, is an expression of the 
universal element in human life} If we may 
expand Aristotle's idea in the light of his own 
system, — ^fine art eliminates what is transient and 
particular and reveals the permanent and essential 
features of the original It discovers the ' form ' 
(d&>9) towards which an object tends, the result 
which nature strives to attain, but rarely or never 
can attain. Beneath the individual it finds the 
universal It passes beyond the bare reality given 
by nature, and expresses a purified form of reality 
disengaged fix>m accident, and freed from conditions 
which thwart its development. The real and the 
ideal £rom this point of view are not opposites, 
as they are sometimes conceived to be. The ideal is 
the real, but rid of contradictions, unfolding itself 
according to the laws of its own being, apart from 
alien influences and tlie disturbances of chance. 

^ PM. iz. 8. 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 141 

We can now see the force of the phrase ro 
fiiKTiop, as applied in the Poetics^ to the creations 
of poetry and art It is identical in meaning 
with the ola cZmu 5ci of § 1, and the otov? M 
woub of § 6. The 'better' and the 'ought to 
be ' are not to be taken in the moral, but in the 
aesthetic sense. The expression 'the better' is, 
indeed, almost a technical one in Aristotle's general 
philosophy of nature, and its meaning and associa- 
tions in that connexion throw light on the sense it 
bears when transferred to the sphere of Art Aristotle 
distinguishes the workings of inorganic and organic 
nature. In the former case, the goYeming law is 
the law of necessity : in the latter, it is purpose or 
design; which purpose, again, is identified with 

* Poik xxT. 17 cp. 7. 

' D$ Oetk Anim* L 4. 717 a 15, nv i} <pwrit ii iiinh i^ayKoiov 
woui ij Siikih piXrwv^ the distinction being that between ^ur«f 
l( iviyicqi iroM&To, the inorg^nie prooeieee of nature, and ^urif 
7vcica Tov irocoixra, ozganic proceaaee. So i^ dviyKvis ia opposed in 
ds Qm. ilnuik iiL 1. 781 b 81 to &cl ri pikrMv koX t^v curiav 
T^v iv€KA Tiyo9 : in de Ofn, Anim. iiL 4. 755 a 8S, to x^*^ ^^ 
^kriovos: in d$ Part. Anm, ir. 11. 698 a 3, to rov ^Xr/oros 
iv€Ka, For th jScXrioF as the aim of Nature when working 
organically, cp. de Oen, et Carr. ii 10. 386 b 87, h iarmnv i/d tov 
Pikriovos ofAyttrdai ^^aiuv r^y ^ivw. Phy$. viiL 7. 860 b 88, 
rh 8i piXrioy dUl vwokagipavo/uy iv tq <p>vir€i iwapxuVf ^ y 
Swar^F : viiL 6. 859 a 10, ir y^ roU fftArti Set ih rcwtpour/Mvor 
Kci ih jScXrioy, Ay ivSix^rai^ inrdpx^^ /aoAAok 

* Il€fi vop€{a9 (if^v 8. 708 a 9, rrfv ^vtrw itarfiiv itomif i»inp^f 
ikXk vivra rpis t& ipurrov JarofiXiwovauv iicArrff rip Jv8c- 
XOfiiimv : 11, 4 ^u(r«s ovSir Si^fMovpTc* i»irriv' . . • iXkk w4rrm. 
wf^ lb fiiXrurrcp he rmv Mcxo^mm^ So jMsmik 



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us POETRY AND FINE ART 

'thebetter^'or'thebesf Nature, often baffled in 
her mtentiona/ thwarted by unfavourable matter 
or by human agency, yet tends towards the desir- 
able end. She can often enlist even the blind 
force of necessity as her ally, giving a new 
direction to its results.' Wherever organic pro- 
cesses are in operation, order and proportion are in 
varying degrees apparent. The general movement 
of organic life is part of a progress to the * better,' 
the several parts co-operating for the good of the 
whole. The artist in his mimic world carries for- 
ward this movement to a more perfect completion. 
The creations of his art are framed on those ideal 
lines that nature has drawn: her intimations, 
her guidance are what he follows. He too aims at 
something better than the actual. He produces 
a new thing, not the actual thing of experience, 
not a copy of reality, but a ffiXriop^ or higher 
reality — * for the pattern in the mind must surpass 
the actual';' the ideal is 'better' than the real,. 

Art, therefore, in imitating the universal imitates 
the ideal ; and we can now describe a work of art 
as an idealised representation of human life — of 

^ PoL L S. 1255 b 8, 1} M ^uris jSoiSAcnu /liif rovro woi€lv 
voXAoicif, 06 fihrroi Svvarai, 

* Cp.d$ Oen, Anim. iL 6. 744 b 16, Z(nr€p yiip owcoi^/aos 

* FmL ZXT. 17, lk}Jk fiiXrtW ih yiip wapdSuyfaa M iwtp- 
cX«r. Bee alio p. 157. 



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' IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 143 

charcicter, emotion, action — under forms manifest 
to sense. 

'Imitation/ in the sense in which Aristotle 
applies the word to poetry, is thos seen to be 
equivalent to 'producing' or 'creating according 
to a true idea,' which forms part of the definition 
of art in general^ The 'true idea' for fine art 
is derived from the eZSo9 or 'ideal form,' which 
is present in each individual phenomenon, but 
is imperfectly manifested. This form impresses 
itself as a sensuous appearance on the mind of 
the artist; he seeks to give it a more complete 
expression, to bring to light the ideal which is 
only half revealed in the world of reality. His 
distinctive work as an artist consists in stamping 
the given material with the impress of the form 
which is universal The process is not simply 
that which is described by Socrates in the con- 
versation he is reported to have held in the studio 
of Parrhasius, by which the artist, who is no 
servile copyist, brings together many elements of 
beauty which are dispersed in nature.' It is not 
enough to select, combine, embellish, — ^to add here 

} JSih. Nic rl 4. 1140 * 10, 2fi$ /mt& Xiyov iXtiOovt 
voiijfnKij. 

t Xen. MMk iii 10. Cp. Arist PoL iiL 11. 1S81 b 10, rovTf 
Sia^fiova-iv ol onrov8a«b« r&¥ ivSpSiv ?icaoT04 tQv voAAiiv, (krwtp 
icaX Tw /4^ KaX&v roifi icaXov9 ^<ur« koX ri ycfpofLfih^ itk 

Irci K€X^*^i»iv^v y€ xikkior ^xi^v rw ycy/MfifMKov rovti fUy 
Thy i^Oakpiv irifiov ii rivat irtpov fiipw¥. 



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144 POETRY AND FINE ART 

and to retrench there. The elements must be 
harmoniaed into an ideal unity of type. 

'Imitation/ so understood, is a creative act 
It is the expression of the concrete thing under 
an image which answers to its true idea. 
To seize the universal, and to reproduce it in 
simple and sensuous form is not to reflect a 
reality already &miliar through sense percep- 
tion; rather it is a rivalry of nature, a com- 
pletion of her unfulfilled purposes, a correction of 
her failures. 

If, however, the * imitation ' which is the prin- 
ciple of fine art ultimately resolves itself into an 
efibrt to complete in some sense the work of 
nature, how, then, it may be asked, does fine art, 
after all, difler firom useful art? We have seen 
that the character of the useful arts is to co-operate 
with nature, to complete the designs which she 
has been unable to carry out Does not Aris- 
totle's distinction, then, between the two forms 
of art disappear? To the question thus raised 
Aristotle offers no direct answer; nor perhaps 
did he put it to himself in this form. But if we 
follow out his thought, his reply would appear to 
be something of this kind. Nature is a living 
and creative energy, which by a sort of instinctive 
reason works in every individual object towards a 
specific end. In some domains the end is more 
dearly visible than in others ; the higher we cany 



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' IMITATION* AS AM AESTHETIC TERM 145 

onr observation in the scale of existence the more 
certainly can the end be discerned. ETerywhere, 
however, there is a ceaseless and upward pn^press, 
an nnf olding of new life in inexhaustible varie^. 
Eadi individual thing has an ideal form towards 
which it tends, and in the realisation of this form, 
which is one with the essence (oMa) of the 
object, its end is attained.^ Nature is an artist 
capable indeed of mistakes, but who hy slow ad« 
vances and through many £Eulures realises her own 
idea.' Her organising and plastic power displays 
itjself in the manifest purpose which governs her 
movements. Some of the humbler members of 
her kingdom may appear mean if taken singly 
and judged by the impression they make upon 
the senses. Their true beauty and significance 
are visible to the eye of reason, which looks not 
to the material elements or to the isolated parts 

^ The T«Ao9 of an object is ri rikot rtj9 ywvimm or Kiwijtrmif 
the term of the pioeeai ci the moTement. The true wo'tm or ^>&rts 
of ft thing is found in the attainment of its rcAo^ — that which the 
thing has become when the process of development is completed 
from the matter (jikfi) or mere potential existence (Svrofuf ) to form 
(c28o9) or actoality (cvriXcxccaji P^y^ iL S. 194 a 8S, 4 tt ^it 
riXo9 Kol oS frcjca* Sv yiip owixouf rtjs KiVJ^a^mii o&n^ im n 
riXo9 rip «c«y^(rc«»s, rovro irxaror xai oS Svcim. Cpi PoL L 8. 
1858 b 38. Mdapk iv. 4. 1015 a 10, (^^it) . . . xmlrh cZBof 
Koi fj 9wia* rovro V iarX ri rikoa rtfi ycvmws; Hence (of 
the derelopment ci tmgedj) Pod. iv. 18, voXXoif lurufioXig 
fiitrafiakovtra ij rpay^fiU hm^mLTOf hnl hx^ i^ mir^ 

s PSbya. iL a 199 a 17 #99. 

L 



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146 POETRY AND FINE ART 

but to the stnictare of the whole.^ In her structural 
{acuity lies nature's perfection. With her the attain- 
ment of the end ' holds the place of the beautiful' ' 
Now, art in its widest sense starts from a 
mental conception of the ideal as thus determined.' 

^ C]^ it Part Anvui. L 5. 645 * 4 «gg., 'H&ying already 
tnated <tf the celestial world, as far as our conjectures could 
reach, we proceed to treat of animals, without omittixig^ to the best 
o( our ahUity, any member of the kingdomy however ignoble. For 
If some have no graces to charm the sense (vpbs r^ aiorA^iv), 
yet eren these, by disclosing to intellectual perception the artistic 
spirit that dengned them, give immense pleasure to all who can 
trace links of causation and are inclined to philosophy (icari ri^v 
OtmpUkW O/M0S i} hriiktovprfljpwra ^i6(n,% iikrixa,yov% ^^vk% vapixti 

Indeed it would be strange if mimic representations of them were 
attractiTe because they disclose the constructive skiU of the painter 
or sculptor, and the original realities themsdves were not more 
Interesting^ to all at any rate that have eyes to discern the reason 
that presided over their formation' (Ogle's Trans.). 

Tlie thought of the shaping and plastic power of nature Is in 
<me form or another a persistent one in Greek philosophy and 
literature. In Plato {Soph. 265 B sgfj.) Qod is the divine artist ; in 
the Stoics nature, 'artifez,' 'artificiosa,' fashions by instinct works 
which human skill cannot equal (Cic d$ Nat D. ii 28) ; with them 
the universe Is the divine poem. In Hotinus Qod is artist and 
poet In Dion Chrysoetom (*OXvfAw. Or. zii 416 B) Zcvg is wpShos 
md Tf Xci^roTOf ^vifjuovpyis : In Philostratus (wypa^ffat i QtAg. 

* D$ PaH. Anim. L 5. 645 a 25, oS 6* lv€tca ovyiamiKW ^ 
yiyo¥€ TJAovf r^r rov icaXoS X^P^"^ tlXiq^ 

* JlfdL vL 7. 1032 a 32, iaih rixv^i Sk yCyytrai itrmv t& cZSos 
h ri 4^vxi. De Pott Anim. L 1. 640 a 31, i} Si rixyif X6yot rov 
Spyov i AKcv T^ iXfji, The mental conception of the cZSot in a 
concrete form Is called yiti(nt, the impressing of this conception on 
the matter Is caUed iroVit, Met vL 7. 1032 b 15. This whole 
theory <tf art Is summed up In the words i} yip rixi^ ri c28of 
(Ifit Ti 9. 1034 a 24). 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 147 

Useful art, emplojing nature's own machinery, 
aids her in her effort to realise the ideal in the 
world around us, so far as man's practical needs 
are served by furthering this purpose. Fine art 
sets practical needs aside; it does not seek to 
affect the real world, to modify the actual By 
mere imagery it reveals the ideal form at which 
nature aims in the highest sphere of organic exis- 
tence, — ^in the region, namely, of human life, where 
her intention is most manifest, though her failures 
too are most numerous. Besembling nature in a 
certain instinctive yet rational &culty, it does not 
follow the halting course of nature's progress. The 
artist ignores the intervening steps, the slow pro- 
cesses, by which nature attempts to bridge the 
space between the potential and the actual The 
form, which nature has been striving, and perhaps 
vainly striving, to attain stands forth embodied 
in a creation of the mind. The ideal has taken 
concrete shape, the finished product stands before 
us, nor do we ask how it has come to be what it is. 
The flaws and fedlures incident to the natural 
process are removed, and in a glorified appearance 
we discern nature's ideal intention. Fine art, 
then, is a completion of nature in a sense not 
applicable to useful art ; it presents to us only an 
image, but a purified image of nature's original^ 

* In Mine domains natoie curies out ber artistic intentkps 
in a manner that surpasses aU the efforts of art; and in one 



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148 POETRY AND nNE ART 

Such would appear to be Aristotle's position. 
We majr heie note the difference between this 
view and the attitude adopted by Plato towards 
fine art, especially in the Republic; remembering, 
howeyer, that Plato was capable of writing also in 
another strain and in a different mood. Start- 
ing from the notion of pure Being he found 
reality only in the world of ideas, sensible pheno- 
mena being but so many images which at best 
remind us of the celestial archetype. To him 
Becoming was the simple antithesis of Being; it 
meant the world of change, the sphere of pheno- 
mena, the region in which the individual life 
appears for a moment and then vanishes away. 
The poet or painter holds up a mirror to material 
objects — earth, plants, animals, mankind — and 
catches a reflection of the world around him, which 
is itself only the reflection of the ideal.^ The 

. place ArUtotle tctnally 8aj8| fiaXAov S' hrX th oS Ivcica ic<U ri 
«aA5r iv TOif rrji ^itrtvn ipyoi% ^ iv roU rrfi rix^ (d* Part. 
Anim. i 1. 639 b 19). This, however, requires to be taken with 
proper qualification. Similarly the continuity of nature is con- 
trasted with the want of continuity in a bad tragedy. Met, xiii 3. 
1090 b 19, ovK cocicc tt ^ ^urit ^curoSu&Si/t o&ra itc tQv 
^yo/uv«M^ wnr^ lioxOrffA TfMytfSla. The general attitude 
which Aiistotle adopts is not materially different from that adopted 
by Goethe in the words : ' Nature in many of her works reyeals a 
chann of beau^ which no human art can hope to reach ; but I am 
by no means of opinion that she is beautiful in all her aspects. 
Her intentions are indeed always good, but not so the conditions 
which arc required to make her manifest herself completely.' 
^ i{^ X. 596 E. 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM li9 

actual world therefore stands nearer to the idea 
than the artistic imitation, and fine art is a copy 
of a copy, three times removed from tmtL^ It is 
conversant with the outward shows and semblances 
of things, and produces its effects by illusions of 
form and colour, which dupe the senses. The 
imitative artist does not need more than a surface 
acquaintance with the thing he represents. He is 
on a level below the skilled craftsman whose art is 
intelligent and based on rational principles, and 
who alone has a title to be called a 'maker' or 
creator. A painter may paint a table very admir* 
ably without knowing anything of the inner 
construction of a table, a knowledge which the 
carpenter, who would fashion it for its proper end, 
must possess. And poets, too, whose ideas of men 
are formed on a limited experience,' cannot pass 
beyond the range of that experience, they have no 
insight into the nature of man, into the human 
soul as it is in itself; this can be attained only by 
philosophic study. 

The fundamental thought of Aristotle's philo- 
sophy, on the other hand, is Becoming not Being ; 
and Becoming to him meant not an appearing 
and a vanishing away, but a process of develop- 
ment, an unfolding of what is already in the germ, 
an upward ascent ending in Being which is the 
highest object of knowledge. The concrete indi« 

^ Sep. X. 697 B. ' Tinuuui 19 D. 



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150 POETRY AND FINE ART 

vidual thing is not a shadowy appearance but the 
primary reality. The outward and material world, 
the diverse manifestations of nature's life, organic 
and inorganic, the processes of birth and decay, 
the manifold forms of sensuous beauty, all gained 
a new importance for his philosophy. Physical 
science, slighted by Plato, was passionately studied 
by Aristotle. Fine art was no longer three times 
removed from the truth of things; it was the 
manifestation of a higher truth, the expression of 
the universal which is not outside of and apart from 
the particular, but pre-supposed in each particular. 
The work of art was not a semblance opposed to 
reality, but the image of a reality which is pene- 
trated by the idea, and through which the idea 
shows more apparent than in the actual world. 
Whereas Plato had laid it down that * the greatest 
and &irest things are done by nature, and the 
lesser by art, which receives from nature all the 
greater and primeval creations and fashions them 
in detail,'^ Aristotle saw in fine art a rational 
iacaltj which divines nature's unfulfilled inten- 
tions, and reveak her ideal to sense. The illusions 
which fine art employs do not cheat the mind; 
they image forth the immanent idea which can- 
not find adequate expression under the forms of 
material existence. 

Some critics, it may be observed, have attempted 

^ Law X. SS9 A. Jowetf s Tnm. 



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* IMITATION ' AS AN AESTHETIC TERM 151 

to show that the fundamental principles of fine 
art are deduced by Aristotle from the idea of the 
beautifuL But this is to antedate the theory of 
modem aesthetics, and to read into Aristotle more 
than any impartial interpretation can find in him. 
The view cannot be supported except by forced 
inferences, in which many links of the argument 
have to be supplied, and by extracting philo- 
sophical meanings of fiear-reaching import out of 
chance expressions. Aristotle's conception of fine 
art, so fiear as it is developed, is entirely detached 
;&om any theory of the beautiful — a separation 
which is characteristic of all ancient aesthetic 
criticism down to a late period. Plotinus, working 
out Plato's ideas with the modifications required 
by his own mysticism, attempted to determine the 
idea of the beautiful as a fundamental problem of 
art, and with it to solve the difficult and hitherto 
neglected problem as to the meaning of the ugly. 
He based his theory of fine art on a particular 
conception of the beautiful ; but Aristotle is still 
fax removed firom this point of view. While he 
assumes almost as an obvious truth that beauty is 
indispensable in a work of art, and essential to the 
attainment of its end, and while he throws out 
hints as to the component elements of the beauti- 
fiil,^ he has nowhere analysed that idea, nor did he 

1 Po€<. Tii4; Jf€l.xi]i 8. 1078a36; PrM.xfu. 1.916bS6; 
p. put PJUUb. 64 E. 



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15S POETRY AND HNE ART 

peiliaps i^aid the beaatifdl, in its purely aesthetic 
sense^ as foiming a separate domain of philosophic 
inqniiy. It is useless, out of the fragmentary 
observations Aristotle has left us» to seek to con- 
struct a theory of the beautifuL He makes beauly 
a regulatiTe principle of art, but he never says or 
implies that the manifestation of the beautiful is 
the end of art The objective laws of art are 
deduced not from an inquiry into the beautiful, 
but from an observation of art as it is and of the 
effects which it produces. 



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CHAPTER III 

POETIO TRUTH 

What is trae of fine art in general is explicitly 
asserted by Aristotle of poetry alone, to which in a 
unique manner it applies. Poetry expresses 'most 
adequately the universal element in human nature 
and in life. As a revelation of the universal it 
abstracts, from human life much that is accidental. 
It liberates us from the tyranny of physical surround- 
ings. It can disregard material needs and animal 
longings. Thought disengages itself from sense 
and makes itself supreme over things outward. 
'It is not the function of the poet/ says Aris- 
totle, ' to relate what has happened, but what may 
happen,— what is possible according to the law of 
probability or necessity. The poet and the historian 
differ not by writing in verse or in prose. The 
work of Herodotus might be put into verse, and it 
would still be a species of history, with metre no 
less than without it The true difference is that 



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IM POETRY AND HNE ART 

one relates what has happened, the other what may 
happen.' ^ The first distinguishing mark, then, of 
poetij is that it has a higher subject matter than 
history ; it expresses the universal (rA koOoKov) not 
the particular (rA icaff tfcaarop), the permanent possi- 
bilities of human nature {ota &¥ yipom) ; it does not 
merely tell the story of the individual life, * what 
Alcibiades did or sufiered.' ' 

Though we may be inclined to take exception 
to the criticism which appears to limit history to 
dry chronicles, and to overlook the existence of a 
history such as that of Thucydides, yet the main 
thought here cannot be disputed. History is based 
upon &cts, and with these it is primarily con- 
cerned; poetry transforms its fSftcts into truths. 
The history of Herodotus, in spite of the epic 
grandeur of the theme and a unity of design, 
which though obscured is not effaced by the 
nimierous digressions, would still, as Aristotle 
says, be history and not poetry even if it were 
put into verse. Next, poetry exhibits a more 
rigorous connexion of events; cause and event 
are linked together in 'probable or necessary 
sequence ' {tcarh to tUo^ ^ rh ivarfiuuov). Histories 
of the usual tjrpe {al aw/fiw UropUu)^ as Aristotle 
observes in a later chapter, are a record of actual 
&cts, of particular events, strung together in the 
order of time but without any dear causal con- 



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POETIC TRUTH 165 

nexioiL^ Not only in the development of the plot' 
but also in the internal working of character/ the 
drama observes a stricter and more logical order 
than that of actual experience. The rule of prob- 
ability which Aristotle enjoins is not the narrow 
* vraisemblance ' which it was understood to mean 
by many of the older French critics, which would 
shut the poet out from the higher regions of the 
imagination and confine him to the trivial round 
of immediate reality. The incidents of every 
tragedy worthy of the name are improbable if 
measured by the likelihood of their everyday 
occurrence, — improbable in the same degree in 
which characters capable of great deeds and great 
passions are rare. The rule of ^probability/ as 
also that of ^necessity/ refers rather to the in- 
ternal structure of a poem; it is the inner law 
which secures the cohesion of the parts. 

The * probable ' is not determined by a numerical 
average of instances ; it is not a condensed expres- 

^ Po€L. xxiiL 1-2| koI (Sci) /i^ ifioias Irropiai riit avyrj9ut 
ttvaij iv at$ dvdyKrf ovx^ fAias wpd^uts woUurOni Siqkminv oAX' 
jvis xpivovy &ra cv toiSt^ trwijiii wtpi jfva ij tXc Jov9> S¥ hcaaror 
MS irvx€v ix€i wpit AkktiXa. The reading of the MSS. urropioLt 
ris avviQ0€i$ makes a veiy hanh form of inverted oompariaon, and 
Tyrwhitf s coigectore Urropuut rcls irvyOmm^ is bighfy probaUe : 
' the stmctnie (of the efdc) should not resemble the histories. • • .' 

« Po€L ix. 1. 

* Pod. XV. 6, XFl ^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ ijd^iv Stmp tni Iw tq t£v 
wpayfidi^v warwni cU) (j^lv ^ t& ayayicaibr fi ri cuc^, &rrc 
T&v TOiovroy ri. TOMvra Xiytw ^ vpimw ^ ivaytnSw ^ clic^ 
KoX ToSro fieri rovro yl^mrOai {j inw/Kmhv tj tUit. 



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156 POETRY AND WNE ART 

don for what meets ua in the common course of 
thinga The €m^ of daily life, the empirically 
usual, 18 derived from an observed sequence of 
£eu^ and denotes what is normal and regular in 
its occurrence, the rule, not the exception.^ But 
the rule of experience cannot be the law that 
governs art The higher creations of poetry move 
in another plane. The incidents of the drama 
and the epic are not those of ordinary life: the 
persons, who here play their parts, are not average 
men and women. The 'probable* law of their 
conduct cannot be deduced from commonplace 
experience, or brought under a statistical average. 
The thoughts and deeds, the will and the emotions 
of a Prometheus or a Clytemnestra, a Hamlet or 
an Othello, are not an epitomised rendering of the 
ways of meaner mortals. The common man can 
indeed enter into these characters with more or 
less intelligence, just because of their fiill humanity. 
His nature is for the moment enlarged by sympathy 
with theirs : it dilates in response to the call that 
is made on it Such characters are in a sense better 
known to us — yp^pipniTepoi — than our everyday 
acquaintances. But we do not think of measuring 

1 AmlyL Prior. iL 87. 70 a 4, 5 ycip m9 cir« rb wokv Itnurw 
avrm ycyf^/icvor ij /*^ yt!Yv6fU¥0V ij q¥ rj fiij Sv^ tov/ irrli^ thdt. 
Am aa instuiM of the ik Jr 2 r) iroXv (with which the tUis ie here 
identified) we have in Analyi. Pod. iL ISL 96 a 10 the growth of 
thebeerdontheehin: ov irot £i^/)m^ J^i^i^ rft ymior rpixovroi, 
iXX&9hA7hwpk& 



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POETIC TRUTH 157 

the intrinsic probability of what thej saj or do by 
the probability of meeting their counterpart in the 
actual world 

Few writers have grasped more firmly than 
Aristotle the relation in which poetical troth 
stands to empirical fact He deyotes a great part 
of one chapter (ch. xxv.) to an inquiry into the 
alleged untruths and impossibilities of poetry. He 
points out the distinction between errors afiecting 
the essence of the poetic art, and errors of fact 
relating to other arts.^ We may here set aside the 
question of minor oversights^ inconsistencies, or 
technical inaccuracies, holding with him that these 
are not in themselves a serious flaw, provided they 
leave the total impression unimpaired. But there 
is a more fundamental objection which he boldly 
meets and repels. The world of poetry, it is said, 
presents not fSacts but fiction: such things have 
never happened, such beings have never lived. 
' Untrue ' {oitc aXf/jOfj), * impossible * (oSumra), said 
the detractors of poetry in Aristotle's day : ' these 
creations are not real, not true to life.' 'Not 
real,' replies Aristotle, ' but a higher reality' {ahXk 
fiiKtiop), 'what ought to be («k 5c»), not what is.'* 

^ Pod. zzT. 3-4. 

* PoiL zzT. 6 and 17. In § 17 a Uueefold diykion oi ri i&i^ 
varov ii^ M I take it, implicit, and a triple line of defence offered : 
9) dvdytiv wfAt T^ Toiryrw, an appeal to the general principle of 
poetic imitation, which prefeit the wiOaviv eren if it ia mUvmrovx 
0i) Mytiv icfi% T& ^Ariov, an appeal to the principle of ideal 



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158 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Poetry, he means to say, is not concerned with fact, 
but with what transcends fSact ; it represents things 
which axe not, and neyer can be in actual experience ; 
it gives us the ought to be ; the form that answers 
to the true idea.^ The characters of Sophodes,* the 
ideal forms of Zeuzis/ are unreal only in the sense 
that they surpass reality. They are not untrue to 
the principles of nature or to her ideal tendencies. 

It would seem that in Aristotle's day it was still 
generally held that * real eyents ' — ^under which were 
included the accepted legends of the people ^ — were 
alone the proper subjects for tragedy. Names and 
incidents were alike to be derived from this source. 
The traditional practice was critically defended by 
an argument of this kind : — ' what has happened 
is possible : what is possible alone is wi0av6p, — ^likely, 
that is, to gain credence.'* In ch. iz. Aristotle 
pleads for an extension of the idea of the 'possible,' 
from T^ Tcyo/Myo to ola ^ yhovro, from the tward 
of history to those 'universal' tward where the 
law of causation appears with more unbroken effi- 
cacy and power. He would not restrict the poet's 

tmUi or tlie liigher reality ; (oi) ovayciv wp^ t^v &(^v or rpif 
a ^cKTtr, an appeal to canent tradition or belief! The aZvvara 
under ^) and ^ correspond to the ovic oXi^ft} of §§ 6-7, t^ ptXrtov 
of S la being eqiiiTalent to tliews fits o&vs Sci voicir, of § 6 and to 
tho fiiXrww of § 7, wbile ti^ U^ of § 19 answers to ovmi ffnuriv 
of S 6 and iXX o8r ^mm of J 7. Vablen and Sosemihl take the 
lotherwise. 
> ScMipp. 141-S. « PoifcxxT. e. • lb. 17. 

« Sea p. 374. • Poit iz. e. 



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POETIC TRUTH 169 

freedom of choice. At the same time he guards 
himself against being supposed utterly to condemn 
historical or real subjects. Indeed from many 
passages we may infer that he regarded the con- 
secrated legends of the past as the richest store- 
house of poetic material, though few only of the 
traditional myths satisfied, in his opinion, the foil 
tragic requirements. The rule of 'what may 
happen ' does not, he observes, exclude ' what has 
happened.' Some real events have that internal 
probability or necessity which fits them for poetic 
treatment^ It is interesting to notice how guarded 
is his language — * some real events,' as if by a rare 
and happy chance.* And, no doubt, in general the 
poet has to extract the ore from a rude mass of 
legendary or historical fact: to free it from the 
accidental, the trivial, the irrelevant : to purify it, 
in a word, from the dross which always mingles 
with empirical reality. Even those events which 
possess an inherent poetical quality, which are, in 
some sense, poetry ready made for the dramatist, 
are poetical only in certain detached parts and 
incidents, not penetrated with poetry throughout 

^ PoeL ix. 9, tSk yiip ycro/Acvwv li^ia ovSiv Kmki€i roiavra mIvqa 
ota Ay Mlkbt y€vmr$on kqI fiwarct y€vi(r$Qnmtrotavra ota Ar Korik 
rb Mbchs yivotro koX iwari (Jcrri) ycvwrtfoi. This Tirtaallj imoLrtM 
itoelf into tlie fonnaU of ix. 1, ola ti¥ ycroiro icai ri Swrnrii tmri^ 
rh €lk^ fj ih ivayKatov. 

* Cp. the limilAr role laid down in FUto for ri wiOmviw in 
oratorj : Pka$dir. 878 E; ovfii yip at ri r/mx^crra <cSr Acycir 
cr&yrf, Ictr /i^ €lic6rw9 f ir€wpay§$iya. 



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160 POETRY AND FINE ART 

They will need the idealisation of art before they 
can be combined into the unified atracture of the 
drama. The hints given in aubeequent chapters 
for treating the traditional legends show how all 
important in Aristotle's eyes is the shaping activity 
of the artist, even when he is dealing with the 
most fEtvonrable material Greek tragedies, though 
'founded on fact' — as the phrase goes — transmute 
that tact into imaginative truth. 

The truth, then, of poetry is essentially di£ferent 
fiN>m the truth of fiEtct Things that are outside 
and beyond the range of our experience, that never 
have happened and never will happen, may be 
more true, poetically speaking, — ^more profoundly 
true than those daily occurrences which we can 
with confidence predict These so-called iSwara 
are the very ivmrd of art, the stuff and substance 
of which poetry is made. 

* What has nerer anywhere eome to past, that alone nerer 

There is another class of ^impossibilities' in 
poetry, which Aristotie defends on a somewhat 
different ground. It is the privilege, nay, the 
du^, of the poet '^rcvfi^ Xiyew Jk Sel, 'to tell lies 
as* he ought': he must learn the true art of 

* AUes wiederholt dch nur im Leben, 
Ewig jnng ist nur die Fhantasie, 
Wm tich nie and niigendt hat begeben 
Dm aUein Ttialtet nie.— fidbtUir. 



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FOEnC TRUTH 1(1 

fictioiL^ The fiction here intended is^ as the con- 
text shows, not simply that fiction which is 
blended with fact in every poetic nairatiye of real 
eyents.* The reference here is rather to those 
tales of a strange and marvellous character/ which 
are admitted into epic more fireely than into 
dramatic poetry. In this art of feigning. Homer, 
we are told, is the supreme master ; and the secret 
of the art lies in a kind of wcLpaKoy^^iti^ or fidlacy. 
The explanation added, though given in a some- 
what bald and abstract manner, renders the nature 
of tiie fedlacy perfectly plain.^ At the outset the 

1 Pm& zxiT. 9. 

* Cp. Hor. A. P. 151 (of Homer), 

Atqae ita mentitor, sie Taris fiJaa remiieet 

< See Twiniiig ii 846 9^ 

^ The falU^, ounel j, in the cose of h jpothetictli^ of inferring 
the aflimution of the ooneeqoent from the affirmation of the ante- 
cedent ; cp. ds Soph. Elemh, 167 b 1 iqq., an example beings *it it 
raina, the ground ie wet : the groond is wet : therefore it raina.' 
Similarly in Bhetorici the akilled speaker adopts a certain appro- 
priate tone and manner which leads the audience to infer that the 
bets he states are tmth. BheL iiL 4. 1408 a 80, iri0a,¥oi Si to 
wpSyfJM Kol i} oLcc«a Xtfis* wapakoylftrai y^ i} ^^i^C^ W9 itXi^^iiit 
Atyovrof, iri cr roh Toioi!ro4f oinai ixovtrw^ &rr oiorraif €i koI 
li.il oin^i Ix^i, W9 i Xiywf^ ri irpay/Aara ovnn ix^w. Twining 
^ d50) compares the observation of Hobbes that 'probable 
fiction is similar to reasoning rightly from a fitdse principle.' 

The allusion to the Nurr/m in Pod. xxrr. 10 is, doubtless^ as 
Yahlen {fioUr. pu 896) shows, to Odyooey adz. 164-86a The dis- 
guised Od jsseus has told Penelope that he has entertained Od jsseus 
in Crete. The detailed description he gives of the appearance, 
dress, etc, of the hero is recognised by Penelope to be true. She 
fslsely infers that, as the host would hare known the appearance 
of the guest, the stranger who knew it had actually been the host 

H 



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16S POETRY AND FINE ART 

poet must be allowed to make certain primaiy 
assumptioDB and create his own environment. 
Starting from these poetic data — the pre-supposi- 
tions of the imagination — ^he may go whither he 
will, and carry ns with him, so long as he does not 
dash ns against the prosaic ground of fact He 
feigns certain imaginary persons, strange situations, 
incredible adyentures. By viyidness of narrative 
and minuteness of detail, and, above all, by the 
natural sequence of incident and motive, things 
are made to happen exactly as they would have 
happened, had the fundamental fiction been fact 
The efiects are so plausible, so life-like, that we 
yield ourselves instinctively to the illusion, and infer 
the existence of the supposed cause. For the time 
being we do not pause to dispute the wp&rop i^wB<^ or 
original fSedsehood on which tiie whole fSetbric is reared. 
Such is the essence of rh widaviv, which in 
various forms runs through the teaching of the 
Poetics. By artistic treatment things incredible 
in real life wear an air of probabDity. The im- 
possible not only becomes possible, but natural and 
even inevitable. In the phraseology of the Poetics^ 
the JEXoTo, things impossible or improbable to the 
reason, are so disguised that they become ^SKo^ai 
the Hvpora, things impossible in fEu^t, become 
WiOapd, and hence Ivpark icark rh eU^ ^ to iboy- 
tuuo9. Even the laws of the physical world and 
the material conditions of existence may conceiv- 



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POETIC TRUTH 16S 

ably be neglected, if only the inner consistency of 
the poetry is not sacrificed. The magia ship of 
the Phaeacians and the landing of Odysseus on the 
shores of Ithaca, which * might have been intoler- 
able if treated by a meaner poet/ are so skilfiilly 
managed by Homer that we forget their inherent 
impossibility.^ 'Probable impossibilities are/ as 
Aristotle declares with twice repeated emphasis* 
* to be preferred to improbable possibilities.' * 

The Skoya or 'irrational elements' which the 
logical understanding rejects, are greater stumbling- 
blocks to the poetic sense than mere material im- 
possibilities. For the impossible may cease to be 
thought of as such ; it may become logically inevit- 
able. But the irrational is always liable to pro- 
voke the logical faculty into a critical or hostile 
attitude. It seems to contradict the very law of 
causality to which the higher poetry u* subject 
It needs, therefore, a special justification, if it is to 
be admitted at all ; and this justification Aristotle 
discovers in the heightened wonder and admiration, 
which he regards as proper, in a peculiar degree, to 
epic poetry.* The instance twice cited^ of the 

1 Pod. xxiv. la 

* PoeL vdy. 10^ wpoaipArOal rt fici i&ivara tucira fiSikkov ij 
Swark dirlOai^ Again, Po$L XXT. 17, olptrArtpow iritfai^v 
iiwarov ij iwldavov koX jvvaror. 

* Pad. xziy. 8, /aoAAov 6* iv^x^ron ir rg hnnml^ ri SXoyov^ 

^ Pipit zziy. 8 and zzr. 5. In the fonntr paaiage the incident 



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164 POETRY AND FINE ART 

pnirait of Hector in the Iliad illustrates the 
general conditions under which he would allow 
this license. The scene here alluded to is that in 
which Achilles chases Hector round the walls of 
Troy : the Greek army stands motionless, Achilles 
signing to them to keep still.^ The incident, if 
represented on the stage, would appear highly 
improbable, and even ludicrous. The poetic 
illusion would be destroyed by the scene being 
placed directly before the eyes; whereas in epic 
nairatiye, the effect produced is powerfully 
imaginative. Still, even as an epic incident, 
Aristotle appears — strangely enough — to think 
that it is open to some censure, and justified only 
by two considerations. First, the total effect is 
impressive : we experience a heightened wonder, a 
pleasurable astonishment, which effaces the sense 
of incongruity and satisfies the aesthetic end.* In 
the next place, a like effect could not have been 
produced by other means.* 

it p roncw m ced to be unfit for ikt drama ; in the latter, it is in 
itaelf a ifMpmifia but justified bj the effect, and justified onlj as 
an epie incident Further, in ch. xxiy. it is spoken of as an 
jAoyov, in ch. zzr. — ^less accurate! j — as an afivvarov. All oXoya 
are not dtSworo, but all oSvvara, if realised to be such, are oXoyo. 
But, as abore explained, the art of the poet can make the iivvara 
cease to be JAoya and become v^0ayJi 

1 IIM zxiL 806, AoouTiv 6* dvcvcvc ico/njari Sun 'AxiXActfs. 

• F^d, Mxr. 6, ijfui^m^rai, iAA' 6p$ii9 Jx^s cf rvyxi^t rov 
TtXovf Tsfi mAr^ (ri yiip rcAot €tpiffnu\ ci ovrniv iicwkritcriKiirtfiow 
ij mSfh ^ iXko iroici /i^po«. 

• ia et ^wrroi rk tcAo* ^ f£XXw ^ ^> ^rrov lyMx^^ 



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POETIC TRUTH 166 

There is another form of ^ the impossible/ and 
even of ' the irrational/ which, according to Aris- 
totle, may be admitted into poetry. Some things 
there are which cannot be defended either as the 
expression of a higher reali^, or as constituting a 
whole so coherent and connected that we acquiesce 
in them without effort. They refuse to fit into 
our scheme of the universe, or to blend with the 
other elements of our thought. Still, it may be, 
they are part of the traditional belief and are 
enshrined in popular legend or superstition. If 
not true, they are believed to be true. Though 
they cannot be explained rationally, it is generally 
felt that there is ^something in them.' Current 
beliefs like these cannot be wholly ignored or 
rudely rejected by the poet There are stories 
of the gods, of which it is enough to say that, 
whether true or false, above or below reality, * yet 
so runs the tale.' ^ The principle here laid down 
will apply to the introduction of the marvellous 
and supernatural imder many forms in poetry. 
But a distinction ought perhaps to be drawn. 
Take a case where the imagination of a people, 
such as the Greeks, has been long at work upon 
its own mythology, and has embodied in dear 
poetic form certain underljdng sentiments and 

ipOii. Cp. zzT. 19, ipOif hrirlfiiyrit ikoylf^ • • . irw fn^ 
> Pod. xzy. 7, <tU' oSy i^un. 



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166 POETRY AND FINE ART 

convictioDB of the race. Facts in themselves 
marvelloas or supematoral hare taken coherent 
shape, and been inwrought into the substance of 
the national belief The results so obtained may 
be at yariance with empirical fact, yet they are 
none the less proper material for the poet. The 
legends may be among the oBuvara of experience ; 
they are not among the aKo^a of poetry. It may 
even be within the power of the poet to efface the 
lines between the natural and the supernatural, 
and to incorporate both worlds in a single order of 
things, at once rational and imaginative. 

Meanwhile, within the legends or traditions so 
clarified, there remains, we will suppose, some 
unassimilated material, unharmonised elements 
which offend the reason. A mythology which has 
q[>mng out of childlike intuitions into the truth 
of things, combined with a childlike ignorance of 
laws and &ct8, cannot but retain vestiges oi the 
irrational It is to these cruder beliefs, which 
come to the surface even in Hellenic poetry, that 
the defence to which we now allude will more 
especially apply: — 'untrue indeed, nay irrational, 
but so men say! 

Aristotle holds that the irrational — whether 
under the guise of the supernatural, or under the 
form of motiveless human activity — ^is less ad- 
missible in dramatic than in epic poetry.^ He 

1 PM&ZZiY.S. 



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POETIC TRUTH 157 

the intrinsic probability of what they say or do by 
the probability of meeting their counterpart in the 
actual world. 

Few writers have grasped more firmly than 
Aristotle the relation in which poetical trutii 
stands to empirical fact He devotes a great part 
of one chapter (ch. xxv.) to an inquiry into the 
alleged untruths and impossibilities of poetry. He 
points out the distinction between errors afiecting 
the essence of the poetic art, and errors of fact 
relating to other arts.^ We may here set aside the 
question of minor oversights^ inconsistencies, or 
technical inaccuracies, holding with him that these 
are not in themselves a serious flaw, provided they 
leave the total impression unimpaired. But there 
is a more fundamental objection which he boldly 
meets and repels. The world of poetry, it is said, 
presents not fSacts but fiction: such things have 
never happened, such beings have never lived. 
' Untrue ' {oitc iXriOf}), * impossible ' (iSvium), said 
the detractors of poetry in Aristotle's day : ' these 
creations are not real, not true to life.' 'Not 
real,' replies Aristotle, ' but a higher reality' (oXX^ 
fiiktiov), 'what ought to be («k S€i), not what is.'* 

^ Pod. zzT. 3-4. 

* PoiL zzT. 6 and 17. In § 17 a threefold division of tA JM- 
varov ia, as I take it, implicit, and a triple line of defence offered : 
9) iviytiv TfAt rijv TohfTw^ an appeal to the general principle of 
poetic imitation, which prefers the TiOaviv even if it is iUvwrovi 
Qj) iwiy€w wpis ih fiiXrtov^ an appeal to the principle of ideal 



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158 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Poetiy, he means to say, is not concerned with facb, 
bat with what transcends fact ; it represents things 
which are not, and never can be in actual experience ; 
it giyes ns the ought to be ; the form tiiat answers 
to the true idea.^ The characters of Sophocles,* the 
ideal forms of Zeuzis/ are unreal only in the sense 
that they surpass reality. They are not untrue to 
the principles of nature or to her ideal tendencies. 

It would seem that in Aristotle's day it was still 
generally held that ^ real eyents ' — ^under which were 
included the accepted legends of the people ^ — were 
alone the proper subjects for tragedy. Names and 
incidents were alike to be derived from this source. 
The traditional practice was critically defended by 
an argument of this kind : — ' what has happened 
is possible: what is possible alone is ^ri^ai^i^, — ^likely, 
that is, to gain credence.'* In ch. iz. Aristotle 
pleads for an extension of the idea of the 'possible,' 
firom T^ To^/MMi to ola ^ yipoiTo, from the Svpord 
of history to those * universal' iward where the 
law of causation appears with more unbroken effi- 
cacy and power. He would not restrict the poet's 

tratii or tlie liigher reality ; ^ iviytw vp^ rijv S6^v or rpif 
a fftaaw^ an appeal to eorrent tradition or belief, ^e dSivaTa 
under Qi) sad (ui) correspond to the ovic dXifOfj of §§ 6-7, t^ pikrtov 
ofJiabeingeqiiiTalenttotliewsfici^oibvsficiiroiciVyof g 6 and to 
tho fiiXrior of § 7, wliile rtjii^ U^v of § 19 answers to ovmi ifwrtv 
of S 6 and iXX o8r ^aa% of § 7. Vahlen and Sosemihl take tlie 
lotherwise. 
>B€jiHM41-S. ^Pod.JXf.e. •Jft.n. 

« Bee p. 374. • Poit iz. 6. 



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* IMITATION * AS AM AESTHETIC TERM 149 

actual world therefore stands nearer to the idea 
than the artistic imitation, and fine art is a copy 
of a copy, three times removed from tmtL^ It is 
conversant with the outward shows and semblances 
of things, and produces its effects by illusions of 
form and colour, which dupe the senses. The 
imitative artist does not need more than a surface 
acquaintance with the thing he represents. He is 
on a level below the skilled craftsman whose art is 
intelligent and based on rational principles, and 
who alone has a title to be called a 'maker' or 
creator. A painter may paint a table very admir- 
ably without knowing anything of the inner 
construction of a table, a knowledge which the 
carpenter, who would fashion it for its proper end, 
must possess. And poets, too, whose ideas of men 
are formed on a limited experience,* cannot pass 
beyond the range of that experience, they have no 
insight into the nature of man, into the human 
soul as it is in itself; this can be attained only by 
philosophic study. 

The fundamental thought of Aristotle's philo- 
sophy, on the other hand, is Becoming not Being ; 
and Becoming to him meant not an appeanng 
and a vanishing away, but a process of develop- 
ment, an unfolding of what is already in the germ, 
an upward ascent ending in Being which is the 
highest object of knowl^ge. The concrete indi- 

^ Bep. X. 697 E. * Tif^uuM 19 D. 



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150 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Tidual thing is not a shadowy appearance but the 
primary reality. The outward and material world, 
the diverse manifestations of nature's life, organic 
and inorganic, the processes of birth and decay, 
the manifold forms of sensuous beauty, all gained 
a new importance for his philosophy. Physical 
science, slighted by Plato, was passionately studied 
by Aristotle. Fine art was no longer three times 
removed from the truth of things; it was the 
manifestation of a higher truth, the expression of 
the universal which is not outside of and apart from 
the particular, but pre-supposed in each particular. 
The work of art was not a semblance opposed to 
reality, but the image of a reality which is pene- 
trated by the idea, and through which the idea 
shows more apparent than in the actual world. 
Whereas Plato had laid it down that * the greatest 
and fSetirest things are done by nature, and the 
lesser by art, which receives from nature all the 
greater and primeval creations and fashions them 
in detail,'^ Aristotle saw in fine art a rational 
faculty which divines nature's unfulfiUed inten- 
tions, and reveals her ideal to sense. The illusions 
which fine art employs do not cheat the mind; 
they image forth the immanent idea which can- 
not find adequate expression under the forms of 
material existence. 

Some critics, it may be observed, have attempted 

^ law$ z. 8S9 A. Jowetf • T^rans. 



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' IMITATION * AS AM AESTHETIC TERM 151 

to show that the fondamental principles of fine 
art are deduced by Aristotle from the idea of the 
beautifiiL But this is to antedate the theory of 
modem aesthetics, and to read into Aristotle more 
than any impartial interpretation can find in him. 
The view cannot be supported except by forced 
inferences, in which many links of the argument 
have to be supplied, and by extracting philo- 
sophical meanings of far-reaching import out of 
chance expressions. Aristotle's conception of fine 
art, so feur as it is developed, is entirely detached 
^m any theory of the beautiful — a separation 
which is characteristic of all ancient aesthetic 
criticism down to a late period. Plotinus, working 
out Plato's ideas with the modifications required 
by his own mysticism, attempted to determine the 
idea of the beautiful as a fundamental problem of 
art, and with it to solve the difficult and hitherto 
neglected problem as to the meaning of the ugly. 
He based his theory of fine art on a particular 
conception of the beautiful ; but Aristotle is still 
fax removed from this point of view. While he 
assumes almost as an obvious truth that beauty is 
indispensable in a work of art, and essential to the 
attainment of its end, and while he throws out 
hints as to the component elements of the beauti* 
ful,^ he has nowhere analysed tJiat idea, nor did he 

1 PM&TiL4; lf<t.ziiL3. 1078A36; JVv^.zrii 1. 916b36; 
p. Plat Philik 64 £. 



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152 POETRY AND HNE ART 

pediaps r^;aid the beautifiil^ in its purely aesthetic 
sense, as fonning a separate domain of plulosophic 
inqniiy. It is useless, out of the fragmentary 
observations Aristotle has lefb us, to seek to con- 
struct a theory of the beautiful He makes beauty 
a regulative principle of art» but he never says or 
implies that the manifestation of the beautiful is 
the end of art The objective laws of art are 
deduced not from an inquiry into the beautiful, 
but from an observation of art as it is and of the 
effects which it produces. 



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CHAPTER m 

POKTIC TRUTH 

What is true of fine art in general is explicitly 
asserted by Aristotle of poetry alone, to which in a 
unique manner it applies. Poetry expresses 'most 
adequately the nniyersal element in human nature 
and in life. As a revelation of the universal it 
abstracts from human life much that is accidental. 
It liberates us from the tyranny of physical surround- 
ings. It can disregard material needs and animal 
longings. Thought disengages itself from sense 
and makes itself supreme over things outward. 
'It is not the frmction of the poet,' says Aris- 
totle, * to relate what has happened, but what may 
happen, — ^what is possible according to the law of 
probability or necessity. The poet and the historian 
differ not by writing in verse or in prose. The 
work of Herodotus might be put into verse, and it 
would still be a species of history, with metre no 
less than without it The true difference is that 



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IM POETRY AND HNE ART 

one relates what has happened, the other what may 
happen*' ^ The fiist distinguishing mark, then, of 
poetry is that it has a higher subject matter than 
history ; it expresses the universal (r^ icad&Kov) not 
the particular {rk icaff iic€urrw\ the permanent possi- 
bilities of human nature (ola ^ y^mhto) ; it does not 
merely tell the story of the individual life, * what 
Aldbiades did or suffered.' ' 

Though we may be inclined to take exception 
to the criticism which appears to limit history to 
dry chronicles, and to overlook the existence of a 
histoiy such as that of Thucydides, yet the main 
thought here cannot be disputed. History is based 
upon &cts, and with these it is primarily con- 
cerned; poetry transforms its facts into truths. 
The history of Herodotus, in spite of the epic 
grandeur of the theme and a unity of design, 
which though obscured is not effaced by the 
numerous digressions, would still, as Aristotle 
says, be histoiy and not poetry even if it were 
put into verse. Next, poetry exhibits a more 
rigorous connexion of events; cause and event 
are linked together in * probable or necessary 
sequence ' {tcark rh cico9 ^ T& apor/Muov). Histories 
of the usual type (oi ^wi/fiw icropUu)^ as Aristotle 
observes in a later chapter, are a record of actual 
fSeusts, of particular events, strung together in the 
order of time but without any dear causal con* 



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POETIC TRUTH 155 

nezion.^ Not only in the deyelopment of the plot * 
but also in the internal working of character,' the 
drama observes a stricter and more logical order 
than that of actual experience. The role of prob- 
ability which Aristotle enjoins is not the narrow 
' vraisemblance * which it was understood to mean 
by many of the older French critics, which would 
shut the poet out from the higher regions of the 
imagination and confine him to the trivial round 
of immediate reality. The incidents of every 
tragedy worthy of the name are improbable if 
measured by the likelihood of their everyday 
occurrence, — improbable in the same degree in 
which characters capable of great deeds and great 
passions are rare. The rule of * probability/ as 
also that of * necessity/ refers rather to the in- 
ternal structure of a poem; it is the inner law 
which secures the cohesion of the parts. 

The * probable ' is not determined by a numerical 
average of instances ; it is not a condensed expres- 

^ PoeL. zxiii 1-8, Koi (&i) /«^ ofioiaf laropiat rkt amnqOtit 
cfvoc, iv off ivdytcfi ovx} i^s it/ml^cos wotturOoi SqXMtriy oAA' 
Ms Xpivovj Sav, iv rovr^ trwifiii T€pl iva 1j irXc&vv, &^ SKmtrroy 
is irvxtv ix€i irpif cLAXi^Acu The reading of the MSS. tcrro^Mif 
T&s innn^0€is makes a Teiy hanh form of inYerted oompariKm, and 
Tjrwhitt'a coigectiire laroplcus rks cMvOimt is highly probahk : 
' the ttmctiire (of the e^c) should not xesemhle the historieSi • • •' 

« PoeL ix. 1. 

* PoiL XT. 6, xM ^ '^^ i^ ^^^ fjOetriv itnrtp koI i¥ rj r&v 
wpayfUruv oumurci iMl (tfniv ^ ri avayKoHw ^ r& ehcit, &rrc 
riv TOiovroi^ t& roiavra Xiyeiv 17 wpimiy ij ivoy^mwit ^ tMs^ 
ico) Tovro finrk rovro ytvmrOai ij iwuyKohv ij eUis. 



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IM POETRY AND FINE ART 

sion for what meets us in the common course of 
thingSL The €mco9 of daily life, the empirically 
usual, is derived from an observed sequence of 
fiicts, and denotes what is normal and regular in 
its occurrence, the rule, not the exception.^ But 
the rule of experience cannot be the law that 
governs art The higher creations of poetry move 
in another plane. The incidents of the drama 
and the epic are not those of ordinary life: the 
persons, who here play their parts, are not average 
men and women. The * probable' law of their 
conduct cannot be deduced from commonplace 
experience, or brought under a statistical average. 
The thoughts and deeds, the will and the emotions 
of a Prometheus or a Gytemnestra, a Hamlet or 
an Othello, are not an epitomised rendering of the 
ways of meaner mortals. The common man can 
indeed enter into these characters with more or 
less intelligence, just because of their full humanity. 
His nature is for the moment enlarged by sympathy 
with theirs : it dilates in response to the call that 
is made on it Such characters are in a sense better 
known to us — ypiopifMirepoi — than our everyday 
acquaintances. But we do not think of measuring 

1 AnalyL Prior, ii 87. 70 a 4, S yi^ ms Jrl r^ woXh unuriv 
ovTu ycyt^/icvoy ^ /a^ ytyyifU¥OV rj ivij ftil &, tovt* irrh^ cmc^ 
As «& initaiiM of the tk crl t^ wqXv (witik which the €Uis ia here 
identified) we hare in AfuO^ Pod. iL IS. 96 a 10 the growth of 
the beaid on the chin: ov wft av0/NMrof ififniv ri yiwtw¥ r/HXovmi, 



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POETIC TRUTH 157 

the intrinsic piobabili^ of what they Bay or do by 
the probabili^ of meeting their counterpart in the 
actual world. 

Few writers have grasped more firmly than 
Aristotle the relation in which poetical truth 
stands to empirical fact He devotes a great part 
of one chapter (ch. jxv.) to an inquiry into the 
alleged untruths and impossibilities of poetry. He 
points out the distinction between errors affecting 
the essence of the poetic art, and errors of fact 
relating to other arts.^ We may here set aside the 
question of minor oversights, inconsistencies, or 
technical inaccuracies, holding with him that these 
are not in themselves a serious flaw, provided they 
leave the total impression unimpaired. But there 
is a more fundamental objection which he boldly 
meets and repels. The world of poetry, it is said, 
presents not &cts but fiction: such things have 
never happened, such beings have never lived. 
* Untrue ' {ovtc ^X^;^), ' impossible ' (oSiWra), said 
the detractors of poetry in Aristotle's day : ' these 
creations are not real, not true to life.' *Not 
real,' replies Aristotle, * but a higher reality ' (oXX^ 
fiiktiw\ * what ought to be (<k Sci), not what is.'* 

^ PotL ZXT. 3-4. 

* Po4L ZXT. 6 and 17. In § 17 a threefold division of to dtv* 
¥arov i% M I take it, implicit, and a triple line of defence offered : 
(j) ivdyti¥ wpi$ ri^v volffrw^ an appeal to the general principle of 
poetic imitation, which prefers the inOa,¥ov cTen if it ia iUwarw : 
0i) MrfU¥ wfii r6 fiiXrtov^ an appeal to the principle of Ideal 



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IM POETRY AND FINE ART 

Poetiy, he means to bbj, is not concerned with feu^t, 
Imt with what transcends fact ; it represents things 
which are not^ and never can be in actual experience ; 
it ^ves US the ought to be ; the form that answers 
to the tme idea.^ The characters of Sophocles^' the 
ideal forms of Zeozis/ are unreal only in the sense 
that they surpass reali^. They are not untrue to 
the principles of nature or to her ideal tendencies. 

It would seem that in Aristotle's day it was still 
generally held that * real events ' — ^under which were 
included the accepted legends of the people ^ — were 
alone the proper subjects for tragedy. Names and 
incidents were alike to be derived from this source. 
The traditional practice was critically defended by 
an argument of this kind : — * what has happened 
is possible : what is possible alone is ir$0ap6v, — ^likely, 
that isy to gain credence.'* In ch. is. Aristotle 
pleads for an extension of the idea of the 'possible/ 
firom rk y€y6fMfa to ola ^ yipoiro, from the Bward 
of history to those 'universal' iward where the 
law of causation appears with more unbroken effi- 
CBcy and power. He would not restrict the poet's 

tnaOk or the bj^^ mlify ; (di) iviytw wfAt r^y i6{a¥ or wpi$ 
i ^airtr, «& ftppoal to conent traditioii or beliefl The aBvvara 
under ^) and (jdS^ eonespond to the ovic aXi;^^ of §g 6-7, rh fiiXnov 
ofS labeingeqniTilentto theMS&soibvf &( voMiKyOf §6 and to 
the ^rior of S 7, while ri^ S6^ of § 19 answert to ovrm 4Mrh 
of S 6 and dUAT o9r ^mn of { 7. Yahlen and Bnaemihl take the 
lotherwiae. 
>8cMipp.l41-S. SiVMlxxT.6. •J&17. 

« Bee p. 374. • PM. ix. 6. 



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POETIC TRUTH 169 

£reedom of choice. At the same time lie guards 
liimself against being supposed utterly to condemn 
historical or real subjects. Indeed from many 
passages we may infer that he r^;aided the con- 
secrated legends of the past as the richest store- 
house of poetic material, though few only of the 
traditional myths satisfied, in his opinion, the fuU 
tragic requirements. The rule of 'what may 
happen' does not, he observes, exclude *what has 
happened.' Some real events have that internal 
probability or necessity which fits them for poetic 
.treatment^ It is interesting to notice how guarded 
is his language — ' some real events,' as if by a rare 
and happy chance.* And, no doubt, in general the 
poet has to extract the ore from a rude mass of 
legendary or historical fSact: to free it from the 
accidental, the trivial, the irrelevant : to purify it, 
in a word, from the dross which always mingles 
with empirical reality. Even those events which 
possess an inherent poetical quality, which are, in 
some sense, poetry ready made for the dramatist, 
are poetical only in certain detached parts and 
incidents, not penetrated with poetry throughout 

1 PoiL is. 9, Tuv yci/> y€¥OfU¥U¥ fKca oiShf Kmki€i rocaurm c&tu 
ota iiv €lk^ ywirOcn koA ^warik ytvitrAuatTOAaura oSdi Ay irarA 
rh tUhs ycvoiTo koI iwari (Jori) ycvjcrda*. Thif Tirtnallj raolTiet 
itself into the foimoU of iz. 1, ob Ay ycvoiro «ca) t& iwmrii tcmrik 
rh clic^ ^ T^ ivayKa.to¥» 

* Op. the dmikr role laid down in Plato for ri wtOm^ in 
oratory : Pha$dr. 878 E^ otSM yitp ai t& r/wx^nTm Mr Atycir 



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160 POETTRY AND FINE ART 

They will need the idealisation of art before they 
can be combined into the unified structure of the 
drama. The hints given in subsequent chapters 
for treating the traditional legends show how all 
important in Aristotle's eyes is the shaping activity 
of the artist, even when he is dealing with the 
most fetvourable material Greek tragedies, though 
'founded on fact' — as the phrase goes — ^transmute 
that &ct into imaginative truth. 

The truth, then, of poetry is essentially different 
from the truth of fact. Things that are outside 
and beyond the range of our experience, that never 
have happened and never will happen, may be 
more true, poetically speaking, — more profoundly 
true than those daily occurrences which we can 
with confidence predict. These so-called iSuyara 
are the very Sinmrd of art, the stuff and substance 
of which poetry is made. 

* Wliat has nerer tnywhera eoma to pM8| that alone narer 
old'* 



There is another class of * impossibilities ' in 
poetry, which Aristotle defends on a somewhat 
different ground. It is the privilege, nay, the 
duty, of the poet fivilj Xiytiy ck Sci, 'to tell lies 
as' he ought': he must learn the true art of 

' AUes wiederholt deh ma im Leben, 
Ewig Jong ist nur die Fhaatasia, 
Wat aieh nk und niigands hat bcgebea 
Dm aUdii Ttialtet nie.-— AAtOff. 



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POETIC TRUTH 161 

fiction.^ The fiction here intended is, as the con- 
text shows, not simply that fiction which is 
blended with &ct in every poetic narrative of real 
events.* The reference here is rather to those 
tales of a strange and marvellous character/ which 
are admitted into epic more fireely than into 
dramatic poetry. In this art of feigning, Homer, 
we are told, is the supreme master ; and the secret 
of the art lies in a kind of wapoKoyio-fU^ or fallacy. 
The explanation added, though given in a some- 
what bald and abstract manner, renders the nature 
of the fallacy perfectly plain.^ At the outset the 

1 PoiL xxir. 9. 

s Cp. Hot. A. P. 161 (of Homer), 

Atque ita mentitiir, sic Terit falsa remiacet 

> See Twining u. 346 iqq, 

^ The fiftllacy, namely, in the case of hypothetieaky of infeiring 
the affirmation of the consequent from the affirmation of the ante- 
cedent; cp. de Soph, Ekneh, 167 h 1 $qq.t an example being, Mf it 
rains, the ground is wet : the ground is wet : therefore it rains.' 
Similarly in Bhetoric, the skilled speaker adopts a certain appro- 
priate tone and manner which leads the audience to infer that the 
facts he states are truth. Bhd. iiL 4. 1408 a 80, widayoi Si to 
wpSyfjM Kol i} olK€(a Xi^it* wapoKoyl^rrai yip i} ^X^ tk dXtjOik 
Xcyovrof^ &Ti iy roit rotovrois oimtt Sxova-iVf &rT* oiovroi, ci koA 
pri oiiwi jx't, cos i Acywv, ri wpdyfutra olhmt ix^w. Twining 
QL 860) compares the observation of Hobbes that 'probaUe 
fiction is similar to reasoning rightly from a fidse principle.' 

The allusion to the Nhrrpa in Po€L xxir. 10 is, doubtless, as 
Yahlen (B^Ur. p. 896) shows, to Od}ft$ty six. 164-86a The dis- 
guised Odysseus has told Penelope that he has entertained Odysseus 
in Crete. The detailed description he gives of the appearance, 
dress, etc, of the hero is recogused by Penelope to be true. She 
falsely infers that, as the host would have known the appearance 
of the guest, the stnmger who knew it had actuaUy been the host 

H 



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162 POETRY AND FINE ART 

poet must be allowed to make certain primary 
assumptionB and create his own environment. 
Starting from these poetic data — ^the pre-supposi- 
tions of the imagination — ^he may go whither he 
will, and carry as with him, so long as he does not 
dash US against the prosaic ground of fact. He 
feigns certain imaginary persons, strange situations, 
incredible adventures. By vividness of narrative 
and minuteness of detail, and, above aU, by the 
natural sequence of incident and motive, things 
are made to happen exactly as they would have 
happened, had the fundamental fiction been fact 
The effects are so plausible, so life-like, that we 
yield ourselves instinctively to the illusion, and infer 
the existence of the supposed cause. For the time 
being we do not pause to dispute the irp&rov y^wSo^ or 
original fSalsehood on which the whole &bric is reared. 
Such is the essence of ri 'ir$0av6v, which in 
various forms runs through the teaching of the 
Poetics. By artistic treatment things incredible 
in real life wear an air of probability. The im- 
possible not only becomes possible, but natural and 
even inevitable. In the phraseology of the Poetics, 
the iXoya, things impossible or improbable to the 
reason, are so disguised that they become eSKoya : 
the iSvwra, things impossible in &ct, become 
mda^it and hence ivrnvrk Kork rh thc^ ij ri ^^07- 
MSbr. Even the laws of the physical world and 
the material conditions of existence may conceiv- 



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POETIC TRUTH 16S 

ably be neglected, if only the inner consistency of 
the poetry is not sacrificecL The magic ship of 
the Phaeacians and the landing of Odysseus on the 
shores of Ithaca, which * might have been intoler- 
able if treated by a meaner poet/ are so skilfully 
managed by Homer that we forget their inherent 
impossibility.^ 'Probable impossibilities are/ as 
Aristotle declares with twice repeated emphasis, 
* to be preferred to improbable possibilities.' * 

The Skoya or * irrational elements' which the 
logical understanding rejects, are greater stumbling- 
blocks to the poetic sense than mere material im- 
possibilities. For the impossible may cease to be 
thought of as such ; it may become logically inevit- 
able. But the irrational is always liable to pro- 
voke the logical faculty into a critical or hostile 
attitude. It seems to contradict the very law of 
causality to which the higher poetry a» subject, 
it needs, therefore, a special justification, if it is to 
be admitted at all ; and this justification Aristotle 
discovers in the heightened wonder and admiration, 
which he regards as proper, in a peculiar degree, to 
epic poetry.' The instance twice dted^ of the 

^ Poet. xxiv. 10. 

' Poet. xxiv. 10, wpwufMtcrOai r« &? o^wara €UiTa /coAAoy ^ 
Swarii dtriOava. Again, PoeL zxT. 17, aHptrirtpoy iriAivir 
iivvaroy ij dwlOavov koX Bwarov. 

* Poet. xxir. 8, fioAAov £* ivSixtrai iv rj hnnroii^ ri oAoyoy, 
&' i irvfiPaivei fiikurra rh OavfJMrriv. 

^ PoeL xnr. 8 and zxr. 6. In the fonner paMige the inddent 



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164 POETRY AND FINE ART 

punoit of Hector in the Iliad illustrates the 
general conditions under which he would allow 
this license. The scene here alluded to is that in 
which Achilles chases Hector round the walls of 
Troy : the Greek army stands motionless, Achilles 
signing to them to keep stilL^ The incident, if 
represented on the stage, would appear highly 
improbable, and even ludicrous. The poetic 
illusion would be destroyed by the scene being 
placed directly before the eyes; whereas in epic 
narrative, the e£fect produced is powerfully 
imaginative. Still, even as an epic incident, 
Aristotie appears — strangely enough — to think 
that it is open to some censure, and justified only 
by two considerations. First, the total effect is 
impressive : we experience a heightened wonder, a 
pleasurable astonishment, which effaces the sense 
of incongruity and satisfies the aesthetic end.* In 
the next place, a like effect could not have been 
produced by other means.* 

it pronaimced to be unfit for the drama ; in tlie latter, it ia in 
itaelf a ifidprtifta bnt justified by the efiieet^ and justified only as 
an epic incident Further, in ch. zziy. it is spoken of as an 
£Aoyov, in eh. zzr. — ^less accuratelj — as an o^vkhtdv. AU ikoya 
are not «JvmTo, but aU afivvaro, if realised to be such, are oAoyo. 
But, as above explained, the art of the poet can make the Uwara 
cease to be lAoya and become wiOayi. 

^ lUad zzii SOft, AooSxiy fi* dvcvcvc Ko/»^ri fibt 'AxiXAcvt. 

* iVit ZXT. 6y iiiiifmfraL, dXA' ipBiit JFx<S d rvyxivti rov 
TfAovf ToS «Ar^ (t^ ykfi rtAot c^M^TOiX d ovr«»f licwkriKriMifrtpow 
If cjfi ^ oAAo VOMi fifioit. 



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POETIC TRUTH 165 

There is another form of * the impossible/ and 
even of * the irrational/ which, according to Aria- 
tode, may be admitted into poetry. Some things 
there are which cannot be defended either as the 
expression of a higher reality, or as constituting a 
whole so coherent and connected that we acquiesce 
in them without effort They refuse to fit into 
our scheme of the universe, or to blend with the 
other elements of our thought Still, it may be, 
they are part of the traditional belief and are 
enshrined in popular legend or superstition. If 
not true, they are believed to be true. Though 
they cannot be explained rationally, it is generally 
felt that there is * something in them.' Current 
beliefs like these cannot be wholly ignored or 
rudely rejected by the poet There are stories 
of the gods» of which it is enough to say that, 
whether true or false, above or below reality, * yet 
so runs the tale.' ^ The principle here laid down 
will apply to the introduction of the marvellous 
and supernatural under many forms in poetry. 
But a distinction ought perhaps to be drawn. 
Take a case where the imagination of a people, 
such as the Greeks, has been long at work upon 
its own mythology, and has embodied in dear 
poetic form certain underlying sentiments and 

vwdpx^^ 'tol Karii r^v ircpl rovrmy rixv^Vf [iQi»mpr^a^ai\ o&e 
opOSs. Cp. XXT. 19, ipSij hrirlfifyrtt aXoyl^ . • • irw fn^ 

> Pod. XXT. 7, (UX* oSv ffMuru 



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166 POETRY AND HNE ART 

eonyictions of the race. Facts in themselyes 
marvelloxis or supematoral have taken coherent 
shape, and been inwrought into the substance of 
the national belie! The results so obtained may 
be at variance with empirical fact, yet they are 
none the less proper material for the poet The 
legends may be among the diupora of experience ; 
they are not among the SKoya of poetry. It may 
even be within the power of the poet to efface the 
lines between the natural and the supernatural, 
and to incorporate both worlds in a single order of 
things, at once rational and imaginative. 

Meanwhile, within the legends or traditions so 
clarified, there remains, we will suppose, some 
imassimilated material, unharmonised elements 
which offend the reason. A mythology which has 
sprung out of childlike intuitions into the truth 
of things, combined with a childlike ignorance of 
laws and &cts, cannot but retain vestiges oi the 
irrational It is to these cruder beliefs, which 
come to the surface even in Hellenic poetry, that 
the defence to which we now allude will more 
especially apply: — * untrue indeed, nay irrational, 
but so men say.' 

Aristotie holds that the irrational — whether 
under the guise of the supernatural, or under the 
form of motiveless human activity — ^is less ad- 
missible in dramatic than in epic poetry.^ He 

1 PoiL zxir. S. 



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POETIC TRUTH 1«7 

does not assign the reason, but it is obvious. The 
drama is a ^ical representation of human action : 
its mainspring is motive: what is motiveless or 
uncaused is alien to it. Following strict rules of 
art Aristotle would exclude the irrational altogether : 
fedling that, he would admit it only under protest 
and subject to rigid limitations. It may form part 
of the supposed antecedents of the plot ; it has no 
place within the dramatic action itsel£^ Aristotle 
summarily rejects the plea that if it is kept out 
the plot will be destroyed. 'Such a plot,' he 
says, 'should not in the first instance be con- 
structed.'* But he proceeds to qualify this harsh 
sentence by a characteristic concession to a human 
infirmity. He will view the fault leniently, if the 
incidents in question are made in any degree to 
look plausible.* 

From what has been said it will be evident that 
a material impossibility admits of artistic treat- 
ment; hardly so, a moral improbability. When 
once we are placed at the poet's angle of vision and 
see with his eyes, the material improbability pre- 
sents no insuperable difficulty. The chain of cause 

' PoilU XT. 7, iXoyoy M laiifihf ttvai h roif wpiyfumnVf ct Si 
iJ^i^rtfi rpayifilat. xzir. 10»/uu£X4O<Ta ^ir/ii|j}irlx<4r&\0yor, 
cZ a fii^, i^ Tov fivO€ifiar9t. 

' PO0L zziT. 10, i^ ipxyh y^ ^^ ^^ wwirrwr9fu rw^lrwn 



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168 POETRY AND FINE ART 

and efibct lemaiDS unbroken. Everything follows 
in due sequence from the acceptance of the primary 
fiction. But a moral improbability is an SK/yfw of 
the most stubborn kind. No initial act of imagina- 
tiye surrender can reconcile us to a course of action 
that is either motiveless or based on unintelligible 
principles. We can sooner acquiesce in the altered 
facts of physical nature, than in the violation of 
the laws which lie at the root of conduct. The 
instances of the irrational which Aristotle condemns 
are not indeed confined to moral improbabilities. 
But he appears to have had these mainly in his 
mind, — ^improbabilities that ultimately depend on 
character, and do violence either to the permanent 
fiicts of human nature, or to the feelings and 
motives proper to a particular situation. Such are 
the ignorance of Oedipus as to the manner of Laius' 
death: the speechless journey of Telephus from 
Tegea to Mysia : ^ the scene already mentioned of 
the pursuit of Hector. A material improbability 
may itself, again, often be resolved into one of the 
moral kind. Where the events either in themselves 
or in their sequence appear irrational, they are 
firequently the outcome of character inwardly 
illogical Though Aristotle does not distinguish 
between moral and material improbability or im- 
possibili^, it fSdls in with his teaching to recognise 
in the first a grave artistic defect, which is not 
I PmC. zxir. la 



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POETIC TRUTH 169 

necessarily mherent in the second In tlie un- 
broken chain of cause and effect which he postulates 
for the drama, each of the links is formed by the 
contact of human will with outward surroundings. 
The necessity which pervades his theory of tragedy 
is a logical and moral necessity, binding together 
the successiye moments of a life, the parts of an 
action, into a significant unity. 

Since it is the oflSce of the poet to get at the 
central meaning of facts, to transform them into 
truths by supplying vital connexions and causal 
links, to set the seal of reason upon the outward 
semblances of art^ it follows that the world of 
poetry rebels against the rule of chance. Now, 
accident (rh avfifi€fiffK6^) or chance in Aristotle, 
exhibiting itself under two forms not always strictly 
distinguished,^ owes its existence to the uncertainty 
and variability of matter.' It is the negation 
{(rripf^isi) of Art and Intelligence, and of Nature 
as an organising force.* Its essence is disorder 

^ Namely as rvxi^ ^fortune,' and r5 avr^/biaroir, *apontaiiei^.' 
Cp. PO0L iz. 18, avh rod avrofUrov koI r^ rvxiyf. The regular 
diltinction is that giren in MeL iz. 8. 1066 a 86 «n^ and MiL zL 8. 
1070 a 6 199. But in Pky9, iL 6. 197 a 36, t^ fiiv yip iwh n^x^ 
ray diri ravro/M^roii^ rowro S* ov ray air& r^X^ ^^^ ^ ^^ 
iwh T&XV^ ^ roirmv &ra iwo Tavrofairov ycvcroi r&¥ wpoaiperiir 
rocs Ix^^vo-i vpwiipmrw. See ZeUer HuL Or. PML ii %. 88S-6^ 
Stewart BtKNicl 869. 

* Mti. ▼. 8. 1087 a 13, cSoTf 1) vkii irrat olrio, 1^ Mt^oiiim^ 
wapii ri un hrl'rh wokh ikXnn^ rov ^rvfi^c^i^K^rDC. 

* Viewed as r^x^ it is the frri/nynt of rtxvi^and vovt: Tiewed 
as T^ aMfiorop it is the orifityrt^ of ^wrt^. 



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170 POETRY AND FINE ART 

(arafia)^^ absence of design (rh ipticd rov),^ want of 
regolari^ {rh Jk M rh woKv). It even borders on 
the non-existent* Its sphere is that wide domain 
of human life which baffles foresight/ defies reason, 
abounds in surprises: and also those regions of 
Nature where we meet with abortive efforts, 
mistakes, strange and monstrous growths, which 
are ' the £ulures of the principle of design.' * 

It is true that the action of Chance does not 
invariably defeat the purposes of Nature or Art. 
It may so happen that the first step in a m^^tural 
or an artistic process is the result of Chance.* To 
Chance were due some of the early experiments in 
the history of poetry, which were destined to lead 

I IfiC iz. 8. 1065 a 25, Acyv Si ri Kark irv/ifitpfjKit' rov 
TOfovrov <* oTcurra koX Sanipa r4 ofrio. De Part AtUm, L 1. 641 
b 22, r^ ovjpayiv • . . Jk f cM rvxi|S icai ira^ias ovfi* irtoSv 

* Anal Pod. iL 11. 95 a 8, iv6 rixn^ S* otSSiv Ivwi rov 
^ Mei. ▼. 2. 1026 b 21, ^iVcrac yap ri ovfAPtfitiKh^ ^yyvs Ti 

^ MiL ix. 8. 1065 a 33 (of rvxv), Sth a^Xos avBpwtt}^ Xoyur/iy. 

* Pky$. iL 8. 199 b 3 (just as in art there are failures in tbe 
effcnrt to attain tbe endX o/ioM»f iy ixo^ kqX tv roU ^vo'iicoi?, Koi 
tA rifiara ifMprtjfUBra hctivov rov IvtKi rov. On ripara in 
Nature ep. d$ GmL Anim, iv. 4. 770 b 9, €<m yiip ih ripas riv 
wapii ^vvw ri, wofii ^urcv {* ov wSauv ikXA rtfv is hrlrh iroAv. 
The ryMrSSa in tragedy is emphatically condemned PoeL xiv. 2, 
•I Ji /i^ T^ ^fitpip inii r^ o^cois dXXA t^ rywrOUs piivov 
wmpmrK€vi(om9 ov8)r rpayffil^ Koivuvown^. 

* j;ik Am; tL 4. 1140 a 19, KaOawtp icol 'AyaOw^ in^ol 

'^Xn '^^^ •'^V^ «f«i "'X^ '^K^^' 



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POETIC TRUTH 171 

to Tiltimate success.^ But in itself Clumoe is the 
y^ antithesis of Art It is an irrational cause ; 
it suggests anarchy and misrole ; it has no proper 
place in poetry, which aims at the attainment of 
an ideal unity. The law of ' the probable ' — as well 
as that of * the necessary '^-excludes chance ; ' and 
yet in a popular sense nothing is more ' probable ' 
than the occurrence of what is called accident. 
We gather from the Poetics that the introduction 
of anomalous and abnormal incidents in poetry was 
sometimes defended by the saying of Agathon: 
'It is probable that many things should happen 
contrary to probability.' * A similar saying appears 
to have been current by way of mitigating the 
appearance of monstrosities in nature: 'The un- 
natural is occasionally^ and in a fftshion, natural' ^ 
But as a man of science Aristotle does not regard 
the deviation from nature as in a proper sense 
natural : nor, as a writer on art, does he lend his 
authority to the twice quoted phrase of Agathon. 

^ Po€i. zir. 9, (iiTQvmt yi^p owe curi rcxn/f ikX iwi rvxyfi 
ctpov ri TocovroK ra/Muriccva(ccv iv roh fiv&oi% 

^ Ik Gen. d Cm. \L 6. 833 b 6, ri Si wofA ri <kl leo* tk 
cTi r6 iroXv iiA ravrofLirw koX Jarh vixf^ Qp. de Cado i. IS. 
S88 a 33. 

* Pod. zriiL 6, irriv Si rwro ciicif clknrff^ *Kyidwf A«ycs 
^hcit yiip yivmr$(u woXXa kqI wafA rh dxi^ XZT. 17, ovrv re 
iccU oTi wori ovic iXQy6v irriv clic^ yip kqI wapi t^ ctic^ 
ylvwOoL 

^ Ik Gen. AfUm. ir. 4. 770 b 16, i^v cZmu iotta ripmt iA t» 
#cal T^ wapi, ^uTiv cfvai rpiwov rwi icarA ^vmv. 



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173 POETRY AMD FINE ART 

That phnse, indeed, violates the spirit, if not the 
letter, of all that he has written on dramatic prob- 
ability. ' Miss Edgeworth/ sajs Newman,^ * some- 
times apologises for certain incidents in her tales, 
by stating that they took place ** by one of those 
strange chances which occur in life, but seem in- 
credible when found in writing/' Such an excuse 
cTinces a misconception of the principle of fiction, 
which being the perfection of the actual, prohibits 
the introduction of any such anomalies of experi- 
ence.' The 'strange chances' here spoken of, 
'the anomalies of experience,' are in iact the 
'improbable possibilities" which Aristotle dis- 
allows. For chance with its inherent unreason is 
as fSeur as possible banished by him firom the domain 
of poetry ,^-except indeed where the skill of the 
poet can impart to it an appearance of design.* 
Nor does this exclusion hold good only in the 
more serious forms of poetry. It has been held 
by some modem writers, that comedy differs from 
tragedy in representing a world of chance, where 
law is suspended and the will of the individual 
reigns supreme. But this is not in accordance 
with the Poetics. The incidents of comedy — at 
least of such comedy as Aristotle approves — are 

\ Podryf wUh Trf€rmc$ to Arid<M$ PotHa (Eiiayii Critkal and 
HirtoneilX 

' Pod. zzhr. 10, XumitA iariOoanu 

' Pod. iz. IS, jrtl KoX tut inh rvx^ ravra AftVfMurMirara 
fonci <9» itnr^ hrinfin ^mb^ron ycyovtMu. 



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POETIC TRUTH 17S 

< framed on lines of probabili^/ ^ The connexion 
of incidents is, no doubt, looser than in tragedy ; 
the more rigorous rule of 'probability w necessity * 
is not prescribed: and the variation of phrase appears 
to be not without design. Yet the plot even of 
comedy is £eu: removed from the play of accident. 

To sum up in a word the results of this discussion. 
The whole tenor and purpose of the Poetics makes 
it abundantly clear that poetry is not a mere repro- 
duction of empirical fact, a picture of life with 
all its trivialities and accidents. The world of the 
possible which poetry creates is more intelligible 
than the world of experience. The poet presents 
permanent and eternal facts, free from the elements 
of unreason which disturb our comprehension of real 
events and of human conduct. In fashioning his 
material he may transcend nature, but he may not 
contradict her ; he must not be disobedient to her 
habits and principles. He may recreate the actual, 
but he must avoid the lawless, the femtastic, the 
impossible. Poetic truth passes the bounds of 
reality, but it does not wantonly violate the laws 
which make the real world rational 

Thus poetry in virtue of its higher subject matter 
and of the closer and more organic union of its parts 
acquires an ideal unity that history never possesses ; 
for the prose of life is never wholly eliminated from 

^ FO0L iz. 6, otNFT^ravri* ykp fhv ^$0¥ ink rS¥ tUirm^ 



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174 POETRY AND FINE ART 

a record of actual facts. The Baconian and the 
Aristotelian view of poetry, instead of standing in 
sharp contrast as is sometimes said, will be seen 
to approximate closely to one another. The well- 
known words of Bacon run thus : — 

'Therefore, because the acts or erents of true 
history have not that magnitude which satisfieth 
the mind of man. Poesy feigneth acts and erents 
greater and more heroical ; . • • because true history 
representeth actions and events more ordinary and 
less interchanged, therefore Poesy endueth ihem 
with more rareness : so as it appeareth that Poesy 
servetL and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, 
and delectation. And, therefore, it was ever thought 
to have some participation of divineness, because it 
doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the 
shows of things to the desires of the mind, whereas 
Reason doth buckle and bow the mind unto the 
nature of things.' ^ 

^ Baoon da Aug. ScienL iL 18. The «tiU more vigorous Latin 
desenres to be quoted: 'Cum rei gestae et eTentus, qui verae 
bistoriae subieiuntur, non sint eius ampUtudinis in qua anima 
bumana sibi satisfaciat| praesto est poesifl^ quae facta magis beroica 
confingat . • . Cum bistoria yera, obvia rerum satietate et simili- 
tadine, animae bumanae iastidio sit, refidt eam poesis, inezpeetata 
et Taria et yieissitudinum plena canens. Quare et merito etiam 
diTinitatis cuiuspiam particeps yideri possit ; quia animum erigit 
et in sublime xapit ; rerum simulacra ad animi desideria accommo- 
dando^ non animum rebus (quod ratio iacit et biitoria) submittenda' 
In tbe sentence above omitted Poetry is said to correct bistory, 
setting fiurtb 'exitus et fortunas secundum merita et ez lege 
y«m eseos>' This is not Aristotelian. 



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POETIC TRUTH . . 176 

It may be noticed tliat the oppoeition between tbe 
poet and the historian in the Poetics is incidentally 
introduced to illustrate the sense in which a tragedy 
is one and a whole.^ These two notions as under- 
stood hj Aristotle are not identical A unity is 
composed of a plurality of parts which cohere 
together and fall under a common idea, but are 
not necessarily combined in a definite order. The 
notion of a whole implies something more. The 
parts which constitute it must be inwardly con- 
nected, arranged in a certain order, structurally 
related, and combined into a system. A whole is 
not a mere mass or sum of external parts which 
may be transposed at will, any one of which may 
be omitted without perceptibly affecting the rest* 
It is a unity which is unfolded and expanded accord- 
ing to the law of its own nature, an organism which 
develops from within. By the rule, again, of beauty, 
which is a first requirement of art, a poetic creation 
must exhibit at once unity and plurality. If it is 
too small the whole is perceived but not the parts ; 
if too large the parts are perceived but not the 
whole.* The idea of an organism evidently under- 

^ PO0L ix. 1, ^taytfhv Si U rS¥ €lfnifiivfi»v K.T.X, 
> Md. iv. 86. 1084 a 1, Strmv ftiv fii^ vocci 1} A&riS Sia^topiv^ 
rSv XAyrraiy Sarmv Si woui, Sko¥. Ibid. 1023 b 86, 2Aov XiytToi 
oi Tf fAffiw arccFTi liipot l( £v Xcycrai SXov ^urci icr.A. Cpu 
PotL viiL 4, 8 yiip wpoahp tj /«j^ vpoahv fujSi^ wout Jir«Xi|Aov, 
wSiw fiiptov Tov jAov krrl¥. 

* PotftL TiL 4-6. Op^dieralMlAiddowiifortliedieofsei^iA 
PoL ir. (Tii) 4. 1386 s 84 fgg; 



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176 POETRY AND FINE ART 

lies all Aristotle's rules about unity ; ^ it is tacitl;|' 
assumed as a first principle of art, and in one passage 
is expressly mentioned as that from which the rule 
of epic unity is deduced. * The plot must as in a 
tragedy be dramatically constructed ; it must hare 
for its object a single action whole and complete^ 
with a beginning, a middle, and an end, that like 
a single living organism it may produce its appro- 
priate pleasure/ ' 

Plato in the Phaedrus had insisted that every 
artistic composition, whether in prose or verse, should 

^ Cjv 8tew»rt EiK Nic L 104 : 'Living organismi and worb 
of art are o^fiara, definite after their kinds, which Nature and 
llaa reepeetively form by qualifying matter. The quantity ol 
matter need in any case is determined by the form subserved \ 
the size of a particular oigan, or part, is determined by its form, 
which again is determined by the form (limiting the size) of the 
whole organism or work. Thus animals and plants grow to sizec 
determined by their separate structures, habitats, and conditions ol 
life, and each separate oigan observes the proportion of the whoU 
to which it belongs. The painter or sculptor considers the 
symmetry of the whole composition in every detail of his work. 
The conductor of a choir is forced to exclude a voice which 8U^ 
paves all the others conspicuously in beauty. PoL iii 8. 1284 b 8, 
ovrc yoip ypn^Ai i&rtuv Av r^v virc/o^oAAovra ir^ r^ irvfJLfu^ 
TpittM ^X^iv T% {^Vf ovS* €l Sta^poi rh icaAAov* oArt vavwrfyhi 
wpvfi;¥av fj ruv &kXM¥ n /lop&iv rip r^ vmis* ov£i j^ X'^P^^^^*^ 
iricaAof T^ fi€i(o¥ Koi KiXXtov rod iravr^ X^P^^ ^cyy^/icvoi 
tdbrci cv/x'^P^^^' ^ ^ ^>^*^ ^^^'n^ dominates matter, qualit^ 
quantity. •! 

' PoeL xxiiL 1, tci rov9 fiv0ov9 KoOdwkp iv rats TpaytfSlai 
oirrsormMU ipofMnianft koX W€fi fUav wpa^v Skgjv Koi TfAcia9 
Ixowray ^X^*^ '^^ F^ '^ rt A09, iv* itnrtp (fov iv iXw voc^ 



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POETIC TRUTH 177 

have an organic uni^. * You will allow that every 
discourse ought to be constructed like a living organ- 
isnii having its own body and head and feet ; it 
must have middle and extremities, which are framed 
in a manner agreeable to one another and to the 
whole.' ^ Aristotle took up the hint ; the passage 
above quoted from the Poetics is a remarkable echo 
of the words of the Phaedrus; and indeed the idea 
may be said to be at the basis of his whole poetic 
criticism. 

A work then of poetic art, as he conceives it, 
while it manifests the universal is yet a concrete 
and individual reali^, a coherent whole, animated 
by a living principle— or by something which is at 
least the counterpart of life — and framed according 
to the laws of organic beauty. The artistic product 
is not indeed in a literal sense alive ; for life or soul 
is in Aristotle the result of the proper form being 
impressed upon the proper matter.' Now, in art 

^ Phaedr. 264 G, ikXk nSfic yc o^' (rc ^vcu ov, iiip nvra 
k6yoy &nr€p (<fov awwrdvai o'&fMd rc txovm avr^ avrov^ &rr€ 
/i^rc cUc^oAoF c7va« /i^ airow, ikXi, fAra rt tx^w Koi iapa^ 
wpivovT* aXXi{Aoit Koi rf ^^^ ycfpdgAfiiya* Cp» PoliL 277 C^ 
where the dieoiueion is compared to the, sketch of a (ifov in a 
pointing : aXX irtxvik i Xoyof i}fuv itnnp (ifov t^f i^mO€¥ fiiy 
wtpifpo^v ioucw ticaWit ^X^iv, T17V Si o2bv rois ^ofipticoit «ccU tq 

^ Op.de PartAwim. i. 1. 640 b 38 jjg. A deed body hat the 
same outward configniation as a living one^ yet it ia not a man ; ao 
too a hand of braaa or of wood ia a hand only in name. In i$ 
Ckn. Atmik iL 4« 740 a 16 works of art are spoken of as (vXtvmv^ 
Xi$tvm¥ f (^, and are contrasted with the troly living oiganisou 

N 



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178 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the matter depends on the choice of the artist; 
it has no necessary relation to the form which is 
impressed on it. That form it passivelj receives, 
but it is not thereby endowed with any active prin* 
dple of life or movement The form or essence 
lives truly only in the mind of the artist who con- 
ceived the work, and it is in thought alone that it 
is transferred to the dead matter with which it has 
no natural affinity. The artist, or the spectator 
who has entered into the artist's thought, by a 
mental act lends life to the artistic creation ; he 
speaks, he thinks of it as a thing of life ; but it has ; 
no inherent principle of movement ; it is in truth 
not alive but merely the semblance of a living 
reality.* I 

Returning now to the discussion about poetry I 
and history we shall better understand Aristotle's 
general conclusion, which is contained in the words 
so well known and so often misunderstood : * Poetry' 
is a more philosophical and a higher thing than 
history,' ' where ewwhawrtpw denotes 'higher in. 

' Qpw Stewart Sik. Nic IL 42 : ^rixinj realiaet its good in an: 
external Spyov^ and tlie cZSo$ which it imposes on vk^ is only tn 
maUm form — ^verj different from the forms penetrating to the Teiy 
heart of the 5A7, which ^wns and dpen/j produce (c£ Stk Kie, ii« 
e. 0, 19 S* iptri^ vcuni9 rixyn^ ixpiPttrripa kcu ifulvuv irrW 
&nnp Kol ^ ^vvts: Md. A 1070 a 7, 1} fciK oSy rix^ ipX^ ^^ 
£XA^ 1} Si ^ct ipxil ir air^' 

* Pc$L is. 8, &5 icol ^iXofn^Anpov k^X vwwiaiifrtftov wohfrk% 
UmpSatirrlv^il iuk¥ yiifiwobfnt /i£XAoir ri icoMAo^ ^ ^' i^f^ 
tA JM0* 2aMMrrer Xcyci. 



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POETIC TRUTH 169 

necessarily inherent in the second In the un- 
broken chain of cause and effect which he postulates 
for the drama, each of the links is formed by the 
contact of human will with outward surroundings. 
The necessity which pervades his theory of tragedy 
is a logical and moral necessity, binding togetiier 
the successive moments of a life, the parts of an 
action, into a significant unity. 

Since it is the oflSce of the poet to get at the 
central meaning of facts, to transform them into 
truths by supplying vital connexions and causal 
links, to set the seal of reason upon the outward 
semblances of art^ it follows that the world of 
poetry rebels against the rule of chance. Now^ 
accident (r^ avfifi€fiffM6^) or chance in Aristotle, 
exhibiting itself under two forms not always strictly 
distinguished,^ owes its existence to the uncertainty 
and variability of matter.' It is the negation 
{(rripfj4r^^) of Art and Intelligence, and of Nature 
as an organising force.* Its essence is disorder 

^ Namely as rvxi^ * fortune,' and r5 avr^/uaroF, *spontaneify.' 
Cp. PoeL iz. 18, axh rov avrofuirov koI r^ Tvxi|t. The regular 
distinction is that giren in MtL iz. 8. 1066 a 86 $qq^ and MiL zL 8. 
1070 tke$qq. But in PAya iL 6. 197 a 36, ih fiiv yitfi iwh rvxqt 
way iwi ravrofu£roii^ rovro S* ov frar avi r^X^ ^^7 ^ ^^ 
a«^ Tvxq9 Sif roirw¥ itra iwo ravro/MTov y/vcro4 r&p wpoaiperSip 
TOit Ixavtri vpoatpmrnf. See ZeUer HiiL Or. PhiL ii 8. 83S-6^ 
Stewart EtK Nie. I 869. 

> JIfiC ▼• 8. 1087 a 13, cSoTf i) vXi; irrai alr/a, ^ lv&x<»f^ 

* Viewed as rixyi it is the aripvfO'ys of rtxvi^and youi: riewed 
as ii aMfUMToy it ii the irrifi^t% of ^^it. 



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170 POETRY AND FINE ART 

(arafia)^^ absence of design (r^ tvticd rov),^ want of 
legolaiitj {ri JkM ri wo\v). It even borders on 
the non-existent* Its sphere is that wide domain 
of human life which baffles foresight/ defies reason, 
abounds in surprises: and also those regions of 
Nature where we meet with abortive e£forts» 
mistakes, strange and monstrous growths, which 
are ' the £ulures of the principle of design.' * 

It is true that the action of Chance does not 
invariably defeat the purposes of Nature or Art. 
It may so happen that the first step in a m^^tural 
or an artistic process is the result of Chance.* To 
Chance were due some of the early experiments in 
the history of poetry, which were destined to lead 

^ Md. bLB. 1065 a 25, Acy<# Si ri icot& oiyi^c^i^fc^- ro£ 
Tocovrov <* oTcurra kcU cbrci^ ra curia, De Part Anim. L 1. 641 
b 22, r^ ovpa,viv • • • cr f iwi rvx'P '^ ira^ia^ ov6' ^loSv 
^cUrcroi. 

< Anal Pod. iL 11. 95 a 8, iarh rixyfi V ovSiv Iv^Ki roi 

^ Mei. T. 2. 1026 b 21, ^vcrac yap ih oiya^c/Ji^ic^ ht^ ^' 

^ Md. ix. 8. 1065 a 33 (of rixn\ ^ o^Aos ivBpwrlvf^ Xoyur/iy. 

* Pkyi. iL 8. 199 b 3 (just as in art there are failmes in the 
effort to attain tbe end^ i/ioM»f &¥ cxoi koX cv rocs ^mtmcocs, ko! 
ri r^MT« ^ifMi/»r^^ra j#cc4rov rov rvcic<{ rou On rc/mra ix 
Nature epi. da Gm. Awim, ir. 4. 770 b 9, Um yiip r^ rt/ms rfii 
91^ ^uTiT ri, vo^ ^uTiv {* otS mo-av oAAcl r^v ws nrl ri troXu 
The T^rwtcv in tragedy is emphatically condemned Poet, xiv. 2, 
ol Si ^ ih ^I3€pi¥ Stik r^ o^cois dtAA«i r^ ryMrSSis /i^i 
ViyMMrKciN({i»mf ovSir r/My^fgi Koivuvownv. 

^ SA^NicrLA. 1140 a 19, tcaOainp koI 'Ayi$i»v ^2 
^X*^ ^W «»^V^ ««i ^'X^ ▼*X»^»'- 



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POETIC TRUTH 171 

to Tiltimate success.^ But in itself Clumoe is the 
y^ antithesis of Art It is an irrational cause ; 
it suggests anarchy and nusrule ; it has no proper 
place in poetry, which aims at the attainment of 
an ideal unity. The law of ' the probable ' — as well 
as that of * the necessary '—excludes chance ; ' and 
yet in a popular sense nothing is more ' probable * 
than the occurrence of what is called accident. 
We gather from the Poetics that the introduction 
of anomalous and abnormal incidents in poetry was 
sometimes defended by the saying of Agathon: 
'It is probable that many things should happen 
contrary to probability/ * A similar saying appears 
to have been current by way of mitigating the 
appearance of monstrosities in nature: 'The un- 
natural is occasionally, and in a fftshion, natural'^ 
But as a man of science Aristotle does not regard 
the deviation from nature as in a proper sense 
natural : nor, as a writer on art, does he lend his 
authority to the twice quoted phrase of Agathon. 

* Pod. xir. 9, (tfrwrnt yip ov#c ori rix^ i^ «W rvxtfi 
ctpov rh TowvTov W€LpaiirK€vi(€iv iv rots fivOoi% 

^ D$ Gm. 4i Cm. \L 6. 333 b 6, ri Si wapk ri <icl mu m9 
tri T% iroAv iiA rairoyuirov koX oni rvXTf. Cp. da Cado L IS. 
S88 a 33. 

* Pod. xriiL 6, imp Si rovro tUit &nnfk *K,yaO^¥ A«yct, 
ciicis yhp yivmrdoi woXXk kqI wafA rh c2ic^. xxr. 17, wru re 
Koi oTi wori aix ikoy6¥ brrip* MlsAi yip koX wapi t& cuc^ 
ylvwOoL 

^ IkOeik Anim. ir. 4. 770 b 16, JSrrov cZmu iotttt rifia$ im. t» 
Koi T^ wofA ^n&nv Mtvoi Tfiiwov Tivi Karii ^i&nw. 



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173 POETRY AMD FIKB ART 

That phiase, indeed, Tiolates the spirit, if not the 
letter, of all that he has written on dramatic prob- 
ability. * Miss Edgeworth/ says Newman,^ * some- 
times apologises for certain incidents in her tales, 
by stating tJiat they took place ** by one of those 
strange chances which occor in life, but seem in- 
credible when found in writing/' Such an excuse 
evinces a misconception of the principle of fiction, 
which being the perfection of the actual, prohibits 
the introduction of any such anomalies of experi- 
ence.' The 'strange chances' here spoken of, 
'the anomalies of experience,' are in fact the 
'improbable possibilities" which Aristotle dis- 
allows. For chance with its inherent unreason is 
as £ur as possible banished by him firom the domain 
of poetry,— except indeed where the skill of the 
poet can impart to it an appearance of design.* 
Nor does this exclusion hold good only in the 
more serious forms of poetry. It has been held 
by some modem writers, that comedy differs firom 
tragedy in representing a world of chance, where 
law is suspended and the will of the individual 
reigns supreme. But this is not in accordance 
with the Poetics. The incidents of comedy — at 
least of such comedy as Aristotle approves — are 

^ Poiirift wUk rrfimui (a AruMl^$ PoeUa (Eaaaj% Critical and 
Hiirtoriei^ 

' P^d. xzir. 10^ 4vMiT& iwiOava, 

' PmL ix. IS, ^2 Kol rS^ ix^ rixyfi ravra $avi»mTuirara 
toKd fam £my> htiTtfin ^miwtroi ycyovJMu. 



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POETIC TRUTH ITS 

< framed on lines of probability/ ^ The connexion 
of incidents is, no doubt, looser than in tragedy ; 
the more rigorous rule of * probability or necessity ' 
is not prescribed: and the variation of phrase appears 
to be not without design. Tet the plot even of 
comedy is far removed from the play of accident. 

To sum upina word the results of this discussion. 
The whole tenor and purpose of the Poetics makes 
it abundantly dear that poetry is not a mere repro- 
duction of empirical fact, a picture of life with 
all its trivialities and accidents. The world of the 
possible which poetry creates is more intelligible 
than the world of experience. The poet presents 
permanent and eternal fSacts, free from the elements 
of unreason which disturb our comprehension of real 
events and of human conduct. In fashioning his 
material he may transcend nature, but he may not 
contradict her ; he must not be disobedient to her 
habits and principles. He may recreate the actual, 
but he must avoid the lawless, the fSantastic, the 
impossible. Poetic truth passes the bounds of 
reality, but it does not wantonly violate the laws 
which make the real world rational 

Thus poetry in virtue of its higher subject matter 
and of the closer and more organic union of its parts 
acquires an ideal unity that history never possesses ; 
for the prose of life is never wholly eliminated from 

ICT.X. 



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174 POETRY AND FINE ART 

a record of actual facts. The Baconian and the 
Aristotelian view of poetry, instead of standing in 
sharp contrast as is sometimes said, will be seen 
to approximate closely to one another. The well- 
known words of Bacon run thus : — 

'Therefore, because the acts or events of true 
history have not that magnitude which satisfieth 
the mind of man, Poesy feigneth acts and events 
greater and more heroical ; . • . because true history 
representeth actions and events more ordinary and 
less interchanged, therefore Poesy endueth them 
with more rareness : so as it appeareth that Poesy 
servetL and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, 
and delectation. And, therefore, it was ever thought 
to have some participation of divineness^ because it 
doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the 
shows of things to the desires of the mind, whereas 
Beason doth buckle and bow the mind unto the 
nature of things.' ^ 

^ Baooii de Aug. SeienL iL 13. The stiU more vigorous Latin 
deeervet to be quoted: 'Cum ret gestae et eventus, qui yerae 
lustoriae subiciuntur, non sint eius amplitndims in qua anima 
bnmana siU satisfaciat, praesto est poesis^ quae facta magis heroica 
eoni&ngat . • • Cum bistoria vera, obvia rerum satietate et simili- 
tadine^ animae bumanae &stidio sit, refidt eam poesis, inexpectata 
et Taria et Tidssitudinum plena canens. Quare et merito etiam 
dlTinitatis euiuspiam particeps videri poesit ; quia animum erigit 
et in sublime lapit; rerum simulacra ad animi desideria accommo- 
dando^ non animum rebus (quod ratio facit et bistoria) submittendo.' 
In the sentence above omitted Poetry is said to correct history, 
setting forth 'ezitos et fortunas secundum merita et ex lege 
NcsneseosL* This is not Aristotelian, 



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POETIC TRUTH . . 176 

It may be noticed that the opposition between the 
poet and the historian in the Poetics is incidentally 
introduced to illustrate the sense in which a tragedy 
is one and a whole.^ These two notions as under- 
stood by Aristotle are not identicaL A unity is 
composed of a plurality of parts which cohere 
together and fedl under a common idea, but are 
not necessarily combined in a definite order. The 
notion of a whole implies something more. The 
parts which constitute it must be inwardly con- 
nected, arranged in a certain order, structurally 
related, and combined into a system. A whole is 
not a mere mass or sum of external parts which 
may be transposed at will, any one of which may 
be omitted without perceptibly affecting the rest* 
It is a unity which is unfolded and expanded accord- 
ing to the law of its own nature, an organism which 
develops from within. By the rule, again, of beauty, 
which is a first requirement of art, a poetic creation 
must exhibit at once unity and plurality. If it is 
too small the whole is perceived but not the parts ; 
if too large the parts are perceived but not the 
whole.* The idea of an organism evidently under- 

^ PoiL ix. 1, ^av€p6¥ Si cie rSn^ €ifnifJLivm¥ icr.A. 

> M€L It. Se. 1024 A 1, &rMv /i2y /a^ iroMi ^ McriS &«^opd[y, 
voy Aiycrau, &rwv Si rocci, iXw. Ihid, 10S3 b S6, ikov Acy^trau 
oS T« firfiiv iwwTi fiipo% i^ &¥ Acycrai JXov ^ucrci ic.t.A. Cpi 
Pod, yiiL 4, i yiip irpoor^v ^ /ai^ wfioahv fUfSiv roMi JrA^Aor, 
9vSi¥ gi6piO¥ Tov ikov irrt¥. 

*PM<.TiL4-A. CpLtharolMlaiddownfortlMtiMof Adtyin 
PoL iT. (TiL) 4. 13S6 a 34 tgf. 



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176 POETRY AND FINE ART 

lies all Aristotle'B roles about unity ; ^ it is taoitl] 
assumed as a first principle of art, and in one passage 
is expnadj mentioned as that from which the rul< 
of epic unity is deduced. * The plot must as in i 
tragedy be dramatically constructed ; it must hay< 
for itB object a single action whole and complete 
with a beginning, a middle, and an end, that UJu 
a single living organism it may produce its appro 
priate pleasure." 

Plato in the Phaedrus had insisted that ever} 
artistic composition, whether in prose or verse, shoulc 

^ Cf). Stewart Eik Nie. L 104 : ^Living oiganums and work 
of art are <rx^/iaTa, definite after their kinds, which Nature an( 
Han reepeetiTel/ form bj qtialifying matter. The quantity o 
matter used in anj case is determined hj the form subeenred 
the SIM of a particular oigan, or part» ii determined bj its form 
which again is determined by the form (limiting the size) of th< 
whole organism or work. Thus animals and plants grow to sizei 
determined by their separate structures, habitats, and conditions o: 
life, and each separate organ observes the proportion of the whoh 
to which it belongs. The painter or sculptor considers th< 
•ymmetiy of the whole composition in erery detail of his work 
The ecmductor of a choir is forced to exclude a yoice which sur 
passes all the others conspicuously in beauty. PoL iiL 8. 1284 b 8 
oiT€ y^ ypa^c^ ccurcuy cU' ih¥ vw€pPdXXovTa w6Sa rrjs irvfLfn^ 
TpioLS <X<iy T^ (^f ^' <^ Sca^poi rh leaAAot* oiJrc vavwrjy^ 
wpvfjowv ^ rHw iXXmv n f^opttnv r&v rfjt vciis* dv8) {^ x^P^^^*^' 
4rjcaXo9 T^v /ic^or Koi KiXXiov rov wavi^ xopov iff0€yyifitvo\ 
ccMTCft ovyxop€iu¥. In all cases form dominates matter, quality 
quanti^. > 

* Pod, zxiiL 1, &r T0V9 fiv0ov9 ttadawkp cv rait rpayifBtat 
oiirsirravai ipaftarucQift ica2 w€fl idw wpa^v ikqv koI t<A«£gu 
^•wrair ^X^v leal /Mtra imU ts Aos^ ?/ itnrtp (fO¥ 9y ikoiw iroc: 



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POETIC TRUTH 177 

have an organic unity. 'Ton will allow that every 
discourse ought to be constructed like a living organ- 
ism, having its own body and head and feet; it 
must have middle and extremities, which are firamed 
in a manner agreeable to one another and to the 
whole.' ^ Aristotle took up the hint ; the passage 
above quoted from the Poetics is a remarkable echo 
of the words of the Phdedrus; and indeed the idea 
may be said to be at the basis of his whole poetic 
criticism. 

A work then of poetic art, as he conceives it, 
while it manifests the universal is yet a concrete 
and individual reality, a coherent whole, animated 
by a living principle— or by something which is at 
least the counterpart of life — and framed according 
to the laws of organic beauty. The artistic product 
is not indeed in a literal sense alive ; for life or soul 
is in Aristotle the result of the proper form being 
impressed upon the proper matter.' Now, in art 

^ Phaed/r. 264 C, iK\k riU yt otfioi <rc ^nu av, Jciv vayrvi 
kSyov lUnrtp (ifov ^rwtcrravai a-ifui n Ixovra, avr^v ovrou^ Arrc 
ft^rc iLcc^oAov cr^oi fii^c airow, iXki, [iira re 2x^^ '^^ ^^^^P^ 
wpiwovT* iXki^Xoit Kal ly ikif yr/pafifjtiva. Op, PoUL S77 G» 
where the discosnon ia compared to the, sketch of a (fow in a 
pointing : akX inxyik 6 Xiy99 ^fu¥ &nr€p (dpw r^v S^m&€v /Uv 
W€pVYpa^v louccv Itcavm ix^^y ^^ ^ ^^ tw ^apiiiKOi% icoi tq 
QvyKpirti rii¥ xpn^itarwv ivipy€UL¥ ovic curciXi^^vai irw. 

s Cp^ de PartAnMik i. 1. 640 hZ%$qq. A dead bod/haathe 
flame outwaid configiuation at a living one^ yet it ii not a man; ao 
too a hand of hraM or of wood ii a hand only in name. In d$ 
Om. AfUnu ii 4. 740 a 16 works of art are spoken of as (vXtvmw^ 
\kBl¥V¥ {ffit¥, and are contrasted with the truly Uving oi|panisoi. 

N 



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178 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the matter depends on the choice of the artist; 
it has no necessary relation to the form which ia 
impressed on it That form it passively receives, 
bat it is not thereby endowed with any active prin- 
ciple of life or movement. The form or essence 
lives truly only in the mind of the artist who con- 
ceived the work, and it is in thought alone that it 
is transferred to the dead matter with which it baa 
no natural affinity. The artist, or the spectatoi 
who has entered into the artist's thought, by a 
mental act lends life to the artistic creation ; he 
speaks, he thinks of it as a thing of life ; but it baa 
no inherent principle of movement ; it is in truth 
not alive but merely the semblance of a living 
reality.^ 

Betuming now to the discussion about poetry 
and history we shall better understand Aristotle's 
g^ieral conclusion, which is contained in the words 
so well known and so often misunderstood : * Poetry 
is a more philosophical and a higher thing than 
lustory,' * where dnvSaUrepcv denotes 'higher in 

> Cp. Stewart SA. Nic^A^: 'tcx^v lealises ito good in an 
external ipyw^ and the cZSot wliich it impoees on vkif ia only a 
aufaoe form — verj different from the forma penetrating to the very 
heart of the iXtfy which ^v(ns and ipm^ produce (c£ SiK Nic ii. 
e. 9, 1} f iprrl^ wwrqi ri^rqi iKpiPttrripa koI dfutvmv ifniy 
mmrtfi KtX i} ^Ao'itz Md. A 1070 a 7, i} fi)K o2r rixni ipX^ iv. 

* Pod, ix. 3, &5 Mil ^ikotn^Artpow mX Twwia^imfiov woiffri% 
irroptat irr/r,i} fi)F ykp wolipn9 fMiXAoK t& KaMkov, ^ f Iirro^ 



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POETIC TRUTH 17» 

the scale ;'^ — ^not *moie serious/ for the words 
apply even to comedy, nor, again, 'more moral,' 
which is quite alien to the context; — and the 
reason of the higher worth of poetry is that it 
approaches nearer to the universal, which itself 
derives its value from being a * manifestation of 
the cause'* or first principle of things. Poetry in 
striving to give universal form to its own creations 
reveals a higher truth than history, and on that 
account is nearer to philosophy. But though it 
has a philosophic character it is not philosophy: 
* It tends to express the universal.' The ftSKKom is 
here a limiting and saving expression; it marks 
the endeavour and direction of poetry, which 
cannot however entirely coincide with philosophy. 
The capacity of poetry is so far limited that it 
expresses the universal not as it is in itself, but as 
seen through the medium of sensuous imagery. 

Plato, while condemning the poetry of his own 
country, had gone far towards merging an ideal 
poetry in philosophy. The artist who is no mere 
imitator, whose work is a revelation to sense of 

1 Teiclimiiller, AritUfL Fanck. iL 178, who mustrates tiiii 
aense of cnrovScubt from Eik Nie. iL 7. 1141 a SO, irwrov yap 
€l Tif T^v woXiruc^¥ y r^¥ ^p6rq(n¥ <nrov&uaT«[n|ir (* the highest 
form of knowledge*) oStroi cZimi, ci /a^ t^ ipturrov rSv iw ry 
iciiir/cy avOfmwit imv. Here ox>^ ie a more ezoeUent thing 
than ^p6vq(n% becanae it haa a higher aabjeet matter, -rniiTeiaal 
prindplea 

* AnalyL PmL I 31. 88 a 4,t& ti iuMkw rlfuw ir$ ftiAoTTi 
ofrioK. 



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180 POETRY AND FINE ART 

eternal ideas, being possessed by an imaginative 
enthusiasm which is akin to the speeolatiye en- 
thnsiasm of the philosopher, from the things of 
sense ascends to that higher region where truth and 
beauty are one. Aristotle's phrase in this passage 
of the Poetics might, in like manner, appear almost 
to identify poetry with philosophy. But it we 
read his meaning in the light of what he says 
elsewhere and of the general system of his thought, 
we see that he does not confound the two spheres 
though they touch at a single point. Philosophy 
seeks to discover the universal in the particular ; 
its end is to know and to possess the truth, and in 
that possession it reposes. The aim of poetry is 
to represent the universal through the particular, 
to give a concrete and living embodiment of a 
universal truth. The universal of poetry is not an 
abstract idea ; it is particularised to sense, it comes 
before the mind clothed in the form of the concrete, 
presented under the appearance of a living organ- 
ism whose parts are in vital and structural relation 
to the whole. 

It is the more necessary to insist on this because 
Aristotle's own analytical criticism may easily lead 
to a misconception of his meaning. In applying 
the method of logical abstraction to the organic 
parts of a poetic whole he may appear to forget 
that he is dealing not with a product of abstract 
thought but with a concrete work of art The im- 



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POETIC TRUTH 181 

pression may be confirmed by a hasby leading of 
Poet. cL xyiL 3-4 where the poet is advised first 
to set forth his plot in its general idea {herlBmrBak 
tcoBSkov), abstracting the accidental features of time, 
place, and persons^ and afterwards to fill it in with 
detail and incident and with proper names. The 
meaning, however, is not that the poet must 
assume a g^ieral idea and then by conscious re- 
flection make it particular. He starts according 
to Aristotie from a particular story, from one of 
the traditional legends, the instance here selected 
being the legend of Iphigenia. He disentangles 
the main outline, adding or omitting as artistic 
purposes may require. 

The following lines by Sir John Davies are ap* 
plied by Coleridge to the poetic imagination .' — 

* Thus doih she^ when from individual tftates 
She doth sbetract the uniyenal Idnds, 
Which then reolothed in divert names and &tes 
Steal access thro' our senses to our minds.* 

Such a method does not imply that a general 
idea shall be embodied in a particular example— 
that is the method of allegory rather than that 
of poetry — but that the particular case shall be 
generalised by artistic treatment. 'The yoimg 
poet,' says GK>ethe, * must do some sort of violence 
to himself to get out of the mere general idea. 
No doubt this is difGlcult ; but it is the very life 
of art' 'A special case requires nothing but the * 



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183 POETRY AND FINE ART 

treatment of a poet to become universal and 
. poetical' With this Aristotle would have agreed. 

Goethe, who tells us that with him * every idea 
I rapidly changed itself into an image/ was asked 

what idea he meant to embody in lus Faust ' As 
if I knew myself and could inform them. From 
heaven, through the world, to hell, would indeed 
be something ; but this is no idea, only a course 
of action. ... It was, in short, not in my line, 
as a poet, to strive to embody anything abstract 
I received in my mind impressions and those of a 
sensuous, animated, charming, varied, hundredfold 
kind, just as a lively imagination presented them ;; 
and I had, as a poet, nothing more to do thaa^ 
artbtically to round them off and elaborate sucl^ 
views and impressions, and by means of a lively 
representation so to bring them forward that othere^ 
might receive the same impression in hearing O]; 
reading my representation of them.' ^ 

Coleridge in giving his adhesion to Aristotle'^ 
theory thinks it necessary to guard against th< 
misconstruction to which that doctrine is exposed 
'I adopt,' he says, 'with full faith the theory o 
Aristotle that poetry as poetry is essentially idea] 
that it avoids and excludes all accident; tha 
its apparent individualities of rank, character, o 
I occupation, must be representative of a class ; an> 

1 EekttiiMUUi^a 0m9$na^imis </ CMki^ TnnaL (Bohn'i Mriei 
p. MS. 



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POETIC TRUTH 18S 

that the persons of poetry must be clothed with 
generic attributes, with the common attributes of 
the class ; not such as one gifted individual might 
possibly possess, but such as from his situation it 
is most probable that he would possess.' And he 
adds in a note, ' Say not that I am recommending 
•abstractions, for these class characteristics which 
constitute the instructiyeness of a character are so 
modified and particularised in each person of the 
Shakespearian drama, that life itself does not excite 
more distinctly that sense of individuality which 
belongs to real existence. Paradoxical as it may 
sound, one of the essential properties of geometry is 
not less essential to dramatic excellence ; and Aris- 
totle has accordingly required of the poet an in- 
volution of the universal in the individual The 
chief differences are, that in geometry it is the 
universal truth, which is uppermost in the con- 
sciousness ; in poetry the individual form, in which 
the truth is dothed.' ^ 

Some of these explanatory words themselves are, 
it must be owned, misleading. Such phrases as 
* representative of a class,' 'generic attributes,' 
'class characteristics which constitute the in- 
structiveness of a character,' seem to imply a 
£etl8e view of the 'universal ' of poetry ; as though 
the 'individuality' were something outside the 
universal and of no poetic account ; yet, he say8» 

^ Biog.LU.ii.Al. 



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184 POETRY AND FINE ART 

'the indiTidual fonn' is * uppennost.' One migl 
think that the 'universal' was a single abstra< 
troth instead of being aU the troths that meet i 
the individnaL The ejqpression, however, ' such (a 
tributes) as from his situation it is most probab 
that he would possess' is troe and Aristoteliai 
But how can these attributes be called attribute 
of 'adass'? 

Still it is in the main the same thought whic 
runs through Aristotle, Goethe, and Coleridge,- 
that the poet while he seems to be conceroed on] 
with the particular is in troth concerned wit 
quoi semper quod vbiqne. He seizes and repr< 
duces a concrete fSact, but transfigures it so th; 
the higher troth, the idea of the universal shin^ 
through it 



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CHAPTER IV 

THB END OF FINE ART 

We have seen what AriBtotle means hy 'imita- 
tion' as an aesthetic term. We now ask, What 
is the end of 'imitative' art? Here Aristotle 
draws a sharp distinction. The arts called 
'useful' either provide the necessary means of 
existence and satisfy material wants, or fiimish 
life with its fiill equipment of moral and intellectual 
resources. Their end is subordinate to another 
and ulterior end. The end of the fine arta is to 
give pleasure (ir/>09 ^Bov^v) or rational enjoyment^ 

^ Md. i 1. 981 b 17 ijg., irAfi^y«*y S* €vpurKO/jthmv r€X^^t 
K<u tZv fiiv wfAi rivayKata rdw fi} irp^ imywpf¥ ovorAv, iA 
<ro^«m/>ovs rovs roiovrovs iKtlv^ny iwoXafi^d¥OfMit¥^ iki ih ftSj 
vpbs XPV'^^ ^^^^^ ^^ htum^t avrfiv. The libenl arte wbich 
idom life and ministw to pleaiure are here said to be irpot 
itaywyi/jVf aynonymous with which we find wpif i^Somjv b 81. 
Cp. AM. i S. 988 b 83, vp^ /t^umSnyr koI iwymyi/JK In aU of 
these paasagea the contrasted expression is rivayfoua, iwymyi^ 
properly means the emplojment of leisnre^ and in Aristotle 
fluctuates between the higher and lower kinds of pleasurable 
aetiyity. In the lower sense it is combined in SA, Nic ir. 14. 
1187 b 34 with fltuSuC and is part of ivJanvinis: it denotes the 
more playful forms of social intercourse ; in z. 6. 1176 b 18, 14 
it is used of the waAat of the rich and great ; in z. S. 1177 a 9, 



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.1 



166 POETRY AND FINB ART 

{wp^ hwfWY^). A useful art like that of cookery 
may happen to produce pleasure, but this is no 
part of its essence; just as a fine art ma; 
I incidentally produce useful results and become 

a moral instrument in the hands of the legislator 
In neither case is the result to be confounded witl 
the true ^id of the art The pleasure, however 
which is derived fix>m an art may be of a highei 
or lower kind, for Aristotle recognises specific 
difierences between pleasures. There is the harm* 
less pleasure,^ which is afforded by a recreatiot 
(oyaTTouo-i^) or a pastime (iraiZid) : but a pastime i\ 
not an end in itself it is the rest that fits the bus^ 

•V ykp €¥ TOif Tocavnuf Swymy^is ^ ^iSaifiovla^ it hat a base 
applieatioii to irmfutTucai ijSovai At an elevated and noble eigov 
ment it is associated with o^oA^ in PoL iy. (viL) 16. 1834 a 1< 
Under tliis aspect it admits of special application to the two sphen 
of art and of philosopb/. In PoL y. (viiL) 6. 1339 a 20 it 
joined with ^p6vq(n% and stands for the higher aesthetic eigojme) 
which mnsic affords. From a 30-31 it appears that the music 
iwfwyri is an end in itself and therefore distinct from a ircu& 
In pin y. (yiii) 6. 1339 b 14 sjg. three ends are mentioned whi< 
music ma/ senre — rot£c£i, froiSuiy and Siayoyyi}, and the last 
said to combine ih tcakiiv with ffiovii^ both of which elements ent 
into cv&u/iovMk Its reference is to the life of thought in SiK H 
z. 7. 1177 a %7t where it is applied to the activity of the spec 
lative reason, and in Md. ziL 7. 1078 b 14, where it denotes t 
activity of the divine thought Thus the higher Swyvyijf artis 
or philosophic, is the delight which comes from the ideal ample 
ment of leisure (cp. riiv cV rj (rxokg jiaycty^v PoL v. (viii) 
133S a 81) ; it is among the blissful moments which constiti 
cJSovioWa. Cp. PoL v. (viiL) 3. 1338 a 1, ri Si ^oXiCtiv Ix 
olM SoKMi rlj^ ^jSovifr kqI rilv cv&M/iOK^ar kqX ri ffjv fMscmptm, 
^ PU^r. (viiL) 6. 1339 b 86. 



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THE END OF FINE ART 187 

man for fresh exertion, and is of yalue as a means 
to farther work ; it has in it no element of that 
well -being or happiness which is the supreme 
end of life.^ 

Though Aristotle does not assign to the different 
kinds of art their respective ranks, or expressly say 
that the pleasure of tragedy is superior to that of 
comedy, the distinction he draws between various 
forms of music may be taken as indicating the 
criterion by which he would judge of other arts. 
Music, apart both from its moral frinction and its 
* cathartic' influence, may serve as an amuse- 
ment for children, it is a toy which takes the place 
of the infant's rattle;* or, again, it may afford 
a noble and rational enjoyment and become an 
element of the highest happiness to iin audience 
that is capable of appreciating it.* Again, Aris- 
totle asserts that the ludicrous in general is inferior 
to the serious,^ and counts as a pastime that fits 
men for serious work We may probably infer 
that the same principle holds in literature a^s in 
life; that comedy is merely a form of sportive 

^ Eth. Nie. z. S. 1176 b 30, Smvra ykp &s ttrtZv hipov 
iv€9ca alpoifuOa xX^v rfjt cv&u/iov£oif * riXoi ykp avri^ orrouSa^tuy 
Si icoi Torco^ Tcuiw X^^ iqkiSiov ^aivmu icaX Xiav watSutir* 
wat(iiv £* Swi09 cnrovSdC^, icar* *Kvixaptrw^ ipOik ix**^ &iccft* 
avoiraurci yap loiiccv i} ra(&<£, Hwarovms Bi irvnxfis vomm^ 
dMuraurcws ficovroi. ov j^ rikoi fj ivawovcn^' yirtrmi yip crow 
T^ iv€py€(as> 

> PoL T. (TiiL) 6. 1339 b 13-lT ; 6. 1840 b Sa 

* See note 3 p. 197. ^ Stk Nie. x. t. 1177 a I. 



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188 POETRY AND FINE ART 

activit7 ; the pleasure derived from it is of coire- 
sponding qiialit79 it ranks with the other pleasures 
of sport or recreatioiL But art in its highest idea 
is one of the serious actiyities of the mind which 
constitute the final well-being of man. Its end is 
pleasure, but the pleasure peculiar to that state of 
rational enjoyment in which perfect repose is 
united widi perfect eneigy. It is not to be con- 
founded with the pleasure found in the rude 
imitations of early art, arising from the discovery 
of a likeness. One passage of the Poetics might 
indeed if it stood alone lead us to this inference.^ 
The instinct for knowledge, the pleasure of recog- 
nition, is there the chief fEu^tor in the enjoyment of 
some at least of the more developed arts. But 
the reference appears to be rather to the popular 
appreciation of a likeness than to true aesthetic 
enjoyment This is perhaps borne out by the 
explanation elsewhere given of the pleasure derived 
from plastic or pictorial imitations of the lower 
forms of animal life.* These objects do not come 



I Poet It. 3-6. Cp. EheL i. 11. 1371 b 4, circl Si ri fia¥0av€i¥ 
Tf i|S& m1 rft Anv/cajcftry koI t& rot£S€ ivdyicri tjSia ttvai otov t6 

•V yip hA rwnf xaJp€i ikXik ovkkoywpif jorir Sri rovro cjcc&o^ 
m0r€ itaMwwf rt frvfifiaivtt^ 

* See the pa—ige quoted pi 146 from <2i Pmit Amm, i 5. 646 a, 
eipeoiaUy the woidi riit /tir ctic^roif «iMk StmpaSrm xaUpofngv 



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THE END OF FINE ART 189 

within the range of artistic imitation aa understood 
by Aristotle; they do not reproduce the"^ human 
and mental life with which alone art is concerned. 
But they give occasion for the display of workman- 
like skill ; and afford a pleasure analogous to that 
which comes from the contemplation of nature in 
her adaptation of means to ends. 

Aristotle was perhaps inclined unduly to 
accentuate the purely intellectual side of pictorial 
and plastic art But in his treatment of poetry, 
which holds the soyereign place among the 
fine arts, he makes it plain that aesthetic ^'oy- 
ment proper proceeds from an emotional rather 
than from an intellectual source. The main appeal 
Ib not to the reason but to the feelings. In a 
word, fine art and philosophy, while they occupy 
distinct territory, each find their complete fruition 
in a region bordering on the other. The glow of 
feeling which accompanies the contemplation of 
what IB perfect in art is an elevated delight similar 
in quality to the glow of speculative thought 
Each is a moment of joy complete in itself and 
belongs to the ideal sphere of supreme happiness.^ 

^ Op. Introdaetion to Hegel's PMoMpAy </ Fim Ari^ traadated 
by K Bonnqoet, London, 1886, p. 18 : *It it no doubt tba case 
that art can be employed at a fleeting pastime, to senre the ends of 
pleasure and entertainment^ to decorate oar surroondingi^ to impart 
p l flasan t n e es to tbe external omditions of our life, and to emphasise 
other objects bj means of ornament. In this mode of employ- 
ment art is indeed not independent, not flree, bat senrile. But 
what we mean to consider is the art which is ficee in its end as in 



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190 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Some points of difference between Plato and 
Aristotle are at once apparent Pleasure to Plato 
was a word of base associations and a democratic 
pleasore was doubly ignoble. An imitatiye art 
like music is condemned, if for no other reason, 
because it seeks to please the masses.^ Poetry, 
again, has something of the same taint; it is a 
kind of rhetoric,* a pleasant flattery addressed to 
mixed audiences, and falls therefore into the same 
group with the art of sophistry, the art of personal 
adornment, and the art of the pastry-cook, all of 
which look not to what is best or truly wholesome 
but to the pleasure of the moment* The vulgar 
opinion that musical excellence is measured by 
pleasure seems to Plato a sort of blasphemy ; ^ if 
pleasure is to be taken as a criterion at all, it 
should be that of the 'one man pre-eminent in 
virtue and education.'* Even in the Phtlebus, 
where the claims of pleasure, and especially of 
aesthetic pleasure, are more carefully analysed and 
weighed than elsewhere, the highest or unmixed 



itt OManft • • . Fine art is not retl art tiU it it in tliia tense free, 
and onlj achieres its highest task when it has taken its place in 
the same spheie with religion and philosophy.' 

^ Law$ iL 659 A-<1 

^ A fiffToputtl tftiiLrffopioy Omrg, 502 D. 

s Chrg. 468 £-463 K Cp. 27i(p. iL 873 B-C 

^ Law$ iL 655 D, Kolroi Acyour/ yc ol TXttaroi fiowruc^ 

Tsvre /lir ovrc dvciniy ovrt &rM>y ih xc^Murav ^iyywOai, 
^ Lmm iL 659 A, Im rftr <ipti^ t« jcoI ww&tl^ Sw^ifioyrm. 



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THE END OF FINE ART 191 

pleasures rank but fifth in the scale of goods. 
Aristotle does not share Plato's distrust of pleasure. 
In the Ethics while he admits to the full its power 
to mislead the judgment^ and compares its gracious 
but dangerous influence to that of Helen among 
the elders of Troy;^ while he speaks slightingly 
of the pleasures of the mass of men who 'can 
form no idea of the noble and the truly pleasant 
whereof they have neyer tasted/* yet he insists 
on the necessity of being trained to feel pleasure 
and pain at the right objects ; he neyer hints that 
pleasure ought to be suppressed as in itself an 
evil; nay, it is a normal accompaniment of the 
exercise of every healthy organ and faculty, it 
perfects that exercise as an added completeness, 
'like the bloom of health on the &ce of the 
young.'* In the passage of the Metaphysics 
already referred to (L 1) the discoverers of the 
fine arts are said to be ' wiser ' than the discoverers 
of the useful arts for the very reason that the 
foimer arts minister to pleasure, not to use. 

Again, to Plato poetry and painting and the 
companion arts, as affording at the best a harm- 
less pleasure,^ are of the nature of a pas- 

^ EtKNie.^ 9. 1109 b 9. ^ EtK Nie. x. la 1179 b 16. 

* Etk Nie. z. 4. 1174 b 83, <&9 criyii^/Aci^y re riXotf oZbr roh 

^ Law$ ii 667 E, ifiXapij Xiyw iJJon^v fiivov. The same 
phnse is used by Aiistotle in reference to rnusio as a pastime, 
PoL r. (viiL) 6. 1389 b 86, &ro yJi/> dfiXapij rmp ^w. 



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19S POETRY AND FINE ART 

time/ — a pastiine, it may be, moie 'artiBtic and 
gracefal '* than any other kind, but which still con- 
trasts onfayourably with medicine, husbandry, and 
gymnastics, which haye a serious purpose and co- 
operate with nature.* ImitatiTe art, in short, is 
wanting in moral earnestness ; it is a jest, a sport, 
child's play upon the sur£EU^ of things. Aristotle 
distinguishes as we have seen between art as a 
pastime and art as a rational employment of 
leisure. Comedy and the lower forms of art he 
would probably rank as a pastime, but not so art 
in its higher manifestations. Tragedy is the imita- 
tion of an action that is the very opposite of a 
pastime, a serious action {vpdf^m <nrouSaA»9), which 
is concerned with the supreme good or end of life ; 
and the art which reproduces this aspect of life is 
itself a serious art 

The end, then, of fine art, according to Aris- 
totle's doctrine, is a certain pleasurable impression 
produced upon the mind of the hearer or the 
iq>ectator. We must be careful here not to import 
the later idea that the artist works merely for his 
own enjoyment^ that the inward satisfistction which 

^ Pdit. 288 G. Ererj such art may be caUed walyyUv ri, 
*a playtlung^' ov ykp cnrovS^ oiHv avr£y xipt^f dXXA waAat 
Jrcjca wivra SpSrai, 80 iSap. 60S K 

* Scph. S84 B| ircu&Sf 8i cxctt ^ ri r^xyuctirtpov ^ mI x<V^ 

* Lmm z. 889 D, rovrat iw6am rg ^uni hfotimtny r^y 



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THE END OF FINE ART 193 

the creative act affords is for him the end of his 
art No sach conception of the aridst's dignity 
was formed in Qreece, where in truth the artist 
was honoured less than his art. His professional 
skill seemed to want something of a self-sufficing 
and independent actiyity; and though the poet 
stood higher in popular estimation than his fellow- 
artists, because he did not, like the painter and 
sculptor, approach to the condition of a manual 
labourer or as a rule make a trade of his work, he 
too was one who worked not for himself but for 
others, and so far fell short of a gentlemanly 
leisure. Aristotle's theory has regard to the 
pleasure not of the maker, but of the ' spectator ' 
(Ownisi) who contemplates the finished product. 
Thus while the pleasures of philosophy are for 
him who philosophises — ^for the intellectual act is 
an end in itself— the pleasures of art are not for 
the artist but for those who enjoy what he creates ; 
or if the artist shares at all in the distinctiye 
pleasure which belongs to his art, he does so not 
as an artist but as one of the public. 

To those who are familiar with modem modes 
of thinking it may seem a serious defect in the 
theory of Aristotle that he makes the end of art 
to reside in a pleasurable emotion, not in the 
realisation of a certain objective character that is 
necessary to the perfection of the work. An 
artistic creation, it may be said, is complete in 





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IM POETRY AND FINE ART 

itself; its end is immanent not transcendentaL 
The effect tliat it produces, whether that effect be 
immediate or remote, whedier it be pleasure or 
moral improyement, has nothing to do with the 
object as it is in its essence and inmost character. 
The true artist concerns himself with external 
effects as little as does nature herself in the vital 
processes which are directed towards an end. It 
was a signal merit, we are reminded, in Aristotle's 
general philosophical system, that the end of an 
object is inherent in that object, and is reached 
when the object has achieved its specific excellence 
and fulfils the law of its own being.^ Why, it is 
said, did not Aristotle see that a painting or a 
poCTi, like a natural organism, attains its end not 
through some external effect but in realising its 
own idea ? If the end of art is to be found in 
a certain emotional effect, in a pleasure which 
is purely subjective, the end becomesj something 
arbitrary and accidental, and dependent on each 
individual's moods. Plato had already shown the 
way to a truer conception of fine art, for greatly 
as he misjudged the poetry of his own country, 
yet he had in his mind the vision of a higher art 
which should reveal to sense the world of ideas. 
Here there was at least an objective end for fine 
art Aristotie's own definition too of art as 'a 

t n^ iL 1. 104 a SS» 1} t) ^«f TJAof mX oS iMica. So 

IVL L a. IMS b sa. 



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THE END OF FINE ART 195 

fiumlty of production in aoooidance with a true 
idea'^ is quoted aa showing that he was not &r 
from assigning to fine art an ead more consistent 
with his whole system* If art in general is the 
fitculty of realising a true idea in external form, 
he might easily have arriyed at a definition of fine 
art not essentially different from the modem con- 
ception of it as the reyelation of the beautiful in 
the external form. 

This objection admits of a satisfSeu^ry answer 
from the Aristotelian point of view. The artist 
pursues an end which is external to his productiye 
actiyity. The ead is attained when the work of 
art comes into existence, — ^that is» whea the pro- 
cess of change (yh^^i^) is complete, when the 
matter {BKti) has been impressed with the artistic 
form (ilSo^), and the potential has been deyeloped 
into the actual* How are we to know that this 
end has been attained ? By the hedonistic effect 
produced on the mind of the percipient subject 
The work of art is in its nature an appeal to^the 
senses and imagination of the person to whom it 
is presented ; its perfection and success depend on 
a subjectiye impression. It attains to complete 
existence only within the mind, in the pleasure 
which accompanies this mode of mental actiyity 
(Mfiyiut). Thus the productiye actiyity of the 

< SMp. 145. 



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196 POETRY AND FINE ART 

artist is subordinated to the receptive actiyity of 
the person for whom he produces. 

In Aristotle the true nature of a thing can be 
expressed by means of that which it is ' capable of 
doing or suffering' (n^^vire womw ^ wd^rx^i^). Its 
effect is treated as synonymous with its essential 
quality.^ So it is in a work of art If indeed we 
desire to characterise precisely its emotional effect 
we must do so by reference to the content of the 
activity. But the work of art and its effect being 
inseparable, the artistic object can be spoken of in 
terms of the emotion which it awakens.* This 
view does not, however, make the function of 
art to depend upon accident and individual caprice. 
The subjective emotion is deeply grounded in 
human nature, and thence acquires a kind of 
objective validity. As in ethics Aristotle assumes 
a man of moral insight (o ^povi/ws) to whose 

^ The ivvofut of a thing it dotely allied to its oAriia, cZSos, 
A^oci ^uTis. Cp. de Om. Anim, ii 1. 731 b 19, rts ^ Swa/us 
«Nu i XSj9i Trji% ov(r£oi9 avrfiv. 8. 439 a 83, rli itm Koivrf 
^uTif Koi SvKOfut. EtK Nie. t. 4. 1130 b 1, ift^^ ykp iv rf wp^ 
inpav ixpiwn r^v iivofuv. 8o Pod, L 1, tjv nya Mvaiuv Ikootov 
cX€ft. Cp. TL 18, S Koi hrl tAw iiiyirpmv mX iw\ rSv X6y»v 

' Similarlj Schiller finds the essence and end of tragedj in the 
effect it prodoces. See his Essaj ' Ueber die tngisohe Ennst,' and 
a letter to Goethe of Dec 18, 1797,*Alsdannglaube ichauch eine 
gewisse Berechnnng auf den Zuschauer, Ton der sich der tragische 
Poet nidit dispensierein kann, der Hinblick auf einen Zweck, den 
ftnssem Eindnick, der bei dieser Dichtnngsirt nidit gans rerlassen 
wird, geniert Sie, um.wJ 



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|TH£ END OF FINE ART 197 

trained judgment the appreciation of ethical ques- 
tions is submitted, and who, in the last resort, 
becomes the 'standard and the law' of right^^ 
so too in fine art a man of sound aesthetic 
instincts (o x^^^) ^ assumed, who is the standard 
of taste, and to him the final appeal is made. He 
is no mere expert, for Aristotle distrusts the 
verdict of specialists in the arts* and prefers the 
popular judgment, — ^but it must be the judgment 
of a cultiyated public. Both in the Politics and in 
the Poetics he distinguishes between the lower and 
the higher kind of audience.* The 'free and 
educated listener' at a musical performance is 
opposed to one of the vulgar sort. Each dass of 
audience enjoys a different kind of music and 
derives &om the performance such pleasure as it 
is capable of The inferior kind of enjoyment is 
not to be denied to those who can appreciate only 
the inferior type of music — ^better that they should 
like this music than none at all — ^but the lower 

1 EtK Nie. iii 4. 1113 a 33, the crrovSoSof it imnp tcaimv 
icoi lurpov, 

> Cpc PoL iii 11. 1882 % 1-81. 

> Pd. T. (yiii) 7. 1348 a 18-88, ml J' i Bwrifi Siir^ o /i)y 
iktiO€po9 Kol Tarai&€Vfiiw9j i Si ^/vrucif K.r,X, In Pod, xxri 
1, ^ vfA9 P€Xrlov9 dcar&f filf^itris it ^rrov i^ofnuc^. Op. Plat 
Law$ ii 668 £, iK€lvq¥ cZvai Momfov Kokklmiv^ ^%ii rovt fitXrl' 
crrovf #cai Itcavik xcroi^/icvovg ripmtu 

In Bh€t. I 3. 1358 a 37 the riAof of the art is in relation to 
the oKpoan^ : irvyKtmu /jiv y^ he rpi&v i Atf/os, Ik tc tov 
Xiyovrot koI T€fi oS Acyci kqI Tpit oy, ical ri ncAot xpif roiMr 
JoTi, Xt/m Si riv ^Kpoar^v. 



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198 POETRY AND FINE ART 

pleasure is not to be takea as the' true end of the 
musical art.^ 

In the theatre, again, it is noted that tragic 
poets are tempted to gratify the weakness of their 
audience by making happy endings to their 
tragedies. The practice is not entirely forbidden ; 
only, it is insisted, such compositions do not afford 
the characteristic tragic pleasure, but one that 
properly belongs to comedy.* In fine, the end 
of any art is not 'any chance pleasure/* but the 
pleasure which is distinctive of the art. To the 
ideal spectator or listener, who is a man of educated 
taste and represents an instructed public, every 
fine art addresses itself; he may be called 'the 
rule and standard' of that art^ as the man of moral 
insight is of morals ; the pleasure that any given 
work of art affords to him is the end of the art 

^ In PcL T. (Tiii) 6. 1340 b 1-2, the nniyenal pleasure given 
hy mntie it caUed ij Koivfl rjSovi^ and is ^uruciy. It it distinct 
from Hie higher kind of pleasure. 

In ProbL xriiL 4. 916 b 36, the art of the musiGian and of the 
aetor aims only at pleasure : Sul rt j^opa yJkv koX trrparrffov kcU 
X^ni/MtrioT^r Ac/o/icr Sciv^, avXi^v Si kqX vwoKpirijv ov Xiyofuv; 
^ on rw ftiv rj Svvofui Akcv xXcoyc^/af (i}&>k^ yip oroxcMrrtici^ 
IvTt) rSy Si T/i5f ih wXtQiwcnw; 

s Pod. ziii 7-8, Sok€i ii ttvai Tpwnq &cl t^f rHv OUrpmv 
cbriUvcfar, • • • imv M fnix avn; <ip cur^ rpay^pSAtf i}8ov^ 
ikKk /loAAov T^ irtif^pt&if oliccMi, 

* IM. zIt. % oii yip wSujav Sc4 (ifT€t¥ i^fiov^v iwi rpayifitat 
iXXi ri^ oUiUy. zxvi. 7, Ikt ykp w r^v rvxowray i^v^v 
vsMir avr&f (ui tragedy and epie poetry) ikki riiv €lpffpiyiiiv : 
with which epi PoL T.(viii) 6. 1339 b 38, 2x<« yip irm i^r^V 
Tttm tul ti TfXo<| iXk* 01$ r^y rvxoSiran 



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THE END OF FINE ART 199 

Though the end, then, is a state of feeling, it is 
a feeling that is proper to a normally constituted 
humanity. The hedonistic effect is not diiea to 
the essence of the art, as has sometimes been 
thought; it is the subjectiTe aspect of a real 
objectiye fetct Each kind of poetry carries with 
it a distinctiye pleasure, which is the criterion by 
which the work is judged. A tragic action has 
an inherent capacity of calling forth pity and fear ; 
this quality must be impressed by the poet on the 
dramatic material;^ and if it is artistically done, 
the peculiar pleasure arising out of the union of 
the pitiable and the terrible will be awakened in 
the mind of every one who possesses normal human 
sympathies and fsu^ulties. The test of artistic merit 
in a tragedy is the degree in which it fulfils this, 
its distinctive function. All the rules prescribed 
for the tragic poet flow from the pame primary 
requirement, — those which determine the proper 
construction of the plot, the character of the ideal 
hero, the best form of recognition and the like. 
The state of pleasurable feeling is not an accidental 
result, but is inherently related to the object which 
calls it fortL Though the pleasure of the percipient 
iB necessary to the fulfilment of the function of any 
art, the subjective impression has in it a permanent 
and universal element 

^ Pott. xiy. 8, iw€l Si riiv JaA JXcov leoi ^^v && /M/ii$(r«ii»9 
Set i}&>v^y wapauirK€vd(€w t^r «o«i^r, ^tuftfAv At Tovro ir roh 
wpJiyfiMrw yjoronfrioy. 



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CHAPTER V 

ART AND MORALITY 

The question as to the proper end of fine art was 
discussed in Qreece in its special application to 
poetry. Two views were currently held. The 
traditional one, which had gained wide acceptance, 
was that poetry has a direct moral purpose; the 
primary function of a poet is that of a teacher. 
Even after professional teachers of the art of con- 
duct had appeared in Oreece the poets were not 
deposed firom the educational office which time had 
consecrated. Homer was still thought of less as 
the inspired poet who charmed the imagination 
than as the great teacher who had laid down all 
the rules needed for the conduct of life, and in 
whom were hidden all the lessons of philosophy. 
The other theory, tacitly no doubt held by many, 
but put into definite shape first by Aristotle, was 
that poetry is an emotional delight, its end is to 
give pleasure. Strabo {circ. 24 B.a) alludes to 
the two confficting opinions. Eratosthenes, he 
says^ maintained that ' the aim of the poet always 



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ART AND MORAUTY 201 

is to charm the mind not to instract.'^ He him- 
self holds with the ancients ' that poetry is a kind 
of elementary philosophy, which introduces us 
early to life, and gives us pleasurable instruction 
in reference to character, emotion, action.'* The 
Greek states, he argues, prescribed poetry .as the 
first lesson of childhood ; they did so, surely, not 
merely in order to please, but to afford correction 
in morals.* In carrying the same discipline into 
mature years they expressed their conviction, that 
poetry as a regulative influence on morals was 
adapted to every period of life. In course of time, 
he observes, philosophical and historical studies 
had been introduced, but these addressed them- 
selves only to the few, while the appeal of poetry 
was to the masses.^ Eratosthenes ought to have 
modified his phrase and said that the poet writes 
partly to please and partly to instruct, instead of 
which he converted poetry into a privileged racanr 
teuse of old wives' fables, with no other object in 
view than to charm the mind.* If, however, 
poetry is the art which imitates life by the medium 
of speech, how can one be a poet who is senseless 

^ Stnbo L 8. 3, voiifr^y ykp i^ wdrra OToxa(<Krftu ^fiiX** 
ymylas ov SiScurKoXIat. 

* Ic^tovi^vtCov l^ ol wpXauioi ^iAocro^^nr rfti4 Xcyovin w/Nin^ 
rifr voaiTi9c^¥ cWyowrav elf riv filov fiyJSs Ik rlvv Kti &&(- 
iTKWtrav ijOfi kqI wlOfi leoi irpi^^ luff i^Sok^s; 



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802 POETRY AND FINE ART 

and ignoiant of life? The excellence of a poet 
is not like that of a carpenter or a smith ; it is 
bound up with that of the human being. No one 
can be a good poet who is not first a good man.^ 

This remarkable passage accurately reflects the 
sentiment which persisted to a late time in 
Greece, long after the strictly teaching functions 
of poetry had passed into other hands. It is to 
be met with everywhere in PlutarcL 'Poetry is 
the preparatory school of philosophy/ ' ' It opens 
and awakens the youthful mind to the doctrines 
of philosophy/* When first the young hear these 
doctrines they are bewildered and reject them. 
^Before they pass from darkness into full sunshine 
they must dwell in a kind of twilight, in the soft 
rays of a truth that is blended with fiction, and so be 
prepared painlessly to fSftce the blaze of philosophy 
without flinching/^ The novice requires wise 
guidance 'in order that through a schooling that 
brings no estrangement he may, as a kindly and 

^ Stabo L 8* 6t 1} Si iroii^raS [<V>^] ^rwcfcvirnu t^ toS 
JofOfiAm^ Kot ovx oUv Tc iyaS6v y€yiir0iu woitirifr fjdl wpinpov 

* Flntaidi ib AuA, Pod. du 1, Jr voi^/Muri wpo^nXoowtnt' 

FMK 

* Jli du 14y It* t) v/Nwrofyct kqI wpo9civ€i rt^ rov viav ^^vxjtjy 
^ JLc outi ivo/i^rraf Sty^ ot»v he ctdrovt wokXav fiXXovn^ 



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THE END OF FINE ART 19S 

the creatiye act affords is for him the end of his 
ait No sach conception of the artist's dignity 
was fonned in Greece, where in truth the artist 
was honoured less than his art EBs professional 
skill seemed to want something of a selfHrofficing 
and independent activity; and though the poet 
stood higher in popular estimation than his fellow- 
artists, because he did not, like the painter and 
sculptor, approach to the condition of a manual 
labourer or as a rule make a trade of his work, he 
too was one who worked not for himself but for 
others, and so &r fell short of a gentlemanly 
leisure. Aristotle's theory has regard to the 
pleasure not of the maker, but of the ^ spectator ' 
(Ommis) who contemplates the finished product 
Thus while the pleasures of philosophy are for 
him who philosophises — ^for the intellectual act is 
an end in itself— the pleasures of art are not for 
the artist but for those who enjoy what he creates ; 
or if the artist shares at all in the distinctiye 
pleasure which belongs to his art, he does so not 
as an artist but as one of the public. 

To those who are familiar with modem modes 
of thinking it may seem a serious defect in the 
theory of Aristotle that he makes the end of art 
to reside in a pleasurable emotion, not in the 
realisation of a certain objective character that is 
necessary to the perfection of the work. An 
artistic creation, it may be said, is complete in 





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IM POETRY AND FINE ART 

itself; its end is immanent not transcendental 
The effect that it produces, whether that effect be 
immediate or remote, whether it be pleasure or 
moral improvement, has nothing to do with the 
object as it is in its essence and inmost character. 
The true artist concerns himself with external 
effects as little as does nature herself in the vital 
processes which are directed towards an end. It 
was a signal merit, we are reminded, in Aristotle's 
general philosophical system, that the end of ian 
object is inherent in that object, and is reached 
when the object has achieved its specific excellence 
and fulfils the law of its own being.^ Why, it is 
said, did not Aristotle see that a painting or a 
poem, like a natural organism, attains its end not 
through some external effect but in realising its 
own idea ? If the end of art is to be found in 
a certain emotional effect, in a pleasure which 
is purely subjective, the end becomesj something 
arbitrary and accidental, and dependent on each 
individual's moods. Plato had already shown the 
way to a truer conception of fine art, for greatly 
as he misjudged the poetry of his own country, 
yet he had in his mind the vision of a higher art 
which should reveal to sense the world of ideas. 
Here there was at least an objective end for fine 
art Aristotle's own definition too of art as ^ a 

t Afi. iL a. 104 a Sa» 4 U ^i« Tik99 Kol oS Jviica. So 
Pd.L%. 1S«S b SI. 



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THE END OF FINE ART 195 

£EU^ulty of production in accordance with a tme 
idea'^ is quoted as showing that he was not £ur 
from assigning to fine art an end more consistent 
with his whole system. If art in general is the 
faculty of realising a true idea in external form, 
he might easily have arrived at a definition of fine 
art not essentially different from the modem con- 
ception of it as the revelation of the beautiful in 
the external form. 

This objection admits of a satisfeustory answer 
from the Aristotelian point of view. The artist 
pursues an end which is external to his productive 
activity. The end is attained when the work of 
art comes into existence, — ^that is, when the pro- 
cess of change (7^0**9) is complete, when the 
matter (iXri) has been impressed with the artistic 
form (cZSov), and the potential has been developed 
into the actual.' How are we to know that this 
end has been attained ? By the hedonistic effect 
produced on the mind of the percipient subject 
The work of art is in its nature an appeal to^the 
senses and imagination of the person to whom it 
is presented ; its perfection and success depend on 
a subjective impression. It attains to complete 
existence only within the mind, in the pleasure 
which accompanies this mode of mental activity 
(Mfiy^ia). Thus the productive activity of the 

^ StkNicvLi. 1140 a 10, l^iv furk A^v^iy^St re^irtjci}. 
* Sm p. 146. 



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196 POETRY AMD FINE ART 

artdst 18 subordinated to the receptive actiyity of 
the person for whom he produces. 

In Aristotle the true nature of a thing can be 
expressed by means of that which it is ' capable of 
doing or suffering' {ir4^vM€ iroieip ^ ird^^ip). Its 
effect is treated as synonymous with its essential 
quality.^ So it is in a work of art If indeed we 
desire to characterise precisely its emotional effect 
we must do so by reference to the content of the 
activity. But the work of art and its effect being 
inseparable, the artistic object can be spoken of in 
terms of the emotion which it awakens.' This 
view does not, however, make the function of 
art to depend upon accident and individual caprice. 
The subjective emotion is deeply grounded in 
human nature, and thence acquires a kind of 
objective validity. As in ethics Aristotle assumes 
a man of moral insight (o ^pov^iu^) to whose 

^ The ^vrofuf of a thing if doaely allied to its o&r&i, c28os, 
Ajyos^ ^UTif. Cp. dt Om. Anim. iL 1. 731 b 19, rk ^ Svm/bus 
icoi i Xi6y<tt T^ Hfta-tat avr««K. 2. 439 a S3, rk Icrrt icoiv^ 
^wrtf Koi Svrafut. EtkNicr.A. 1130b 1, ifMfm ydip iv rf wp^ 
€Ttfioi¥ ixawn r^r iwofuv. So PoeL L 1, ijv riva Swofuv hcarrov 
JX<*- Pp* ^ 18, d ica2 cirl rwv ifLfi/trfrnv ica2 hrl rwr X6y^v 

* Similarly Schiller finds the essence and end of tragedy in the 
effeet it prodncesL See his Essay * Ueber die tngische Ktinst,' and 
a letter to Goethe <tf Dec 18, l797,*AlBdannglaabe ichanch eine 
gewiase Berechnnng aof den Zuschauer, ron der sich der tngische 
Fdet nieht dispensieren kann, der Hinblick aof einen Zweck, den 
iassem Eiadmek, der bei dieser Dichtnngsart nicht gans Terlassen 
wird, geniert Bie, qaw.' 



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jTHE END OF FINE ART 197 

trained judgment the appreciation of ethical ques- 
tions is submitted, and who, in the last resort, 
becomes the 'standard and the law' of right,^ 
80 too in fine art a man of sound aesthetic 
instincts (o x^^) ^ Assumed, who is the standard 
of taste, and to him the final appeal is made. He 
is no mere expert, for Aristotle distrusts the 
verdict of specialists in the arts' and prefers the 
popular judgment, — ^but it must be the judgment 
of a cultivated public Both in the Politics and in 
the Poetics he distinguishes between the lower and 
the higher kind of audience.* The 'firee and 
educated listener' at a musical performance is 
opposed to one of the vulgar sort. Each class of 
audience enjoys a different kind of music and 
derives from the performance such pleasure as it 
is capable of. The inferior kind of enjoyment is 
not to be denied to those who can appreciate only 
the inferior type of music — ^better that they should 
like this music than none at all — ^but the lower 

1 EiK Nic iii 4. 1113 a 33, the cnrovScuof if &nnp leaver 
Kol fiirpov. 

> Cfk PoL iii 11. 1S8S a 1-Sl. 

* PoL T. (Tiii) 7. 134S a 18-S8, hnii' o tfcaT^V &rr^ o fihf 
ikti0€f»9 Koi rcroiScv/Mvos, i Si ^pruAf ic.r.X. In Poet, zzri 
1, ^ wpi^ ptkrlovt Omriit fitfifqtns is iJiTor ^oprua^. Cp, Flat 
Lawi ii 668 E, iKtlvrfP cZi/ai MoSSiraK icaXA£jTi|K, ^ft« roim /3(Ar(- 

In SKeU I 3. 1368 a 37 the riXo9 of the art is in relation to 
the iKpoan^ : ^rvyKunu ftkv ydip be rpiSv i A^/os, & re toS 
Xtyovrof koI w€fi oS A«yci K<d wpi9 i¥y koX ri ncAot wfi% rwriv 
jirrc, Xiym Zk r^v dKpoavliv. 



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198 POETRY AND FINE ART 

pleasure is not to be taken as the' trae end of the 
musical art^ 

In the theatre^ again, it is noted that tragic 
poets are tempted to gratify the weakness of their 
audience by making happy endings to their 
tragedies. The practice is not entirely forbidden ; 
only, it is insisted, such compositions do not afford 
the characteristic tragic pleasure, but one that 
properly belongs to comedy.' In fine, the end 
of any art is not 'any chance pleasure,'* but the 
pleasure which is distinctive of the art. To the 
ideal spectator or listener, who is a man of educated 
taste and represents an instructed public, every 
fine art addresses itself; he may be called 'the 
rule and standard * of that art^ as the man of moral 
insight is of morals ; the pleasure that any given 
work of art affords to him is the end of the art. 

1 In PcL T. (Tiii) 6. 1340 b 1-2, the uniTenal pleisore giren 
bj miuic if called ^ icoii^ tjSovilj end is fffva-uclj. It ie distinct 
from the higher kind of pleesuie. 

In ProHL xyiiL 4. 016 b 36, the art of the musician and of the 
actor aims only at pleasure : Sci ri ptftopa fiiv Kal arparriyhv Kal 
^(fnif»arurril¥ Xiyofitv Sciv«iK, avXi^r^v Si kqI vwotcpiriiv ov Xiyo/uv; 
^ ort rSr fiiv ^ Svrofuf circv rAcovc^« (ijSoviji yip aToxwrruc/j 
im) T&r ti wfAt ih rXcovcjcrciy ; 

s Pod. ziii 7-8, Somi ii cZfcu wpAni S*i r^¥ rSv O^drpmv 
irOhwaVf • . • irriv Si ovx avny <^ cUr^ rpayi^Stat ^iov^ 
•AAA /ioAAov T^ KUfMfSlas oliccia, 

* Pod. iir.%o&yip wSmv Sci (fjTtiy ijSovijv iwh rpayifStai 
iXXi T^r otfcc&r. zxyL 7, Sci yci/> ov ti^v rvxcwrav i^i^v 
VOMIT «Mif (in tragedy and epic poetry) clAAA r^v tlpnuiivqvi 
with which cp. PoL T.(Tiii) 6. 1339 b 38, lx<« y^ Sn*9 i^nyr 
rum ffai ti riAoti ikk* vi r^v rvx^vltron 



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THE END OF FINE ART 199 

Though the end, then, is a state of feeling, it is 
a feeling that is proper to a normally constituted 
humanity. The hedonistic effect is not alien to 
the essence of the art, as has sometimes been 
thought; it is the subjective aspect of a real 
objective fact Each kind of poetry carries with 
it a distinctive pleasure, which is the criterion by 
which the work is judged. A tragic action has 
an inherent capacity of calling forth pity and fear ; 
this quality must be impressed by the poet on the 
dramatic material;^ and if it is artistically done, 
the pecuUar pleasure arising out of the union of 
the pitiable and the terrible will be awakened in 
the mind of every one who possesses normal human 
sympathies and feu^ulties. The test of artistic merit 
in a tragedy is the degree in which it fulfils this, 
its distinctive function. All the rules prescribed 
for the tragic poet flow from the isame primary 
requirement, — those which determine the proper 
construction of the plot, the character of the ideal 
hero, the best form of recognition and the like. 
The state of pleasurable feeling is not an accidental 
result, but is inherontly related to the object which 
calls it forth. Though the pleasuro of the percipient 
is necessary to the fulfilment of the function of any 
art, the subjective impression has in it a permanent 
and universal element 

^ PoeL xir. 3, circ} ti r^r air^ cA«ov kcU ^jSov iiik /M/njratv 
Set ^v^¥ wapacKtvi^uv rhv wpiqr^v, ^tu^pip At rovro ir rw 
wpiyimrw ipmontfriov. 



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CHAPTEB V 

ART AND MORALITY 

The question as to the proper end of fine art was 
discussed in Greece in its special application to 
poetry. Two views were currently held The 
traditional one, which had gained wide acceptance, 
was that poetry has a direct moral purpose; the 
primary function of a poet is that of a teacher. 
Even after professional teachers of the art of con- 
duct had appeared in Greece the poets were not 
deposed from the educational office which time had 
consecrated. Homer was still thought of less as 
the inspired poet who charmed the imagination 
than as the great teacher who had laid down all 
the rules needed for the conduct of life, and in 
whom were hidden all the lessons of philosophy. 
The other theory, tacitly no doubt held by many, 
but put into definite shape first by Aristotle, was 
that poetry is an emotional delight, its end is to 
give pleasure. Strabo (arc. 24 B.a) alludes to 
the two conflicting opinions. Eratosthenes, he 
saysy maintained that ' the aim of the poet always 



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ART AND MORALITY 301 

is to chann the mind not to instruct.'^ He him- 
self holds with the ancients ' that poetry is a kind 
of elementary philosophy, which introduces us 
early to life, and gives us pleasurable instruction 
in reference to character, emotion, action.'* The 
Greek states, he argues, prescribed poetry .as the 
first lesson of childhood ; they did so, surely, not 
merely in order to please, but to afford correction 
in morals.* In carrying the same discipline into 
mature years they expressed their conviction, that 
poetry as a regulative influence on morals was 
adapted to every period of life. In course of time, 
he observes^ philosophical and historical studies 
had been introduced, but these addressed them- 
selves only to the few, while the appeal of poetry 
was to the masses.^ Eratosthenes ought to have 
modified his phrase and said that the poet writes 
partly to please and partiy to instruct, instead of 
which he converted poetry into a privileged racanr 
tefuse of old wives' fables, with no other object in 
view than to charm the mind.* If, however, 
poetry is the art which imitates life by tiie medium 
of speech, how can one be a poet who is senseless 

^ Stntbo L S. 8, iroii^y yoif> l^i; wirrtk vroxUmrSag fvx^ 
7#y&if ov &&uricaX6ftf. 

T^ Fou^uc^r cWyowrar tU riv fitov "q^Mt cic vimp koX &&(- 
<r/io& * Jii i 2. a » /«t i 2. a. 



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802 POETRY AND FINE ART 

and ignoiant of life? The excellence of a poet 
is not like that of a carpenter or a smith ; it is 
bound np with that of the human being. No one 
can be a good poet who is not first a good man.^ 

This remarkable passage accurately reflects the 
sentiment which persisted to a late time in 
Greece, long affcer the strictly teaching functions 
of poetry had passed into other hands. It is to 
be met with everywhere in PlutarcL 'Poetry is 
the preparatory school of philosophy/' ' It opens 
and awakens the youthful mind to the doctrines 
of philosophy/* When first the young hear these 
doctrines they are bewildered and reject them. 
* Before they pass from darkness into full sunshine 
they must dwell in a kind of twilight, in the soft 
rays of a truth that is blended with fiction, and so be 
prepared painlessly to fSftce the blaze of philosophy 
without fiioching/^ The novice requires wise 
guidance 'in order that through a schooling that 
brings no estrangement he may, as a kindly and 

^ Stabo L 8* 6t 1} Si iroii^raS [<Vmt^] trwcfcvirnu t^ toS 
JofOfiAm^ Kot ovx otiv re iya$^y ywitrdiu roiipi^ fi^ wfi&npov 
ywmfiiirra Mpim iyaOir. 

* Flntaidi S§ AvtL PotL du 1, cv wo^t^iiaat vpo^iAocro^ 

T9&K 

^ IKdLl^fnSi wpoQ¥oty€i koX wpoKiv€t rt^ tov viov ^noAy 
dUa^Mof ovyi^ ^om /miXAuc^K| ikiwm &a^Amcy ret iwavrm 



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ART AND MORALTIY 203 

fiiTniliar friend, be conducted by poetry into the 
presence of philosophy/ ^ 

How deeply the Greek mind was impressed with 
the moral office of the poet, is shown by the attitude 
which even Aristophanes feels constrained to take 
up in relation to his art He proclaims that the 
comic poet not only ministers to the enjoyment 
of the community and educates their taste, he is 
also a moral teacher and political adviser.' /Comedy 
too is acquainted with justice.'* It mixes earnest 
with its fun.^ In the Parabasis of the Achamians 
Aristophanes claims to be the best of poets for 
having had the courage to tell the Athenians what 
was right.* Qood counsel he gives and will alwajTS 
give them ; as for his satire it shall never light 
on what is honest and true.* He likens himself 
elsewhere to another Heracles, who attacks not 
ordinary human beings, but Cleons and other 

^ Le^ad fitk, t¥a §»ij wpoSuifikfjOtU liAAoL /AaAAor wpofwatStvMt 

* Frogi 1009-10, Sn )3(Ar£(>v9 tc wowvfjiw 

rovs i¥0pJnrov9 ivrw in(A«irir. 
This ekim is put into tlie mouth el Euripiden 

* Aeham, 600, ri yiip iiKatov o2Sc koI rpvy^fHa, 

Frogi 6S6*7, t&v Upl^y x^P^^ SUativ itm XfF^ ^ wiXMi 
(vfarapcu¥tt¥ koX Si&£o'xciy. 

* Fng$ 8S0-80, jcotiroAAcL pA^ ytXoUfA c(- 

vffS^, iroXAcl Si awovSaSa. 

* Acham, 646, &rTif TapwwSi¥€w/ c&riiif ^ jv 'A A|MUiMf t& 

* Aehrnn. e6e-a 



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906 POETRY AND FINB ART 

dangerooB influence on youtL But the true end 
of an art 18 not to be judged by the use to which 
it may be put in training immature minds. He 
tacitly combats the position of Plato who admits 
poetry to his commonwealth only so fi&r as it is 
subsidiary to moral and political education, and 
who therefore excludes every form of it except 
hymns and chants and praises of great and good 
men, or what goes under the general name of didactic 
poetry. He distinguishes between educational use 
and aesthetic enjoyment For the grown man the 
poet^s function is not that of a teacher, or if a 
teacher he is only so by accident The object of 
poetry, as of all the fine arts, is to produce an 
emotional delight, a pure and elevated pleasure. 
In the Poetics he writes as the literary critic and 
the historian of poetry. He is no longer concerned 
with fine art as an institution which the State 
recognises, and which should form part of an educa- 
tional system. His inquiry is into the different 
forms of poetry, — their origin, their growth, the 
laws of their structure, their eifect upon the mind. 
He analyses poetical compositions as he might the 
forms of thought He seeks to discover what they 
are in themselves, and how they produce their dis- 
tinctive effects. The didactic point of view is aban- 
doned. Wehearnothingoftheethicalinfluencewhich 
the several kinds of poetiy exert on the spectator or 
the reader, or of the moral intention of the poet 



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ART AND MORALITY 807 

In a passage of peculiar interest in cL zxr. we 
read, ' The standard of correctness in poetry and 
politics is not the same, any more than in poetry 
and any other art' ^ Aristotle had already insisted 
that poetical truth and scientific truth are not 
identical Poetry is not a metrical version of the 
fSetcts of medicine, physics, or history.' It must be 
judged by its own laws, its own fundamental 
assumptions, and not by an alien standard. This 
observation is now extended to the relation of 
poetry and morality ; for the comprehensive phrase 
^politics' or 'political science' here, as often, has 
special reference to ethics. The observation is, 
doubtiess, directed in particular against Platp, 
whose criticisms of poetry are mainly firom the 
moral point of view. Plato, looking to the in- 
fluence of poetry on the formation of character, 
condemned the tales of the gods, — their batties 
and dissensions: fictions they are, and immoral 
fictions.* So again the cruel and evil deeds 
ascribed to heroes and demigods are imtrue — ^im- 
pious misstatements — and hurtful in their effect 
on the hearers.^ Yet true or false — this is the 

^ Pod. ZXY. 8, ovx 1} oLvrtf ipBirqf itrrXv rr^ wokvrui^ koX 

s Pod. L 11, iz. 1-2. 

• i2ip. iL 377 A— 37S E. 

« The pXafiyiiaSIUp. 391 B is the fiXafi€pi <a Pod. zxr. Sa 
The woKd it naed in its monl aenae end hee the aeme lefoienee ee 
wyi ti rev icaA£f ^ fii^ icoAft of Pod. xz^. S. 



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308 POETRY AND FINE ART 

lejoinder of Aristotle — these stories are currently 
told, they are the tradition of the people ; as such 
they have their place in poetry.^ 

Again, personal satire had been condemned on 
moral grounds by Plato.' Aristotle agrees in this 
condemnation, but for a different reason. He ranks 
it as an inferior type of art not because it encourages 
low scandal or debases character, but because art 
ought to represent the general not the particular.* 
Neither in the definition of tragedy (cL vL 2), if 
properly understood, nor in the subsequent dis- 
cussion of it, is there anything to lend countenance 
to the view that the office of tragedy is to work 
tqpon men's lives, and to make them better. The 
theatre is not the school The character of the 
ideal tragic hero (cL xiiL) is deduced not from any 
ethical ideal of conduct, but from the need of calling 
forth the blended emotions of pity and fear, wherein 
the proper tragic pleasure resides.^ The catastrophe 
by which virtue is defeated and villainy in the end 
comes out triumphant is condemned by the same 

^ Pod. xxT. 7. The lupposed objection here it ^ovk ikq$fi,** 
Theee aie Flato^f very worda in JZip. iL 378 B (of the wan id the 
godsX ^v8i yap ikifiij : Sip, iiL 391 B (of AehiUee dragging Hector 
found the tomb oi PatroclnaX ^iiaearra ravra iti ififqtrofuy iXtiOfj 
^p^j^fionf and 301 E (id other tales about the ofiepring of the goda^ 
oM* &rMi trnvra wr 4Ai^^ See also if/, p. 166. 

* XoteixL 9Z6 E^ woiffT^ a^ KmiiUf&iasij nvi^ UfAfimv {j funMrOv 
fmX^fiCmt fnii i^irrm /u^ ^^^ F^ cbc^n ixqfrt $vf/nf psffn £ycv 
Aywv fUfSmpm pajKim tmt voAirfir KmfnifSiiy, 

» PM. iz. «• « See tn/: ch. Tiii . 



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J 



ART AND MORALITY 309 

criterion;^ and on a similar principle the prosaic 
justice, misnamed * poetical/ which rewards the good 
man and punishes the wicked, is pronounced to be 
appropriate only to comedy.* 

Aristotle's critical judgments on poetry rest 
on aesthetic and logical groimds, they take no 
account of ethical aims or tendencies. He men- 
tions Euripides some twenty times in the Poetics^ 
and in the great majority of instances with censure. 
He points out numerous defects, such as inartistic 
structure, bad character-drawing, a wrong part 
assigned to the chorus; but not a word is there 
of the immoral influence of which we hear so much 
in Aristophanes. In his praise as little as in his 
blame does Aristotle look to the moral content of a 
poem. Sophocles he admires not for the purity of 
his ethical teaching or for his deep religious intui- 
tions, but for the unity which pervades the structure 
of his dramas, and the closely linked sequence of 
parts which work up to an inevitable end. Not 
that Aristotle would set aside as a matter of in- 
difference the moral content of a poem or the moral 
character of the author. Nay, they are all-important 
fEU^tors in producing the total impression which has 

1 PO0L ziiL 2. 

> Pod. ziiL 8. Oontrtst Plato, who would compel the-poet to 
exhibit the perfect requital of vice end virtue {Law$ iL 660 E). 
So in 22^. iiL 892 A-B poeto ere forbidden to sej that many 
wicked men are bappj and good men miserable^ and are commanded 
to ling the qppoeite. 

P 



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SIO POETRY AND FINE ART 

to be made upon the hearer. Tragedy being the 
' imitation of life and of human welfare and human 
misery/^ the pleasure it communicates could not 
conceiyably be derived from a poem which mis- 
interprets human destiny, and holds up low ideals 
of life and of conduct. 

The charge that a poem is morally hurtful* is 
evidently a grave one in the eyes of Aristotle, and 
he suggests certain considerations whereby to test 
whether in a given case the censure is deserved. 
He warns us not to take a word or deed out of its 
natural context Speech or action must be inter- 
preted in the light of all the circumstances — the 
persons, the occasion, the end it is designed to serve.' 
He suggests — ^though he does not say it — ^that the 
moral influence of a poem should be judged by a 
similar rule of criticism. The eflect resides not in 
the isolated parts but in the scheme of the whole. 
Yet this plain fact is constantly overlooked, the 
dramatist being credited with this or that senti- 
ment, theory, or purpose, on the strength of some 
dramatic utterance, removed from its proper setting 
and surroundings. 

A further point is raised in § 19 of the same 
chapter. It is there implicitly declared that the 

1 Pod. Ti. 0. 

< Poit zxT. 2a 

* PD«t ZXT. S, wtpL ji ToS KoXSk ri fi^ KokSk ij tipifrat rivt ij 
nwr/Murrmi, 96 ft6vw anarriov c/f airh ih wnrpayiuwow -q tlp/ifnivov 
fikhmrra ft.T.A. 



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ART AND MORALITY 211 

representation of moral depravity finds its only 
excuse in * necessity/ The necessity meant is the 
inner necessity arising out of the structure of a 
piece. Vice in itself is undesirable even on the 
stage. But it may be subservient to the plot — 
one of those things & /BovKerai 6 fiv0iK — demanded 
by the cogent necessity of dramatic motive. 
Without it there may not be room for the proper 
play of contrasted character; for its effect upon 
the outward course of the incidents ; in a word, 
for the due interaction of all the forces which lead 
to the catastrophe. Gratuitous wickedness is, how- 
ever, forbidden : and as an instance of this fault, 
Menelaus in the Orestes of Euripides is dted here.^ 
Nothing but the constraining needs of literary art 
are allowed to override the rules laid down for 
goodness of character in tragedy. 

These rules, it must be owned, are too rigorous 
on their ethical side. It becomes the more necessary 
to call attention to them here, as we have dwelt 
with some emphasis on Aristotle's freedom from a 
narrowly moral, or moralistic, conception of poetry. 
This freedom, we now see, is subject to certain limita- 
tions. Traces of the older prepossession still survive, 
and linger around a portion of his doctrine. 

In chapter ii of the Poetics a broad distinction 

1 Po€t, zxv. 19» ifiOtj S* hririiiTyri^ • • • fAOxOffpt^ Srav fi^ 
avayKifi ofin^s /Ai}92r xp^'i^^f^* • • • rj wovfipl^ &nt€pjh 'O/wrrp 
Tov McycA^v. Opw xr. 5. 



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SIS POETRY AND FINE ART 

is diawn between the imitatiye arts, according as 
thej represent persons morally noble (cwovSalov^ 
opposed to i^tlkovs)^ ignoble, or of an inter- 
mediate type resembling average humanity (ofAoiovij. 
Some attempt has been made to empty the words 
awovSaltw^ and i^vkov^, and the synonymous expres- 
sions ID the Poetics of any strictly moral content, 
and to reduce the antithesis to the aesthetic distinc- 
tion between ideal and vulgar characters. It is in- 
deed true that ciraviaia^ — serving as the adjective of 
apeni in its widest acceptation,^ as does ^SXo9 of 
Mir^S»— can denote any one that is good or excellent 
in his land or in his special line. Similarly, and 
with like freedom, it can be applied to any object, 
animate or inanimate.^ In its reference to a person, 
the particular sphere of his excellence is expressed 
by a limiting phrase or adverbial addition {(nrovSdio^ 
r« or mpl r«), or by the agreement of the adjective 
with some noun indicating the range of its applica- 
tion {airaviaia^ Po/JMOirri^, tciOapumi^ and the like).' 
But when the word is used as the epithet of a 
man as such, without any qualifying reference to 

^ CaUg. 6. 10 b 7, otov ivi rifi iptrtis o airovSam' rf yap 
ipartiv ix€^ mrovSoMt Acycrai, aXX ov wap»vvfi4as dairi ttjs 
iptTSjt: that ii^ there is no Myectire fonned from the noun 
i^MT^ : <nrov&ubf does duty for it Cp. Top. r. 3. 131 b S, where 
the iSiov iptrffi is o thv Ixovra woul aurovSatov. 

' In. FoiL T. 5, rpayifSlat oiroviaCat koI ^vA^ is 'good or 
bed tngedj' in the pmelj aesthetic sense. 

< 4.g. Am. EOk L 6. 109S a 1 1, tciOapwrov pivyip'A Ki$api(€iv, 

If JfWVMUOV Of TO CV« 



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ART AND MORALITY 213 

occupation, profession, or function, we must take 
it to mean morally * good' ^ Aristotle seems bent 
on making it plain, here at the outset^ that the 
ethical sense is that which he intends. The paren- 
thetic remark in § 1 shows that the comprehensive 
ideas summed up in apeni and mxla as applied 
to morals, are covered by the contrasted terms, 
airovSaiov^ and i^^fkov^.^ After illustrations drawn 
from various forms of art, the chapter ends with 
the statement that 'comedy aims at representing 
men as worse, tragedy as better than in actual 
life.'* Consistent herewith is the observation in 
ch. V. 4, that epic poetry agrees with tragedy as 
being a lUiifi^t^ a^ovUUnv: and again the re- 
quirement of ch. XV. that the characters {ffifi) 
shall be y/n^a^ — once more, 'good,' in the 

I //m. EQi. iz. 4. 1166 a 12, Soucc yci^ . . • ficr/wv jicdurr^ 1} 
clpcT^ ical i o^rov&ubt c&oi. z. 6. 1176 b 25, xcu ri^Mk kqX i}8(a 
irri ret ry <nrov8a/!y rtuaSra Jvro. So iMMtMi. 

* FwiL ii. 1, <nrovficUov( ^ ^vAow tVnx (r& ykp rfi^ fry^Stifif 
cUi Tovroif <UoXov^r /i^yoit, icoit^ yci^ leol cI^mt^ tJI 19A1 &«^ 
^ifiowi wdrmy 

* Is the Poikivai here a limitipg ezpreanon, leaTing zoom for 
the «dmi«ion under certain circmnitancee of a viekraa ehanieter in 
tmgedjt Cp. rci/MTai in T. 4. 

^ Not * weU marked' — the imponiUe interpretation put upon 
it bj Daoier, Bono, Metaetaaio^ and others — nor, in a meielj 
aesthetio sense, 'elevated.' The moral meaning is hers again not 
to be evaded. 80 in xr. 1 a xp'^'y^^ 4^ depends on a XFW^ 
wfiOQitpmnSi which, is equivalent to ornvSaU wpMupunt of Nie, 
JSUkyrLSL 1189 a 86, and hrttuc^ wpompmrts ol Nic SA. viL 11. 
1152 a 17. In zv. 8 hrtnuc^ is not peroepCibI/ diffiBrent firom 
the preceding x/nf^^r^ 



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S14 POETRY AND FINE ART 

ethical sense, and barely to be distingaished from 

Aristotle, then, starts from what was, so fSEur as 
we know, the unquestioned assumption of his time, 
— that the primaiy distinction between higher and 
lower forms of art depended on the di£ferent types 
of moral character represented by them. The 
same Tiew is reflected eveiywhere in Plato. In 
the LoMB the taste of the judges (ir/>«ra/) at the 
theatrical competitions is commented on adversely. 
They ought to be the instructors, they are the mere 
disciples of the theatre. Their influence reacts 
upon tLe poets. Consequently the audience, ' when 
they aught to be hearing of characters morctUy 
better than their aum, and receiving a higher 
pleasure, are afiSdcted in an entirely opposite 
manner.' ^ Again the objects that music 'imitates' 
are ' the characters of men better or worse,'* — a dis- 
tinction verbally the same as in the Poetics cL iL 

Yet Aristotle, while using the traditional 
phrases, is feeling after some more satisfSactory 
and vital distinction. The very instances he 
adduces to illustrate his meaning show that the 
moral formula is strained to the point of breaking. 
The characters of Homer (§ 5) are 'better' ()8cX. 

itwioim^ Ptkrtm ri^ ^^r^ m^TC^^^i ^^ avroSs ip&n rav 
' Laum TIL 70S D, ri w€pi rois fivOfJi^At koI ir&rar funxriic^v 



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ART AND MORALnV 



203 



uniliar fiiend, be conducted by poetry into the 
resence of philosophy/ ^ 

How deeply the Greek mind was impressed with 
he moral office of the poet, is shown by the attitade 
rhich even Aristophanes feels constrained to take 
p in relation to his art He proclaims that th^ 
omic poet not only ministers to the enjoyment? 
f the community and educates their taste, he i» 
Iso a moral teacher and political adviser.' /Comedy^ 
oo is acquainted with justice.'* It mixes earnest 
dth its fim.^ In the Parabasis of the Achamians 
Lristophanes claims to be the best of poets for 
Aving had the courage to tell the Athenians what 
ras right.* Gk>od counsel he gives and will alwa3r8 
ive them ; as for his satire it shall never light 
n what is honest and true.* He likens himself 
Isewhere to another Heracles, who attacks not 
rdinary human beings, but Cleons and other 

'^ lead fiikf «va /A^ wpoSiopXtfOtU ikkk fiaXXov wfiO/watiwOut 

* Frog$ 1009-10, ^c p4krCov$ t€ itoiov/acv 

To^ ivOptitnvi wtm viXmrt¥. 
hia eUim it pat into the month of Enripidet. 

* Acham. 500, ri yip iicatov oZSc koI TfnryifSla, 

Frogs 686-7, riv UfAv x^f^^ SUcu6v irri Xf'f^ ^ w6XMi 
{v/iara/Muyffcy koI Si&to'icciy. 
« Fng$ 38a-90, tcaiwoXXi, /iiv ycXoM/A* ct- 

rcftr, wokXk Si oiroviaScL 
^ Aehaim. 645, &m« vopciciyfiwcvt/ €iw€i¥iv 'AA^yiflUoif t& 
SUata, 

* Ad^Mffk 656-8. 



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a06 POETRY AND FINE ART 

dangerous influence on youtL But the trae end 
of an art is not to be judged by the use to which 
it may be put in training immature minds. He 
tacitly combats the position of Plato who admits 
poetry to his commonwealth only so fSEur as it is 
subsidiary to moral and political education^ and 
who therefore excludes every form of it except 
hymns and chants and praises of great and good 
men, or what goes under the general name of didactic 
poetry. He distinguishes between educational use 
and aesthetic enjoyment. For the grown man the 
poet^s function is not that of a teacher, or if a 
teacher he is only so by accident. The object of 
poetry, as of all the fine arts, is to produce an 
emotional delight, a puro and elevated pleasure. 
In the Poetics he writes as the literary critic and 
the historian of poetry. He is no longer concerned 
with fine art as an institution which the State 
recognises, and which should form part of an educa- 
tional system. His inquiry is into the different 
forms of poetry, — their origin, their growth, the 
laws of their structure, their effect upon the mind. 
He analyses poetical compositions as he might the 
forms of thought. He seeks to discover what they 
are in themselves, and how they produce their dis- 
tinctive effects. The didactic point of view is aban- 
doned. We hear nothing of the ethical influence which 
the several kinds of poetry exert on the spectator or 
the reader, or of the moral intention of the poet. 



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ART AND MORALmr 307 

In a passage of peculiar interest in cL xxv. we 
read, 'The standard of correctness in poetry and 
politics is not the same, any more than in poetry 
and any other art/ ^ Aristotle had already insisted 
that poetical truth and scientific truth are not 
identical Poetry is not a metrical version of the 
facts of medicine, physics, or history.' It must be 
judged by its own laws, its own fundamental 
assumptions, and not by an alien standard. This 
observation is now extended to the relation of 
poetry and morality ; for the comprehensive phrase 
'politics' or 'political science' here, as often, has 
special reference to ethics. The observation is, 
doubtiess, directed in particular against Platp, 
whose criticisms of poetry are mainly £rom the 
moral point of view. Plato, looking to the in- 
fluence of poetry on the formation of character, 
condemned the tales of the gods, — their batties 
and dissensions: fictions they are, and immoral 
fictions.' So again the cruel and evil deeds 
ascribed to heroes and demigods are untrue — ^im- 
pious misstatements — and hurtful in their effect 
on the hearers.^ Yet true or false — this is the 

1 FoiL zxT. 8, otix 4 «vr^ ifiOirtfi imiv r^ roXcrunft Kti 

< PoiL L 11, iz. 1-8. 

< A^ iL 377 A— 878 B. 

« Tht fiXMfi€pi id B^ Z9l BuaMfiXmfi€fiiQiP6$L7ar.M. 
The word it used in its monl aenae md bit Um tame itfeNoet at 
wtfi Si Tov KoXm ij ftil KoXm of Pod. zxr. 8. 



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908 POETRY AND FINE ART 

lejoinder of Aristotle — these stories are currently 
told, they are the tradition of the people ; as such 
they have their place in poetry.^ 

Again, personal satire had been condemned on 
moral grounds by Plato.' Aristotle agrees id this 
condemnation, but for a di£ferent reason. He ranks 
it as an inferior type of art not because it encourages 
low scandal or debases character, but because art 
ought to represent the general not the particular.' 
Neither in the definition of tragedy (cL vi 2), if 
properly understood, nor in the subsequent dis- 
cussion of it, is there anything to lend countenance 
to the view that the office of tragedy is to work 
upon men's lives, and to make them better. The 
theatre is not the school The character of the 
ideal tragic hero (cL ziiL) is deduced not from any 
ethical ideal of conduct, but from the need of calling 
forth the blended emotions of pity and fear, wherein 
the proper tragic pleasure resides.^ The catastrophe 
by which virtue is defeated and villainy in the end 
comes out triumphant is condemned by the same 

^ FotL xxT. 7. The tuppoeed objection here it ^ovic iXrfiri** 
Theie aie Flati/s very words in Bep» iL 878 B (of the warn of the 
godsX «vN yap dUi;^ : Etp. iiL 891 B (of Achilles dragging Hector 
round the tomb of PatrodnsX f v/araira raSra ov jf/jcroiuv iXqOii 
dpSffOa^vaA 891 E (of other tales aboat the offepring of the gods^ 
•jl^ Ana TaSra wr iXrfi^. See also ti/. p. 166. 

' LoLWt xL 985 E^ wovfrjl SS^ K^^fUfSias ^ rivos Ufifiniiw ^ funffriiv 
fmXfNmg i^i i^itrm luljfrt kiyif fti/rc tUivi in/ffn $vftif ^n/jfrt &ycv 
tf«yi«S ^aifia^mt fofiiwa rSv a^Airfir Kmi^^Mw. 

» P9d. iz. 5. « See ff^. cL TiiL . 



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ART AND MORALITY 309 

criterion;^ and on a similar principle the prosaic 
justice, misnamed * poetical/ which rewards the good 
man and punishes the wicked, is pronounced to be 
appropriate only to comedy.* 

Aristotle's critical judgments on poetry rest 
on aesthetic and logical grounds, they take no 
account of ethical aims or tendencies. He men- 
tions Euripides some twenty times in the Poetics, 
and in the great majority of instances with censure. 
He points out numerous defects, such as inartistic 
structure, bad character-drawing, a wrong part 
assigned to the chorus; but not a word is there 
of the immoral influence of which we hear so much 
in Aristophanes. In his praise as little as in his 
blame does Aristotle look to the moral content of a 
poem. Sophocles he admires not for the purity of 
his ethical teaching or for his deep religious intui- 
tions, but for the unity which pervades the structure 
of his dramas, and the closely linked sequence of 
parts which work up to an inevitable end. Not 
that Aristotle would set aside as a matter of in- 
difference the moral content of a poem or the moral 
character of the author. Nay, they are all-important 
fEU^tors in producing the total impression which has 

1 PoeL xiiL 2. 

' Po§L xiii. 8. Oontnst Plato, who would compel the'poet to 
exhibit the perfect requital of vice and virtue {Law$ iL 660 E). 
So in Sep, iiL 892 A-B poets are forbidden to eaj that many 
wicked men are happj and good men mieerahle^ and are commanded 
to ling the opposite. 

P 



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SIO POETRY AND FINE ART 

to be made upon the hearer. Tragedy being the 
' iinitation of life and of human welfare and human 
miaeiy/^ the pleasure it communicates could not 
Gonceivably be derived from a poem which mis- 
interprets human destiny, and holds up low ideals 
of life and of conduct. 

The charge that a poem is morally hurtful* is 
evidently a grave one in the eyes of Aristotle, and 
he suggests certain considerations whereby to test 
whether in a given case the censure is deserved. 
He warns us not to take a word or deed out of its 
natural context Speech or action must be inter- 
preted in the light of all the circumstances — the 
persons, the occasion, the end it is designed to serve.' 
He suggests — ^though he does not say it — ^that the 
moral influence of a poem should be judged by a 
similar rule of criticism. The effect resides not in 
the isolated parts but in the scheme of the whole. 
Yet this plain fact is constantly overlooked, the 
dramatist being credited with this or that senti- 
ment, theory, or purpose, on the strength of some 
dramatic utterance, removed from its proper setting 
and surroundings. 

A further point is raised in § 19 of the same 
chapter. It is there implicitiy declared that the 

1 Pod. Ti. 0. 
< PML ZXT. 2a 

* PotL ZXT. S, wtpL ji ToS KoXSk 4 /i^ KoXm 4 tifnjfral riVi ^ 
nwr/Murrmi, w /i^ror <riccrr«oy th wA ih wtwpayiuwov -q tlpvutivov 

pAktFO¥m IC.T.A. 



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211 

Qnfocwitj finds its only 
Tiie muMjm tj meant is the 
flf t^ stractore of a 
AaaraMe eren on the 
\m Eumerriad to the plot— 
:;iin^ k j b Hw • ^ J #i t demanded 
of dnmatic motive, 
na; be lOQB for the propes 
ȣ cuBxSBti for its effect upoi^ 
zti -crntarTT rjisxzK sc 2ie Jnradmtii ; in a wordii 
:xr zjs ^2s jinsmr^iaL of jlH t^ fiones which leac3 
~c :1:1s ruargrrggg,. GaxsiuNB wickedness is^ how^ 
:vrc i-rr ;;u:ien : siii as an infrtanffp ci this fault, 
^I^rrTii^-y Ji ^ *jrestes of Eniipdes is dted here** 
"•^ -r --^ jqsl -zm eonstraining needs al literary art 
;f!» ^owed to oremde the rules laid down fox: 
^/utlrrtsfr II diacacter in tragedy. 

rtitM ruios^ it must be owned, are too rigorous 
jU :iit:ir eciiical idflL It becomes the more necessary^ 
:o ^iiul icteadm to them here, as we have dwelt 
^iCii 3om^ ^npbasis on Aristotle's freedom from a 

)tic, conception of poetry. 
fl subject to certain limita- 
prepossession still surriye, 
in of his doctrine, 
oettcs a broad diBtinction 

tiofnj . . . i^X^P^ *»«» ^ 
. . TJi wovfipt^ Anrc^.jr '0/Mrr| 



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SIS POETRY AND FINE ART 

is diawn between the imitatiye arts^ according as 
thej represent persons morally noble (cwovSaiov^ 
opposed to ^vkov^\ ignoble, or of an inter- 
mediate type resembling average humanity (ofudov^). 
Some attempt has been made to empty the words 
awwBalav^ and ^uXov9, and the synonymous expres- 
sions in the Poetics of any strictly moral content, 
and to reduce the antithesis to the aesthetic distinc- 
tion between ideal and vulgar characters. It is in- 
deed true that cnrov&ubf — serving as the adjective of 
apeni in its widest acceptation,^ as does ^vX4^ of 
s caxl a can denote any one that is good or excellent 
in his land or in his special line. Similarly, and 
with like freedom, it can be applied to any object, 
animate or inanimate.* In its reference to a person, 
the particular sphere of his excellence is expressed 
by a limiting phrase or adverbial addition {airovSaio^ 
ri or mpl r«), or by the agreement of the adjective 
with some noun indicating the range of its applica- 
tion {cmvSaSa^ vo/Aodirf^, KiOapumi^ and the like).' 
But when the word is used as the epithet of a 
man as such, without any qualifying reference to 

^ CaUg. 6. 10 b 7, otov curi t^9 aperifi o airovSam' rf yiip 
opcT^ ^<^ oirovSoMt AcycTOi, aXX ov wafMvvfi4as cbri rrjs 
iptrSfi: thai ii^ there is no adjectiYe formed from the noun 
ipanj : mrov&ubf does duty for it Cp. Top. r. 3. 131 b 2, where 
the SSior ipfrfji is S r&v ixovra wout oirovSatov. 

* In Pod. T. 5, TpayifSlas aurovSalat Kci iJMiXtji is 'good or 
had tiagedj' in the pmelj aesthetic sense. 

< 4.g. Ni€. Etk L 6. 1098 all, tu0afH4rrov f^iv yip t& Kt0ap{(€iv, 

If JfWVMUOV Of TO CV. 



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ART AND MORALITY 211 

representation of moral depravity finds its only 
excuse in * necessity/ The necessity meant is the 
inner necessity arising out of the structure of a 
piece. Vice in itself is undesirable even on the 
stage. But it may be subservient to the plot — 
one of those things & /BovKerai o ^0o^ — demanded 
by the cogent necessity of dramatic motive. 
Without it there may not be room for the proper 
play of contrasted character; for its effect upon 
the outward course of the incidents ; in a word, 
for the due interaction of all the forces which lead 
to the catastrophe. Gratuitous wickedness is, how- 
ever, forbidden : and as an instance of this fault, 
Menelaus in the Orestes of Euripides is cited here.^ 
Nothing but the constraining needs of literary art 
are allowed to override the rules laid down for 
goodness of character in tragedy. 

These rules, it must be owned, are too rigorous 
on their ethical side. It becomes the more necessary 
to call attention to them here, as we have dwelt 
with some emphasis on Aristotle's freedom from a 
narrowly moral, or moralistic, conception of poetry. 
This freedom, we now see, is subject to certain limita- 
tions. Traces of the older prepossession still survive, 
and linger around a portion of his doctrine. 

In chapter ii of the Poetics a broad distinction 

^ Poet, ZX7. 19, ipOti S* hnrtiiritrit . . . it/o\$iip{f^ Srav fi^ 
dvayKifi oun^s /Ai}92r x/^Ttnyrai • • • T§ w^vffpl^ Annpiv 'O/wrrp 
rov McvfAoov. Opw zr. 5. 



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S12 POETRY AND FINE ART 

18 drawn between the imitadye arts, according as 
Hiej represent persons morally noble {avovSalov^ 
opposed to ^avKov^), ignoble, or of an inter- 
mediate type resembling average humanity (ofuUov^). 
Some attempt has been made to empty the words 
^wauSaUy^ and ^vkav^, and the synonymous expres- 
sions in the Poetics of any strictly moral content, 
and to reduce the antithesis to the aesthetic distinc- 
tion between ideal and vulgar characters. It is in- 
deed true that awcvidUn — serving as the adjective of 
apeni in its widest acceptation,^ as does ijuiCKo^ of 
Moxlar—caxk denote any one that is good or excellent 
in his kind or in his special line. Similarly, and 
with like freedom, it can be applied to any object, 
animate or inanimate.* In its reference to a person, 
the particular sphere of his excellence is expressed 
by a limiting phrase or adverbial addition {tnrovBdU^ 
Ti or w€pl Ti), or by the agreement of the adjective 
with some noun indicating the range of its applica- 
tion (airot/fiaSoY Po/ioOirff^, KiAapum/i^ and the like}.' 
But when the word is used as the epithet of a 
man as such, without any qualifying reference to 

^ Cattg. 6. 10 b 7, olov iath r^ ip€rrj[9 i <nrov5aib€* rf yap 
ipnifif ix^w (nrovSoibt Acycmt, aXX ov irapwripjiai iath r^f 
ipmjiii that is, tlieie is no adjectiye formed firom the noon 
iptrvi : ovovScubs does duty for it Cp. Top. y. 3. 131 b 2, where 
the SSioir iptrtfi is o r&v Ixwra woUi (rrov6aiby. 

' In PotL ▼• 6, rpayiii&tas vwov&aias teal ijtavkffi is 'good or 
bed tngedy' in the pmely aesthetic sense. 

* 4.0. Nic Etik L 6. 109S all, KiOapurrov pht yip r5 KtOapl^tiv, 

WOVMuOV Of To CV. 



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ART AND MORALITY 813 

occupation^ profession^ or function, we must take 
it to mean morally * good' ^ Aristotle seems bent 
on making it plain, here at the outset, that the 
ethical sense is that which he intends. The paren- 
thetic remark in § 1 shows that the comprehensive 
ideas summed up in apeni &&d tcoKia as applied 
to morals, are covered hy the contrasted terms, 
^nrovSalov^ and ^vkov^.^ After illustrations drawn 
from various forms of art, the chapter ends with 
the statement that 'comedy aims at representing 
men as worse, tragedy as better than in actual 
life.'* Consistent herewith is the observation in 
cL v. 4, that epic poetry agrees with tragedy as 
being a filfirf<n^ airovSalc^p: and again the re- 
quirement of cL XV. that the characters (^) 
shall be xP^r^^*^ — ^^^^ more, 'good,' in the 

^ Nic EiK. ix. 4. 1166 a 18, co4«cc ykp . , . ftirpov hcJiffnf 1} 
iperij koX i fnrovSawt c&oi. x. 6. 1176 b 85, Koi rifMi mlI i^Sca 
jori ri rf <nrov8a/!^ roiavra Svra* So pamm. 

^ Poet. ii. 1, fnrovSatovi vj ffMvXovs c&oi (r& yiip ^ft| <rx<8^ 
oUi rovrois okoAov^cc fMtyoit, tcaidj' yip koX iprrj rk i^ft^ iub» 

* Is the ^SovXcrai here a limiting expresnon, leaving room for 
the admlBsion under certain dicumttanoee of a vidoui fhari«ter in 
tragedy t Cp. rcipaTac in ▼. 4. * 

^ Not * well marked' — the impoedUe interpretation pat upon 
it bj Dacier, Boeni, Metastado^ and othera — nor, in a merely 
aesthetic sense, 'elevated.' The moral meaning is here again not 
to be evaded. So in xv. 1 a x/>V<'^*^ 4^ depends on a XPV^ 
wpoaCptn^^ which, is equivalent to mrovSata wpoaCptirit of Nic 
Eth. vL S. 1139 a 85, and cruijc^f wpaalptiri^ of Nic Etk vii IL 
1158 a 17. In XV. S hruucit is not perceptibly different firom 
the preceding XFV^^ 



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S14 POETRY AND FINE ART 

ctiiical sense, and barelj to be distmguished from 

Aiistotle, then, starts from what was, so fSar as 
we know, the unquestioned assumption of his time, 
— that the primary distinction between higher and 
lower forms of art depended on the different types 
of moral character represented by them. The 
same Tiew is reflected everywhere in Plato. In 
the Xaiiv the taste of the judges (icp^rat) at the 
theatrical competitions is commented on adversely. 
They ought to be the instructors, they are the mere 
disdples of the theatre. Their influence reacts 
upon the poets. Consequently the audience, ' when 
they aught to he hearing of characters moraUy 
better than their own, and receiving a higher 
pleasure, are affected in an entirely opposite 
manner.* ^ Again the objects that music 'imitates' 
are ' the characters of men better or worse,'* — ^a dis- 
tinction verbally the same as in the Poetics ch. ii. 

Yet Aristotle, while using the traditional 
phrases, is feeling after some more satisfactory 
and vital distinction. The veiy instances he 
adduces to illustrate his meaning show that the 
moral formula is strained to the point of breaking. 
The characters of Homer (§ 5) are 'better' (/ScX- 

1 Lmw$ iL 669 B; <Jor yci/> avrovt id p€kr{m ruv aiyr&v ^0£v 
dU wtfg rr a t fi^krim rj^ i^i^ ^"Hitw, vvv avroSv Sp&rft ray 

' Lm m TiL 796 D, ra wtfi mUn fvOfiohi kcI vAror fuvcruc^v 



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ART AND MORALmr 215 

tIov^) than those of ordinary reality, or than those 
who figure in epic parody, not solely or chiefly 
through a superior yirtue, but by powers of willing 
and feeling, doing and thinking, which raise them 
above the common herd of men. The example 
drawn from painting suggests a like conclusion. 
Three contemporary painters of an earlier date are 
mentioned, each typical of a certain mode of 
artistic treatment 'Polygnotus depicted men as 
nobler (icptlrrov^) than they are, Pauson as less 
noble {xslpin^)^ Dionysius drew them true to life 
(ofiolovs!).*^ Evidently these differences do not 
correspond to purely ethical distinctions. Boughly 
we may say that idealistic treatment is exempli- 
fied in Polygnotus, realistic in Dionysius, and the 
tendency to caricature in Pauson. His own 
examples might have led Aristotle to discard the 
moral formula, and to seek elsewhere the differ- 
entiating marks of artistic representation. As it 
is, his precise thought is not difficult to discover. 
Obviously, a perfect art does not, in his view, 
imply characters of feiultless virtue. The sketch 
of the ideal tragic hero in ch. xiii. 3-4 itself pre- 
cludes such a notion. Another decisive passage 
is ch. XV. 8. Defective characters — ^those, for 

^ PoeL ii S. Here Polygnotiia is ipoken of m a portrayw of 
good fj$ri, in tL 11 he is a good portnjer of ^A^ dyaffit ^Oo- 
ypi^on^ as opposed to Zeiizis. Cp. PoL r. (^iii) 5. 1340 a 36, 
M fiijriL IlaurMyof Omi^tv roin viovi^ iXXA ri HoXvymircv icAr 
cf r«9 cLAXof r&¥ ypa^mv ij rmv iyakfiarofwoumv imv ^Outi^* 



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SIC POETRY AND FINE ART 

instance, who are too quick or too slow to anger 
{iffytkoi m1 ^(E^/«oi)— -may be ennobled {iw^euceU 
voi€iy) by poetic treatment. One of the examples 
given is the Achilles of Homer, whose leading 
defect is a passionate temperament^ and who would, 
doubtless, be placed among the opytKm} Such a 
character, poetically idealised, conforms to the 
conditions of goodness (xfiv^^ ^) prescribed in 
this chapter. Even without these express indica- 
tions we might draw some such inference from 
a comparison of the phrase iU^trt^ ^irovSalc^p 
(ch. y. 4) applied to epic and tragic poetry — 
with the description of comedy in ch. v. 1 as a 
fUfiujat^ ^vXoripmp /i^, ov fUmoi icari^ iraaav tcoKlap, 
'an imitation of characters of a lower lype, not 
however, in tiie full sense of the word, bad.' The 
badness which comedy delineates is not coexten- 
sive witii moral badness. It is explained to be 
that specific form of badness which consists in an 
ugliness or deformity of character that is ludicrous. 
A similar qualification of the kind of goodness that 
is required in the higher forms of poetry, might 
naturally be inferred. The phrase fU^<n^ 4nrovSai4»p 
would thus imply a restrictive clause, av fUvra tcarh 
wa^oM ipenip, * but not, in the full sense of tiie word, 
good' This missing qualification is, however, 

^ Ste BjwUat Jnurml tf PkUoUgy, idr. 87. p. 48. The 
WQfdt wmpiimyfm <ncA^j|pJn|rof are xi^tly, I think, fancketed bj 



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ART AND MORALiry 207 

In a passage of peculiar interest in cL zxy. we 
read, ^The standard of correctness in poetry and 
politics is not the same, any more than in poetry 
and any other art/ ^ Aristotle had already insisted 
that poetical truth and scientific truth are not 
identicaL Poetry is not a metrical version of the 
facts of medicine, physics, or history .' It must be 
judged by its own laws, its own fundamental 
assumptions, and not by an alien standard. This 
observation is now extended to the relation of 
poetry and morality ; for the comprehensive phrase 
'politics* or 'political science' here, as often, has 
special reference to ethics. The observation is, 
doubtless, directed in particular against Platp, 
whose criticisms of poetry are mainly from the 
moral point of view. Plato, looking to the in- 
fluence of poetry on the formation of character, 
condemned the tales of the gods, — their battles 
and dissensions: fictions they are, and immoral 
fictions.* So again the cruel and evil deeds 
ascribed to heroes and demigods are untrue — ^im- 
pious misstatements — and hurtful in their effect 
on the hearers.^ Yet true or false — this is the 

^ Pod, zzy. 8, oux ^ ovr^ ipBifrrfi inlv r^s woXiru^ koX 

s PoiL i 11, iz. 1-S. 

s iZip. iL 377 A— 87S E. 

« The fiXa^Mpi <ii Btp. 391 B is the fiXMp€fii o£ Pod. xzr. Sa 
The woid is used in its monl sense and hss the seme relinenoe ee 
ir€fi Si rov KoXm 1j giij KoXm of Pod. xzr. S. 



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908 POETRY AND FINE ART 

> 

rejoinder of Aristotle — these stories are currently 
told, they are the tradition of the people ; as such 
they have their place in poetry.^ 

Again^ personal satire had been condemned on 
moral grounds by Plato.* Aristotle agrees in this 
condemnation, but for a different reason. He ranks 
it as an inferior type of art not because it encourages 
low scandal or debases character, but because art 
ought to represent the general not the particular.* 
Neither in the definition of tragedy (cL tL 2), if 
properly understood, nor in the subsequent dis- 
cussion of it, is there anything to lend countenance 
to the view that the office of tragedy is to work 
upon men's lives, and to make them better. The 
theatre is not the school The character of the 
ideal tragic hero (cL ziiL) is deduced not from any 
ethical ideal of conduct, but from the need of calling 
forth the blended emotions of pity and fear, wherein 
the proper tragic pleasure resides.^ The catastrophe 
by which virtue is defeated and villainy in the end 
comes out triumphant is condemned by the same 

^ Poik xxT. 7. The supposed objection here is **wk iXtfOr}.'* 
These are Flato^s very words in Bep. iL 378 B (of the wars of the 
g[aM\cvSiyapiktl$ri: i20p. iiL 391 B (of AchiUes dragging Hector 
loond the tomb of PatrodosX (yiaravra ravra tA ^^/uy ikridrj 
c^p^trtfoi, and 391 E (of other tales about the offspring of the gods), 
Jut Stnm, TQvra wr ^19^. See also iirf. p. 166. 

* XaioixL 936^iroii^ j^icia/A^ra«i}rci^ ta/i^ttir^fiourfiy 
fttktfUm^ foi i^mrrm /n^rv A^^ji p^rc ctic^n /i^ $vft^ ix/frt ivtv 

» iW. iz. 5. « See fi/. ch. TiiL . 



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J 



ART AND MORALiry 207 

In a passage of peculiar interest in cL xxv. we 
read, ^The standard of correctness in poetry and 
politics is not the same, any more than in poetry 
and any other art/ ^ Aristotle had already insisted 
that poetical truth and scientific truth are not 
identical Poetry is not a metrical version of the 
facts of medidnCi physics, or history.* It must be 
judged by its own laws, its own fundamental 
assumptions, and not by an alien standard. This 
observation is now extended to the relation of 
poetry and morality ; for the comprehensive phrase 
* politics* or Apolitical science' here, as often, has 
special reference to ethics. The observation is, 
doubtless, directed in particular against Platp, 
whose criticisms of poetry are mainly from the 
moral point of view. Plato, looking to the in- 
fluence of poetry on the formation of character, 
condemned the tales of the gods, — their battles 
and dissensions: fictions they are, and immoral 
fictions.* So again the cruel and evil deeds 
ascribed to heroes and demigods are untrue — ^im- 
pious misstatements — and hurtful in their effect 
on the hearers.^ Yet true or false — this is the 

^ PoiL zzy. 8, oux 1} avr^ ifMrtfi iarlv rijs woXtruc^ ic«2 

S PotL I 11, iz. 1-S. 

• B^. u. 377 A— 87S E. 

« The fiXafitpi <d Rep. 891 B is the fikiLfi€fii ct Pod. xzr. Sa 
The woid is used in its monl sense end hes the seme relinenoe ee 
wyi Si rov KoXm ^ fi^ tcaXm of Pod. xzr. S. 



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908 POETRY AND FINE ART 

rejoinder of Aristotle — these stories are currently 
told, they are the tradition of the people ; as such 
they have their place in poetry.^ 

Again^ personal satire had been condemned on 
moral grounds by Plata* Aristotle agrees in this 
condemnation, but for a different reason. He ranks 
it as an inferior tjrpe of art not because it encourages 
low scandal or debases character, but because art 
ought to represent the general not the particular.* 
Neither in the definition of tragedy (ch. vi. 2), if 
properly understood, nor in the subsequent dis- 
cussion of it, is there anything to lend countenance 
to the view that the office of tragedy is to work 
upon men's lives, and to make them better. The 
theatre is not the school The character of the 
ideal tragic hero (cL ziiL) is deduced not from any 
ethical ideal of conduct, but from the need of calling 
forth the blended emotions of pity and fear, wherein 
the proper tragic pleasure resides.^ The catastrophe 
by which virtue is defeated and villainy in the end 
comes out triumphant is condemned by the same 

^ Poik xxT. 7. The fupposed objection here is ''ov«c iXrfiti/* 
Theie are Flato^e very words in Bsp. iL 37S B (of the wan of the 
godfX 9iSk yap iXfi$fj : Sep, iiL 391 B (of AchiUee dragging Hector 
roond the tomb of PatrodosX (yiaravra ravra iA tfnjcrofuv iXtiO^ 
wipSfFOui^ and 391 E (of other tales about the offspring of the gods^ 
•jtf* ocTMi ravra cvr ikf^Oij. See also ii/. p. 165. 

* Law$ xL 935 ^ wfwfr^ S^ KUfiifiias ij rcvof UfAfim^ ^ fwwr&v 
fttXfUaM fii^ l^mrrm ^ufjfrt kSy^ pufn ctic^n /i^ $vft^ /ii}r« ivw 
Bftft/oS fuiiaftm infiipa rfir voXirwr km/i^ck 

» iW. iz. 5. « See fi/. cL TiiL . 



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ART AND MORALrrV 209 

criterion;^ and on a similar principle the prosaic 
justice, misnamed * poetical/ whicli rewards the good 
man and punishes the wicked, is pronounced to be 
appropriate only to comedy.* 

Aristotle's critical judgments on poetry rest 
on aesthetic and logical grounds, they take no 
account of ethical aims or tendencies. He men- 
tions Euripides some twenty times in the Poetics, 
and in the great majority of instances with censure. 
He points out numerous defects, such as inartLstic 
structure, bad character-drawing, a wrong part 
assigned to the chorus; but not a word is there 
of the immoral influence of which we hear so much 
in Aristophanes. In his praise as little as in his 
blame does Aristotle look to the moral content of a 
poem. Sophocles he admires not for the purity of 
his ethical teaching or for his deep religious intui- 
tions, but for the unity which pervades the structure 
of his dramas, and the closely linked sequence of 
parts which work up to an inevitable end. Not 
that Aristotle would set aside as a matter of in- 
difference the moral content of a poem or the moral 
character of the author. Nay, they are all-important 
factors in producing the total impression which has 

1 PotL xiii. 8. 

* PotL xiiL S. Contast Plato, who would compel the'poet to 
exhibit the perfect requital of vice and virtue (Law$ IL 660 E). 
So in Bep. iiL 398 A-B poets are forbidden to eay that man^ 
wicked men are happy and good men mieerablci and are commanded 
to ling the opposite. 

P 



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SIO POETRY AND FINE ART 

to be made upon the hearer. Tragedy being the 
* imitation of life and of human welfare and human 
miaery/^ the pleasure it communicates could not 
coneeiYablj be deriyed from a poem which mis- 
interprets human destiny, and holds up low ideals 
of life and of conduct. 

The charge that a poem is morally hurtful* is 
evidently a grave one in the eyes of Aristotle, and 
he suggests certain considerations whereby to test 
whether in a given case the censure is deserved. 
He warns us not to take a word or deed out of its 
natural context Speech or action must be inter- 
preted in the light of all the circumstances — the 
persons, the occasion, the end it is designed to serve.^ 
He suggests — though he does not say it — that the 
moral influence of a poem should be judged by a 
similar rule of criticism. The effect resides not in 
the isolated parts but in the scheme of the whole. 
Yet this plain fact is constantly overlooked, the 
dramatist being credited with this or that senti- 
ment, theory, or purpose, on the strength of some 
dramatic utterance, removed from ito proper setting 
and surroundings. 

A further point is raised in § 19 of the same 
chapter. It is there implicitly declared that the 

1 Poit. tL 9. 

* Potk zxy. Sa 

* P^eL ZXT. S, W€fi Si rov KoXik ^ f«^ Kokm i^ tipvfrai rwh ^ 
««r/NucT«My vi /i6vo¥ fF M wr So v €h avrb t^ rcr/My/ifyor ^ ttpnuiivov 
PXiw9¥nL icr.A. 



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ART AND MORALITY 211 

representation of moral depravity finds its only 
excuse in * necessity/ The necessity meant is the 
inner necessity arising out of the stmctore of a 
piece. Vice in itself is undesirable even on the 
stage. But it may be subservient to the plot — 
one of those things & fiovKerai o /aO^o^— demanded 
by the cogent necessity of dramatic motive. 
Without it there may not be room for the proper 
play of contrasted character; for its effect upon 
the outward course of the incidents; in a word, 
for the due interaction of all the forces which lead 
to the catastrophe. Gratuitous wickedness is, how- 
ever, forbidden : and as an instance of this fault, 
Menelaus in the Orestes of Euripides is cited here.^ 
Nothing but the constraining needs of literary art 
are allowed to override the rules laid down for 
goodness of character in tragedy. 

These rules, it must be owned, are too rigorous 
on their ethical side. It becomes the more necessary 
to call attention to them here, as we have dwelt 
with some emphasis on Aristotle's freedom from a 
narrowly moral, or moralistic, conception of poetry. 
This freedom, we now see, is subject to certain limita- 
tions. Traces of the older prepossession still survive, 
and linger around a portion of his doctrine. 

In chapter iL of the Poetics a broad distinction 

^ PoiL XXT. 19, ip6ii S* Jrcri/AiTorftf • • • f^X'NP^ ^^i^ M 
dyiytcfji ovrqi ft^Oi¥ XFV^T^^ • • • rj wo¥tipt^ itrw^ph *Opirry 
Tov MfycXdtov. Op. xr. 6. 



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S12 POETRY AND FINE ART 

18 drawn between the imitatiye arts, according as 
ihej represent persons morally noble {inrovSaiov^ 
opposed to ^(UfKov^), ignoble^ or of an inter- 
mediate type resembling average humanity {6fu>iov^). 
Some attempt has been made to empty the words 
wwQvSaUv^ and ^vKov^, and the synonymous expres- 
sions in the Poetics of any strictly moral content, 
and to reduce the antithesis to the aesthetic distinc- 
tion between ideal and vulgar characters. It is in- 
deed true that awcvSdio^ — serving as the adjective of 
apeni in its widest acceptation,^ as does ^jmSKo^ of 
xoiUar—casi denote any one that is good or excellent 
in his kind or in his special line. Similarly, and 
with like freedom, it can be applied to any object, 
animate or inanimate.' In its reference to a person, 
the particular sphere of his excellence is expressed 
by a limiting phrase or adverbial addition {airavSaZo^ 
r$ or w€pl Ti), or by the agreement of the adjective 
with some noun indicating the range of its applica- 
tion {airavhaSa9 Po/AoOirn^, luBafMn/i^ and the like}.' 
But when the word is used as the epithet of a 
man as such, without any qualifying reference to 

^ Catag. 6. 10 b 7, olo¥ iath rr^ ipmfi i (nrovSaibs* rf ykp 
ipariv ix^w (nrovScubt Acycrat, iXX ov wapmvvfMas JoA rij^ 
ipmjii that is, there is no adjectiye formed from the noon 
dptni : <nrovScubs does duty for it Cp. Tcp. r. 3. 131 b 2, where 
the SScor ip€nJ9 is S r&y IxoKra iroui mrwfSalov. 

* In Pod. ▼• 6, TfKiyif&ia$ inrovSala^ teal ^jtaiXxi^ is 'good or 
bed tngedjr' in the purely aesthetic sense. 

* 4.0. Nic S(K. L 6. 109S all, KiOapurrov fihf yiip r5 KiBapt(u¥, 
cvovoatov Of To Cv« 



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ART AND MORALITY 813 

occupation^ profession^ or function, we must take 
it to mean morally * good' ^ Aristotle seems bent 
on making it plain, here at the outset, that the 
ethical sense is that which he intends. The paren- 
thetic remark in § 1 shows that the comprehensive I 
ideas summed up in apeni ^^^ f^^i^ ^ applied 1^ 
to morals, are covered by the contrasted terms, 
cirovhcUav^ and ^vKov^} After illustrations drawn 
from various forms of art, the chapter ends with 
the statement that 'comedy aims at representing 
men as worse, tragedy as better than in actual 
life.'* Consistent herewith is the observation in 
ch. V. 4, that epic poetry agrees with tragedy as 
being a fUfivfin^ airovhaUov: and again the re- 
quirement of cL XV. that the characters (1^17) 
shall be xpfiirra^^ — once more, 'good,' in the 

^ N%c. EHk. ix. 4. 1166 a 18, coifcc ykp . , . fiirpov UAimf ^ 
ipertf Kol 6 fnrovSoMi ttvau x. 6. 1176 b 86, ica« rlfMH mlI i^Sca 
Itrrl T& ty inrovSadf^ rotavra ivra* So pamm. 

^ Pod. ii 1, ewovSoJovs rj fjtavXovs c&oi {ri yiip rjOti <rx<Av 
at\ rovrois cUoAov^c fjuivotit^ kok!^ yip koI iprrg rk rjOii &a^ 
i^powri wivT€9)» 

' Is the fioikeriu here a limiting expresnon, leaving xoom for 
the admiflsion under certain circumatancee of a vicioot fhari«ter in 
tragedy t Cp. rcipaTac in r. 4. » 

^ Not *well marked' — ^the impoedUe interpretation pat upon 
it by Dader, Boeni, Metastado^ and others — nor, in a merely 
aesthetic sense, 'elevated.' The moral meaning is here again not 
to be evaded. So in xv. 1 a XP"!^^^ ^^^ depends on a XPV'^ 
wfioalpwi^ which. is equivalent to o^rov&Ua wpoaiptins of Nie. 
Eih. vL 8. 1139 a 85, and kruudj^ wpoaip^ns of Nic Eth. viL 11. 
1168 a 17. In XV. 6 hruuciqt is not perceptibly different bwk 
the preceding XFV^^ 



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S14 POETRY AND FINE ART 

ethical sense, and barelj to be distmguished from 

Aiistotle, then, starts from what was, so fSar as 
we know, the unquestioned assumption of his time, 
— that the primary distinction between higher and 
lower forms of art depended on the different types 
of moral character represented by them. The 
same Tiew is reflected everywhere in Plato. In 
the Laws the taste of the judges (icpirat) at the 
theatrical competitions is commented on adversely. 
They ought to be the instructors, they are the mere 
disdples of the theatre. Their iidSuence reacts 
upon the poets. Consequently the audience, ' when 
they aught to he hearing of characters moraUy 
better than their own, and receiving a higher 
pleasure, are affected in an entirely opposite 
Bnanner.* ^ Again the objects that music 'imitates' 
are ' the characters of men better or worse,'* — ^a dis- 
tinction verbally the same as in the Poetics ch. ii. 

Yet Aristotle, while using the traditional 
phrases, is feeling after some more satisfactory 
and vital distinction. The veiy instances he 
adduces to illustrate his meaning show that the 
moral formula is strained to the point of breaking. 
The characters of Homer (§ 5) are 'better' (/SeX- 

^ Lmm iL 669 B; iw yip avro^ id p€kr(m r&v o&r&v i^O&v 

' Lmm TiL 796 D, ri wtfi tov9 fivOfwUft tad wSumi^ prnxrua^v 
•m Tpiwm^ fupJjpmrm fitkrwi^mv tad X€ip6im¥ drOptrtntv. 



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ART AND MORALITY 215 

rlav^) than those of ordinary reality, or than those 
who figure in epic parody, not solely or chiefly 
through a superior virtue, but by powers of willing 
and feeling, doing and thinking, which raise them 
above the common herd of men. The example 
drawn &om painting suggests a like conclusion. 
Three contemporary painters of an earlier date are 
mentioned, each typical of a certain mode of 
artistic treatment. 'Polygnotus depicted men as 
nobler {Kptl^rrov^) than they are, Pauson as less 
noble (x^^oow), Dionysius drew them true to life 
{oiAolov^y^ Evidently these differences do not 
correspond to purely ethical distinctions. Roughly 
we may say that idealistic treatment is exempli- 
fied in Polygnotus, realistic in Dionysius, and the 
tendency to caricature in Pauson. His own 
examples might have led Aristotle to discard the 
moral formula, and to seek elsewhere the differ- 
entiating marks of artistic representation. As it 
is, his precise thought is not difficult to discover. 
Obviously, a perfect art does not, in his view, 
imply characters of faultless virtue. The sketch 
of the ideal tragic hero in ch. xiiL 3-4 itself pre- 
cludes such a notion. Another decisive passage 
is ch. XV. 8. Defective characters — ^those, for 

^ Fod, iL 8. Here Pdygnotos if ipoken of at a portrayer of 
good 17A7, in tL 11 he if a good portrayer of ^A^ i,ya,&h^ i}0o- 
ypd^asy at opposed to Zeoxit. Cpc PoL r. (Tiii) 5. 1840 a 86, 
$€4 fi^ T& naun»vo9 0^»p€tv roif9 viovf^ dXAi t& IloXvyviSrov tc&ir 
€t r$s iAXo9 r&v ypa^mv ^ tAv dyaX^tofnwQimr im¥ iqOyciu 



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nt POETRY AMD FINE ART 

instance, who are too quick or too slow to anger 
(i/fytko^ KoX /^(^/mm)— may be ennobled (hrieisceU 
wmuw) by poetic treatment. One of the examples 
given is the Achilles of Homer» whose leading 
defect is a passionate temperament^ and who would, 
doubtless, be placed among the opyCkoi} Such a 
ehaiacter, poetically idealised, conforms to the 
conditions of goodness {xpv^^ ^^) prescribed in 
this chapter. Even without these express indica- 
tions we might draw some such inference from 
a comparison of the phrase iUfiff^v: trwovSaU^v 
{eh. V. 4) applied to epic and tragic poetry — 
with the description of comedy in ch. v. 1 as a 
fUfMiciif ^vkmiprnv fU^, ay ^liinoi leark wacap tcatclap, 
'an imitation of characters of a lower type, not 
however, in the full sense of the word, bad.' The 
badness which comedy delineates is not coexten- 
are with moral badness. It is explained to be 
that specific form of badness which consists in an 
ugliness or deformity of character that is ludicrous. 
A similar qualification of the kind of goodness that 
is required in the higher forms of poetry, might 
naturally be inferred. The phrase /aZ/m^o-k tnrovBaU^p 
would thus imply a restrictive clause, ov fUproi Kark 
waaaw ipenip, * but not, in the full sense of the word, 
good' This missing qualification is, however, 

^ See BjinUx Jawrmil 0/ FhiMegyt sir. 87. p. 48. Tbo 
wqkAm mLfiiwfiKm irKXfip6rffr99 are rightlj, I think, bncketad b/ 



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ART AND MORALITY 217 

partly supplied by the passages of cL xiiL and 
cL XT. above referred to. 

The result, then, arrived at is briefly this. 
According to Aristotle, the characters portrayed by 
epic and tragic poetry have their basis in moral 
goodness ; but the goodness is of the heroic order. 
It is quite distinct &om plain, unaspiring virtue. 
It has nothing in it common or mean. Whatever 
be the moral imperfections in the characters, they 
are such as impress our imagination, and arouse 
the sense of grandeur: we are lifted above the 
reality of daily life; To go further would be to part 
company with Aristotle: he would hardly allow that 
there may be a dignity, an elevation of character, 
which saves even vice from being contemptible, 
and brings it under the higher requirements of 
art Had he wished to mark the distinctively 
aesthetic quality of characters grand or elevated, 
he might have used such expressions as /^a n, or 
oviev ^vKoiff or cvhhf irftvvh wpdrreiv {<j>pop€Uf). 
The grandeur, however, which he demands is a 
moral grandeur. Greatness cannot take the place 
of goodness. Satan, though he were never ^less 
than archangel ruined,' is not, under Aristotelian 
rules, a fitting character for an epic poem. 

Aristotle, in respect to the delineation of 
character, is still on the borderland between morals 
and aesthetics. Mere goodness does not satisfy 
him : something, he feels, must be infused into 



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S18 POETRY AND FINE ART 

it wliich does not belong to the prosaic world. 
But what that is, he does not tell us. He has no 
adequate perception of the wide difference that 
separates moral and poetical excellence of character. 
When he comes to define tragedy, he makes, it is 
tme, a step in advance. In the definition given 
in eh. vL, tragedy no longer fufulrai awovSalov^, but 
IS a fd/Mfir^^ <nrov6auK wpd(€€^. The transference 
of the epithet &om the person to the action is a 
matter of no small import. It frees the word 
£rom its limited moral reference; for a^rovBala^ 
wpafym^ as we shall presently see, is not 'a 
virtuous action,' but includes the twofold idea of 
a serious and a great action. Had he followed out, 
in r^;ard to character, the line of thought which 
this adjective suggests as applied to action, he 
might have made a notable addition to his aesthetic 
tiieory. Great action would then have involved 
corresponding greatness or elevation in the 
charactera We may, perhaps, conjecture that 
the retention of the word airov&ub^ obscured the 
importance of this change of phrase. He passes 
lightly from fufmirai airovS(Uov^ to pifjafci^ awovS<Ua^ 
wpd(€^, as if one expression were virtually the 
equivalent of the other. 

Before we dismiss the phrase ^fjiajirt^ circvBtMop, 
we may for a moment glance aside to notice 
one curious chapter in its history. The French 
critics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 



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ART AND MORAUTY 219 

generally took <nrovSa4oi to mean persons of liigh 
rank. So strange a perversion of language is hardly 
credible, and yet it admits of easy explanation. A 
Boman rule, itself founded on Greek writers subse- 
quent to Aristotle, had laid it down that the 
fundamental difference between tragedy and comedy 
lay in the fact, that kings and heroes are the actors 
in tragedy, ordinary citizens in comedy.^ This 
purely outward distinction had won acceptance with 
many distinguished scholars. When the Poetics 
came to be received as the guide and canon of 
criticism in France, Aristotelian authority was 
eagerly sought for this among other literary tra- 
ditions. With an entire disregard of linguistic 
usage, the phrase fdfif^iri^ tnroviaU^v was — ^in defEiult 
of any other — seized on as affording the desired 
sanction. The Abb^ D'Aubignac in his book La 
Pratique du Thidtre, which long continued to be 
the text-book of French dramatic writers, declares 
that ' tragedy represents the life of princes,' while 
* comedy serves to depict the actions of the people.' * 

^ Th0 gnmmarian Diomedes aays: *Tngoedia est beroicae 
fortonae in advenis comprehenaio, a Theophrasto ita definita cat, 
rpaffSla i^rlv ^fmuf^t rvxTfi ir€punwn9* • . Comoedia eat 
privataa ciTiliiqae fortimae sine pericnlo Yitae eompiehensi(H apod 
Graeoos ita definita, KUfUf&ia irrlv tStwrucHv vpayftaruv Juciv' 
Swot w€pu>x^ • • Comoedia a tragoedia differt, quod in tiagoedia 
heroes, duces, leges, in comoedia burnUes atque priTatae pexaonae.' 

s La PrtiiiqueduThMnKu.cL 10^ ^LtLTn^tnj^^ 
la vie des Princes.' • • *La OomMie servoit 4 dipeindre lea 
actions da peuple,' 



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320 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Dader goes even to greater lengths in his note on 
/tt^i^^aif cwouSalm^. * It is not necessary/ he says, 
' that the action which affords matter for an Epic 
poem^ be illustrious and important in itself; on 
the contrary, it may be very ordinary or common ; 
bat it must be so, by the quality of the persons 
who act Thus Horace says plainly, ** Bes gestae 
legumque ducumque.^ This is so true that the most 
notable action of a citizen can never be made the 
subject of an epic poem, when the most indifferent 
one of a king or general of an army will be such, 
and always with success.' ^ In all this misapprehen- 
sion there is just one grain of solid fact Aristotle 
does undoubtedly hold that the actors in tragedy 
ought to be illustrious by birth and position. The 
nanow and trivial life of obscure persons cannot 
give scope for a great and significant action, one 
of tragic consequence. But nowhere does he make 
outward rank tiie distinguishing feature of tragic 
as opposed to comic representation. Moral nobility 
is what he demands; and this — on the French 
stage, or at least with French critics — ^is trans- 

1 Bmut on Pod. T. 4, note 17 (Tna^ London 1705). Op. 
note 9 on ch. zui, 'Tngedj, at E[de poem, does not require that 
tlie action wliieh it repreeents should be great and important in 
itaelf. It is eaJBciimt that it be tragical, the names of the persons 
are snficifat to render it magnificent; which for that veiy reason 
an an taken from those of the 'greatest fortune and reputation. 
TIm grsataess of theos eminent men renders the action great, and 
flMir npQtatko makes it crsdiUe and possible.' 



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ART AND MORAUTY 221 

formed into an inflated dignity, a courtly etiquette 
and decorum^ which seemed proper to high rank. 
The instance is one of many in which literary critics 
have wholly confounded the teaching of Aristotle. 

But to return from this digression. Aristotle, 
as our inquiry has shown, was the first who 
attempted to separate the theory of aesthetics from 
that of morals. He maintains consistently that 
the end of poetry is a refined pleasure. In doing 
so he severs himself decisively from the older 
didactic tendency of Greece. But in describing 
the means to the end, he does not altogether cast 
off the earlier influence. The aesthetic representa- 
tion of character he views under ethical lights, 
and the different types of character he reduces to 
moral categories. Still he never allows the moral 
purpose of the poet or the moral effects of his art 
to take the place of the artistic end. If the poet 
fails to produce the proper pleasure, he fails in the 
specific function of his art He may be good as a 
teacher, but as a poet or artist he is bad. 

Few of Aristotle's successors followed out this 
line of thought ; and the prevailing Greek tradition 
that the primary office of poetry is to convey 
ethical teaching was carried on through the schools 
of Greek rhetoric till it was firmly established in 
the Boman world. The Aristotelian doctrine as 
it has been handed down to modem times has 
again in this instance often taken the tinge of 



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223 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Bonoan thought^ and been made to combine in 
equal measure the tUUe with the dvlce. Sir 
Philip Sidney, for example, who in his Apology 
for Poetry repeatedly states that the end of poetry 
is ^delightful teaching/ or 'to teach and to 
delight/ has no suspicion that he is following the 
An Poetica of Horace rather than that of Aristotle. 
The view of Sidney was that of the Elizabethan 
age in general It was a new departure when 
Diyden wrote in the spirit of Aristotle: 'I am 
satisfied if it [verse] cause delight ; for delight is 
the chief if not the only end of poesy : instruction 
can be admitted but in the second place, for poesy 
only instructs as it delights.' ^ 



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CHAPTER VI 

THS FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 

Aristotlb's definition of tragedy^ runs thus : — 

'Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is 
serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude ; in 
language embellished with each kind of artistic 
ornament, the several kinds being found in separate 
parts of the play; in the form of action not of 
narrative; through pity and fear effecting the 
proper katharsis^ or purgation, of these* emotions.' 

^ Poet, TL 8, SariV o3v rpaytfSla iitiitfris wpd^tt^s oirovSoiaf 
Kai rcAc/as ftiytSos ixovai/fi^ ^ut/acv^ Atfyy X^P^^ ucimf (eocUL 
iKdcrrov) t&v tiSHv iv rots fioptot^ Sptivmtv khI ov &* oaroyycXios, &' 
iXiov Koi ^)3ov T€paivovau rtf¥ r&v tomvtwv waStifiirmv Ka$afitrw. 

' rSv TOMvrwv baa given rise to much misundentanding. It 
U not 'all such emotions' or 'these and suchlike emotions,' Irat hy 
a frequent and idiomatic use ' the aforesaid emotions^' namel j, pity 
and fear. It is with these, and these onlj, that tragedj is oon- 
cemed throughout the PoeHa. There is probably, as Beinksni 
(p. 161) says, a delicate reascm here for the preference of rfir 
roiot$T»v over the demonstrative. The IXcog and ^)3of of the 
definitions, as wiU be evident in the seq;uel, are the aesthetic 
emotions of pi^ and fear, those which are awakened by the tnigic 
representation. rAv rotoirmv waOtifiiruv are the emotions of 
pi^ and fear which belong to real life. The use of rvirmp instesd 
of roioirmp might have suggested that the feelings were identicsDy 
the I 



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V 



POETRY AND FINE ART 

^h» 'sereral lands of embellisliment ' are in the 
lecKt^ paiagiaph eiqplained to be Tenie and song; 
rerse without music being employed in the dia- 
lOgisxe, lyrical song in the choral parts. Tragedy is 
lierel>y distinguished &om Nomic and Dithyrambic 
poetary, which use the combined embellishments 
kihroiighout.^ 

From this definition it appears first, that the 
ffentis of tragedy is Imitation. This it has in 
eominon with all the fine arts. 

'Next, it is differentiated from comedy as being 

a §U§aff^ui ^mviala^ vpd^em^, an imitation of an ac- 

tioii that is neither yeXoia nor ^vXaj, neither ludicrous 

nor morally trivial It is concerned with a serious 

end, namely wStufAopla,^ — ^that well-being which is 

the true end of life. It is a picture of human 

destiny in all its significance. No one English 

word completely renders airovSata^. The transla- 

tian ^ noble/ which has the merit of applying to the 

chaiacters as well as to the action, yet suggests too 

much a purely moral quality, while at the same 

lime it does not adequately bring out the implied 

antithesis to comedy. Grave and ffrecit — these 

are the two ideas contained in the word. Many of 

the older critics, missing the true import of trwov- 

Saioff, transfer the meaning which they ought to 

haye found here to the later words, f^eyido^ ixowni^, 

of the definition. These — as is plain from Aris- 

^ Cpi iW. i 10. s Fod. tL 9. 



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A 



THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 8S5 

totle's explanation in cL viL — prefer to the actual 
length of the poem. Addison^^ who does not' 
stand alone in this view, includes under them the 
greatness or significance of the action (which is 
in fact denoted by tnrovBala^) and also the internal 
length or duration of the action, of which Aristotle 
here says nothing. 

Further, tragedy is differentiated in form from 
Epic poetry as being dramatic not narrative. 

The remainder of the definition describes the 
specific effect, the proper function {ipt^) of 
tragedy, — namely, to produce a certain kind of 
katharsis. It would be a curious study to collect 
the many and strange translations that have been 
given of this definition in tiie last three hundred 
years. Almost every word of it has been mis- 
interpreted in one way or another. But after all 
it contains only two real difficultiea The one lies 
in the clause concerning the 'several kinds of 
embellishment.' Fortunately, however, Aristotie 
has interpreted this for us himself; otherwise it 
would doubtiess have called forth volumes of criti- 
cism. The other and more fundamental difficulty 
relates to the meaning of the kcUharsis. Here we 
seek in vain for any direct aid &om the Poetics. 

A great historic discussion has centred round 

^ SpteUUar Na 867 : < AristoUe 1^ the gicitDMi of tha «ctMm 

does not 011I7 mean that it should be great in itt nataze hat also 

in its duTatioD, or in other irocds that it should ha^s a das Imgfik 

in it| as weU as what we propezlj call greatnesn' 

Q 



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16 POETRY AND FINE ART 

lie phrase. No passage, probably, in ancient' i 

tezatiue has been so firequently handled by j 

ofntmeiitatois^ eritics, and poets, by men who j 

new Greek, and by men who knew no Greek A j 

raditioii almost unbroken through centuries found { 

a it a Te£a:ence to a moral effect which tragedy I 
aodaces through the ^purification of the passions.' 
iVhat tiie precise effect is, and what are the 
MnionB on which tragedy works, was very . | 
i^ously interpreted. Comeille, Badne,^ Lessing, 
sach offered different solutions, but all agreed in * j 

issuming the purely ethical intention of the drama. i 
Boethe protested; but his own most interesting 

theory* is for linguistic reasons quite impossible, | 

^ Badne ititet bit own pnipoM as a dramatie writer in the t 

r^w&ee to mdn: *Ct qna jo pnisse aasurer e'est que je n'en ai 
point fait ob la Torta aoit plus miae en jour que dans celle-ci ; ces 
aoindica firates j scmt sdrkement pnnies : la senle pens^ du crime j 

jcsticgud^ avee antant d'horreor que le crime m^me ; lea faiblesses 
de FanKNir j passent pour de Tiaies iaibleases. Les passkms n'j 
•out pffsaentfics anz jeuz que pour montrer tout le d^sordre dont I 

dies aont cause ; et k Tice j est peint partout avec des oouleurs i 

qvi en fint eonnattre et haSr la difformit& Cest lik proprement le j 

Int que toot bomme qui trayaflk pour le public doit se proposer ; I 

et cfest ce que lea premiers pokes tragiques ayaient en rue sur 
toute dioee. Leur di^toe <tait une ^le oil la vertu n'^tait pas 
■Mbs Inen enseign^ que dans les ^les des pbilosopbes. Aussi I 

Aiistote n Inen touIu donner des r^les du po^e drtunatique ; et 
Socate, la plus aage des pbilosoplies^ ne d^daignait pas de mettre 
la Bain anx tragedies d'Euripides. II serait 4 soubaiter que nos 
^Vfiagss fassent aussi sdides et aussi pleins dHitiles instructions 
qas eenx de ces po^eSi' 

' PaUislied In NtMm m AruMda PMO^ ISSS. His trans- j 

IttMneC^adefiaitMMiiswortliiecctding^ifonljforitoeEXon. <Die • 

i 
j 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 227 

nor does it accord with much else that is contained 
in the Poetics. In 1857 a pamphlet by Jacob 
Bemays^ reopened the whole question, and gave 
a new direction to the argument His main idea 
had been forestalled by one or two earlier critics, 
but it had never been fully worked out and had 
hitherto attracted but little notice. 

Bemays, with equal learning and literary skill, 
maintained that katharsis here is a medical meta- 
phor,' ' purgation/ and denotes a pathological effect 
on the soul analogous to the effect of medicine on 
the body. The thought, as he interpreted it, may 
be expressed thus. Tragedy excites the emotions 
of pity and fear — ^kindred emotions that are in the 

Tragddie ist die Nachahmnhg einer bedeutenden ond mbgMchloa*- 
enen Handlung, die eine gewisae Amdehnung bat iind in an- 
muthiger Spradie vorgetaragen wild, und swar Ton abgesonderten 
Oettalten, deien jede ilire eigene BoUe spielt, and nicht enahlnngs- 
weiae von einem Einielnen ; nach einem Verlauf aber Ton Mitleod 
nnd Fnrcbt, mit Auagleicbung aolcber Leidenscfaaften ibr Qescbaft 
abecblieat' Tbe ciSi^ of tbe definition bere become tbe dxamatie 
cbaiacteis and tbe /A6pia are tbe parts tbej plaj I 

^ Bepablisbed in ISSO in tbe Yolume Zwd Athmdlumffmi 4ibir 
du AriiMeU$^ l%0one de$ Drama (Berlin). 

' Tbe tbree cbief meam'nga of tbe word, 1. tbe medical, 8. 
tbe religioua or lituxgical, Unatratio' or 'exinatio^' and 3. tbe 
moral, * purification are aometimee difficult to keep apart In Plat 
SojiK. 830 B tbe medical metapbor is prominent Befutation 
(^Ac/x^) ^ ^ mxAt of fCft^ofNTis. Before knowledge can be im- 
parted internal obatadea must be remoTed (t& lfaro8l(orra he* 
fiakttv). In OraL 405 A doctors and sootbsaTen botb nse 1/ 
KaOafio-is Kol ol KaOapfioL In Phaedo 69 tbe medical sense of 
KiSaptns sbades off into tbe religions^ tbe transition being effscted 
hj tbe mention ottcaOapfMit. 



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S28 POETRY AND FINE ART 

breastB of all men — ^and by tiie act of excitation 
affords a pleasurable relie£ The feelings called 
forth by tiie tragic spectacle are not indeed per- 
manently removed, but are qnieted for the time, so 
that the system can h31 back upon its normal 
course. The stage, in fact, provides a harmless 
and pleasurable outlet for instincts which demand 
satisfiBution, and which can be indulged here more 
fearlessly than in real life. 

Plato, it must be remembered, in his attack 
upon the drama had said that * the natural hunger 
after sorrow and weeping' which is kept under 
control in our own calamities, is satisfied and 
delighted by the poets.^ * Poetry feeds and waters 
the passions instead of starving them.'* Through 
its tearful moods it enfeebles the manly temper ; 
it makes anarchy in the soul by exalting the lower 
elements over the higher, and by dethroning reason 
in favour of feeling. Aristotle held that it is not 
desirable to kill or to starve the emotional part 
of the soul, and that the regulated indulgence of 
the feelings serves to maintain the balance of our 

^ B^ X. 606 A, ih filf icarcx^ficvov rir€ iy rotv ofticc£us 
^vfi4opoX9 §ad w€W€ivfiiA9 rod SoKpSaut re koX ivoSvpourOai 
tscuvm Jca} iwowXtfird^vaif ^Arii iv roiovrov otov rovrwv 
jri0v/ic&% rir* irrl tovto ih dir& r£y iroci^v wiforkifuvov 
seti X^>^^^* ^ ^^^ ^1 Aoy£f«rAu yip, o^uum, iXiyons rurl 
gMSrmmtf in JaroXacUiv it^yxtf iwi riv ikXiorphi¥ th ri oUtta. 
Opi^mtrra yitp cr ciccfroif irxyfAw rh iXiHiwiv ov I^^Stov bt roU 

' ill 606 D, r/M^i yiip ravr* ipHowa^ Scot aixiutv. 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 229 

nature. Tragedy, he would say, is a vent for the 
particular emotions of pity and fear. In the first 
instance, it is true, its effect is not to tranquillise 
but to excite. It excites emotion, however, only 
to allay it Pity and fear, artificially stirred, expel 
the latent pity and fear which we bring with us 
itom real life, or at least, such elements in them as 
are disquieting. In the pleasurable calm, which 
follows when the passion is spent, an emotional 
cure has been wrought.^ 

It is worth noting, as has been pointed out by 
Bemays, and before him by Twining, that Milton, 
with the intuition at once of a poet and a scholar, 
apprehended something of the true import of 
Aristotle's words. In his preface to Samson 
Agonistes he writes : 

'Tragedy, as it was anciently composed, hath 
been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most 
profitable of all other poems; therefore said by 
Aristotle to be of power, by raising pity and fear, 
or terrour, to purge the mind of those and such- 
like passions; that is to temper or reduce them 

^ ZeUer {Phil der Or.) diinks it unimportant wliether tlie 
medical or the religiooa use of the haJOuvnii is piimarilj intended, 
at in either ease the word bears a sense hx remoyed from tlie 
original metaphor. Bat the distinctive method of relief is differenl 
in the two cases. The medical ibot^mi implies relief following 
upon prerions excitatian. There is first a to/kix^ or ictnjo^ thtn 
Ki$apiri9 or hucpitnt* This is of vital moment for the axgament» 
If we lose sight of the metaphor, the significance of the proeesi 



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330 POETRY AND FINE ART 

to just measure with a kind of delight stirred up 
hy reading or seeing those passages well imitated 
ISoT is Nature herself wanting in her own efforts 
to make good his assertion, for so, in physick, 
things of melancholick hue and quality are used 
against mekncholy, sour against sour, salt to 
remove salt humours.' In other words tragedy 
is a form of homoeopathic treatment^ curing 
emotion by means of an emotion like in kind, 
bat not identical^ 

Aristotle, it would seem, was led to this re- 
markable theory by observing the effect of certain 
mdodies upon a form of religious ecstasy, or, as the 
Greeks said, * enthusiasm,' such as is rarely si^en 
in this coimtry, and whose proper home is in the 
East The persons subject to such transports were 
resided as men possessed by a god, and were taken 
xmder the care of the priesthood. The treatment 
prescribed for them was so far homoeopathic in 
character, that it consisted in applying movement 
to cure movement, in soothing the internal trouble 
of the mind by a wild and restless music. The 
passage in the Politics^ in which Aristotle de- 

' O^^ckdnglmMof &Nii«oi»ii^ofiM(M.* 
* Hit terranti be^ with new aoquiit 
Of true experience, from this great event 
With peace and conablation hath dinmli»ed| 
And cahn of mind, aU paarion spent' 
s JVL T. (nil) 7. lUl b 3*8—1348 a 15. For cvtfourta- 
wfnh aa « aoiUd alate to be eared bj mnaic aee Aiiitidea Qnin- 
(em. 100 ▲•&) w^H ftm/iruc^ & iL p. 157| quoted and 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY S31 

scribes the opeiation of these tumultuotis melodies 
is the key to the meaning of hxtharsis in the 
Poetics. Such music is expressly distinguished 
by Aristotle £x>m the music which has a moral 
effect or educational value {iraiBeia^ h^teep). It 
differs, again, £x>m those forms of music whose 
end is either relaxation {irp^ iufdirawnv) or the 
higher aesthetic enjoyment {irpi^ Suvfcayiip). Its 
object is katha/rsis. It is a physical stimulus, 
which provides an outlet for religious fervour. 
Patients, who have been subjected to this 
process, ^£Etll back,' to quote Aristotle's phrase, 
'into their normal state, as if they had under- 
gone a medical or purgative treatment.'^ The 
emotional result • is a ' harmless joy ' ixH^ 
apKafirj). 

The homoeopathic cure of morbid * enthusiasm ' 
by means of music, was, it may be incidentally 
observed, known also to Plato. In a passage of 

explained in Boring p. 338, q». p. 861. Theie the heeling procen 
is denoted hj KaraariXXmrOcUj <uro/iCiXiTT«rAu, iKKaOaipecrSat. 
The mono employed is called a idii,rfrl% ri% (tA of the enthnsiasmX 
which shows that the mnsieal KiBuparv is a kind of homoeopathie 
cine* 

^ PoL y. (viiL) 7. 1348 a 10, KaOurrafiivwt itnnp Mir/Mm 
rvx6vras Koi KaOdflirmai. The &nrcp marks the introdiietio& of 
the metaphor. iaTp€la is explained bj the more speeiHe term 
Kd0apirt% KaOirrwrOai is also a vetif, prop, in medioine^ either of 
the patient relapsing into his natural state or of the disease settling 
down (ep. Doring p. 323). In the same passage of the P6Uti» 
1342 a 14 the medical metaphor is kept up in Kov^m^m^ 
•obtain relief 



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SSS POETRY AND FINE ART 

the Laws^ wheie he is lajring down rules for the 
management of infiAnts, his advice is that infants 
should be kept in perpetoal motion, and live as if 
they were always tossing at sea. He proceeds to 
compare the principle on which religions ecstasy 
is cored by a strain of impassioned music, with the 
method of nurses, who lull their babies to sleep 
not by silence but by singing, not by holding them 
quiet but by rocking them in their arms. Fear, 
he thinks, is in each case the emotion that has to 
be subdued, — a fear caused by something that has 
gone wrong within. In each case the method of 
core is the same ; an external agitation {icliffiirv;) 
is employed to cahn and coimteract an internal 
But Plato recognised the principle only as it 
applied to music and to the useful art of nursing. 
Aristotle, with his generalising fEtculty and his 
love of discovering unity in different domains of 
life, extended the principle to tragedy, and hints 
at even a wider application of it. In the Politics^ 
after explaining the action of the musical katharsis^ 
he adds, that ^ those who are liable to pity and fear, 
and, in general, persons of emotional temperament 
pass through a like experience; . . . they all 
imdeigo a hatharsis of some kind and feel a 
pleasurable relie£' ' 

1 l^MiTiL 790-1. 

> PML T. (TiiL) 7. 1348 a 14, raM fi^ rovro dvayKator 
y iSy X^tr mil roftt iktJjfunmt ica2 rovs ^fiifruccin tcai rdfs ikmt 
wmfifntuAtf . • • mil wSo'i ylypwBal riva KiOapariy ica2 icov^^c- 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 2S3 

The whole passage of the Politics here referred 
to is introduced by certain important prefe^ry 
words : ^ What we mean by kcUharsis we will now 
state in general terms (an-XA?); hereafter we will 
explain it more clearly (^/>ot)/A<y ca^iar^pov) in our 
treatise on Poetry.'^ But in the Poetics^ as we 
have it, the much desired explanation is wanting ; 
there appears to be a gap in the text at this most 
critical point We are therefore driven back upon 
the Politics itself as our primary authority. The 
tone of the passage and particular expressions show 
two things plainly — first, that the term there is 
consciously metaphorical ; secondly , that though its 
technical use in medicine was familiar, the meta- 
phorical application of it was novel, and needed 
elucidation. Moreover, in the words last quoted, 
— * all undergo a kcUharsis of some kind,' — it is 
pretty plainly implied that the kcUharsis of pity 
and fear in tragedy is analogous to, but not identical 
with, the kcUharsis of ^ enthusiasm/ 

Now, Bemays transferred the kcUharsis of the 
Politics almost without modification of meaning to 
the definition of tragedy. He limited its reference 

o-Au /icd* 1^1^. Here rtva KiBapaiv impliet that the hatiianu 
in all eaaee is not pieciselj of the same kind. Hence we see 
the force of the ertide in the definition of tragedj, ri^y riSy 
rowiruv waBrnuirmy Ki$ap(nv^ ih$ tpecifie hatkami^ that which 
is appropriate to these emotiona. There is nothing in the Po$Ue$ 
to bear oat the aatumption of man j eommentatora that epic poetiy 
excites predselj the same emotions as tragedj. 
1 FoL y. (Tiii) 7. 1841 b 39. 



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334 POETRY AND FINE ART 

to the simple idea of an emotional reliei^ a pleasur- 
able vent for oyerchaiged feeling.^ This idea, no 
doubt, ahnost exhausts the meaning of the phrase 
as it is used in the Politics. It also expresses, as 
has been above explained, one important aspect of 
the tragic hatharsis. But the word, as taken up 
by Aristotle into his terminology of art, has prob- 
ably a further meaning. It expresses not only a 
&ct of psychology or of pathology, but a principle 
of art. The original metaphor is in itself a guide 
to the full aesthetic significance of the term. In 
ihe medical language of the school of Hippocrates 
it strictly denotes the removal of a painful or dis- 
turbing element from the organism, and hence the 
purifying of what remains, by the elimination of 
alien matter.' Applying this to tragedy we observe 

^ KeUfl^s theoiy of poetrj— of the ^ria medica poeticae,' aa lie 
caUa it— deeervea to be compared. It ia expounded in liis Pradee- 
tumu AeademiaUf and also in a leview of Lockhart'a L^e qf SeoUf 
wliich liaa been lepnbliibed in Eeble's Oeeational Papen and 
BtvinoL The most important pages of the review are quoted in 
Fxkkaxd {AruUdU an ih$ AH of Podry\ pp. 102 iqq. W. Lock 
(BM^mp^y pfKdlU) sums up the- theory thus : ' Poetrj is essentiallj 
fov him a relief to the poet^ a relief for oyerchaiged emotion. It is 
the utterance of feelings which struggle for ezpressiony but which 
aie too deep for perfect expression at all, much more for expression 
m the language of dailj life.* Earing pointed out that Eeble's 
tiieoty testa mainlj on the Podiia he adds : * But Aristotle writes 
aa a critic and is thinking of the effect upon the readers ; Eeble, as 
a poet| dwells primarily on the effect upon the poet^ and secondarily 
€Q that upon the readers.* 

' jccTMcrif in the Hippocimticwritingi denotes the entire removal 
ef healthy but aorplua humouia (rSr cUnUw iruv ^wtpfiakkg rf 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 235 

that the feelings of pity and fear in real life contain 
a morbid and disturbing element In the process 
of tragic excitation they find relief, and the morbid 
element is thrown off. As the tragic action pro- 
gresses, when the tumult of the mind, first roused, 
has afterwards subsided, the lower forms of emotion 
are foimd to have been transmuted into higher and 
more refined forms. The painful element in the 
pity and fear of reality is purged away; the 
emotions themselves are purged. The curative 
and tranquillising influence that tragedy exerdses 
follows as an immediate accompaniment of the 
transformation of feeling. Tragedy, then, does 
more than effect the homoeopathic cure of certain 
passions. Its function on this view is not merely 

irX^tffi) ; KaOafKrts the removal of r& Xvrovira and the like, — *of 
qmlitativelj alieii matter' (tQv dXXorpimy Kari voiirrpu^ Qalen). 
Thus Qalen xvL 106, Kivwra hay arayrtf o! XVf^ ifioriftmn 
KtySmUj KdOaptrts Si Srav o! fnoxOiipot icarct wotiSTqTa : zri lOd, 
JoTi fiiv o3v 1^ Ki$apa'i,% r&v Xvwovvrwv Kark woUrfira Kivmrt^ : 
ep. [Flat] *0/XH 415 D, Kd0ap(r%$ iariKpw^^ xup6vm¥ cbri /ScA* 

KoBalfKw admits of a doable constmctioii. It takes — 

0) An accnsatiTe of the distnrbing element which is expeUed or 
purged awofff : $,g. rh wtphrwfMj rd, Xvwovvruy rk cLXAo* 
T/Mo. The idea here uppermost is the n^gatiTe cme of 
removing a foreign substance. 

(ii) An aoeosatiTe of the object which is purged hj this process 
of remoTsl : e^, rhv wOpmnrov, to o^i^fMi, riiv i^X^» ^ 
watf^/iarcu The idea here uppermost is the positive one 
of purifying or clarifying the oigaiiismy organ, or portioa 
of the system from which the morbid matter is expelled. 

Oorrespcmding to this twofold use of the accusative with the 



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SS6 POETRY AND FINE ART 

to provide an outlet for pity or fear, bat to pro- 
Tide for them a distinctiyelj aesthetic 8atis£Etetion» to 
purify and clarify them by passing them through 
the medium of art 

But what is the nature of this clarifying process? 
Here we have no direct reply from Aristotle. But 
he has left us some few hints, some materials, out 
of which we may perhaps reconstruct the outlines 
of his thought 

f«rt» w% have a twofdd Oie of tlM genitiTe with, the noun 
mJiSmfig^z — 

(i) tMofMrt^ rwy XinrovKTM^, rov w^pirrd/iarosj rSv dXXorpu^y 
an*i the like. To this claas belongs the expression in Flat 
nMdo 69 G^ KaOapo'it rSv roiovrmy wdrruv (sc r&v 
i^&nrfrX *the piirging away of these pleasores,' the pleasures 
being regarded as not merel j eontaining a morbid element, 
but as being in themselyes morbid. 
0a) KmBap(rt9 (* purgation of) rov dvOfiAirov, rov aiiftarosy r&v 
wu0iiitiruv^ where the genitive expresses the person or 
thing on which the KiOapo-t^ takes effect 
In ibtt definition of traged j the genitive seems to &11 under (iiX 
The mtfo/MTif rmy roiovrmy waJdrnkim^y is * the purgation or purifi- 
cation of the pitj and fear' of real life bj the expulsion of the 
morlnd element This element is — ^it is argued abore-^a certain 
pain or Xvn|» which again arises from the selfishness which dings 
to these emotions in actual lile. 

The interpretation of Bemaysi * the alleviating discharge of these 
emotions/ implies that the genitive iSidls under (iX According to 
this interprrtation the cure is effected by the total expulsion of the 
SMotions^ instead of by their clarification. 

The doable meaning of the accusative with KAdatpuy is already 
loceshadowed in Homer, who emploja a double accusative, of the 
tiling and of the person : lUai xvL 667, 

ft <* Aye rSr, ^flU *o^ mAsum^ o^ icotf^r 



V 






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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 2S7 

The idea of hxtharsis implies, as we have seen, 
the expulsion of a painful and disquieting element, 
— T^ Xuwwirra. Now pity and fear in their relation 
to real life are by Aristotle reckoned among rk 
\uwoihrra. Each of them jb, according to the defini- 
tion in the JRhetaric, a form of pain (x^ tk). 
Fear Aristotle defines to be *a species of pain or 
disturbance arising from an impression of impending 
evil which is destructive or painful in its nature.' ^ 
Moreover, the evil is near not remote, and the 
persons threatened are ourselves. Similarly, pily 
is * a sort of pain at an evident evil of a destructive 
or painful kind in the case of somebody who does 
not deserve it, the evil being one which we might 
expect to happen^ to ourselves or to some of our 
fidends, and this at a time when it is sew to be 
near at hand.'* Piiy, however, turns into fear 
where the object is so nearly related to us that 
the su£fering seems to be our own.' Thus pity 
and fear in Aristotle are strictly correlated feelings. 

1 WeUdon't Trau of BfuL ii 6. 13S8 a 81, im* fi^ ^/Sos 
kitrq ri« ^ Topaxi^ he ^tamo'tai ficAAoKrot kokw ^tOapTuani 

s /& iL a 18S6 b 18, irm fi^ iXm Xvwri rit hi ^cuvo^miv 
icaicf ^BapfTiK^ KoX kvwrfpf^ rov ivii^v rvyxiv€iy^ i k&v ovtos 
ir/EXMr£o«c^(rf uv iy woBtty ^ rSv avroS rcnl, Koi tovto Srav wktjirCoy 
^Mlyqrau Cpi 13S6 a 89, hrtl fi* iyy^ ifMii^fuva rk waJOri IXccftva 
joTiy, rk a fivpwnhy Irof y€v6fU¥a ij Mfuva oirrc Airijbrm 
ovr« iMiivtiyiyoi ^ jAm« o&c jAcowriy ^ ovx V^^<°^ icr.A. 

• /& iL S. 13S6 a 17, IXtovtri Si Tot$9 t« frnpliw^ Ar m 
o^iSfM lyyht itnv oUtninfn* W€pi Si rotJrovt itnnp wyi «&ro^ 
fiffXAovTof ^owrm 



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238 POETRY AND FINE ART 

We pity others where under like circumstances we 
should fear for ourselves.^ Those who are incapable 
of fear are incapable also of pity.' 

Thus in psychological analysis fear is the primary 
emotion £x>m which pity derives its meaning. Its 
basis is a self-regarding instinct ; it springs £K)m 
the feeling that a similar su£fering may happen to 
ourselves. It has in it a latent and potential fear. 
But it is a wrong inference to say, as Lessing 
does/ that fear is always an ingredient in pity, — 
that we fear for ourselves whenever we feel pity 
for another. The Aristotelian idea simply is that 
we would feel for ourselves if we were in the 
position of him who is the object of our pity. The 
possible fear may never become actual, but the 
strength of the pity is not thereby impaired. Still 
the tacit reference to self makes the pity of the 
EheUnic sensibly different £K)m the pure instinct 
of compassion, the imselfish sympathy with others' 

^ BheL iL S. 1886 a 88, &ra l^ avr&v ^/Swimu, ravra hf 
iXkMV yiyv6fU¥a iXwdfrtv. ii 5. 1388 b 86, «k fi* awXik ciirciy, 
^P^fii irriv ocro c^' irifmy yiyi^/icva ^ ftcAAoyra IX^tivd 

> J& iL a 1386 b 80, tA oSrt o2 wavrtXSk AitoXmXAt^ 
cAcowriy* ovfiiv yiip £r Sn waOiiy oiomu, ir€w6v0Qa'i ydp* 
vht o{ vvi/Mv&Mfiomy oU/bicvoi, iXX ipplfp/wiV. Cp^ iL 6. 
1383 a 9. 

* Lesiing JJomft. Droim. Trans. (Bohn) p. 409, 416, 436. The 
Tiew tbat tbe mention of fear in the definition is superflaooi^ fear 
being implicit in pi^, is strangely inconsistent with the position 
he takes up against Oomeille, that j^ty and fear are the tragic 
I piij akne being insufficient 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 239 

distreas, which most modem writers imderstand 
by pity.* 

The conditions of dramatic representation, and 
above all the combined appeal which tragedy 
makes to both feelings, will considerably modify 
the emotions as they are known in actual reality. 
Pity in itself undergoes no essential change. It 
has still for its object the misfortunes of 'one 
who is imdeserving ' (o ivd^iai} ; which phrase, as 
interpreted by Aristotle {Poet. ch. xiiL), means 
not a wholly innocent sufferer, but rather a man 
who meets with sufferings beyond his deserts. 
The emotion of fear is profoundly altered when it 
is transferred from the real to the imaginative 
world. It is no longer the direct apprehension of 
misfortune impending over our own life. It is 
not caused by the actual approach of danger. It 
is the reflex of the pily that we feel for the tragic 
hero. His misfortunes make us tremble for our- 
selves,' and for the possibilities of human nature, 

^ Cpi MendeUsolin, ^Pity is a complex emotioii eomposed 
of love for an object and di«pleasare caused bj its miseij.* 
Scbopenbauer held pity to be at the xoot of aU trae moiali^. 
Even in ancient writers a compassion less self-regarding than tlie 
2Acof of the Bhttorie is not nnknown : cp. the striking lines of 
Euripides SUctr. 294 — 

ivwTi S* oIkto^ dfM0l^ /ur ovSo/iov 

fronton fi* iySpS¥, 

* FoiL xiiL S, ikats fiiy irc/H liv cEvof iov, ^fiof Si W€pl r^ 

ifiiotov* If this passage stood alone, grammatical synunetiy would 

lead us to suppose that as i Ja^iot is the object of fXcoCi so • 

i/iiowi is the object of ^jSbt : that our &ar, in fact, i% in the 



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S40 POETRY AND FINE ART 

— ^unlikely as we are ever to be placed in cir- 
cnmstances precisely identical with his. 

The tragic sufferer is a man like oorselyes 
(o/MM^); and on that likeness the whole effect 
of tragedy, as described in the Poetics^ hinges. 
Without it he would fail to win our sympathy. 
The resemblance on which Aristotle insists is one 
of moral character. His hero {Poet. ch. ziii) is a 
man not of flawless perfection, nor yet of consum- 

fint iiutaiioe^ for the tragic hero. So tlie words have been taken 
\j manj commentators. Tragic feari the/ maintain, is tlie fear 
feU for the hero while the catastrophe is impending, and hope 
ftin remains : when the crisis is past, the fear is turned to pity. 
The objections to this view are : — 

(1) The self- regarding natore of fear as it is defined by 
Aristotle. Fear for the hero would hj him be included under 
pity : see BhsL ii 6. 1382 b 26, quoted p. 238 Note 1. The 
yiyv6/u¥a and ficXAovra there show that pity is not excited only 
bj an event in the past : we may pity a man for what is happen- 
ing or is about to happen. Cp. also ii 8. 1386 a 35, ^ cW i»iKXov 
^ityc/ovii. 

(2) If pity and fear are onlj two sides of the same feeling, the 
one being aroused before, the other after the tragic event, why lay 
such stress as Aristotle does on the combined eflfect? In any 
play with a tragic ending — a /Mr<£^3a<ri9 c^ cvrvx^^ <'< Sv<mh 
X^<M^ — ^fsir must needs be excited beforehand, provided pity is 
^ at the close : the special mention of fear might be dispensed 
with. 

(3) Why, again, distinguxBh the exciting cause in the two 
cases t Pity is wtpi rhv ivi^MV^ fear w€pi riv ifnoioy. Does not 
this at once suggest that one emotion is not simply a phase of the 
other, and that the object of ]^ty is distinct from the object of fear t 

The wyUf therefore, has probably a different sense in the two 
clauses : * we feel pity lor i iwi^wi : we feel fear in anmmm 
wUk i i§Kiowff* ia. Ids sufferings awaken our fear for ourselves. 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY S41 

mate villainy ; by which we must not understand 
that he has merely average or mediocre qualities. 
He rises, indeed, above the common level in moral 
elevation and dignity, but he is not free from 
frailties and imperfections.^ His must be a rich 
and frdl humanity, composed of elements which 
other men possess, but blended more harmoniously 
or of more potent quality. So much human 
nature must there be in him that we are able in 
some sense to identify ourselves with him, to make 
his misfortunes our own. At the same time he is 
raised above us in external dignity and station. 
He is a prince or famous man who feJls from a 
height of greatness. Apart from the impressive 
effect of the conti:ast so presented, there is a gain in 
the hero being placed at an ideal distance from the 
spectator. We are not confronted with outward 
conditions of life too like our own. The pressure 
of immediate reality is removed; we are not 
painfully reminded of the cares of our own 
material existence. We have here part of the 
refining process which the tragic emotions under- 
go within the region of art They are disengaged 
from the petty interests of self, and are on the 
way to being universalised. 

The tragic fear, though modified in passing 
under the conditions of art, is not, in Aristotle, a 
languid sympathy. Being refracted through pity, 

> Sm tnf. eh. Tiii. 
R 



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S42 POETRY AND FINE ART 

it differs from the crashing apprehension of personal 
disaster. It is true that in reading or witnessing 
the Oedipiu Tyrannua we are not seized with the 
apprehension that we may conunit the same errors 
as Oedipus, or be overtaken by the same calamities.^ 
Yet a thrill runs through us» a shudder of horror 
or of vague foreboding.' The object of dread 
is not a definite evil threatening us at close 
quarters. But the vividness with which . the 
imagination apprehends possible calamity produces 
the same intensity of impression as if the danger 
were at hand.' We are brought into a mood in 
which we feel that we too are ^ liable to suffering.' ^ 
In the spectacle of another's errors or misfortunes, 
in the shocks and blows of circumstance, we read 
the uncertainty of all human fortunes. The tragic 

^ Oomeille (Disoonn n. De la Tragedie) aiguet from the 
abience of an/ sucli dread tliat the Oediptu Tyrannui excites pitj 
CBljf and not fear. Bui if fear is right!/ understood, it is par 
4xeelimc$ a tragedy of fear. 

' Fo€t, xir. 1 iii yap koI Svtv rov ipay ovrm a^vwravat riv 
/ftSdor, MTTc rhv iKovovra ret wpdyfiara ycvo/icva koX ^pirrciv 
KoX jAcciF cfc rmv avfifiaivivTW^' avtp &y wdOoi ns oko^v rhv 
rov Oi5iirov pSOoy. 

* This fact as the result of dramatic presentation is stated bj 
Aristotle with regard to iX^>Sf BheL ii. 8. 1886 a 32, avdyicri 
rov9 ovyaw€pya(ofuyov9 ax^fjuuri Kci iJHavaU teal ivO^i (aur^^cc 
A^ jccU Skms h vwoKphti iXtiiyoripovs c&oa* iyyifi yelp 
voioiSiri ^KuyarBai rh Kaxhv wp6 ifLfnimiy woiovvrtty rj it 
pkkXw ^ in y^oyifi, 

^ Cp. Skd. it 6. 1383 a 8, «icrrc &? Toiovrovt va/(Kuric<v<Cfccy, 
2rar f fiiXrwy r^ ^^Scur^cu avro^, Sri roiouroi tUriv dttn 
vafciK* icol yi^ iXXnn fmiCovt hroBay, 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 24S 

fear, self-regarding in its primary reference, be- 
comes an almost impersonal emotion* On the one 
hand it is distinct from the sympathetic anxiety 
we feel for the hero whose doom is still impending, 
and in whose existence we have for the time 
merged our own. On the other, it is no immediate 
apprehension for ourselves. The events indeed 
as they pass before us seem almost as if we were 
directly concerned. But the true tragic emotion, 
of fear attaches itself not to this or that par- 
ticular incident, but to the general course of 
the action, which is for us an image of human 
destiny. We are thrilled with awe at the 
tragic issues thus unfolded, and with a sense of 
the moral inevitableness of the result In the 
awe so inspired the emotions of fear and pity 
are blended. 

We can see now that the essential tragic effect 
depends on maintaining the intimate alliance be- 
tween pity and fear. According to Aristotle, not 
pity alone should be evoked by tragedy, as many 
modems have held ^ ; not pity or fear, for which 

^ «^. Schiller in bis essay On Tra^ ArU Eleewhere in hit 
letters and other wriUngs he sometimes speaks of fear as weU m 
pity ; bat his fear is not the Aristotelian fear ; it is merelj th« 
apprehension felt while the terrible erent is stiU in the Intiue^ a 
fear which becomes pity after the event 

In ancient tragedy fear was a powerful and necessary £Mtoc. 
In modem tragedy — ^with the exception of Shakespeare — pity 
predominates orer fear. In the eighteenth eentniy &ar waa 
almost entirely eliminated. 



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m POETRY AMD FINE ART^ 

Comeille aigued ' ; not pity and admiration, which 
is the version of the Aristotelian expression which 
is current in the Elizabethan writers,' The re- 
quirement of Aristotle Ib pity and fear.* He would 
no doubt allow that in some tragedies the primary 
and predominant impression is fear, in others 
pity. He would probably go farther and say that 
an inferior tragedy may excite one only of the two 
emotions generally called tragic.^ But the fiill 
tragic effect requires the union of the two, nor can 

' Comeille, Diaeovin u. De la Trag^ie, He thinks lie ia 
•apported bj Ariatotle in UiiB yiew. *I1 soffit selon loi (Aiistote) 
de Tun det deox poor fkire cette porgation, avec cette diffi&xenoe 
toatefoii^ que la piti^ n'y peat amrer sans la crainte, et que la 
cfainte peat j parrenir sans la piti^' Bat, as has been alreadj 
shown, there may be pity withoat fear in the Aristotelian sense. 

* €.g. Sir Philip Sidney Apology for Poetty: 'The high and 
ezeellent Tragedy . • . that with stirring the affects of admiration 
and commiseration teacheth the uncertainty of the world. . • ' 

* The twofold emotion is recognised in Plato Phaedr, 268 C, 
r/ fi* tl So^icAcft a8 wpwtkOiiv ica2 EvpiwlSQ ra Acyoi, &9 
hrinurai w€pi a-fiucfiov wpdyfMT09 fiytrtu irofifi^iccis woutv Kci 
W€fi /icyaXov wdw a-juKpaSj irav re Povkqrai olicrpisf ictd 
rwvavrtov at ^)3ipo$ icai dirciXi^iicas. • • Ion 535 E, 
tcaOofm yi^ jjccurrorf avrovs ivw6€v awb rov P^funrot KXMovris 
Tc icoi £c4V^y ififikiwovra^ koX awOafiPovvras rots Acyoftc^eis; 

^ In those passages where 'pity or fear* occurs instead of 
'pity and &ar' the disjuncttve particle retains its proper force. 
In Poet. zL 4 the reference is to the effect of a special kind of 
Jamywfipunt combined with w€pariT€UL rather than to the total 
impressioin of the tragedy: 17 yip rouwrti ivayyiipurts Koi 
wtpuwirum ij iX^v i^i ^ ^ftov^ oiW wpi^mv ^ rpayifi(a 
/i^fiajo'if Mmnui. Again in ziii* 8 we read, ov yip iftofi^piy 
miSi jAcfuAy nSro: ovr« yip ^iXav^pcMroy oJ(rc JAcffii^y ovr« 
^fi^piw imi 93r€ iktor «fr« ^)8or (l^oi Ar): ovri JXccirftr 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 245 

the distinctiye function of tragedy as katharsis 
be discharged otherwise. 

In the phrase of the anonymous fragment, * On 
Comedy/ ^ which appears to contain some genuine 
Aristotelian tradition, 'tragedy blends fear with 
pity in due proportion^ (ij rpa^^la av^fj^erpUof 
$iK€i !x^ip rod ^fiov). Pity, as Bemays explains, 
through its kinship with fear, is preserved from 
eccentricity and sentimentalism. Fear, through 
its alliance with pity, is divested of a narrow 
selfishness, of the vulgar terror which is inspired 
by personal danger.* A self-absorbed anxiety or 
alarm makes us incapable of sympathy with others. 
In this sense 'fear casts out pity.'* Tragic fear, 
though it may ^end an inward shudder through 
the blood, does not paraljrse the mind or stun the 
sense, as does the direct vision of some impending 

oJSrf <f>oP€pl6v irrai rft wyfiaZvovx none of the i^oto beie 
referred to have any of the elements of tragedy, much leas can 
they produce the fuU tragic effect 

^ Printed by Yahlen and Siuemihl at the end of their editions 
of the Podia^ and commented on in detail by Bemays, pp. 142 sg^. 

* Voltaire quotes with approval the observation of Saint- 
Evremont that in French tragedy tenderness takes the place of 
pity and surprise the place of fear. ' It cannot be denied' he sap 
* that Saint-Evremont has put his finger on the secret sore of the 
French theatre.' The idea of fear, again, was fifequently the 
horrible or frightening. Thus in France in the serentaenth 
century the conception of the tragic had come to be the imioii 
of the sentimental and the horrible. 

* Shd* iL S. 1886 a SS, ri yi^ Scii^v Ircpor rov jAcciyoS mmi 
iKKfiowrruchv rov iXiw. Op. 1886 b 88, ov y^ JXsoSoriy tl 
ffinriwXi^fiivoi Ui r& ttvfu wfAt rf oIkc^ wi$€i. 



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S46 POETRY AND FINE ART 

calamity. And the reason is that this fear, unlike 
the fear of common reality, is based on an imagin- 
ative union with another's life. The spectator is 
lifted out of himsel£ He becomes one with the 
tragic sufferer, and through him with humanity at 
large. One effect of the drama, said Plato, is that 
through it a man becomes many, instead of one ; 
it makes him lose his proper personality in a 
pantomimic instinct, and so prove false to him- 
sell Aristotle might reply:. True; he passes 
out of himself, but it is through the enlarging 
power of sympathy. He forgets his own petty 
sufferings. He quits the narrow sphere of the 
individual He identifies himself with the fate of 
mankind 

We are here brought back to Aristotle's theory 
of poetry as a representation of the universal 
Tragedy exemplifies with concentrated power this 
highest function of the poetic art. The characters 
it depicts, the actions and fortunes of the persons 
with whom it acquaints us, possess a typical and 
universal value. The artistic unity of plot, bind- 
ing together the several parts of the play in dose 
inward coherence, reveals the law of human des- 
tiny, the causes and effects of suffering. The 
incidents which thrill us are intensified in their 
effect, when to the shock of surprise is added the 
discovery that each thing as it has happened could 
not be otherwise; it stands in organic relation to 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 347 

what has gone before.^ Pity and fear awakened 
in connexion with these larger aspects of human 
suffering, and kept in dose alliance with one 
another, become universalised emotions. What is 
purely personal and self- regarding drops away. 
The spectator who is brought face to face with 
grander sufferings than his own e3q)eriences a 
sympathetic ecstasy, or lifting out of himself It 
is precisely in this transport of feeling, which 
carries a man outside his individual sel^ that the 
distinctive tragic pleasure resides. Pity and fear 
are purged of the impure element which clings to 
them in life. In the glow of tragic excitement 
these feelings are so transformed that the net 
result is a noble emotional satisfaction. 

The katharsis^ viewed as a refining process, 
may have primarily implied no more to Aristotle 
than the expulsion of the disturbing element, 
namely, the pain,* which enters into pily and fear 
when aroused by real objects. The mere fact of 
such an expulsion would have supplied him with 
a point of argument against Plato, in addition to 
the main line of reply above indicated.' In the 

^ Pod. ix. 11, where the point lies in the union of the wapSk 
t/jv S6^v with the &* AXXi^Xa. 

< Pp. Plat Symp. Qu. iii 8 (in referenoe to the mtudc$l haikam$\ 
&nr€p fj OptfVifiia koI i hnn^u^ avA^ iv ipxS ^^^^ <<m^^ ^^ 
iiicpvov jic)3d[AA<i, wpoiymv ii r^v ^X^*^ *^ oicroy oZrm tcmrdk 
fUKphv i^aip€t Kal ivakiirKMi ri Xviri^rijc^v:— « 
which is Ako inetrnetiTe ai to the hUhartie method geaMonUj^ 

* See pp. 888-0. 



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S48 POETRY AND FINE ART 

PhUebus Plato had described the mixed (fuxOelatu) 
or impure {iscMa/yroi) pleasures as those which 
have in them an alloy of pain ; and the pleasure 
of tragedy was stated to be of the mixed order.^ 
The Aristotelian theory asserts that the emotions 
on which tragedy works do indeed in real life 
contain a large admixture of pain, but that by 
artistic treatment this is transmuted into pleasure. 

In the fiur^oing pages, however, we have 
carried the analysis a step farther, and shown how 
and why the pain becomes a pleasure. The sting 
of the pain, the disquiet and unrest, arise from the 
selfish element which in the world of reality clings 
to these emotiona The pain is expelled when the 
taint of egoism is removed. If it is objected that 
the notion of universalising the emotions and 
ridding them of an intrusive element that belongs 
to the sphere of the accidental and individual, is 
a modem conception, which we have no warrant for 
attributing to Aristotle, we may reply that if this 
is not what Aristotle meant, it is at least the 
natural outcome of his doctrine ; to this conclusion 
his general theory of poetry points. 

Let us assume, then, that the tragic katharsis 
involves not only the idea of an emotional relief, 

Tpayffi!at9f /u) roif ipdfjuun ftivov iXXii rg rov piov ^v^irQ 
JAAMf ft) /AVjp&Nt. Cpi. 4S A, Tdk yc rpayucit Ontpfi^irutf iru¥ 



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V 



THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 249 

but the further idea of the purifying of the 
emotions so relieved. In accepting this interpre- 
tation we do not ascribe to tragedy a direct moral 
purpose and influence. Tragedy, according to the 
definition, acts on the feelings not on the will It 
does not make men better, but removes certain 
hindrances to virtue. The refinement of feeling 
tmder temporary and artificial excitement is still 
fSEur removed from moral improvement. Aristotle 
would probably admit that indirectly the drama 
has a moral influence, in enabling the emotional 
system to throw off some perilous stuff, certain 
elements of feeling, which, if left to themsdves, 
might develop dangerous energy, and impede the 
free play of those vital functions on which the 
exercise of virtue depends. The excitation of 
noble emotions wiU probably in time exert an 
influence on the will But whatever may be the 
indirect effect of the repeated operation of the 
katharsis^ we may confidently say that Aristotle in 
his definition of tragedy is thinking, not of any 
such remote result, but of the immediate end of 
the art, of the aesthetic function it fulfils. 

It is only under certain conditions of art that 
the homoeopathic cure of pity and fear by similar 
emotions is possible. Fear cannot be combined 
with the proper measure of pity, unless the sub* 
ject matter admits of being universalised. The 
dramatic action must be so significant, and its 



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350 POETRY AND FINE ART 

meaning capable of sucli extension, that throngli 
it we can dificem the higher laws which rule the 
world. The private life of an individual, tragic as 
it may be in its inner quality, has never been 
made the subject of the highest tragedy. Its con- 
sequences are not of fSEur-reaching importance; it 
does not move the imagination with sufficient 
power. Within the narrow circle of a bourgeois 
existence a great action is hardly capable of being 
unfolded. The keenest feeling of pity may be 
elicited by the conditions of such a life ; the action 
may even be represented with much dramatic 
force: but it is open to question whether it will 
not of necessity retain some traces of littleness, 
which hinder the awakening of tragic fear, — still 
more of that solemnity and awe which is the 
final feeling left by genuine tragedy. Some 
quality of greatness in the situation as well as in 
the characters appears to be all but indispensable, 
if we are to be raised above the individual suffer- 
ing, and experience a calming instead of a disquiet- 
ing feeling at the dose. The tragic katharsis 
requires that suffering shall be exhibited in one 
of its comprehensive aspects ; that the deeds and 
fortunes of the actors shall attach themselves to 
larger issues, and the spectator himself be lifted 
above the special case, and brought face to face 
with universal law and the divine plan of the 
world. 



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THE FUNCTION OF TRAGEDY 251 

In order that an emotion may be not only 
excited but also allayed, — that the tomxdt of the 
mind may be resolved into a pleasurable calm, — 
the emotion, stirred by a fictitious representation, 
must divest itself of its purely selfish and material 
elements, and become part of a new order of things. 
It is perhaps for this reason that love in itself is 
hardly a tragic motive. The more exclusive and 
self-absorbed a passion is, the more does it resist 
kathartic treatment The feelings excited must 
have their basis in the permanent and objective 
realities of life, and be independent of individual 
caprice or sentiment. In the ordinary novel the 
passion of love in its egoistic and self-centred 
interest does not admit of being generalised, or 
its story enlarged into a typical and independent 
action. The rare cases where a love story is truly 
tragic go to prove the point which is here enforced^ 
In Romeo and Juliet the tragedy does not lie 
merely in the tmhappy ending of a tale of true 
love. Certain other conditions, beyond thoee 
which contribute to give a dramatic interest, are 
required to produce the tragic effect. There is the 
feud of the two houses, whose high place in the 
commonwealth makes their enmity an affair of 
public concern. The lovers in their new found 
rapture act in defiance of all external obligations. 
The elemental force and depth of their passion 
bring them into collision with the fabric of the 



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S63 POETRY AND FINE ART 

80ciet7 to which they belong. Their tragic doom 
qniddy closes in upon them. Tet even in death 
the consequences of their act extend beyond the 
sphere of the individual Over the grave of their 
love the two houses are reconciled. 

Tragedy, as it has been here ei^lained, satisfies 
a universal human need. The fear and pity on 
and through which it operates are not, as some 
have mainlined, rare and abnormal emotions. All 
men, as Aristotle says,^ are susceptible to them, 
some persons in an overpowering measure. For 
the modem, as for the ancient world, they are still 
among the primary instincts; always present, if 
below the sur&ce, and ready to be called into 
activity. The Greeks, from temperament, circum- 
stances, and religious beliefs, may have been more 
sensitive to their influence than we are, and more 
likely to suffer from them in a morbid form. 
Greek tragedy, indeed, in its beginnings was but a 
wild religious excitement, a bacchic ecstasy. This 
aimless ecstasy was brought under artistic law. 
It was ennobled by objects worthy of an ideal 
emotion. The poets found out how the transport 
of human pity and human fear might, under the 
excitation of art, be dissolved in joy, and the pain 
escape in the purified tide of human iqrmpathy. 

^ Pel T. (▼iii) 7. 1842 a 6-7. 



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CHAPTER VII 

THE DRAMATIO UNITIBS 

' Unity of plot does not/ says Aiistotley^ ' as some 
persons thinks consist in unity of hero. For in- 
finitely various are the incidents in one man's life, 
which cannot be reduced to unity: and so, too, 
there are many actions of one man out of which we 
cannot make one action. Hence the error, as it 
appears, of all poets who have composed a Heracleid, 
a Theseid, or other poems of the kind. They imagine 
that as Heracles was one man, the story of Heracles 
ought also to be a unity.' Such is the principle laid 
down for tragedy in ch. viii, and Homer is there 
held up as the true model even to the tragedian. 
Precisely the same principle is affirmed of epic 
poetry in ch. xxiii, where it is added that unity 
of time, like unity of person, does jiot of itself 
bind events into a unity.* Not only epics like the 
Achilleid of Statins offend against this funda- 
mental principle, but also many modem dramas 
in which the life and character of the hero become 

^ Pod.ym.1. < Pm& zziiL 1-4. 



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254 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the ultimate motive^ and a biographical or his- 
toxical interest takes the place of the dramatic 
interest 

The first requirement of a tragedy is Unity of 
Action.^ Unity in Aristotle is the principle of 
limit, without which an object loses itself in the 
tirupw, the region of the undefined, the indeter- 
minate, the accidental By means of unity the 
plot becomes individual and also intelligible. The 
greater the unity, the more perfect will it be as a 
concrete and individual thing ; at the same time it 
will gain in universality and typical quality.* 

The Unity of the tragic action is, again, an 
organic unity, an inward principle which reveals 
itself in the form of an outward whole.' It is 
opposed indeed to plurality, but not opposed to 
the idea of manifoldness and variety ; for simple 
as it is in one sense, it admits of all the complexity 
of vital phenomena. The whole {oKov) in which it 
is manifested is complete {riKeiov) ^ in its parts, the 

^ For the meaning of wpa^it 'action,' see pp. 117 and 810 tq. 

' In ProL zviiL 9. 917 b S tqq^ the pleasure derived firom a 
Unitf is ultimately resolved into the &ct that it is yvtu/M/ifSrcpov : 
&i ri voTC rmv Urropi&y fjBwv djccvofuv t&v W€fA cv irw€JTijKviSiv 
^ rOw wyi iroXAd wpayfuir€vo/uvmv ; 1j Stin rois yvi^fuarifiois 
/mXAov wpoaixofiLt¥ Mi i^&ov airmv <Lcovo/a€v* yvtt»/M/A«Sr^v Si 
im ri ipurftivov rw iophrov. rh ftiv oiv iv cS/MOTOi, rik Si 
woXXik Tov iwtipov fi<r«x<** 

* IM. ch. Tii: (t& cIAov), ch. viiL (ri^ &) : tiip. pp. 176-6. 

^ In the definition of tragedy (Pod. vi S) we have rcAc&xf 
wp^i^mSjiRiiL2r€kita9itidikiiiwpi^iiti. So in zziiL lepie poetry 
U W9fi piu^wpi^ Skrf¥ Kolrikitav. A per&ot clAor is Heoessarily 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 365 

parts thenuselves being arranged in a fixed order 
{rd^^)f and structurally related so that none can 
be removed, none transposed, without disturbing 
the organisuL^ Within the single and complete 
action which constitutes the unity of a tragedy, 
the successive incidents are connected together 
by an inward and causal bond, — by the law of 
necessary and probable sequence, on which Aristotle 
is never tired of insisting. 

Again, a certain magnitude (fUy€$osi) is indis- 
pensable for the harmonious evolution of a whole 
such as is here described. This is frequently 
affirmed by Aristotle. As a biological law it 
applies to the healthy life and growth of all 
organic structure.s.* It is also an artistic law, 
expressing one of the first conditions of organic 

rcAcioy. In Pkyi. iii 6. 807 a 7 #99. SXov and rcAciov aie qipoaed 
to oTcifMv, and the two words declared to be almost equivalent m 
meaning : iwupov ftiv atv krrlv oi xari wwrhv Aofi^S^virir ocf 
Ti Aa)3ffiM imv {£*»• oS Si fitfiiv c^ rovr ini riXtiov Koi SX»y 
oirm yiip ipi(ifi€&a ih SXoVy oS fAtjOiv oirccrriv, obv £v0/MMror 
Skov ^ KiPfufriv : %&. 18, cIXom Sk Jc«U rtAciov 1} r^ avr^ vaj^orar ^ 
o^Jityyvt T^v ^virw irrtv. 

^ Pod, yiiL 4, /Mrari^cfMvov nvht fiip^nn fj i^^atpovfuvov &ac 
iJMpmrOiu Koi KWMurOoi ri ikov, 

* D$ Anim, iL 4. 416 a 16, r&v Si ^urci awurra^iiimv wirrwv 
krrl wipas fcai A^09 fMyc^ov? re xcu av^^(re«»€ : d$ OtiL Amimu 
iL 6. 746 a 6, Sm yip n wStn rott (i^is wipais rov fuyiOovs. 
The same prineiple applies to a v6kis^ PoL ir. (viL) 4. 1386 a 36, 
iXX* iirri ri Koi T6X^xn psykOwn pirpovy &rw€p kqX rSv oXXtfr 
warruv, (ifmv ^vrfiv ifr/av^v. PcL r. (TiiL) a. 1 808 b 84, innp 
aupa iK p^tpm ^rvyicciTOi jcal Sd Qv^d^mrOon Mikr/w, &« pivjf 
ovppurptof • • • 01^ Kid wiX4$ tc.r.k* ' 



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S56 POETRY AND FINE ART 

beauty.^ In thia latter sense it is emphasised in 
chapter yii of the Poetics. An object is unfit for 
artistic representation if it is infinitely large or 
infinitesimally smalL* On this principle a whole 
such as the Trojan war, * though it has a beginning 
and an end,' is too vast in its compass even for 
epic treatment ; it cannot be grasped by the mindi 
and incurs the risk attaching to any iroXup^pif^ 
wpa^i^, of becoming a series of detached scenes or 
incidents.* 

Aristotle wisely avoids attempting to lay down 
any very precise roles as to the possible length to 
which a play may be extended. What he does say 
on the subject is marked by much sobriety and good 
sense. He rejects as inartistic any reference to the 
outward and accidental conditions of stage repre- 
sentation.^ He falls bade on the law of beauty as 
governing a work of art, and — ^intimately related 
to this — on men's normal powers of memory and 
enjoyment The whole, he says, must be of such 
dimensions that it can be easily taken in by the 

* P^eL tIL 4y Sri S* circl t& KoXhv koX (i}ov icai oirav wfiSiyfia o 
orvvim^cr ex mySfw ov fiivov ravra rrrayfiiva Sci ix^iv oAAct koX 
Itiy^Ooit iwdpx€iv /a^ rh rvxiv «c.r.X. Cp. t6. 7, <U2 fiiv o fi€C(mv 
(•& fiSOoi) ftixp^ ToS frMtiXoi cfvai icaXA W corl Karik ri fiiy€0os* 
ML ir. (Tii) 4. 1886 a 84, && iccU w6)uv ^ /Mr& fMyffA>ii« i X^^cif 
ipoif vwapX^h Ta'6i7j¥ ttvai JcoAAMmjK dvay§calov* 

• FctL Tii. 4-5 : M^ p. 176. 

^ FotL TiL 6, Tov /A^icovf Spos <i> fciy wpl^ rein iySiKas ttai 



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J 



THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 257 

mind and retained in the memory.^ The more 
truly artifitic principle^ however^ is that which is 
stated in cL viL 7. A play should be of a magni- 
tude sufficient to allow room for the natural develop- 
ment of the story. The action must evolve itself 
freely and fully, and the decisive change of fortune 
come about through the causal sequence of events.* 
This rule holds good of the two varieties of 
plot that are affcerwards distinguished, — of the 
inrXSj irpa^i^, where the action proceeds on a simple 
and undeviating course from start to finish ; and 
of the irmXey/Uinf irpa($^ — ^preferred by Aristotle 
as intensifying the tragic emotions — where the 
catastrophe is worked out by the surprises of 
Becognition (awvfp^pi^^^) and Reversal of Fortune 
(mpurirtia) ;^ these surprises, however, being 
themselves woven into the tissue of the plot,^ and 
discovered in the light of the event to be the 
inevitable, though unexpected, consequences of all 
that has preceded/ The 7^<n^, the unravelling 

^ With cv/An}^vcvTov (ch. viL 5) m a limit of /icycdof in tilt 
tragic fAvOoSj cp. xziiL 8, cwrvvorros^ and xxir. 8, WvcmtAu yip 
S<ft awopSo'Oiu r>/y ip^v tcai r^ riXoi in regard to aj^c poetij. 

* PoeL yiL 7, w$ £i iwkik iioptfravrat tbniv, iv itrf pnyifia 
tcari ih €uA9 1j ih ivayMuov c^c^ yiyvo/McvMr avpfiolvu cfc 
cvrvx^i^ <x iwrrvxlos ^ c^ cvrvx^ <fc iwmfx^ p/trmfiikktat^ 
JxaW^ 6po9 imiv rov p/tyiOwfi. 

* Fod. X. 1-2. 

^ J& X. 8, raSra 22 8c7 ytv^trOa% i^ avrtji r^ mwr r Art m roi 
piOcv, • • • • &a^^i yiip voXb r& ylyvmr$fu riit &i rttc 4 

* 76. ix. 11. 



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SM POETRY AND FINB ART 

or DiMfwemcrA of the plot must/as we are told, in 
eveiy case * be brought about by the plot itself/ ^ not 
by recourse to mechanical device or to the play of 
accident — a warning the need of which is proved 
by the whole history of the stage. * What did she 
die off was asked concerning one of the char- 
acters in a bad tragedy. 'Of what? of the fifth 
act^' was the reply. Lessing, who tells the 
story, adds* that *in very truth the fifth act is 
an ugly evil disease that carries off many a one 
to whmn the first four acts promised a longer 
life.' 

Let us now look a little more closely into 
^Aristotle's conception of a * whole/ as the term is 
applied to the tragic action. 

^ A wholCi' he says, *is that which has beginnings 
middlCi and end' ; and each of these terms is then 
defined* *A beginning is that which does not 
itself follow anything by causal necessity , but after 
which something naturally is or comes to be. An 
end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally 
follows some other thing, either by necessity or in 
the regular course of events, but has nothing 
following it. A middle is that which follows 

^ FwL XT. 7, ^OM^ oSr Sri ica2 rit Xmit rfv /At^Atfr i^ 
cvrvS td fvS /ftiS0ov w^Bmhtw K.r.X. Op. the eenraze pused 
eh. zfL 4 on. the mode in which Qrettef ia diteorend by 
Iph%«iwia in Eai^ J. T^ hcttv^t IA oMt Xiyu i fiaiknoi i 

t LMHOg JJMk 2>r«M^ Tnni. (BohiO p. SSa 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 269 

something as some other thing follows it'^ 
Some difficidties have been felt with lespect to 
these definitions. How, it is said, can a begin- 
ning be causally unconnected with what precedes ? 
Do the opening scenes of a tragedy stand apart 
£:om the rest of the hero's career? Is nothing 
implied as to his previous history t 

The answer would appear to be of this kind. 
The beginning of a drama is, no doubt^ the natural 
sequel of something else. Still it must not carry 
us back in thought to all that has gone before. 
Antecedent events do not thrust themselves on us 
in an unending series. Certain &cts are necessarily 
given. We do not trace each of these fe^cts back 
to its origin, orfollow the chain of cause and effect 
ad infinitum.* If we did, the drama would become 

^ FoeL viL 8, SKov ti irriy ri Ixov ipx^v kqX iiitrw mX 
TcXfvn^M, «ipx^ ^ irrw t avrb /iir fu^ i^ dydytai^ gut* iXko 
irrivy far hcttvo 6* infiov vi^viccv cfvoi ij ylv«r6aiy rcAfvr^ J) 
rovvavTibr t qAt6 fLtr JUXo wi^KW cfvoi ^ cf ivdytctis 1j &£ hrl 
T& roXv, /icrcl Si rovro £AAo ovficv, /Mcroy Si S «ca} a^ /Mr' AAAo 
Koi /Mr* jjccivo irtpw* 

< So TeibhmiiUer (Arid. Fanek I 64, 860) xigha/, in dtfending 
the reading /a^ c^ itvaym/s in the definition of ipx4 agiinit the 
proposed tranipoeition i( dvdyiap /ai}. The latter readings 'that 
which neoeasarily does not foUow eomething elae^' would, ai he 
aayi, describe the aJluoluU beginning, the wpSrov icivovK, whereae 
Aristotle here wishes to denote a r$laHv$ beginning; that which 
follows other things in time^ but not as a necessary consequence. 

He adds, however, that the reason Aristotle insiBts On this 
relatire beginning is that tragedj is within the sphere of freedom : 
it must be begun by an act of free wilL It seems most un- 
likely that anything of the sort is in Aristotle's mind. On the 



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S60 POETRY AND FINE ART 

an endless retrograde movement A play must 
begin at some definite point, and at some definite 
point it must end. It is for the poet to see that 
the action is complete in itself, and that neither 
the beginning nor the end is arbitrarily chosen. 
Within the dramatic action, a strict sequence of 
cause and effect is prescribed ; but the causal chain 
must not be indefinitely extended outwards. 

The definition of the ' middle * as ' that which 
follows something as some other thing follows it/ 
looks at first sight mere tautology : but the context 
shows that the word * follows ' here marks a causal, 
not a purely temporal sequence. The idea is that 
the 'middle' unlike the 'beginning' stands in 
causal relation to what goes before, and unlike the 
'end' is causally connected with what follows. 
There is no attempt to mark at what point in 
the development of the play the 'middle' is to 
be placed. The purpose of the definitions is 
to exclude beginnings which require something to 
precede them, endings which do not conclude the 
action, and middles which stand alone, imconnected 
either with the beginning or the end. We have 

other Iiaiid, it ii trae that the Greek tragediani do generally make 
the aetkn b^gin at a point where the human will has free play. 
This is a striking featoie in Sophocles' treatment of the legends. 
Baik or snperhnman fences may be at work in the anteoedents of 
the play, hat within the tragedy there is human will in action. 
The AjtaCf the PliZoeMM^ the (kdipui ^VromiMi, and the OMpui 
Odm m u are esamples. 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 261 

here an emphfttic condemnation of that kind of 
plot which Aristotle calls ' epeisodic * (hrtiaoBuiin^), * 
where the scenes follow one another without the 
inward connexion of the cmco^ or itfofftcaiov} A 
succession of stirring scenes does not make a 
tragedy; and it is just this truth that Euripides 
is apt to forget when, instead of creating a well 
articulated whole, he often delights to substitute 
pathetic effects, striking situations, rapid contrasts 
and surprises. 

These definitions, however, like so many in 
the Poetics, have reference to the ideal tragedy; 
they are not to be taken as a rule to which all 
Greek plays confonxL This will account for the 
inconsistency between the accoimt here given of 
the 'beginning,' and the account in ch. zviiL of the 
Ciomplication (Siais!) and Denouement (Xu^-^) of 
the tragic plot The Ciomplication is that group 
of events which precedes the decisive turn of 
fortune; the DSnouement is that group of events 
which follows it In strictness, and according to 
the definition of ch. vii, the 'beginning' of the 
play should be also the 'beginning' of the Com- 
plication. But the Ciomplication, according to 
cL xviiL, frequently includes r^ i^O€y? — certain 
incidents external to the action proper, but pre- 

1 Pod. iz. 10. Cp. p. 14S iio<i. 

< Pod. zriiL 1, tA /bUv i^^Sw kwX lyia rm¥ Suittfcy voXAdEiecf i} 



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S63 POETRY AND FINE ART 

sappoeed in the diama, and affecting the develop- 
ment of the piece. With plays before him like the 
Oedipus Tyrannus and the Ajcix^ Aristotle even 
at the cost of some inconsistency admits such 
external incidents to form part of the dramatic 
csntanglement. It is in some measure owing to 
this practice of the Greek theatre that an ancient 
tragedy offcen resembles the concluding acts of a 
modem play. We begin almost at the climax : 
the action proper is highly <K>mpressed and con- 
centrated, and forms the last moment of a larger 
action hast^iing to its close. 

If the analytical method of Aristotle in ch. vL, 
and his artificial isolation of the several elements 
of tragedy, are in themselves liable to mislead the 
reader, the rules of chapters vii. and viii ought to 
correct any erroneous impression that may arise. 
The thought that here stands out above aU others 
is that of the organic structure of the drama. 
Further, it becomes apparent that the recurring 
phrase of the Poetics^ avcraci^ (or awOeaif;) r&v 
irparf^rmp, does not denote a mechanical piecing 
together of incidents, but a vital union of the 
parts.^ But, it may be asked, how is the organic 
xjodty revealed ? From what point of view can we 
most dearly realise it ? 

If we have rightly apprehended the general tenor 
of Aiistoile's teaching in the Poetics, unity — ^he 
* Op. pi 3sa 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 263 

would say— is manifested mainly in two ways. 
First, in the causal connexion that binds together * 
the several parts of a play, — the thoughts, the 
emotions, the decisions of the will, the external 
events being inextricably interwoven. Secondly, 
in the tact that the whole series of events, with all 
the moral forces that are brought into collision^ 
are directed to a single end. The action as it 
advances converges on a definite point The 
thread of purpose running through it becomes 
more marked. All minor effects are subordinated 
to the sense of an ever growing unity. The end is 
linked to the beginning with inevitable certainty, 
and in the end we discern the meaning of the 
whole: — ri riko^ fUyiarov iirairrmv} In this 
powerful and concentrated impression lies the 
supreme test of unity. 

Aristotle's conception of the imity of plan 
essential to the drama could not be much better 
summed up than in the following extract from 
Lowell:* — 'In a play we not only expect a 
succession of scenes, but that each scene should 
lead, by a logic more or less stringent, if not to 
the next, at any rate to something that is to 
follow, and that all should contribute their fraction 
of impulse towards the inevitable catastrophe. 
That is to say, the structure should be organic, 

1 Pod. tL 10. 

< J. R Low«U Tk$ Old SngUtK DromOUU p. 5A. 



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264 POETRY AND FINE ART 

with a neoessaiy and hannonious connezioii and 
relation of parts^ and not merely mechanical, with 
an arfaitraiy or haphazard joining of one part to 
another. It is in the former sense alone that any 
production can be called a work of art' 

The general law of unity laid down in the 
Poetics for an epic poem is almost the same as for 
the drama ; but the drama forms a more compact 
and serried whole. Its events are in more direct 
relation with the development of character; its 
inddents are never incidents and notlmig more. 
The sequence of the parts is more inevitable — 
moraUy more inevitable— than in a story where 
the external &ctB and events have an independent 
value of their own. And though the modem drama, 
unlike the ancient, aspires to a certain epic fulness 
of treatment, it cannot violate the determinating 
conditions of dramatic form. 

The epic, being of wider compass, can admit many 
episodes, which serve to fill in the pauses of the 
action, or diversify the interest^ They give what 
Aristotle calls inntcPUa,* embellishment and variety to 
the narrative. The epic moreover advances slowly, 
and introduces ' retarding * incidents, — ^incidents by 
which the D^nauement is delayed, and the mental 
strain for the time relieved, only to be intensified 

* Fod, zadiL Z, hn&miloit oh &aXci/i^<£yc« r^¥ woh/friy. xiir. 

s iViixxiiia. 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 266 

again wlien the dimax comes. Further, owing to 
the number of its minor actions, the epic, while 
keeping its essential unity, contains the plots of 
many tragedies; in the phrase of Aristotle, it is 
wo\6fAv0o9 : ^ whereas the drama rejects this multi- 
plicity of incidents ; it is of closer tissue, pressing 
forward to an end which controls its entire structure. 
By the very conditions also of dramatic representa- 
tion a play cannot, except through the mouth of 
messengers or by similar means, place before us 
other than successive events. The epic, by virtue 
of its narrative form, can describe actions that are 
simultaneous.* Thus the Odyssey, after a long 
interval, resumes the main story, which had been 
left in suspense; simultaneous and collateral in- 
cidents are narrated with much fulness of detail, 
and the scattered threads bound together in the 
unity of a single and accelerating action. 

The action, then, of the drama is concentrated, 

while that of the epic is large and manifold. The 

primary difference of form is here a governing 

fact in the development of the two varieties of 

.poetry. The epic is a story of the past, the drama 

^ PoeL xviiL 4, XP^ ^ ^^"^ ci/Mfnu wokXdKiS fjiMfanjvOoi ical 
fjkij woutv hrowoiiKhy irvmifuaL rpayifSiav. hntrouKhr Si Acyw rb 
irokv/ivOov Jc.r.A. 

* PotL zxiv. 4, ix€i Si . • . iroXv ri 4 croroiia Owy Sii li 
iv fiiv TQ rpayifSi^ fi^ ivSixttrOai ifio. wparT6fiieing woXXii ijiffti 
fufuurOcn dXXik ih hrl rijt aKtivfji icoi riv vrotcpmiv I»ipi0f% fiiitor* 



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S66 POETRY AND FINE ART 

a representation of the present. The epic story- 
teller can take his time; his imagination travels 
backward to a remote distancci and there expatiates 
at wilL He sarveys the events of a past, which 
is already a closed book. If he happens to be the 
rhapsodist of an early society, he and his audience 
alike have time immeasurable at their command, he to 
tell, and they to listen. 'Behold,' sa3rs King Alcinous 
in the Odyssey, 'the night is of great length unspeak- 
able, and the time for sleep in the hall is not yet ; 
tell me therefore of those wondrous deeds. I could 
abide even till the bright dawn, so long as thou 
wouldst rehearse me those thy woes in the halL' ^ 
That is the true temper of the epic audience. They 
will listen through the nighty and next day desire 
to take up the tale again. 

The conditions of the drama are the opposite of 
all this. The spectacle of an action evolving itself 
in the present is very different from the leisurely 
recital of an event that has happened in the past 
The impressions are more vivid in proportion to 
their nearness. Nay, so vivid do they become that 
the spectator, living in the present, becomes almost 
one with the hero whose fortunes he follows. He 
is impatient to see the sequel : he cannot listen to 
long stories, to adventures imconnected with that 
in which the central interest lies. The action which 
rivets his attention is hastening towards its goal 

* Oiym. xi 378-e. 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 267 

B7 the T617 fact that the dramatic struggle and 
catastrophe take place before his eyes, the action 
gains a rapidity, partly dramatic, partly lyric, that 
is alien to the epic poem. 

The only dramatic Unity enjoined by Aristotle 
is Unity of Action. It is strange that this should 
still need to be repeated. So inveterate, however, 
is a literary tradition, once it has been established 
under the sanction of high authority, that we still 
find the 'Three Unities' spoken of in popular 
writings as a rule of the Poetics. 

It may be interesting here to cast a rapid 
glance over the history of this famous and per- 
plexed controversy. 

The doctrine of the ' Unity of Time,' or as it 
was sometimes called the * Unity of the Day,' rests 
on one passage in the Poetics,'^ and one only. 

1 Poet, y. 4, Iri 8i ry /<^«cci, ij /»iv (sc 1} rpayifSla) Sri fioKumL 
irci/Mroi inrh fUav v€plo8o¥ ^Xiov etvoi fj fwcp&v i^aXkimiVf i^ 
Si hrowoJa d6pum9 rf XP^^^ ^^ rovnf &a^^t* Koirot to 
wpSrov ifioUn i¥ rati rpayifiuui tovto cro/bw koX iv tms 
hrmrw, 

TeichmtQler (Arui. Fonck. pp. 806 f^) Attempts to show not 
only that /a^koy here is the external length of the poem, but also 
that xp^vos is the actual time taken in recitation (or representation), 
as distinct from the ideal or imaginary time orer which the 
action extends. He seems to prore his case with respect to ft^icos, 
which invariably in the PotHa means external length. But his 
view of xfi^^^ ^ OP^*^ apparently to fatal objection^ the chief of 
which are these : — (1) idw w€pUio¥ ^X&v can hardly express the 
day of twelve housk The word w^ptoSoi as applied to a heavenly 
body always means its fM oiM^ its motion from a given starting- 



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S68 POETRY AND FINE ART 

' Epic poetry and tragedy differ, again, in length : 
. for tragedy endeavours, as far as possible, to con- 
fine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but 
^ slightly to exceed this limit : whereas the epic 
fi^ action has no limits of time.' We have here a 
rough generalisation as to the practice of the 
Greek stage. The imaginary time of the dramatic 
action is limited, as far as may be, to the day of 
twenty-four hours. The practice, however, did not 
always exirt. In the earlier days of tragedy, as 
the next sentence shows, the time limit was 

point back again to the same point This periphiasifl^ instead of 
the simple phrase fuar ly/^pav, seems expressly designed to indi- 
cate that the day of twenty-four hours — i7f(</>a together with yii^ — 
Is meant (2) As has been shown by Bibbeck JSUbnn. ifii*. 24. 
p. 185, the parenthetical remark, ri wfAro¥ ifwhoi iv rats 
rporfffHu^ rovro hroiov¥ icol iv rois hrww^ tells strongly against 
TeichmuUer. The reference must be to the imaginary time of the 
action in the play itselt (3) rpayif&la throughout the Podia is 
used for tragedy as a distinct species of poetry, or for a particular 
tragedy, — ^never for the tragic performance including a tetralogy. 
(4) fuCXiora wcipora« loses almost all point if Uie XP^vos is 
asternal time, and if iwi fuav • • . cZvoi instead of its natural 
sense *iaU within,' *be comprised within' ... is forced to mean 
' occupy,' m * fiU up,' twelve hours of daylight 

The translation adopted in the text follows IJeberweg's explana- 
tion, /t^of is (with TeichmtQler) referred to the actual length of 
the poem, but xP^vo$ to the internal time of the action. The in 
then is 'because.' The difference in the length of a poem is made 
to depend on a difference in the time occupied by the action. 
BKmgfdj speakings such a relation generally exists, at least in the 
drama. But it is far firom being a strict rule. 

In forming this conclusion on a passage which is stiU not with- 
out diiBculty, I have had the advantage of some correspondence 
with FroC Bywater. 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 269 

ignored in the tragic no less than in the epic 
action. 

No strict rule is here laid down. A certain 
historic fact is recorded, — a prevailing, but not an 
invariable usage. The effort of tragedy was in 
this direction, though the result could not always 
be achieved. Even in the developed Attic drama 
several exceptions to the practice are to be found. 
In the Eumentdea months or years elapse between 
the opening of the play and tke next scene. In 
the Agamemnon an interval of several da3rs must 
be supposed to intervene between the fire signals 
announcing the fall of Troy, and the return of 
Agamemnon.^ The Trachiniae of Sophocles and 
the Supplices of Euripides afford other and strik- 
ing instances of the violation of the so-caUed rule. 
As for the * Unity of Place,' this too was a stage 
practice, generally observed in the Greek drama 
but not unfrequently neglected : it is nowhere even 
hinted at in the Poetics^ and, as a rule of art, 
has been deduced by the critics from the Unity 
of Time. 

There are several very obvious reasons for the 
general observance of the minor Unities in Greek 
tragedy. The simple and highly concentrated 
movement of a Greek play seldom demanded, or 
even permitted, a change of place or intervals 

^ On the time queition in the Agmtmmm eee an article bj 
Lewis GampbeU in the Ohitical Bm§w^ toL iy. 303-6. 



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S70 POETRY AND FINE ART 

between the scenes. Such breaks would, as a 
rule, have been liable to disturb the impression of 
the unity of the whole. Moreover, as has been 
often remarked, the Chorus formed an ideal bond 
of tmion between the separate parts of the action. 
Leasing suggests^ that the limitations of time and 
place were necessary in order that the Chorus 
might not seem to be kept too long away from 
their homes. But if once, we realise the painful 
&et that these worthy men are kept standing, it 
may be for twen^-four hours, fasting and in one 
place, our distress will not be perceptibly aug- 
mented if the action is prolonged to thirty-six or 
forty-eight hours. Still, it is true that the constant 
presence of the same group of actors in a theatre 
where there was no drop-scene, no division into 
Acts, did naturally lead to the representation of a 
continuous and imbroken action. 

From this point of view the presence of the 
Chorus tended towards Unity of Place and Con- 
tinuity of Time, — ^for this is what ' Unity of Time ' 
really denotes. From another point of view the 
Chorus releases us from the captivity of time. The 
interval covered by a choral ode is one whose 
value is just what the poet chooses to make it 
While the time occupied by the dialogue has a 
relation more or less exact to real time, the choral 
lyrics suspend the outward action of the play, and 

* Hamk Drmm. Tnaa. (Bobn) p. 36d. 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 371 

carry us still farther away from the world of 
reality. Wliat happens in the interval cannot be 
measured by any ordinary reckoning; it is much 
or little as the needs of the piece demand. A 
change of place directly obtrudes itself on the 
senses^ but time is only what it appears to the 
mind. The imagination travels easily over many 
hours; and in the Greek drama the time that 
elapses during the songs of the Chorus is entirely 
idealised. 

In interpreting the passage of the Poetics 
above quoted (ch. v. 4), the earlier critics dealt 
very loosely with the Greek, mipartu tj rparf^Sla, 
says Aristotle. Comeille and D*Aubignac translate 
weiparoi by ' doit/ and thereby convert the general 
statement of fact at once into a rule. Successive 
commentators repeated the error. But the stress 
of the controversy gathered round another point 
What is the meaning of the phrase fUop wtpUZw 
^\lov, ' a single revolution of the sun ' ? ^ Is it the 
day of twenty-four hours, or the day of twelve 
hours? The Italian critics were divided on this 
question; so too were the French. Comeille* 
declared in favour of twenty -four hours; but 
proposed, by a stretch of the rule, to allow thirty 
hours ; and even this limit he thought hampering. 
He wavers curiously between the true poetic view 

1 See p. 267 note 1. 

< ComeiUe, Diicoiiis iii Ikt 2Voii UniiA. 



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S73 POETRY AND FINE ART 

as to the ideal management of timOi and the 
principle of poetic illosion^-or rather deception — 
80 widely held by his contemporaries, that the 
more exact the reproduction of the conditions of 
reality, the better the art 

At one moment he says that, if the representa- 
tion lasts two hours, the dramatic action ought 
to be the same length, that the resemblance may 
be perfect If, however, the action cannot with 
due regard to probability be compressed into two 
hours, he would allow it to run to four or six or 
ten hours, but not much beyond the twenty-four. 
Might it not have occurred to him that long before 
the extreme limit of twenty-four or thirty hours 
was reached, the principle of a lifelike imitation of 
reality would haVe been surrendered ? No sooner, 
however, has he enimciated the rule than his 
instincts as a poet get the upper hand, and he 
writes : ' Above all I would leave the length of the 
action to the imagination of the hearers, and never 
determine the time, if the subject does not require 
it'. • • 'What need is there to mark at the opening 
of the play that the sun is rising, that it is noon at 
the third act, and sunset at the end of the last ? ' 

Dacier^ disputes the view that the 'single 
revolution of the sun' means a day of twenty-four 
hours. He holds it to be monstrous and against 

^ BMiar on Aiutode't Po$fie$ eh. v. note SI, Trana. (London 
1705> 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 87S 

common sense ; ' it would rain the verisimilitade.' 
He fixes twelve hours as the extreme limit of the 
dramatic action, but these may be either in the 
night or in the day, or half in one and half in the 
other.^ In the perfect tragedy — and here he 
agrees with Comeille — ^the time of the action and 
of the representation should coincide. He roundly 
asserts that this was an indispensable law of Greek 
tragedy,' though this statement is afterwards 
qualified. If, owing to the nature of the subject^ 
the poet cannot observe the rule of strict equiva- 
lence, he may have recourse to 'verisimilitude'; 
and this is stated to be the Aristotelian principle : 
'Aristotle supplied the defect of necessity by 
probability/* Thus the law of the €U69 and 
ip4Vfxaiop in the Poetics degenerates into a device, 
which may lead the audience to imagine that the 
scene on the stage is a facsimile of real life. The 
fSEdlacious principle that the dramatic imitation is 
meant to be in some sense a deception^ is at the 

^ Op. D'Aubignac's tmnUtioii of ^ futcfAv IfoAXdErriiv, *ou de 
changer on pea ce temp%' ml to change from daj to night cr from 
nij^t to daj. 

* Dacier on PmMm^ ch. liL note 14. 

< IIk note IS. Here the iwmyKoXov of AriatoUe beeomea the 
exact eqniTalenoe of the time of the aetioi& with the time of ibm 
repreaentation : the c^^ beeomea the ▼erinimilitnde which, in 
default of auch eqniTalence * wiU cheat the audience, who wiU not 
pry to nanrowlj, aa to mind what ia behind the aoenec, provided 
there be nothing too eztraTagant' 

^ 'It ia falaa that anj repreaentation ia miefaVen far reality; 

T 



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S7^ POETRY AND FINE ART 

basis of all these strange reasonings as to the possible 
equivalence between real and imaginary time. The 
idea exists in Comeille.^ It is pushed to its 
extreme hj Dacier and Batteux. Even Voltaire 
commits himself to the absurd position that 'if 
the poet represents a conspiracy and makes the 
action to last fourteen days, he must account to me 
for all that takes place in those fourteen days.' ' 

Unity of Place was generally held to follow as 
a corollary from Unity of Time.* Comeille, the 

tbat aaj diimalic iMibf in tU malerialityy was eTer ciedible, or for 
a liii^e moment wai ever credited.' Dr. Johnson, Pnfau to 
fflbeiijifflri, 

^ With regard to Unity of Flaoe OomeiUe aajs: *Cela 
aidaiait k tromper I'aiiditenri qui ne yoyant rien qui lui maiqnftt 
la divinity dee liens, ne e'en aperoevrait pai, k moine d'nne 
reflexion malidenee et eritiqne, dont U y en a pen qni aoient 
eapaUee'(l>u&iii.). 

* So Dacier on Podk$ ch* xviii. note 3 ; *Mr. Comeille is 
satisfied that the audience should know why the actors go out of 
the place where the scene is laid ; but he does not think it 
n ec essar y to know what they do during the intervals, neither ^that 
His required that the actors should do anything during the 
intervals, but is persuaded that they may sleep then, if they please, 
and not break the continuity of the action. We find just the 
eontiaiy according to Aristotle's principles^ and that it ceases to be 
a tmgedy when 'tis so^ for this would certainly ruin all the prob- 
ability, if the audience did not know what the actors were doing 
during the intervals ; and if the actors have nothing to do^ pray 
what does the audience stay for? 'tis very odd to expect the 
sequel of an action, when the actors have nothing more to do, and 
to be interested in a things which the actors are so little concerned 
in, that they may go to sleepb' It is needless to say, there is not a 
tiaee of aU this in Aristotle. 

* Voltaire deiives it from Unity <rf Action on the strangely 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 376 

first French poet who rigorously observes the rule, 
admits that he finds no such precept in Aristotle.^ 
In defending it he is driven to desperate shifts, 
which end in a kind of compromise. He points out 
that the modems are met by a difficulty the ancients 
did not encounter. The Greeks could make their 
kings meet and speak in public In {''ranee s|ich 
a fSamiliarity was impossible; royal personages 
could not be brought forth from the seclusio^ of 
their chambers; nor could private confidences be 
exchanged anywhere but in the private apartvients 
of the several characters. He would, therefore, 
admit some extension of the rule. He would 
allow a change of scene, provided that the action 
represented took place within a single town, and 
that the scene was not shifted in the safne act. 
Again, the place must be alluded to only imder its 
general name — Paris, Rome, or the like — and the 
stage decoration must remain unaltered so far as 
this local area is concerned. 

illogical ground that *iio one action can go on in acTeral places at 
once.' Bat wanlj a tingle action can go on in itTeral places 



^ Others who had never read the PoeHa were not slow to 
assert that all the Unities are there eigoined. Frederick the 
Qreat (on Cfmrmtm Litsrahtn) ridicules the plays of Shakespeare as 
ridicQloos fareee^ worthy of the savages of Canada ; th^ (^fond 
against all the roles of the stage. 'For these rules are not 
arbitrary ; you will find them in the Podia of Aristotle^ where 
Unity of Place, Unity of Time, and Unity of Interest are pre- 
eribed as the only means el making tragedy interesting.' 



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S76 POETRY AND FINE- ART 

Such were the anzioiis and minute contrivances 
which a great poet devised to enable the imagination 
to do its proper work. The principle, as Batteux 
earefully explained, was that if the scene of the 
action is changed while the spectator remains in 
one place, he will be reminded that he is assisting 
at an nnreal performance ; the imitation will be so 
tut defective. 

Far better — we feel — in the interests of the 
dramatic art was the practice of the Shakesperian 
theatre, — ^the bare stage without movable scenery, 
and the frank surrender of all attempt to cheat the 
senses. The poet simply invoked the aid of the 
imagination to carry his hearers through space and 
time; to 

* digest 
The abuse of distance, . • / 

* jumping o'er timesi 
Tarning the aeoomplishment of many yean 
Into an hoar-glass.' 

The problem of the 'Unities' cannot, indeed, 
have presented itself to Aristotle in its modem 
lights. But even if he had known what was to be 
written on the subject, he would, doubtless, have 
taken his stand no less decisively on the funda- 
mental Unity of Action, and refrained from laying 
down any binding rules for change of scene or lapse 
of time. If Unity of Action is preserved, the 
other Unities will take care of themselves. Unity 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 377 

of Action is indeed in danger of being impaired by 
marked discontinuity of place or time. There are 
Spanish dramas in which the hero is bom in Act L, 
and appears again on the scene as an old man at the 
close of the play. The missing spaces are almost of 
necessity filled in by the undramatic expedient of 
narrating what has occurred in the intervals. Tet 
even here all depends on the art of the dramatist. 
Tears may elapse between successive acts without 
the unity being destroyed, as we see from The 
Winters Tcde. 

After all, the drama is not possible without a 
certain idealisation of place and time. If the poet 
has once succeeded in transporting us to a fSEur-off 
land iond a distant age — ^to ancient Rome or Athens 
— ^we are not inclined to quarrel with him as to the 
number of hours or days over which the dramatic 
action extends. We do not ask at the end of each 
act, what the hour is by poet's time ; and, should 
we seek to discover it from indications in the play, 
our curiosity will for the most part be baffled. 
There is no calendar for such a reckoning, no table 
of equivalent hours in the real and the ideal world. 
It is part of the poet's art to make us forget all 
time; and, if in his company we lose count of 
months and years, we do not cry out against the 
impossibility. For, on the one hand, the imagina- 
tion is not to be cheated by puerile devices into 
the belief that its world is the world of reality : 



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278 POETRY AND FINE ART 

on the other, we can hardly place any limit on the 
demands to which it will respond, if only these 
demands are made by one who knows how. Shake- 
speare deals freely, and as he will, with place and 
time ; yet he is generally nearer to the doctrine of 
the Poetics than those who fancied they wrote in 
strict accordance with the rules of that treatise. 

French poets and writers on aesthetics did not 
derive their dramatic rules directly from the Greek 
models on which the Poetics of Aristotle are based. 
The genius of Bome was more congenial to them 
than that of Greece. Seneca, rather than Aeschylus 
or Sophocles, was the teacher of Comeille and Racine, 
and even Moli&re's comedy was powerfully affected 
by Plautus and Terence. The French, having learnt 
their three Unities from Roman writers, then sought 
to discover for them Aristotelian authority. They 
committed a further and graver error. Instead of 
resting the minor Unities of Time and Place on 
Unity of Action, they subordinated Unity of Action 
to the observance of the other rules. The result 
not unfrequently was to compress into a space of 
twelve or twenty-four hours a crowded sequence of 
incidents and a series of mental conflicts, which 
needed a fuller development. The natural course 
of the action was cut short, and the inner con- 
sistency of character violated. A similar result 
followed from the scrupulous precautions taken 
to avoid a change of scene. The characters, in- 



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THE DRAMATIC UNITIES 279 

stead of finding their way to the place where 
dramatic inotiyes would have taken them, were 
compelled to go elsewhere, lest they should violate 
the Unities. The external rule was thus observed, 
but at the cost of that inward logic of character 
and events, which is prescribed by the Poetics. 
The fEulures and successes of the modem stage alike 
prove the truth of the Aristotelian principle, that 
Unity of Action is the higher and controlling law of 
the drama. The Unities of Time and Place, so fSur 
as they can daim any artistic importance^ are of 
secondary and purely derivative value. 



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CHAPTER VIII 

THB IDSAL TRAQIO HERO 

With the exception of the definition of tragedy 
itself, probably no passage in the Poetics has given 
lise to so much criticism as the description of the 
ideal tragic hero in cL xiii The qualities requisite 
to such a character are here deduced from the 
primary iacb that the function of tragedy is to 
produce the kcUha/rsis of pity and fear ; pity being 
felt for a person who, if not \ y^iQlly_^ innQcent^ 
meets with^suffera fear 

bdng awakened when the sufierer Js a man of l ike 
nature with oursely^^ Tragic character must be 
exlubit^ribrough the medium of a plot which has 
the capacity of giving full satisfeiction to these 
emotions. Certain types, therefore, of character 
and certain forms of catastrophe are at once 
excluded, as fEuling either in whole or in part to 
produce the tragic effect. 

In the first place, the spectacle of a man 

1 See pp. 839-S41. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 281 

eminently good ^ undergoing the change from pros- 
perous to adverse fortune awakens neither pity nor 
fear. It shocks or repels us {fuapiv iarw). Next, 
and utterly devoid of tragic quality, is the repre- 
sentation of the bad man who experiences the 
contrary change from distress to prosperity. Pity 
and fear are here alike, wanting. Even the sense 
of justice (rft ^CkivOpmrovY is unsatisfied. The 
impression left by such a spectacle is, indeed, the 
exact opposite of IX€09, ' pity ' : it is that which 
the Greeks denoted by vifi^avi, the righteous anger 
or moral indignation excited by undeserved good 

* The jrccim^ of Pod. xiiL S is from the eonlext tobeidoitified 
with i dptrg tio^pwf ical iutoMrivQ of § 3. 

* Yahlen here (ch. ziiL S) takes r& ^iAai^/NMrov in its ovdinaiy 
sense, as human qrmpathj with soffering, even if the safferiog be 
deserved. But the comparison ti ch. zviiL 6 suggests a moie 
special meaning. The outwitting of the clever rogue and the 
defeat of the brare villain are there given as instances of t^ 
4Hkiv0piawov. It appears to d^ote that which gratifies the moial 
sense^ which produces a feeling of satisfied justice. So it is taken 
hj Zelleri Susemihl and others. Properly it is a sympathetk 
human feeling; and this may be evoked either by the sight of 
suffraing (merited or unmeritedX or by the punishment of the evil- 
doer. In lOuL iL 9. 1386 b 86 sympathy with unmerited suffer* 
ing — ^namelyi IXco«— has as its other side the sense of eat i s fi ic t ion 
over merited misfortune— what is here called r& ^^iXa^Opmww. i 
likv yikp kwrdiiuvoi hrl rots ava^im laucorpayowni^ y ft / ggr o i ^ 
ikvwoi iorrai hrl rots ivavritm KOKo/wpayoSfrtv* ot^y to^ warpo^ 
Xotas icol fuoi^yovS) Srav ri^wri rifJMpiaSf otStcW &k Xvw7f$^ 
X/»7orTo«* tci yiip XBiiptiv hrl rots roiovrofts. 

With ^ikivOfmwov 'satisfying to human feeling' may be com* 
pared the later use of the word (common 4,ff. in Plutaroh}, of 
'pleasing^' 'gratifying,' in a more genersl way. 



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Stt POETRY AND FINE ART 

fortune.^ Again, there is the overthrow of the 
utter yillain (o a^Upa wmnipi^), — a catastrophe 
that aatiBfiea the moral sense, but is lacking in the 
hij^er and distinctively tragic qualities. Lastiy, 
Aristotle mentions the case which in his view 
answers all the requirements of art It is that of 
a man who moraUy stands midway between the 
two extremes. He is not eminentiy good or just, 
though he leans to the side of goodness.^ He is 
involved in misfortune, not, however, as the result 
of deliberate vice, but through some preat flaw of 
character or fitUJ eiiui in il^ndu ct* He is, more> 
l > teg, illusliiuJB ' i n rank and fortune; the chief 
motive^ no doubt, for this requirement being that 
the signal nature of the catastrophe may be more 
strikin^y exhibited. 

Aii^ther poed^case remaiiui, though it is not 
amo^ those hereX^numerated. The good man 
may be^ represented as^ passing fiN>m adversity to 
pNwperiiy. On Aristotie's principles this would 
&il to produce the proper tragic efiSect ; for, though 
in the course of the action we may be profoundly 
moved by the spectacle of threatened ruin, the 

1 JBML iL a. 1SS6 h a, lnlM$tai O rf iXnt^ /MUam /Uv i 
«dUSat y yi ig m r* r^ yi^p Xw riftrfl — hrl raU iva^laaif muc^ 
^wfttfUn ivrmttfui^r irri r/rftror rtrJl nol JoA rov «^rov fj$9m 
^ Aw wir fct M tmSi iim^tm&t €iwp9yttui9. 

> iW. xUL 4, /BcXrIom fuUUUr 4 x<i|iorof. 
^^ < IVA xUL a, ^nfrc 9A immCmt mU ^x^1»^ fmrnfliXXw dt 



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THE IDBAL TRAGIC HERO S8S 

total impression is alien to tragedy. The * happy 
ending/ frequent as it is in Greek and in all 
dramatic literature, comes under the same general 
censure as attaches to a plot with a double thread 
of interest, and a double catastrophe, — ^prosperity 
for the good, misfortune for the bad^ Aristotle 
observes that 'owing to the weakness of the 
audience' a play so constructed generally passes 
as the best* The effect is that of ri ^kKMpmw^^ 

> iVft ziii 7, Uvripa V 4 wfiArti Acyo^Mnr M rmSr tmm 

mU nXmnSkra i( ivmrrtat roU fitXriom icoU 'x^ipo^w. 

^ Ik Comi M cfKM wfArri Ml ti^ rmv Mrp mi^ itiyJtrtfr. Opw 
TwiniiigailS, 'Ghaneer'tiiioiikhad tiie triM ArittoMk idM «£ 

T^agedie is lo aayn a eertaiii tloric^ 
As dlde bodes makeii ns rnemori^ 
Of bim that stood in great j^osper i tot, 
And is TiSdkn oot of hi|^ degree 
In to miseriai and endetk wretehedlx. 

B«l tho knight and tho boat wen among tba 9^md iy ft yrft: 
Ho I quod the knigbt, good sire^ no non of HUm i 
Tbat je baTe said is rigbt ynoii^ jwis, 
And moebet mora ; for litel borinsss 
Is rigbt enough to mocbel folk| I gesse. 
I say for me, it is a gret disese^ 
Wber as men bsTS bm in gret wdtb and ess^ 
To beren of bir soden bU, alas I 
And the eontsaiy is joje and gret sofan^ 
Ai when a man has ben in poore estate 
And dimbeth upt and wesetb fofinnaii 
And tber abidetb in prosperitee ; 
Swidie ttdag is gladsom, as it tbinkeOi ms^ 
And of swiebe thing wen goodlj for to tdk.' 

The Aristolslian view is maintained in ^Mctator Na 40» IMfar 



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384 POETRY AND FINE ART 

above mentioned: reward and punishment are in 
exact correspondence with desert He himself 
regards the pleasure hence derived as proper 
rather to comedy, where all discords are reconciled, 
the bitterest foes part as friends, * no one slays or 

Na SS. On the other liand cp. Dryden, Preface to Spanitk Friar: 
* It it not so easj a bnsmeet to make a tragedy end happUf; for 
*tai more difficult to aave than it is to kilL The dagger and the 
enp of poison are always in readiness, hnt to bring the action to 
the last eztvemityi and then by probable means to recover all, will 
leqnire the art and judgment of a writer and cost him many a 
pang in the performance.' 

Br. Johnson giTes expression to the extreme view of * poetical 
, justice' in his critieism of King Lear (Vol iL 164-6). *Shak- 
speare has suffered the Tirtue of Coidelia to perish in a just cause, 
contrary to the natural idea of justice, to the hope of tiie reader, 
and what is yet more strange, to the faith of chronicles. Yet this 
conduct is justified by the Spectator, who blames Tate for giving 
Cordelia success and happiness in his alteration, and declares that, 
in his opinion, the tragedy has lost half its beauty. Dennis has 
remarked, whether justly or not, that to secure the favourable 
reception of Gato, the town was poisoned with much Mbb and 
abominable criticism, and^that endeavours had been used to discredit 
and decry poetical justice. A play in which the wicked prosper, 
and the virtuous miscarry, may doubtless be good, because it is a 
just representation of the events of human life: but since all 
reasonable beings naturally love justice, I cannot easily be per- 
snaded, that the observation of justice makes a play worse ; or that 
if other excellencies are equal, the audience will not always rise the 
better pleased for the triumph of persecuted virtue. In the 
present case the pubUo has decided. Ck>rdelia from the time of 
Tate has always retired with victory and felicify. And if my 
seniations could add anything to the general suffrage, I might relate, 
I was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia's death, that I know 
not whether I ever endured;ag»in to read the last scenes of the 
play tin I undertook to revise them as an editor.'- 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 285 

is slain * : ^-"-or, as Goethe ia a similar context puts 
it, * no one dies, every one is marriecL' 

The stress l aid in this chapte r on the unhappy 
endihg is the key to the striking phrase in which 
Euripides, with all his faults of dramatic structure, 
is pronounced to be 'still the most tragic of 
poets/ ^ The saying must be read alcmg with 

1 Pod. xiiL 8. Cp. SehoL on^Eorip. Ond. p. 947 (Dind^i| 
Karikfii^i rijt rpay^fSIa^ rj ci$ dpvjwow rj ctg irotfos icaToXvcs if tt 
T^ KmfM4filai €k <nrov8d« Koi BiaXXaydsy 6$tv ipirai tJ8c t^ 
Spofia fcmfutcQ icaroXi^^i \fnfriii^ivov &aAAaya2 yop wpb/i Mcm- 
Aaoy KoX *Opixmf¥. Aig. to AUtd. p. 87. 9 (Dind.)* t& <) ifim 
km auTvpiKiiTMpo¥i Sri cl« X'H^ '^^ ^wijv Karwrrp^i* vmpa 
roU T/EMiyiicoif iKpikXaui &% <ivoiiccia rtjs rpayucSjs wota^irmt o 
T€ *0pimf9 icol 5 •AAjciyoTif «k Ik wft^^opSA fiJ^ ^x^/'^'^ *** 
cv&u/Aoytoiy Si leoU X^V^ Xi^^kto. irri Ji fniXXov icufii^fiin 

* Poet. xiiL 6, i EvptwlStft €l koI tcL ikXa fi^ c3 omcovo^ 
dXXJt T/E>ayiic<ira'n(f yc tiSk voii^iw ^ivcnu. The ptuae ii 
here farther limited by the consideration that the effectiTenets of 
hia tragedies depends on stage representation and on good acting: 
hrl yiip r&v frtctp^Hw leol rSv iymvmv rpayucmrartu al towStm 
^alvovnu, &¥ KaropOioOikriv* 

The 'powerful tragic effect' on the stage (r/EMtyuciiraTai ^a&or- 
raft, rpayucArarif yt ^a/vcnu) is a serious reservation for Aristotle 
to make^ for he requires a good trsgedy to produce its proper effect 
merelx by reading ch. xiy. 1. See Susemihl (IfUroi. p. S9X who 
also compares the use of rpayucis in a somewhat restricted senss 
in the two other passages where it occurs in the Podia^ — ^xir. 7, 
t6 tc yci^ fuap^v Ixci leoU ov rfmyiK6v* iiraOh yap (where rpOf 
yiKiv implies tragic disaster), and xviiL 6 (applied to Agathoi^ 
T/EMiyiiciy ycl^ rovro kcU ^nXivOptnrov. Its limitaticm in the latter 
passage is verj remarkable in connexion with ^iA<£i^/MMror. Ihe 
discomfiture of the wicked man, there spoken o( does not answsr 
to the true tragic idea; it merely 'satisfies the moral sense*; so 
that Tpayuci¥ can hardly mean much more than strikinc^ 



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386 POETRY AND FINE ART 

eertain limiting expressions in the context, and 
in other passages of the Poetics. But whatever 
deductions may have to be made fix>m the force of 
the phrase, the estimate of Euripides here given is 
directly connected^ by Aristotle with the preference 
of the poet for the true tragic ending. 

Beverting now to the several types of excluded 
characters, we may consider Aristotle's conclusions 
more in detail First, the iineueii^ or perfectly 
blameless character is deemed unfit to be a tragic 
hero on the ground that wholly unmerited suffer- 
ing causes repulsion, not fear or pity. Why, we 
may ask, not pity ? Surely we feel pity for one 
who is in the highest sense avd^ia^, an innocent 
sufferer. In reply it has been sometimes said that 
such persons themselves despise the pain of suffer- 
ing ; they enjoy so much inward consolation that 
they have no need of our sjrmpathy. ' Si vis me 
£ere dolendum est primum ipsi tibL' This may 
appear a cynical reflection, though it can be so 
put as to convey a real truth. The pity we feel 
for outward misfortune may be sunk in our 
admiration for the courage with which it is borne. 

dnmalkL In eh. xiil 6 the ehief thought it the paihdie and 
m»mng power of Eoripidee. Cp. PrM. xviii. 6. 10, Sni rt ^ 
wufiiMTakoy^ iw tm 4^m rpayiMiw; where wadifriKiv in the 
next line is need at en eqniTalent. In Plat Bep. x. 608 B, roiiic re 
Tiy? T/Miycic^ wovffMMi iarrofiivQVf Iv {e/i^£oi« koI iw hrwi^ the 
mid indndee the lad narratiTee of epie poetry aa well aa of tragedj. 
> F9d. ziiL 6, M mU icr.A. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO S87 

Aristotle's answer, however, would probably be 
different. He too would say that pity is expelled 
by a stronger feeling; as in the Shetorio 'terror 
tends to drive out pity/^ But the mention here 
of rft fuapop suggests that the sense of outraged 
justice would displace the softer emotions. Lessing, 
agreeing with Aristotle on the main point, takes 
occasion to enforce his own favourite theory — 
not Aristotelian — which attributes a direct moral 
purpose to tragedy. He speaks of the 'mere 
thought in itself so terrible, that there should be 
human beings who can be wretched without any 
guilt of their own.'^ 

The unqualified rejection of such a theme as un- 
suited to tragedy may well surprise us. Aristotle 
had not to go beyond the Greek stage to find a 
guiltless heroine whose death does not shock the 
moral sense. Nothing but a misplaced ingenuity, or 
a resolve at all costs to import a moral lesson into 
the drama, can discover in Antigone any fEiult or 
failing which entailed on her suffering as its due 
penalty. She was so placed that she had to 
choose between contending duties; but who can 
doubt that she chose aright? She sacrificed the 
lower duty to the higher ; and if, in so doing, her 
conduct fell short of formal perfection, the defect 
lay in the inherent one-sidedness of all human 

1 BhiL ii 8. 1886 a 88. 

> Leiiiiig Samh. Drmm. Timiii. (Bohn) pi 486. 



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S88 POETRY AND FINE ART 

action in an imperfect world. Hers was a ' sinless 
Clime/ ^ nor could Aristotle on his own principles 
call her other than imtite^^, 'good' in the fullest 
sense of the word. 

Tet Us reluctance to admit a perfect character 
to the place of the protagonist has been almost 
justified by the history of the tragic drama. Such 
a character has been rarely chosen, and still more 
rarely has been successful But . the reason 
assigned in this passage does not appear to be 
the true one. Blameless goodness has seldom the 
quality needed to make it dramatically interesting. 
It wants the motive power which leads to decisive 
acts of will, which impels others to action and 
produces a collision of forces. Dramatic character 
implies some self-assertive energy. It is not a 
rounded or perfect whole; it reaHses itself within 
a limited sphere, and presses forward passionately 
in a single direction. It has generally a touch 
of egotism, by which it exercises a controlling 
influence over circumstances or over the wills of 
minor characters that are grouped around it 
Goodness, on the other hand, with its imselfish, 
its self-effacing tendency, is apt to be immobile and 
uncombative. In refusing to strike back it brings 
the action to a standstill Even where it has no 
lack of strong initiative, its impersonal ardour in 
the cause of right has not the same dramatic 

* Sopli. iiiil. 74, Atmi wanwvprflftrQfT*. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 289 

fascination as the spectacle of human weakness or 
passion, doing battle with the fiette it has brought 
upon itself. 

Mazzini conceived the idea of a new drama in 
which man shall no longer appear as a rebel 
against the laws of existence, or the victim of 
an external struggle with his own nature, but as 
the ally of Providence, co-operating with the 
powers of good in that secular conflict whose drama 
is the history of the world. We may doubt 
whether such a drama can in the true sense be 
tragic The death of the martyr— -of the hero who 
leads a forlorn hope— of the benefactor of mankind 
who bears suffering with unflinching fortitude, and 
through sufiering achieves moral victory — ^fiUs w$ 
with emotions of wonder and admiration ; but it 
can hardly produce the thrill of fear or tragic awe, 
which Aristotle rightly felt to be an indispensable 
factor in true tragedy.^ The reason perhaps is 
that tragedy, in its pure idea, shows us a mortal 
will engaged in an unequal struggle with destiny, 
whether that destiny be represented by the forces 
within or without the mind. The conflict reaches 
its tragic issue when the individual perishes, but 
through his ruin the disturbed order of the world 
is restored and the moral forces re-assert their 

^ Comeille (Disooon ^ De la TragMU) objects to haninhing 
martyn from the stage, and adduces his own Poljeucte in sappoft 
of his Yiew— « yerj doubtfol example. 

U 



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S90 POETRY AND FINE ART 

sway. The death of the martTr presents to us 
not the defeat^ but the victoiy of the individual ; 
the issue of a conflict in which the individual is 
ranged on the same side as the higher powers, and 
the sense of suffering consequently lost in that of 
moral triumpL 

The next case is that of the bad man who is 
raised from adverse to prosperous fortune. This, 
says Aristotle, is most alien to the spirit of tragedy. 
No one will dispute the observation ; though we 
cannot adopt Dacier^s reason for accepting it. 
'There is nothing more opposed to the refining 
of the passions than the prosperity of the wicked ; 
instead of correcting, it nourishes and strengthens 
them ; for who would take the trouble to get rid 
of his vices, if they made him happy ? ' ^ Good 
fortune following upon a course of bad actions is 
frequent enough in life ; none the less it is to be 
rigorously excluded from tragic and, indeed, from 
all art It may excite a lively sense of impending 
terror, though even this is denied by Aristotle. 
It certainly awakens no pity, and — we may add 
with Aristotle — it offends the sense of justice. 
Even granting that art must touch us through 
our aesthetic sensibility, and has nothing directly 
to do with the sense of justice, the aesthetic effect 
itself will be one of pain and disquiet; the 
doubt and disturbance which arise from the 

* DMkr OttlViC ^ liiL Tnuia. (London 1706). 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO Ml 

8pectade of real life will be reproduced and, 
perhaps intensified. In the drama our view of 
the universe needs to be harmonised, not confused ; 
we expect to find the connexion of cause and efiect 
in a form that satisfies the rational faculty.. To 
suspend the operation of the moral law by the 
triumph of wickedness is to introduce the reign of 
caprice or blind chance. 

The overthrow of signal viUainy is next set 
aside by Aristotle as unsuited to tragedy, — ^in 
spite, as he expressly says, of the satisfaction it 
offers to the moral sense. We cannot feel pi^ 
when the suffering is deserved ; we cannot feel fear 
when the sufferer is so far removed in nature from 
ourselves. Here again the judgment of Aristotle, 
if tested by concrete examples, receives on the 
whole striking confirmation. Yet this is precisely 
one of the cases where the inadequacy of his rules 
is most apparent The limitation of view arises 
from applying a purely ethical instead of an 
aesthetic standard to dramatic character. Crime 
as crime has, it is true, no place in art; it is 
common, it is ugly. But crime may be presented 
in another light Wickedness on a grand scale, 
resolute and intellectual, may raise the criminal 
above the commonplace and invest him with a 
sort of dignity. There is something terrible and 
sublime in mere will-power workiqg its evil way, 
dominating its surroundings, with a superhuman 



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S9S POETRY AND FINE .ART 

energy. The wreck of such power excites in us a 
certain tragic Bjmpathy; not indeed the genuine 
pity which is inspired hj unmerited suffering, but 
a sense of loss and regret oyer the waste or misuse 
of gifts so splendid. 

It needs, howeyer, the genius of a Shakespeare 
to portray this potent and commanding yillainy. 
It was a perilous task to concentrate the whole 
interest of a play round a character such as 
Richard III ; and we may doubt whether Shake- 
apeare himself would haye yentured on it in the 
maturer period of his genius. The ancient drama 
offers nothing comparable to this great experiment 
— ^no such embodiment of an entirely deprayed will, 
loyeless and unhuman, fashioning all things with 
relentless adaptation to its own ends, yet stand- 
ing sufficiently aloof from life to jest oyer it with 
sayage humour. The wickedness of Richard III 
is on a different leyel from that of lago. In 
lago we haye no heroic criminal, but a plotter of 
a meaner order, in whom the fstculty of intrigue 
amounts almost to genius ; coldly diabolical, more 
malignant eyen than Richard, and delighting in eyil 
for its own sake. Richard, equally deyoid of moral 
scruple, and glorying in his * naked yillainy,' is yet 
a prince with royal purposes and an insight into 
affairs. His masterpieces of crime are forged by 
intellect and carried out with arUstic finish and 
completeness. The moral sense is kept half in 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 893 

abeyance up to the dose of such a drama. The 
badness of the man is ahnost lost in the sense of 
power. Tragic pity there cannot be for the 
protagonist; hardly even for his victims: terror 
and grandeur leave little room for any gentler 
feelings. 

There is a certain 'contradiction/ Schiller ob- 
serves,^ * between the aesthetic and the moral judg- 
ment.' * Theft, for example, is a thing absolutely 
base ... it is always an indelible brand stamped 
upon the thief, and aesthetically speaking he will 
always remain a base object. On this point taste 
is even less forgiving than morality, and its tribunal 
is more severe. . • . According to this view a man 
who robs would always be an object to be rejected 
by the poet who wishes to pretent serious pictures. 
But suppose this man is at thasame time a murderer, 
he is even more to be condemned than before by the 
moral law. But in the aesthetic judgment he is 
raised one degree higher. ... He who abases 
himself by a vile action can to a certain extent be 
raised by a crime, and can be thus reinstated in our 
aesthetic estimation. . • • In presence of a deep and 
horrible crime we no longer think of the quality but 
of the awfiil consequences of the action. • • • Directly 
we begin to tremble, all the delicacies of taste are 
reduced to silence. . . . In a word, the base element 
disappears in the terrible.' 

1 SehilWs A$dlutie§l Btm^ p. S61 (BeU nd 8obi> 



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S94 POETRY AND FINE ART 

Aristotle does not appear to have been aliye to 
this effect of art Still it must not be inferred from 
this passage, nor again from cL zv.,^ that all artistic 
portraiture of moral depravity is forbidden. The 
Menelaus of £uripides is twice dted as an example of 
character * gratuitously bad/ ' a phrase which implies 
that there may be a badness that is required by the 
dramatic motive and the structure of a play.* It 
will &11 under the wider law which demands the 
light and shade of contrasted characters, — characters 
either standing out against one another in strong 
relief, or each forming the complement of the other. 
Thus we have such pairs as Antigone and Ismene, 
Odysseus and Neoptolemus, Lear and Gloucester, 
Hamlet and Laertius, Brutus and Antony. The 
principle once admitted will allow of the utmost 
divergence of ethical type. Aristotle admits the 
principle, but in a cursory and parenthetic manner, 
nor does he seem to have been aware of its range 
and significance. 

We now come to the ideal protagonist of tragedy, 
as sketched in this chapter. He is composed of 
mixed elements, by no means supremely good, but 
a man ' like ourselves ' (Sfioios). The expression, if 
taken alone, might seem to describe a person of 
mediocre virtue and average powers. But Aristotle 
must not be read in detached sections; and the 
comparison of cL iL and cL xv. with our passage 

^ F^ XT. 1-8, S. * Fod. XT. 6, xxt. 10. . < See p. ^11. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO M6 

shows MB that this character, while it has its basis 
in reality, transcends it by a certain moral eleva- 
tion.^ We could wish that Aristotle had gone farther 
and said explicitly, that in power, even more than 
in virtue, the tragic hero must be raised aboye 
the ordinary level ; that he must possess a deepe^ . 
vein of feeling, or heightened powers of intellect 
or will; that the morally trivial, rather than the 
morally bad, is fatal to tragic effect As it is, we 
arrive at the result that the tragic hero is a man 
of noble nature, like ourselves in elemental feelings 
and emotions ; idealised, indeed, but with so large 
a share of our common humanity as to enlist our 
eager interest and sympathy. He falls from a posi- 
tion of loffcy eminence ; and the disaster that wrecks 
his life may be traced not to deliberate wickedness, 
but to some great error or frailty. 

This last expression is not free from difficulty, 
and has been variously interpreted. The word 
i/Aaprla by usage admits of various shades of mean- 
ing. As a synonym of iftd/mftia and as applied to 
a single act, it denotes an error due to inadequate 
knowledge of particular circumstances. According 
to strict usage we should add the qualification, that 
the circumstances are such as might have been 
known*' Thus it would cover any error of judg- 

^ See p. 217. 

^ EOkNicr.B. 1136 b 16, imp /cir o3r wa^aXSywt 4 fiXAflfi 



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896 POETRY AMD FINE ART 

ment arising from a hasty or careless view of the 
special case; an error which in some degree is 
morally culpable, as it might have been avoidecL 
Error of this kind has the highest claim to pity or 
consideration*^ But a/M/nla is also more laxly 
applied to an error due to unavoidable ignorance, 
for which the more proper term is inUxn/ia, * mis- 
fortune.'* In either case, however, the error is 
unintentional; it arises from want of knowledge; 
and its moral qiudity will depend on whether the 
individual is himself responsible for his ignorance. 

Distinct from this, but still limited in its re- 
ference to a single act, is the moral a/Aaprla proper, 
a £Eiult or error where the act is conscious and inten- 
tional, but not deliberate. Such are acts committed 
in anger or passion.* 

{i^Mpra¥€i ftip yitp imp 1} ^X^ ^ <>vrf ^ r^ alrtas^ irvxtt j* 
irmw i^mOwy irav Si cJSibv faiv /m^ wfiopovkt&ra^ 8c, HUkvuia. 
Cp. Ekd. i 18. 1374 b 6. 

^ Eik. N%cm.%. 1110 b 83, 19 KaO* Uwrra {iy¥om\ iv oU 
KuX W€fi i 1} ir/M^s* i¥ roSrois yitp koI JXcov koX irvyy vcS/!ii^ * o 
yiip roirmv rt iyvoiv dicov(rM»t wpami. iii 1. 1109 b 38, hrl 
H TOiS dUcowr&M9 inryypiiiMffi (yiyo/Acvijg). 

* In Etk, Nie. t. S. 1186 b IS t4 /act' iyyola^ ifuifrr^fiara 
ineliicle (a) i ayvoip ris wpirru'mifMafrr^fiara proper, (b) i &' 
ijrvoiiir Tftf wpirr€$ » arvx^^fioTa. 

* In Stk NicY. a. 1186 b SS •neb an act is called an i&UcqiiA^ 
but tbe agent la not Uucos: ravra yiip pXdwroms fccU cl/iofyni- 
rorrcs iiiKovtr$ /liv, tni iiucilj/iari irrwy ov /Mvroi tw 2&ico4 &jt 
rwSra ov8i vonipoL . . . &5 KoXik ri he Ovfimi ovk ix wpovoUi 
mpivmu. Bat in Stk Nu. iiL 1. 1110 b 6 tbe man wbo acto in 
anger or drankenneaa acta 4yyo£y or ovic ctSiSf, tboagb not &' 
ieyvomv : tbe acl% tbanlbn^ are ci^Mi^yr^To. * 



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THB IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 297 

Lastly, the word may denote a defect of character, 
distinct on the one hand from an isolated error or 
fault, and, on the other, from the vice which has its 
seat in a depraved wilL This use, though rarer, is 
still Aristotelian*^ Under this head would be in- 
cluded any human frailty or moral weakness, a flaw 
of character that is not tainted by a vicious purpose. 
In our passage, if we had to choose definitely between 
these three meanings, we should be disposed to take 
the word in the last sense, on the ground that in the 
context it is brought into relation with other words 
of purely moral significance, words moreover which 
describe not an isolated act,' but a more permanent 
state. 

On the other hand, there are many indications 
in the Poetics that the Oedijms Tyrannus of 
Sophocles is Aristotle's ideal play. Now Oedipus, 
though of a hasty and impulsive temperament, 
with something too of proud self-assertion, cannot, 
broadly speaking, be said to have owed his ruin 
to any striking moral defect His character was 
not the determining factor in his fortunes. He, if 

1 Thuf ifjM^nia U opposed ta niucia: Bth. Nie. yL C. i. 1148 
t 8, 1^ fsiv yitp iKpanria ^tycnu/iowx •^ ifULprta fi6vo¥ iXXi tnX 
m KaKla Ti9 ij iarXQi o&ra ^ icar<( Ti ftipois. Bat ifUMprU is 
•ometimes uaed looeely as a eapbemistie pbiaae for tHe vieioai atate 
of (he iJiicoi who act horn ^ Ka$6kov iyvoia w ^ iv r§ wpotupin^ 
ayvota: Btk Nie. in. 1. 1110 b 14, && r^y TOiat$n}V ifMprlui^ 
iSiKoi fcol iXius KOKol yivomu. 

' Pod. JuL 3, 6 ik-ZjiTt iperQ iio^Mpmv tni iutmuHrSrff, ffo^ ti4 



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S98 POETRY AND FINE ART 

any man, was in a genuine sense the victim of 

dicomstances. In slaying Laius he was probably 

in some degree morally culpable. But the act 

was done certainly after proyocatioUi and possibly 

in self-defence.^ His life was a chain of errors, 

the most fiatal of all being the marriage with his 

mother. All minor acts of ignorance culminated 

here ; and yet it was a purely unconscious offence 

to which no kind of blame attached. If Oedipus 

is the person who suggested to Aristotle the 

formula of this chapter, we can hardly limit the 

word to its moral meaning, as marking either a 

defect of character or a single passionate or 

inconsiderate act ifiaprla may well include the 

three meanings above mentioned, which in English 

cannot be covered by a single term.* The larger 

sense, if it may be assumed, will add to the 

profound significance of Aristotle's remark. A 

single great error, whether morally culpable or 

not ; a single great defect in a character otherwise 

noble,— each and all of these may carry with them 

the tragic issues of life and death. 

> OmL CU. 99i. 

* For JfM^io, ifMffriim in •oeeeanTe linM ahiftmg from the 
MBM of TolnnUij to inTolimtaij wrong-doin^ epw OmL OoL 

ifULprta/9 iv€iSo9 ovScr, M* irw 

TIm fint ifimprU It a oomteioiis dn which might haTO tarouj^t 
OB him intoluitMX goilt m a dlTinolj-Miit ezpiatioii. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 299 

In any case no sharp distinction can be drawn 
between moral and purely intellectual error, least 
of all by a philosopher who laid as much stress 
as Aristotle did on right knowledge as an element 
in conduct. A moral error easily shades off into 
a mere defect of judgment But that mere defect 
may work as potently as crime. Good intentions 
do not make actions right The lofty disinterested- 
ness of Brutus cannot atone for his want of practical 
insight In the scheme of the universe a wholly 
unconscious error violates the law of perfection ; it 
disturbs the moral order of the world. Distinctions 
of motive — the moral guilt or purity of the agent 
— are not here in question. So too in tragedy 
those are doomed who innocently err no less than 
those who sin consciously. Nay, the tragic irony 
sometimes lies precisely herein, that owing to some 
inherent frailty or flaw — ^it may be human short- 
sightedness, it may be some error of blood or 
judgment — ^the very virtues of a man hurry him 
forward to his ruin. Othello in the modem drama, 
Oedipus in the ancient — ^widely as they differ in 
moral guilt — are the two most conspicuous examples 
of ruin wrought by characters, noble indeed, but 
not without defects, acting in the dark, and, as it 
seemed, for the best 

We should probably be putting too great a 
pressure on the words of Aristotle and should go 
beyond his intention, if we sought to include under 



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300 POETRY AND FINE ART 

the role of cL xiii such a character as Macbeth. 
Still the thought of our passage lends itself easily 
to this enlargement of the meaning. Macbeth 
does not start with criminal purpose. In its 
original quality his nature was not devoid of 
nobility. But with him the ofMprla, the primal 
defect, is the taint of ambition, which under the 
promptings of a stronger character than his own 
and a more vivid imagination works in him as a 
subtle poison. In a case such as this, tragic fear 
is heightened into awe, as we trace the growth of 
a mastering passion, which beginning in a fault 
or frailty enlarges itself in its successive stages, 
till the first false step has issued in crime, and 
crime has engendered fresh crime. It is of the 
essence of a great tragedy to bring together the 
beginning and the end ; to show the one implicit 
in the other. The intervening process disappears ; 
the causal chain so unites the whole that the first 
aiMprla bears the weight of the tragic result. 

Aristotle's theory of the tragic character has 
suggested two divergent lines of criticism. On 
the one hand it is urged, that the rule &' ifutfnlap 
leaves no room for a ' true tragic collision.' The 
£Ette of the hero is determined by forces outside 
the control of the human wilL A mere error, due 
.to the inherent limitations of man's feiculties, 
brings ruin. Thus, it is said, the highest form of 
tragedy in which character is destiny, is at once 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 901 

excluded. Nothing is left but the diama of an 
external fate. 

This objection aflsumes that the tragic i§Mfnla 
is in truth no more than an arvxnt^f a mere 
accident, a misadyenture, the circumstances being 
such that reason and foresight are unavailiDg. 
Now, eyen if the word, as here used, w^re so 
limited, a collision of forces such as is essential 
to the drama would not be wanting. If a man ib 
so placed that he is at war with the forces outside 
him — either the forces of the uniyerse, the fixed 
conditions of existence, the ineyitable laws of life, 
which constitute ' Fate ' ; or the forces that reside 
in other wills that cross and thwart his own — ^the 
result may be a tragic conflict The ancient drama 
is chiefly, though hy no means exclusiyely, the 
representation of a conflict thus unwittingly begun, 
howeyer much purpose may be inyolyed in its 
later stages. The spectacle of a man struggling 
with his fate affords ample scope for the display 
of will-power and ethical qualities. The Oedipus 
Tyrannus portrays a tragic conflict none the less 
moying because the original error which leads to 
the catastrophe springs firom the necessary blindness 
and infirmity of human nature. 

But if we yield the main contention of these 
critics, and admit that a ' true tragic collision' is 
one in which character and passion determine 
destiny ; in which the indiyidual knowingly enters 



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303 POETRY AND FINE ART 

on a conflict where the forces enlisted on either 
side are chiefly moral forces, Aristotle's phrase, if 
we haye rightly interpreted it, will still include 
the most interesting and significant of such cases. 
The great £railty will then be a moral frailty. 
The resulting collision will in general be one of 
two kinds. Either the individual from levity or 
passion violates a known right, encroaches on a 
q^here not his own, and provokes a conflict which 
reacts on his character and culminates in tragic 
disaster: or the collision will be one between 
internal moral forces, the scene of the conflict 
being the heart of man. Hence we get the 
struggles of conscience, the wavering purpose, 
the divided will,— dramatic motives rarely found 
in the older Greek tragedians, but which with 
Euripides entered into the domain of the drama, 
and thenceforth held an assured place. The 
objection, therefore, to this extent appears to be 
invalid. At the same time, as already indicated, 
Aristotle's doctrine is in a measure defective. 
It £sdls to take account of two exceptional types 
of tragedy, — that which exhibits the antagonism 
between a pure will and a disjointed world, or 
between a grand but criminal purpose, and the 
higher moral forces with which it is confronted. 

Another class of critics have been reluctant 
under any circumstances to disallow the authority 
of Aristotle. It was gravely observed by Soger 



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THB IDEAL TRAGIC HERO SOS 

Bacon that * Aristotle hath the same authority in 
philosophy that the Apostle Paid hath in divinity/ 
After the Benaissance the general intellectual 
sovereignty already wielded by Aristotle was 
extended, especially in France, to the whole field 
of literature. Every well constructed tragedy, 
ancient or modem, was supposed to square with 
the rules of the Poetics. Where the £Eu^ts of 
literary history refused to adjust themselves to the 
text, the meaning of the text was strained or 
explained away, till the original rules were not un- 
firequently forced to bear the very sense they were 
designed to exclude. So fiur was the infallibility of 
Aristotle carried that on one occasion Dacier makes 
short work with an Italian commentator, who had 
ventured to find an inconsistency between a passage 
of the Poetics and the words of Holy Writ He 
brushes the objection aside with a simple reductio 
ad absurdum. *Ab if Divinity and the Holy* 
Scriptures could ever be contrary to the sentiments 
of Nature on which Aristotle founds lus judgments.' ^ 
Methods of interpretation were applied to the 
Poetics with which we are more £uniliar in Biblical 
criticism. The words of Aristotle were explained 
and defended by just those expedients that have 
been resorted to in support of the verbal interpreta- 
tion of Scripture. 

Comeille was one of the adepts in the art of 

* DMkr ott Amt Ad. Note 1 ch. xiiL Tniia. 



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SOi POETRY AND FINE ART 

adding glosses and saving clauses to the Aristotelian 
text. Thoagh he has left many luminous statements 
of the principles of poetry, his work as an expositor 
is too often inspired by the desire to reconcile 
Aristotelian rules with plays of his own, which had 
been written before he had become acquainted 
with the Poetics. A single instance— one of those 
quoted by Lessing — ^will show his easy method of 
hannonising difficulties. Character, we are told in 
the Poetics (cL xv.), must be xP^^d, ' good ' : — 
the word can bear no other than the moral mean- 
ing. Comeille, seeing that this requirement, taken 
rigidly, would condemn a large number of admirable 
playSy surmises that what Aristotle demands is 
' the brilliant or elevated character of a virtuous 
or criminal habit' ^ He instances his own Cleopatra, 
a heroine who is ' extremely wicked ' ; ' there is no 
murder from which she shrinks.' *But all her 
crimes are connected with a certain grandeur of 
soul, which has in it something so elevated, that 
while we condemn her actions, we must still admire 
the source whence they flow.' 

In itself this criticism is on the right track; 
but not as an explanation of the Aristotelian 
Xpn^ri^ ^* It is what Aristotle ought to have 
said, not what he says. As Lessing observes,' 
Aristotle's * goodness' must on this view be 'of a 

' Oomeilk, DiMoart L Du PphM Drtmaiiqui. 
> Imnng Haimk Dmn. Tvuia. (Bobn) p. 437. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 305 

sort that agrees with moral badness as well as with 
moral goodness.' In a similar spirit of mistaken , 
loyalty to Aristotle, and in similar defiance of 
linguistic usage, other commentators, — Bossu, 
Dacier, Metastasio — persuaded themselves that 
Xpvtrrh fjOfi could mean 'well marked' characters, 
in this way rescuing the word from its objection- 
able moral limitations. Lessing here, while 
avoiding these errors of interpretation and retain- 
ing the plain meaning of the words, does so. on 
grounds which are wholly un-Aristotelian. * Cor- 
neille,' he says, 'could not have had a more 
pernicious idea' than that vice may be ennobled 
by aesthetic treatment. ' If we carry it out there 
is an end to all truth, and all delusion, to all moral 
benefit of tragedy. • • • What folly to desire to 
deter by the unhappy consequences of vice if we 
conceal its inner ugliness.' He is still under 
the influence of his great assumption, that the 
immediate business of tragedy is to make men 
better. 

There is another method by which the authority 
of Aristotle has been vindicated. Plays have been 
brought into harmony with his supposed rules at 
the cost of manifest violence done to the poems 
themselves. Shakespeare has not escaped this vice 
of interpretation. Gervinus, dominated, as it 
would seem, by the idea of a moral a^MprU, is 
inclined to find some culpable error wherever 

X 



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306 POETRY AND FINE ART 

there is tragic ruin. Such an error is proved to 
be the cause^ or partial cause, of the misfortune 
that ensues not merely to the protagonist, but also 
to the subordinate dramatic characters. He dis- 
covers a 'poetic justice' in the death of Duncan, 
whose unwary security led him to accept the 
hospitality of Macbeth ; in the death of Cordelia, 
whose want of 'wise and prudent foresight' places 
her in contrast with Edgar, and justifies the 
difierence between her fate and his ; in the death 
of Desdemona, who is guilty of ' dangerous inter- 
cession on behalf of Cassio,' and 'falls into sin 
through innocence and goodness.' 

Setting aside these strange perversions of 
criticism, we may well believe that Aristotle 
would have felt some surprise at being assumed to 
have laid down a binding code of poetical rules 
for all time and place. The contrast is, indeed, a 
curious one between his own tentative manner and 
the dogmatic conclusions based on what he has 
written. He feels his way, he tacitly corrects or 
supplements what he has previously said; with a 
careless ease he throws out suggestions, without 
guarding against misconception. He little thought 
of the fur-reaching meaning that would one day be 
attached to each stray utterance. It is not merely 
the fragmentary form of the Poetics and the gaps 
and errors in the text that should warn us against 
straining the significance of isolated expressions. 



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THE IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 307 

Aristotle'a own maimer is allusive and incomplete. 
He does not write with the fear of other critics 
before his eyes. He assumes an audience already 
familiar with the general drift of his thought, able 
to fill in what is unsaid and to place his rules in 
proper light and perspective. 

In this very chapter he proposes at the outset 
to sketch the plan of the ideal tragedy.^ It is of 
the type technically known in the Poetics as *cqm- 
plicated ' {wewXeyfUpti), not simple (airXaj). Though 
the change of fortune is mentioned only in general 
terms, it would appear to be of the specific kind 
called w€piviT€Uh that is, a sudden reversal of 
fortune brought about by the very means which 
seemed adapted to produce the contrary effect ; as 
in the Oedipw Tyrannua the expected means of 
proving the king's innocence becomes, by the 
irony of events, the most convincing proof of 
his guilt* Much misconception might have been 
avoided had it been noted that Aristotle is here 
concerned not with what is good in tragic art, but 
what is best; he is describing the ideal tragedy, 
with the ideal hero to correspond. The way in 
which other types of plot and character are dia- 
missed is, no doubt, too sweeping, too summary, 
and partakes of the same exaggeration as certain 
remarks in ch. vi about the subordinate place of 

^ Pod. ziii 1, rij¥ viwBww . • . r^ wkkXlmn^ Tp«yyUiic 
* Pod. xL 1. 



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SOS POETRY AND FINE ART 

eharacter in the drama.^ It is, however, a feature 
of Aristotle's maimer, especially in his more 
popular treatises, to set aside the less preferred of 
two alternatives in words which imply unqualified 
rejectioiL The ideal tragedy, as here sketched by 
him, is one which will excite pity and fear in no 
ordinary combination, but these two emotions 
heightened to their utmost capacity under the 
conditions of the most perfect art We cannot 
infer that he would condemn as utterly bad all 
that did not come up to these requirements. 
There may be an inferior, but still an interesting 
teagedy, in which the union of the terrible and the 
pathetic does not answer to the full tragic idea. 
The play will fSall short — so Aristotie would pro- 
bably say — ^in a greater or less degree of perfection, 
but it does not cease to be tragedy. 

When due weight has been given to these con- 
siderations, the formula here proposed for the 
character of the tragic hero will still remain incom- 
plete and inadequate. Tet — as is often the case 
with Aristotie's sayings — it contains a profound 
truth, and a capacity for adaptation beyond what 
was immediately present to the mind of the writer. 
He insists on the conditions above specified as 
requisite, if we would merge our own personality 
in the creation of the poet. No * faultily faultiess ' 
bero, any more than a consummate villain, can 
1 See p. ais. 



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THB IDEAL TRAGIC HERO 309 

inBpire bo yital a sympathy as the hero whose 
weakness and whose strength alike bring him 
within the range of our common humanity. 
Modem literature, and above all the Shake- 
sperian drama^ while proving that the formula 
of Aristotle is too rigid, have also revealed new 
meanings in the idea of the tragic iiMpria. Its 
dramatic possibilities have been enlarged and 
deepened. In Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Macbeth, 
Coriolanus, we have the ruin of noble natures 
through some defect of character. In infinitely 
various wajnsi it has been shown that the most 
dramatic of motives is the process by which a 
£railty, or flaw of nature, grows and eiq^ands till it 
culminates in tragic disaster. 



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CHAPTER IX 

PLOT AND CHARACTEB IN TRAGEDY 

Of the six dements into which Aristotle analyses 
a tragedy,^ plot {fiv$a^) holds the first place. 
Next in order is placed ithos (1^09)1 and then 
diaruna (S^dtma). Each of these terms needs 
some explanation. 

Plot in the drama is the artistic equivalent of 
^action' in real life.^ We have already observed^ 
that 'action' {irpa($^) in Aristotle is not a purely 
external act, but an inward process which works 
outward, the expression of a man's rational person- 
ality. Sometimes it is used for * action ' or 'doing' 
in its strict and limited sense ; sometimes for that 
side of right conduct (tvirpafla) in which doing is 
only an element, though the most important. 
Again, it can denote 'feuring' as well as doing: 
hence, in the drama, where 'action' is represented 
by the plot, it must include outward fortune and 

• 8m pi 117. 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY Sll 

misfortune {^inruxia and ivcrvx^). Again, it is 
used by Aristotle of the processes of the mental 
life;^ and lastly, in some contexts it is almost 
synonymous with ir^iA^. 

The 7rpa($^ of the drama has primary reference 
to that kind of action which, while springing from 
the inward power of will, manifests itself in 
external doing. The very word 'drama' indicates 
this idea. The verb {ipav)^ from which the noun 
comes, is the strongest of the words used to 
express the notion of doing; it marks an activity 
exhibited in outward and energetic form.* In the 
drama the characters are not described, they enact 
their own story and so reveal themselves. We 
know them not from what we are told of them, 
but by what we see them do before our eyes. 
Without action in this sense, a poem would be not 
a bad drama, but no drama at all The form 
might be epic or lyric, it would not be dramatic. 

But this does not exhaust the idea of wpafi^ as 

^ Pol It. (vii) 3. 13S5 b 16, 4XA& rftv r/Mucroc&v (fibn) vim 
ayayicaSoK c&oi wfl^ hipovtf KoBavtp otovn^t rirtSt «vti ri% 
itavoUs c&oi fi^vov raiStas wfiOKTuci^ ras rSv dbrojScui^inrMr 

avrorcAciV iccU rets airSiv Ikciccv O^mplat Kci &avoi^<f. i| yip 
wrpa^ta TcAos^ Arrc icol wfiS^k r«s* fniktrra ti wpdmtr XSyop^v 
KvpUni Koi r&v i^itfnfHKm wpi^w to^ rots Sta v oUu s ipx'iTW' 
ro¥at. 

* Spivrmv jcol oZ &' iwayytXioas axe die words of the defaition 
of tragedy. Cp. the frequent aatitheeis of ipw and aidbrxfir, and 
thea^j* ipam^puit. 



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!S13 POETRY AND FD^ ART 

undeistood by Aristotle. Among the reasons he 
gives for the preeminent place assigned to the 
plot, one is of fundamental importance. Tragedy, 
he explains, is an imitation of an action, which is 
an image of human life,— of its supreme welfare or 
misery ; that highest welfeure itself consisting in a 
mode of action, not in a mere quality of mind' — 
in a form of moral energy or activity, which has 
a profoundly inward as well as an outward side. 
The plot or wpa($^ of the drama reproduces this 
most significant mode of action ; it does not stop 
short at strenuous doing. Still less is it a repre- 
sentation of purely outward fortune or misfortune. 
The words used by Aristotle are not idiuri<n^ tinv^ 
j(laii «al ivaTV)(ta^9 but /U^ai^ . • • €vS(u/jLOvla9 scaX 
icoicoSiu/ufptai. The former phrase would be too 
external, too apparently superficial to sum up the 
essence and meaning of a tragedy as a whole, though 
it is through the outward turns of fortune that the 
catastrophe is brought about ; these are the medium 
by which the inner sense of the action is revealed. 
The plot, theUi contains the kernel of that 

' Pod. vi 9, 1} yiip rpayifSla fUfujcrtt itmv o&c avOfHSfwmv 
iXXl wpd^ntt icflU fiiov koI €iSaifiovla$ <Kal KOKoSaifiovlaSf 1} 
fi €iSaifioyU> kqI 1} KoxoSaifuovla iv wpi^i irrly §cal t& rcAo€ 
ir^£^ n« JoTiV, ov voi^n^t. With the last words ep. Pck ir. (vii) 
S. 13S5 b 21 (quoted note 1, p. 311): Phyi. ii e. 197 b S, &% Kci 
Myiai wyA ri, wfitucri cfroi rffp ti$x^* n^ficSbv 8' in Sokc? 
^}ro4 rmMr cTnu tq tUtuiuiifl^ 1} ci^rvx^ ^ hT^ 4 ^' cv&u/iov£i 
wpS^ Tie* <vr/Mi^ yip. 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY SIS 

* action' which it is the business of tragedy to 
represent The word ' action/ as is evident from i 
what has been said, requires to be interpreted viiih 
much latitude of meaning. It embraces not onlj ] 
the deeds^ the incidents, the situations, but also 
the mental processes, and the motives which under- | 
lie the outward events or which result from them. 
It is the compendious expression for all these forces f 
working together towards a definite end. 

Next we come to ithos and dianaia. In their 
aesthetic application these present some difficulties. 
Aristotle appears, indeed, to bestow unusual pains 
on elucidating their meaning, for he gives at least 
two definitions or interpretations of each in ch. vi, 
which again are supplemented by the observations 
of ch. XV. regarding ithos, and of cL xix. regard- 
ing dianaia.^ Tet a dear and consistent view 

^ It TOBj be worth while bringiiig togethflr Ui6ie definitiona 
The dnmatio 1j6o9 is defined in 

® Pod. tL 6, tA £i {ft} (Aiy(»)» tcaff' i wotovs nraf c&cu 
^a/Acy Toiv wpdrrovras: ep. tL 10, cicrlv Si Kar& fiiw 
TcL i||ft} wouU TiKct. These passages are both somewhat 
inconsistent with tL 6, where the character of perKms 
{woiot Tivn) is said to be determined not bj IjSin akoe^ 
bat hj i}0o9 and Uivoia, 

(j3l) Poek vL I?, coTir & i}A>9 f«ir r% rocoSror i ti^AoT t^v 
wfioalfiotrWf i/woti r«f h oU ovjc im KjXoy ij wfHMup€hai 
ij ^€6y€%* iiinp ovic ixovinv IjOat rHv ktymv iv ots 
fuffi* SXmt irnv S ri wpoatp€irai { ^cvyci i Xiym¥, In 
this context the reference is to the dxamatio A^yoi which 
express (a) IjOo^ (b) S^ivowv. Cp. the rale for rhetorical 
X^ in Ekd. iii. 16. 1417 a 16, i^ac^r ti XP^ ri^ 



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314 POETRY AND FINE ART 

cannot be extracted from ch. vi in the form in 
which we have it; and this fact, taken in con- 
junction with the multiplicity of definitions, has 
afforded some ground for suspecting that there 
may be both omissions and interpolations in the 
text In what follows we will confine ourselves to 

ivfffqtnv cf^oi. bra* ti rovroi iv uSQfuy rl Ifios 
fro4€4l Ir f«)r fi^ t& wpoalpww 8i|Xovyy voiiv Si t& IjOa^ 
T^ vocclv ravn^v* 1} Si wpoalptant iroftcl ly rJAci. 

019 P(Mt.XT. ly where 1i$99 it a ouaiifeitatioii of moral pnrpoeei 
and is ex p i en e d either bj kiy^ or wfiS^i$: i^i Si IjOaq 
/lir j&r Anr^ <^X^ *^^ ^ycpir i A^yo9 ^ 1} wpa^i$ 
wpwitpwtv nva {$}, xpfftfrrhv Si iiiV xpfqrr^v. 

(On the different usee ti i}A>9 in the EhiUn^ see Oope't JiUiv- 
imtim pp. lOS £) 

The drunfttie SuCyoia is thus explained : — 

^ Ppil. vi 6, &avo4av Sc, iv &roi$ Af yorrct dro&iicinlWiK ri 
^ icol dbro^o/vovTOi ynS/Ai^K A yvufAti is a general 
maxim, and airo^oiVcorA&i, 'ennneiate,' a «0r6. |»tp. in 
connexion with it. So icaMAov ri diro^ofvoKrai in g 17* 
A ynS/Ai^ though nsnallj a mortrf maxim, exhibits Siiroia 
rather than i^Aos, probably because it is thought <tf as the 
starting-point or condnsion of an aigument See the use 
d yv&fiat in SKeL ii 21, as rhetorical enthymemes. 
There (1395 b 14^ however, thej are said to give an 
tUnieal character to speeches. 

Oi) F$eL tL 16, rptrov Si ^ Wvoio. rovro Si irrw ri Acycir 
ivycurAu rii Mvra, koX ri ipfsirrovTa. 

tL 17, Stivota Siy tv ofs iwoS€iKvvovcrt n &9 trriv 1j 
ik ovK imv 1} fcoMAov Ti dbro^a/vomrai. 

0ii} XJT, 1-S, trri Si tcari ri^ &<Cvo4av tavro, Sou iwh nS 
kiyw Sit wapao'Ktvaa'S^vai. fiipvi Si mdrw^ ri rt 
dhroSciicniWi kqX ri XiScir icr.A. Here the &<(yoia that is 
manifested in dramatic A^oi is brought within the 
domain <tf Rhetoric (r& /Ur o8r wyi r^v Si^yoiar iy rofi 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY S16 

certaiii broad oondusions, though even these may 
not all pass unchallenged. 

The term ithos is generally translated 'character/ 
and in many contexts this is its natural English 
equivalent. But if we would speak of character in 
its widest sense, as including all that reveals a 
man's personal and inner self — his intellectual 
powers no less than the will and the emotions — 
we go beyond the meaning of the Aristotelian 
itho8. In the Poetics^ ithos and dianoia are each 
one side of character ; they are two distinct £BLctors 
which unite to constitute the concrete and living 
person. Character in its most comprehensive 
sense depends on these two elements, which, again, 
are declared to be the causes of action, and to 
determine its quality.^ ^JthoSf as explained by 
Aristotle, is the moral element in character. It 
reveals a certain state or direction of the wilL It 
is an expression of moral purpose, of the permanent 
disposition and tendencies, the tone and sentiment 
of the individual Dianoia is the thought, the 
intellectual element, which is implied in all rational 
conduct, through which alone Sthos can find out- 

^ P9d. vi 5, wpimnu ti iw^ rwSv wpm r rirr m^ ^ ofk Myictf 
votoiSf rivat cfvcu Kori re ih 1j0o9 koI rifv 8i4£yocaK, &i ykp 
rairwf Kol rcLs wpi^i$ cZvo/ ^ofMV voi4£€ mm^ wi^vK€¥ Si utrttt^ 
Ho tSv wpd^w c&oi, &4£yoiar icol IjOot. • . Cp. Ktk Nic tL t. 
1130 a 34, €vwpa^la yiip koI ri iwivrlop tv wpi^% ircv &«i«£dis 
««} y^Own ovic irrw. Bat in Poit vL 6 and 10 U is 
lootdjMidthatweaxeimoirii^iMir4r&i}A|. ^ 



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316 POETRY AND FINE ART 

ward expiessioiiy and which is separable £rom Sthas 
mlj by a process of abstraction. 

When we pass to the dramatic ithos euiddtanaia, 
we find that ithos reveals itself both in the speeches 
and actions of the dramatic characters in a manner 
corresponding to the twofold manifestation of Sthos 
in real life.^ But we observe with surprise that 
Sthaa as revealed in action is but lightly touched 
on. StUl more surprising is it that though dianota 
in real life is stated to be one of the two causes 
of action, there is no express recognition of it as 
similarly manifested in the drama.* The reason of. 

^ Note 1 p. 318. BoMnqiiet in his acate obserraiioni on plot 
■ad chancter-dntwing (Hidorjf o/Aetthkic ppi 70 ft) ugoes againrt 
^0o9 being taken to mean 'ehazacter in the aenae in which 
charactfr is nnderatood Uhdtkj^ to be the object of artistic portraiture 
in Shakespeare or Thackeray/ The remarks in the text bear out 
this contention, though from another point of view. It is more 
difknlt to agree entirelj with his Tiew that IjOat in the Pottia 
is something merelj 'typical and generici' *as we say good or bad 
diaracter/ a certain ^ype of disposition or moral temperament 
without the more individnal traits. We may indeed readily admit 
that the subtlety and delicacy of modem character-drawing did not 
piesent themselTes to Aristotle's mind : more simple and elementary 
qualities ISonned the basis of dramatic character as he understood 
h. But it appears pret^ certain that he thought of indhidual 
portraiture, wad not merely of the delineation id a moral type. 
This seems to follow if only firom the rules about ri, ij^ in ch. xv., 
eapeeiaUy from the requirement that the law of necessity or prob- 
ability, prescribed for the plot^ shall apply also to .the speeches 
andVtions of the dramatic persons (§§6-6X This inner rationally 
sorely demands a strong basis oi indiridual character. 

* It is true that in Poet. six. 3 iUvoia is exhibited in the 
plot as well as in the damatie A^yoi. But the itd^ota thus 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 317 

the omission may possibly be that action is treated 
in the Poetics as a separate and independent 
element of tragedy, and kept distinct as fur as 
possible from the other elements. This is, indeed, 
one of the inconveniencies arising from the highly 
analytic method of Aristotle in dealing with the 
organic parts of an artistic whole, as also with the 
phenomena of life. It is a method that tends 
to divert our attention from the interlacing union 
of the parts and from their final synthesis. Be the 
cause what it may, explicit mention is made in 
our text of the dramatic dianoia as embodied only 
in speech, not in action. 

In the dramatic dialogue, the persons who con- 
verse do not discuss abstract truth such as the 
problems of mathematics ; ^ they desire to explain 
their own doings, and to influence others. The two 

revealed is the mind id the poel^ not of the dnmatie chaiaeten. 
It is the ihouglit, tlie idea, that underlies the incidents. Certain 
effects hare to be produced, oertain emotions awakened. The plot 
must be so shaped as to carry its message and meaning withoat 
the aid of verbal exposition. The pity and fear the poet desires to 
excite are conveyed by the inner stmctore of the story, and more 
doqnently than by any speeches : the course of the action bears 
the impress of the poet^s thou^^t (cp. xiy. 1, tovto cr roiv wpiy^ 
liWTiv tforoiffriw). The events have, as we might say, a 'logic' 
of their own, a meanings a purpose, which gives to the phiy its 
central unity. 

^ Cp. PotL vL 17, iiinp WK Ixowrip IjOas r&v Xiym¥ cv off 
jM^f 6Xm9 irrw S n w/XKupciToc Ij ^ci$yci i Acyi*y, with 22M. iii. 
16. 1417 a 19, &jl roSro c6k ix^wrw oc /laft/fwrciroi kiyoi ijftf 
or« ou8i wfioalpmrw. 



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318 POETRY AND FINE ART 

elements, ithos and dtanoia, may indeed be found 
dde by side in one and the same discourse ; but 
eren bo, there is an appreciable difference between 
theuL Wherever moral choice, or a determination 
of the will is manifested, there StJios appears.^ 
Under dianaia are included the intellectual re- 
flections of the speaker; the proof of lus own 
statements, the disproof of those of his opponents, 
his general maxims concerning life and conduct, 
as dicited by the action, and forming part of a 
train of reasoning. The emphasis laid by Aristotle 
on this dialectical dianaia is doubtiess connected 
witii the dedsive influence exercised by political 
debate and forensic pleading on the Greek theatre^ 
the affmp of the ecclesia or of the law courts being 
reproduced in the iyAw of the drama. 

The eager insistence with which Aristotie main- 
tains the subordination of Sthos to plot* leads him 
into a certain exaggeration of statement. The two 
elements are set against one another in sharp and 
impossible antithesis. * Without action there cannot 

^ Inferior writers attempted, it would seem, to make eUiical 
monoli^guea take the place of a weU eonatnieted plot Pod. vi 18, 
Iri Up rts '^€^ fiy ^ycrciV i^Ouchs «ca2 Xi^i koX iitu^tf, cS imroii^ 
|i€Mi^ ov voi^i S i}v ri}f rpaytfiiat ifiyov. Cp. Flat Phtt$ir. 
S6S — ^269 A, where aaoh /i^is are reckoned among r& w(A 
rpay^itn^ 'the preliminariee of tragedy,' not as ret rpayuci, 

* Pod, tL 10| oiSkqw Swttt rii fjOff /u/n^ttVTai wpimvtriVf 
iXkk tA i}A| trviurupaXafAfii9ov(n¥ &i rctf wpd^t/si tL 15, 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY S19 

be a tragedy ; there may be without MU.* ^ This 
clearly cannot be pressed in a perfectly literal 
sense. Moral action apart from ethical qualities 
in the agent is a meaningless abstraction, as also 
are ethical qualities without action. In life they 
must exist together, being two sides of one concrete 
reality. What is probably intended to be conveyed 
is, that there may be a tragedy without the 
individual portraiture of moral character. The 
persons may be mere types or marked only by dass 
characteristics, lacking in those distinctive qualities 
out of which dramatic action grows. There cannot, 
on the other hand, be a tragedy without some kind 
of connected scheme of incident and situation — in 
a word, without a more or less unified 'action.' 
The illustration &om painting in ch. vi 15, which 
has been subjected to some strained interpretations, 
throws further light on the reason why iihos holds 
a position subsidiary to the plot or action. 'The 
most beautiful colours laid on confusedly will not 
give as much pleasure as the chalk outline of a 
portrait'* Here the outlined sketch corresponds 
to the outline of plot Ethos divorced from plot 

^ PoiL yL 11, in Iinv yiif wpi^mt owe iv yivoito rpmy^fita^ 
&CV ii ii0S¥ yivQvr* Iv. There is eome degree of exaggentioa 
also in the following sentence^ ol yjip r&v mir riv irXcumir 
^^0CiV rpayifiiiu tSalVf and ogein in { 11, 1} Si Zcv^i&t ypai^ 

' Pod. Ti. 15, ft yip rts ivoAs^u toi« icoAAurroif ^opftAr^ 
ffoct xiifpf, oitc i¥ iftolm cii^^rcMir koI ktwioypm^n/fowi €Ik6vou 



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SSO POETRY AND FINE ART 

18 like a daub of beautiful colour, which apart from 
fonn gives little pleasure. The plot is the ground- 
work, the design, through the medium of which 
MkM derives its meaning and dramatic value. 

The whole gist of the argument is finally summed 
up thus : ' The plot is the first principle and as it 
were the soul of the tragedy/ ^ The analogy here 
indicated goes deeper than might at once be apparent 
firom the English words. The precise point of the 
comparison depends on the relation in which the 
soul stands to the body in the Aristotelian philo- 
sophy.* A play is a kind of living organism. Its 
animating principle is the plot As in the animal 
and vegetable world the soul or principle of life is 
the primary and moving force, the iipx^ from which 
the development of the organism proceeds, so it is 
with the plot in tragedy.* Round this nucleus the 

^ Pod. TL 14, 4px4 fiiy oSy mX otov ^XV ' f^vdot r^ 

^ See D$ Anim, ii 4. 416 b 7-Sl, where the eoul is explained 
to be the effieient cause, the fomuJ catue, and the final cause of 
the body. 

* The constant use of awurrdyai in the biological treatises of 
Anstotle should be compared with its meaning in the Poeiia as 
applied to the formation and organic structure of a tragedy. D$ 
Oetk Anim. ii. 1. 733 b SO, i^ iyovrji) curcA^vcn^ ra (Ifo, aw- 
ttrrarai itol Xo/i^fc* t^v oU€{av fu>pilnjv. ii 4. 739 b 33, irav 
ti frvarj t6 KWjfM ^&;. • . • iiL 8. 763 b 3, yfyvcra* rpo^ rw 
ovKMrm/Mvoif ffpot& So avmwris: d$ Om. Awm. iL 6. 744 b 
SS, ^ fiiy o3v rSi¥ oarSv 4^va'i$ iv rg ^pi^ irwrrdo'ti yiyverai 
rSiv fioptmv: cp. di Fort Afidm. 646 a SO 199. De Oaslo iL 6. S8S 
b 16, ikq yitp Stnn trvmunt rmv (1^ ix rotovruv ovwimiK^w i 
im^ipti To8r oU€bHi9 rAwott. 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 321 

parts grow and group themselyes. It is the origin 
of movement, the starting-point and basis of the 
play. Without it the play could not exist. It is 
the plot, again, which gives to the play its inner 
meaning and reality, as the soul does to the body. 
To the plot we look in order to learn what the play 
means ; here lies its essence, its true significance. 
Lastly, the plot is * the end of the tragedy * ^ as well 
as the beginning. Through the plot the intention 
of the play is realised. The distinctive emotional 
effect, which the incidents are designed to produce, 
is inherent in the artistic structure of the whole. 
Above all, it is the plot that contains those re- 
versals of fortune and other decisive moments, 
which most powerfully awake tragic feeling and 
excite the pleasure appropriate to tragedy. 

Aristotle's doctrine of the primary importance of 
action or plot has been disputed by many modem 
critics. Plot, it is argued, is a mere external frame- 
work designed to illustrate the working of character. 
Character is in thought prior to action and is implied 
m it Events have no meaning, no interest, except 
80 far as they are supposed to proceed from wilL 
Action is defined, expressed, interpreted by character. 
The question, however, which this chapter of the 
Poetics raises is not whether one element can in 
logical analysis be shown ultimately to contain the 
other ; we have rather to ask which of the two is 

^ Pod. tL 10, i fMvBot TiXo9 rij9 rpayifSiat. 
Y 



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SSS POETRY AND FIN^ ART 

the more fdndamental as regards the artistic con- 
ception and dramatic structore of a play. We will 
therefore inquire shortij what in its simplest analysis 
is meant by the drama, — ^what it is that constitutes 
dramatic action. We shall thus be able roughly 
to determine the relation in which the two &ctoTB^ 
action and character, stand to one another. 

Action, as has been shown, is the first artistic 
necessity of a play, the controlling condition of its 
existence. But mere action is not enough; an 
isolated deed, howeyer terrible, however pathetic, 
has not in it the dramatic quality. Action, to be 
dramatic, must be exhibited in its development and 
in its results ; it must stand in reciprocal and causal 
relation to certain mental state& We desire to see 
the feelings out of which it grows, the motive force 
of will which carries it to its conclusion ; and, again, 
to trace the effect of the deed accomplished upon 
the mind of the doer, — ^the emotions there generated 
as they become in turn new factors of action, and as 
they react thereby on the other dramatic characters. 
The drama, therefore, is will or emotion in action. 

Further, the dramatic action forms a complete 
whole : it is a coherent series of events, standing in 
oiganic relation to one another, and bound together 
by the law of cause and effect The internal centre, 
the pivot round which the whole system turns, is 
the plot The characters are dramatic only so £ur 
as they are grouped round this centre, and work in 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 823 

with the movement of events towards an appointed 
end. Free and self-determined though they are, 
they exercise their freedom within a sphere which 
is prescribed by this primary condition of dramatic 
art They reveal their personality not in all its 
fulness, but to such an extent as the natural course . 
of the action may require. The situation and tiie 
circumstances in which they are placed, the other 
wills with which they come into collision, are pre- 
cisely those which are best fitted to search out their 
weak places, to elicit their energy, and exhibit it 
in action. 

But the drama not only implies emotion express- 
ing itself in a complete and significant action and 
tending towards a certain end; it also implies a 
conflict We may even modify Aristotle's phrase 
and say, that the dramatic conflict, not the mere 
plot, is * the soul of the tragedy.' In every drama 
there is a collision of forces. Man is imprisoned 
within the limits of the actual Outside him is a 
necessity which restricts his &eedom,a superior power 
with which his will firequently collides. Again, there 
is the inward discord of his own divided will ; and^ 
further, the struggle with other human wills which 
obstruct his own. The delineation of character is 
determined by the fact that a dramatic conflict of 
some kind has to be represented, and by the relation 
in which the several antagonistic forces stand to the 
plot as a whole. But while conflict is the soul of the 



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SS4 POETRY AND FIN]B ART 

diama, every conflict is not dramatic. In leal life, 
as Aristotle points out/ all action does not manifest 
itself in external acts ; there is a silent activity of 
speculative thought, which in the highest sense may 
be called action, though it never utters itself in deed. 
But the action of the drama cannot consist in an 
inward activity that does not pass beyond the 
r^on of thought or of emotion. Even where the 
main interest is centred in the internal conflict, this 
conflict must have its outward as well as its inward 
side : it must manifest itself in individual acts, in 
concrete relations with the world outside ; it must 
bring the agent into collision with other personalities. 
We therefore exclude from the province of the drama 
purely mental conflicts — ^action and reaction within 
the mind itself — such as are the solitary struggles 
of the ascetic, the artist, the thinker. These are 
dramatic only when they are brought into a plot 
which gives them significance, and by which they 
become links in a chain of great events. 

Only certain kinds of character, therefore, are 
capable of dramatic treatment. Character on its 
passive side, diaracter expressing itself in passionate 
emotion and nothing more, is fit for lyrical poetry, 
but not for the dr^ona. As action is the first 
necessity of the drama, so dramatic character has 
in it some vital and spontaneous force, which can 
make and mould circumstances, which sets obstacles 

1 Fd. iT. (TiL) 3. 1885 b 16-23 (quoted Note 1 p. 811X 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 326 

aside. It is of the battling, energetic type. The 
emotions most harden into will and the will express 
itself in deed. Much more rarely, as in Hamlet^ 
can character become dramatic hj an intellectaal 
and masterly inactivity, which offers resistance to 
the motives that prompt ordinary men to action. 
Events are then brought about, not by the free 
energy of will, but by acts, as it were, of arrested 
volition, by forces such as operate in the world 
of dreamland. There is in Hamlet a strenuous 
inaction, a no^-acting, which is in itself a form of 
action. Characters such as this are not purely 
passive, they have an originating and resisting 
force of their own. Most, however, of Shakespeare's 
characters, like the heroes of the Greek drama, are 
strong and dominant natures, they are of a militant 
quality of mind. They put their whole selves, 
their whole force of thinking and of willing; into 
what they do. Nothing is more wonderful than 
the resistless impulse, the magnificent energy of 
will, with which a Macbeth or a Bichard III goes 
to meet his doom. 

Plot, then, is not, as is sometimes said, a mere 
external, an accident of the inner life. In the 
action of the drama character is defined and 
revealed. The conception of the plot as a whole 
must be present to the poet's mind prior to the 
execution of the parts; the characters will grow 
and shape themselves in conformity with the main 



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x^ 



> 



386 POETRY AND FINE ART 

actioiL In maintaming, however, that plot is the 
first essential of the diama, it is not implied that 
the plot most be complicated ; that a difficult skein 
is tangled in order to excite cariosity, and un- 
ravelled again to relieve the feelings so excited. 
Neither in Aeschylus nor in Sophocles has plot 
for its own sake become a motive. Not even in 
the Oedipus Tyrannus^ where the threads are more 
elaborately tangled and the texture of the plot is 
woven closer than in any other Greek tragedy, is 
dramatic complication an end in itself. The 
normal Greek tragedy is singularly simple in 
structure. We do not find, as in King Lecur, 
and elsewhere in the Shakespenan drama, two 
concurrent actions which are skilfully interwoven 
in order to lead up to a tragic end. Some of the 
greatest Greek plays are not only devoid of in- 
tricate plot, but present an unchanging situation. 
In the Prcmetheus there is no outward movement, 
the main situation is at the end what it was at 
the beginning : the mental attitude of the hero is 
fixed and immovable, while a series of interlocutors 
come and go. We see before us the conflict of 
two superhuman wills, neither of which can yield 
to the other. Yet the dialogue is not mere conversa- 
tion. Each speech of Prometheus is a step in the 
action; each word he utters is equivalent to a 
deed ; it is the authentic voice of will which rises 
superior to physical bondage. The play is action 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 827 

throughout^ — action none the less real because it 
consists not in doing, but in suffering. The 
reproach of want of movement which has been 
brought against the Prometheus has been also 
urged against Milton's Samson Agonistes. It is a 
drama, says Dr. Johnson, 'in which the inter- 
mediate parts have neither cause nor consequence, 
neither hasten nor retard the catastrophe.' Here 
again, however, a somewhat similar criticism ia 
applicable. The speeches of Samson form an 
integral part of the action. The will-power which 
utters itself in dialogue is translated into deed, 
and culminates in a tragic catastrophe, as soon as 
the outward constraints are removed. 

We may admit, then, with Aristotle that plot 
or action is the primary element in the artistic 
structure of the drama. But the case also pre- 
sents another side, which is lightly touched by 
him, and which deserves to be made more prominent 
Briefly stated it is this. The action which springs 
out of character, and reflects character, alone 
satisfies the higher dramatic conditions. 

Here there is a marked difference between epic 
and dramatic poetry. The epic poem relates a 
great and complete action, which attaches itself to 
the fortunes of a people, or to the destiny of man- 
kind, and which sums up the life of a period. 
The story and the deeds of those who pass across 
its wide canvas are linked with the larger move- 



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338 POETRY AND FINE ART 

menit of wliich the men themselyes are but a part 
The particular action rests upon forces outside 
iteelf. The hero is swept into the tide of events* 
The hairbreadth escapes, the surprises, the episodes, 
the marvellous incidents of epic story, only partly 
depend on the spontaneous energy of the hero. 

The tragic drama^ on the other hand, represents 
the destiny of the individual man. Action and 
character are here more closely intertwined. Even 
if the connexion cannot be traced in every detail, 
it is generally manifest when we look to the whole 
tenor of the play. The action is the product of 
the characters and of the circumstances in which 
they are placed. It is but seldom that outward 
circumstances are entirely dominant over the forces 
of the spirit If it is true that * things outward 
do draw the inward quality after them,' it is no 
less true in tragedy that things inward draw the 
outward after them. The outer and the inner 
world are here in nearer correspondence and 
equivalence than in any other form of poetry. The 
element of chance is all but eliminated. An inner 
bond of probability or necessity binds events 
together. This inevitable sequence of cause and 
effect is the link that character forges as it ex- 
presses itself in action. A man's deeds become 
external to him; his character dogs and pursues 
him as a thing apart The fate that overtakes the 
hero is no alien thing, but his own self recoiling 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 329 

upon him for good or evil. 'Man's character/ 
as Heraditus said, 'is his destiny' (^^09 wOponrif 
taliiMw). To this vital relation between action and 
character is due the artistically compacted plot, 
the central unity of a tragedy. K, as Aristotle 
says, tragedy is a picture of life, it is of life 
rounded off, more complete, more significant, than 
any ordinary human life ; revealing in itself the 
eternal law of things, summing up as in a typical 
example the story of human vicissitudes. 

The dissent from Aristotle's doctrine that plot 
is the primary element in tragedy, is sometimes 
expressed in a modified form. Plot, it is admitted, 
was the primary element in the ancient drama; 
but, it is urged, the ancient drama was a drama 
of destiny ; it obliterated character, while in the 
modem drama action is subordinate to character. 
Such is the view that De Quincey maintains. 
Man, he says, being the ' puppet of iate could not 
with any effect display what we call a character ' ; 
for the will which is ' the central pivot of character 
was obliterated, thwarted, cancelled by the dark 
fatalism which brooded over the Grecian stage.' 
'Powerful and elaborate character . . • would 
have been wasted, nay would have been defeated 
and interrupted by the blind agencies of fitte.' 
Hence, as he argues, the Greek drama presents 
grand situations but no complex motives; statu- 
esque groups of tragic figures, but little play 



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330 POETRY AND FINE ART 

of human passion; 'no struggle internal or ex- 
temaL' 

It is strange that the Greeks of all people, 
and Aeschylus of all poets, should have been 
accused of depriving man of free agency and 
making him the victim of a blind fate. The 
central lesson of the Aeschylean drama is that 
man is the master of his own destiny: nowhere 
is his spiritual freedom more vigorously asserted. 
The retribution which overtakes him is not in- 
flicted at the hands of cruel or jealous powers. It 
is the justice of the gods, who punish him for 
rebellion against their laws. In ancient tragedy, 
the supernatural forces that order man's outward 
fortunes are, it is true, more visible than in the 
modem drama, but character is not obliterated, nor 
free personality effaced. The tragic action is no 
mere series of external incidents ; it is a struggle 
of moral forces, the resultant of contending wills, 
— ^though a supreme necessity may guide the 
movement of events to unexpected issues. Plot 
does not overpower character ; it is the very 
medium through which character is discerned, the 
touchstone by which its powers are tested. 

Tet there is a certain sense in which we may 
say, that the modem drama lays increased stress 
on the delineation of individual character. On 
the Greek stage the development of character was 
impeded by the unpliable material with which the 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 831 

tragedian had to work. By consecrated usage he 
was confined to a circle of legends whose main 
outlines were already fixed* These had come 
down firom a remote past and bore traces of the 
rude times which had given them birtL The 
heroic legends of Greece were woven into the 
texture of national life: they appealed to the 
people by many associations^ — by local worships 
and familiar representotions of art Epic story, 
however, had in it elemente which the purer and 
more reflective morality of the Peridean age was 
constrained to reject. The traditional legends had 
to be adapted, as best they might, to the new 
ethical ideals. 

In canying out this task the poeto werelimited 
by the possibilities of the plot. The great fSacto of 
the legends could not be set aside. The audience, 
familiar with their own heroic history, were not 
prepared for bold surprises. So far as the delinea- 
tion of character itself was concerned, the utmost 
freedom of invention was allowed; the same 
dramatist might in successive tragedies exhibit 
a single person under various and inconsistent 
types of character. The point at which ethical 
portraiture was hampered was when the dramatic 
persons had to be fitted harmoniously into the 
framework of a particular plot The details of 
the story might vary within wide limite, but the 
end was a thing given ; and in the drama the end 



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3SS POETRY AND FliqS ART 

caimot but dominate the structure of the whole, — 
inddents and character alike. The weakness of 
the Dhumement, as compared with the complica- 
tion» of many Greek tragedies is the direct result 
of the controlling tradition of the plot 

Though the poets handled the myths freely, 
offcen transforming the inner spirit and meaning 
of the tale, yet they could not quite overcome 
the inherent difficulties presented by the problem. 
Aeschylus and Sophocles succeeded in deepening 
and humanising the archaic stories, and in liberat- 
ing the characters from the influence of the past 
But in Euripides the strain has become too great 
The tissue of the material yields ; the old and the 
new world start asunder, the actions done belong- 
ing to the old order of things, the characters 
portrayed being the children of the poet's own 
generation. 

The freedom of the Greek poet in delineating 
character was thus restricted by the choice of 
subject matter. Add to this another considera- 
tion. The themes usually handled were simple in 
outline, the main issues were dear and free from 
the disturbing accidents of individuality. In the 
legends selected the working of the eternal laws 
which govern human life could be visibly dis- 
cerned. The dramatic characters were of corre- 
sponding dmplici^. Their personality was seized 
by the immediate intuition of the poet at some 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 833 

decisive moment of action. A small portion was 
carved out of their career, illustrating human life 
in one of its typical aspects. Aeschylus, at once 
poet and prophet, sets forth in dramatic fonn the 
conflict between opposing principles, — ^between the 
implacable vengeance of an early age and the 
mercy which tempers justice, as in the Eumenides : 
or again, as in the Prometheus, he takes us back 
to a fiEuc-off past, and depicts the strife between 
two antagonists, each of them divine, who are 
representative of different dispensations, and hints 
at a future harmony, when divine Might should no 
longer be divorced from Wisdom and Beneficence. 
Sophocles, too, brings rival principles into collision. 
In the Antigone the divine and the human law stand 
opposed, and the religious duty towards the family 
triumphs over the claims of civic obedience. In 
the PhtlocteteSf the instincts of natural truthfulness 
finally carry the day against diplomatic falsehood 
for the public good. 

Greek Tragedy, in its most characteristic 
examples, dramatises not the mere story of 
human calamities, but the play of great prin- 
ciples, the struggle between contending moral 
forces. The heroes are themselves the concrete 
embodiment of these forces. Religion, the State, 
the Family, — ^these were to a Greek the higher 
and enduring realities, the ideal ends for which he 
lived. Hence in the Greek drama, patriotism^ 



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334 POETRY AND FINE ART 

wifely or coBterlj devotion, all those elementaiy 
emotionB wliich duster round home and country, 
are the motives which chiefly impel to action and 
call forth the ardour of self-sacrifice. No purely 
personal and exclusive passions animate these 
tragic heroes: they are free from inward discord 
and self-contradiction: the ends they pursue are 
objective and rest on a belief in the abiding reality 
of the social organism. The characters hereby 
gain universal meaning and validity: they are 
not of their own age and country only, but can 
daim kinship with mankind. 

The modem drama introduces us into another 
world of poetic emotion. A richer and more varied 
inner life is opened up. The sense of personality is 
deepened. Even the idiosyncrasies of human nature 
become material to the dramatist In Shakespeare 
character assumes inexhaustible variety. Its aspects 
are for ever changing, discordant elements meet and 
are blended. The contradictions do not easily yield 
to psychological analysis ; we seek to explain them, 
but we find ourselves dealing only with abstractions. 
Not until the persons enact their story before us, 
and are seen in the plenitude of organic life, do 
we feel that they are possible and real creations. 
The discovery of unsuspected depths in human 
nature has brought into prominence the subjectivd 
side of ethical portraiture, and subjective modes of 
viewing life. Love, honour, ambition, jealousy are 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY 335 

the prevailing motives of modem tragedy ; and of 
these love, the most exclusive of all the passions, 
dominates all other motives. 

Shakespeare in deepening the subjective person- 
ality of man does not, however, lose sight of the 
objective ends of life and of the corresponding phases 
of character. Between these two sides of human 
experience he maintains a just balance. The par- 
ticular emotions he stamps, as did the Greeks, with 
the impress of the universal Nor does he permit 
the dramatised action to become subservient to the 
portrayal of individual character. Other poets, who 
have explored, though less profoundly, the recesses 
of human nature, and reproduced the rarer and 
more abnormal states of feeling, have been unable 
to rise above the pathological study of man, — a 
study as dangerous as it is fSEiscinating to the 
dramatist Indeed the conscious analysis of char- 
acter and motive, even where the study of morbid 
conditions is not added, has marred the dramatic 
effect of many modem productions. Goethe with 
all his poetic genius did not surmount this danger. 
His reflective, emotional characters, who view life 
through the medium of individual feeling, seldom 
have the energy of will requisite to carry out a 
tragic action. They are described by the mouth of 
others, they express themselves in Ijrrical utterances 
of incomparable beauty. But the result is, that 
where Shakespeare would have given us historical 



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S36 POETRY AND FIN^ ART 

dramas, Goethe gives only dramatic biographies. 
And, in general, the modem introspective habit, 
the psychological interest felt in character, has pro- 
duced many dramatic lyrics, but few dramas. 

The increased emphasis attaching to individual 
portraiture is seen again in the tendency of the 
romantic drama to exhibit character in growth, — 
in each successive stage of its evolution. A Greek 
tragedy takes a few significant scenes out of the 
hero's life; these are bound together by a causal 
chain and constitute a single and impressive action. 
Much that the modems would include in the play 
itself is placed outside the drama, and forms a 
groundwork of circumstances, antecedent to the 
action but necessary to explain it Frequently the 
whole action of a Greek drama would form merely 
the climax of a modem play. The Greek custom 
of representing four dramas in a day placed a 
natural limit on the length of each play and on 
the range of the action. The romantic drama aimed 
at a more comprehensive representation ; a single 
play in its scope and compass approached to the 
dimensions of a Trilogy. Sir Philip Sidney gently 
ridicules the quickened pace with which time is com- 
pelled to move, in order to condense into a few hours 
the events of as many years. * Now of time they 
are more liberall, for ordinary it is that two young 
Princes fSall in love. After many traverces, she is 
got with childe, delivered of a faire boy, he is lost» 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY M7 

groweth a man, MIb in love, and is ready to get 
another child, and all this in two hours' space.' 

The dramatic theme is frequently enlarged in 
modem tragedy so that the entire process may be 
traced, from the moment when a deed lies dormant 
as a germ in the mind, till it has ripened into action 
and unfolded itself in all its consequences. As the 
period embraced by the action is extended, and the 
relations with the outer world beeeme more com- 
plex, it is only natural that the characters should 
expand in new directions and imdergo essential 
changes. A wider range was here opened up for 
dramatic portraiture. It was not, of course^ an 
untried region of art The Greeks had exhibited 
character as moulded by the plot and developed 
under pressure from without, or through impulses 
which operated from within. Indeed every drama 
must, in some measure, show the play and counter- 
play of those forces which rule the outer and the 
inner world. The process by which feeling is con- 
solidated into a deed cannot but leave its mark on 
the mind of the agent Antigone suffers the natural 
reaction from high strained emotion. Neoptolemus 
becomes a changed person in the progress of the 
action, though the change is merely to restore him 
to his true self, which for the moment he had lost. 
Even Prometheus, grand in his immobility, is in 
some sense worked upon by the persons and the 

scenes which pass before him. His will, uncon- 

z 



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SS8 POETRY AND FINl^C ART 

querable from the first, expresses itself in tones 
stLU more defiant at the close. 

In all these instances we have character in pro- 
cess of becoming. Wherever, in short, an action 
grows and expands according to dramatic laws; 
character, or at least feeling, mnst move in concert 
with it But ike extent to whidi growth and 
movement in the character accompany the march 
of the action is very various. The ancient stage 
furnishes us with no such complete instance of 
character-development as we have, for example, in 
Macbeth. It is the peculiar delight of the modems 
to follow the course of such an evolution, to be 
present at the determining moment of a man's 
career, to watch the dawning of a passion, the 
shaping of a purpose, and to pursue the deed to 
its final accomplishment We desire not only to 
know what a man was, and how he came to be it, 
but to be shown each step in the process, each link 
in the chain ; and we are the more interested if we 
find that the gradual course of the dramatic move- 
ment has wrought a complete change in the original 
character. In this sense we may admit that the 
modem drama has brought the delineation of 
character into new and stronger relief. 

But when we have taken into account all tiie 
minor variations of stracture which the modem 
drama has imdergone ; when we have allowed for 
the greater complexity of the plot, the greater pro- 



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PLOT AND CHARACTER IN TRAGEDY S39 

minence given to the more subjective and individual 
aspects of character, the deeper interest taken in the 
unfolding of character and in its manifold develop- 
ments; yet plot and character, in their essential 
relation, still hold the place sketched for them in 
the Poetics^ and assigned to them on the Greek 
stage. Plot is artistically the first necessity of the 
drama. For the drama, in its true idea, is a poetical 
representation of a complete and typical action, 
whose lines converge on a determined end ; which 
evolves itself out of human emotion and human 
will, in such a manner that action and character 
are each in turn the outcome of the other. 

Such a drama was the creation of Greece, and of 
all her creations perhaps the greatest Epic and lyric 
poetry have everywhere sprung up independently. 
Dramatic spectacles, religious or secular, are found 
in every country, and at all periods of civilisation. 
Dramatic narratives, such as the Book of Job, 
dramatic Ijrrics, such as the Song of Solomon, are 
among the forms of composition which meet us in 
the Old Testament Lyrical dramas, which in their 
constituent elements recall the first beginnings of 
the Greek drama, have existed in China and Japan. 
India has produced vast poems which pass under 
the name of dramas, but which want both the unity 
of action and the spiritual fireedom which the drama 
proper implies. The Greek drama is the harmonious 
fusion of two elements which never before had been 



L 



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S40 POETRY AND FINE ART 

perfectly blendecL Lyrical in its origin, epic in the 
nature of its materials, it is at once an expression 
of passionate feeling and the story of an action ; it 
embodies emotion, but an emotion which grows into 
will and issues in deeds. If the lyrical utterance of 
feeling had remained the dominant, as it was the 
original element in a Greek tragedy, it would have 
been left £ar some other people to create the tragic 
drama. As it was, the Greeks fixed unalterably 
its distinetiye form and the artistic principle of its 
structure. 



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CHAPTER X 

THE GENERALISIKa POWER OF COMEDY 

Poetry, we say — following Aristotle — ^is an ex- 
pression of the universal element in human life; 
or, in equivalent modem phrase, it idealises life. 
Now the word ^idealise' has two senses, which 
have given rise to some confusion. Writers on 
aesthetics generally mean by it the representation 
of an object in its permanent and essential aspects, 
m a form that answers to its true idea ; disengaged 
from the passing accidents that ding to individu- 
ality, and from disturbing influences that obscure 
the tjrpe. What is local or transient is either 
omitted or reduced to subordinate rank ; the par- 
ticular is enlarged till it broadens out into the 
human and the universal In this sense 'the 
ideal' is 'the universal' of the Poetics. But 
there is another and more popular use of the 
term, by which an idealised representation implies 
not only an absence of disturbing influences in the 
manifestation of the idea, but a positive accession 
of what is beautiful. The object is seized in some 



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MS POETRY AND FINE ART 

happy and characteristic moment, its lines of grace 
or strength are more firmly drawn, its beauty is 
heightened and the object ennobled, while the 
likeness to the original is retained. The two senses 
of the word coincide in the higher regions of art. 
When the subject matter of artistic representation 
already possesses a grandeur or beauty of its own, 
its dominant characteristics will be made more 
prominent by the suppression of accidental features, 
and the ideal form that results will have added 
elements of beauty. The leading characters in 
tragedy, while true to human nature, stand out 
above the common man in stature and dignity, 
just as, by the art of the portrait-painter, a likeness 
is reproduced and yet idealised.^ In the very act 
of eliminating the accidental a higher beauty and 
perfection are discovered than was manifested in 
the world of reality. Tragedy, therefore, in the 
persons of its heroes combines both kinds of 
idealisation; it universalises, and in so doing it 
embellishes. 

Idealised portraiture does not, as has been 
already observed,' consist in presenting characters 
of flawless virtue. Aristotle's tragic hero, as 
delineated in the Poetics (ch. ziiL), is by no means 
firee from fitults or fSEulings. The instance, again, 

^ Poet XT. S, JanSMmt r^v ISta^ i'^P^^^ ifuUovt wotoSvTti 
* piSlft. 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY S43 

of Achilles as a poetic type of character, who in 
spite of defects has a moral nobility entitling him 
to rank as ideal, shows that the idealising process, 
as understood by Aristotle, does not imply the 
omission of all defects.^ In general it may be said 
that some particular quality or group of qualities 
must be thrown into relief; some commanding 
faculty heightened, provided that in so doing the 
equipoise of character, which constitutes a typical 
human being, is not disturbed. The ideal is that 
which is raised above the trivial and accidental; 
by virtue of a universal element which answers to 
the true idea of the object it transcends the limita- 
tions of the individual Even vicious characters 
are not entirely excluded from tragedy on Aris- 
totle's theory,* though the villain may not hold the 
position of protagonist The saying attributed to 
Sophocles, avT&9 ftip. otov9 Set iroiCM^, EupvtrtSfiP Si 
oUi €lct, does not bear the interpretation sometimes 
assigned to it, that the characters of Sophocles are 
patterns of perfect goodness, while those of Euri- 
pides are the men and women of real life. Literally 
translated the words are: ' Sophocles represented 
men as they <mght to be represented {oto%n h€l. sc 
iroiw\ while Euripides represents them as they 
are.'* That is, the characters of Sophocles answer 

^ Pod. XT. S. * pp. Sll and S94. 

* Fmt. zxT. e. VaMcn, howeTer, nndenUndt cTmu with itZi 
ep. zzT. 1, oSr c2mi Scl Ey«n if we acoept this ecmatnictioii, the 
&ft wiU etOl be the ^onght' of aeethetie obligatioii, not the 



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344 POETRY AND FINE ART 

to the higher dramatic requirements; they are 
typical of universal human nature in its deeper 
and abiding aspects; they are ideal, but ideally 
human; whereas Euripides reproduced personal 
idiosyncrasies and the trivial features of everyday 
reality. 

Objection may be taken to the distinction 
drawn between tiie two meanings of the word 
'idealise/ on the ground that they run into one 
another and fundamentally mean the same thing. 
it may be urged tiiat so fSEor as an object assumes 
its universal form, ridding itself of non-essentiab, 
it will stand out in perfect beauty ; for all ugliness, 
all imperfection, all evil itself, is an accident 
of nature, a derangement and disturbance by 
which things fall short of their true idea. To 
represent the univeisal would thus in its ultimate 
analysis imply the representation of the object in 
the noblest and fairest forms in which it can clothe 
itself according to artistic laws. Comedy, which 
concerns it«elf with the follies and foibles, the 
flaws and kinperfections of mankind, cannot on this 
reasoning idealise or universalise its object 

Now, it may or may not be that evil or imper- 
fection can be shown to be a necessary and ultimate 
element in the universe; but the point seems to 

moral 'ought* At the aame timo^ m has been pfeyionilj ehown, I 
the aeeUietie ideal of ehaneler in the PoMu impliee a high, 
lho«gh noi a peileet morali^. 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY 345 

be one for philoeophj to discuss, not for art to 
assume. Art, when it seeks to give a compre- 
hensive picture of human life, must accept such 
flaws as belong to the normal constitution of man. 
At what precise point imperfections are to be re- 
garded as accidental, abnormal, irregular ; as pre- 
senting so marked a deviation from the type as to 
be unworthy of lasting embodiment in art, is a 
problem whose answer will vary at different stages 
of history, and will admit of different applications 
according to the particular art that is in question. 
Certain imperfections, however, will probably 
always be looked on as permanent features of our 
common humanity. With these defects comedy 
amuses itself, discovering the inconsistencies which 
underlie life and character, and exhibiting evil not 
as it is in its essential nature, but as a thing to be 
laughed at rather than hated. Thus limiting its 
range of vision, comedy ia able to give artistic 
expression to certain types of character which can 
hardly find a place in serious art. 

Again, it must not be forgotten that the in- 
dividual character, considered by itself, is not the 
same as this character considered in its place in the 
drama. A character universalised may, if regarded 
alone, still be * ugly,' and yet it may contribute to 
the beauty of the whole. In that sense we can 
continue to call it 'ugly ' only by a kind of abstrac- 
tion. Or to put it otherwise, — evil regarded in its 



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346 POETRY AND FINE ART 

esBential nature may be ugly; but, shown in the 
action of the comedy to be nugatory and ridiculouB, 
it ceases to be ugly ; it is an element in a fSEtct which 
is beautifuL 

Aristotle draws no distinction between the uni- 
versality which is proper to tragedy and comedy 
respectively. Each of these, as a branch of the 
poetic art, embodies the type rather than the in- 
dividual, and to this extent they have a common 
function. 

An Athenian of the fifth century would hardly 
have singled out comedy as an example of poetic 
generalisation. The large admixture of personal 
satire in the old Attic comedy would rather have 
suggested the view, that the main ingredient in 
comic mirth is the malicious pleasure afforded by 
the discomfiture of another. And, in £Eict, Plato, 
in the subtle analysis he gives in the Philebus^ of 
the emotions excited by comedy, proceeds on some 
such assumption. The pleasure of the ludicrous 
springs, he says, from the sight of another's mis- 
fortune, the misfortune, however, being a kind of 
self-ignorance that is powerless to inflict hurt A 
certain malice is here of the essence of comic enjoy- 
ment Inadequate as this may be, if taken as a 
complete account of the ludicrous, it nevertheless 
shows a profound insight into some of the chief 
artbtic modes of its manifestatiojo. Plato antici- 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY S47 

pates^ but goes deeper than Hobbes, whose well 
known words are worth recalling : * The passion of 
laughter is nothing else but a sudden glory, arising 
from a sudden conception of some eminencj in 
ourselves, by comparison of the infirmity of others 
or with our own formerly/ 

The laughter that has in it a malicious dement, 
and that implies in some sense the abasement of 
another, does not satisfy Aristotle's conception of the 
idea of the ludicrous. His definition in the Poetics ^ 
carries the analysis a step farther than it had been 
carried by Plato. * The ludicrous,' he says, ' is a 
defect or ugliness, which is not painful or destructive. 
Thus, for example, the comic mask is ugly and dis- 
torted, but does not cause pain.' The phrase ' not 
painful or destructive '—either, that is, to the object 
of laughter, or sympathetically to the subject — ^is a 
remarkable contribution to the idea under discus- 
sion. Still more significant is the omission of 
malice, which to Plato had seemed an essential 
ingredient 

The pleasure, therefore, of the pure ludicrous is 
not to be explained, as some tell us to-day, by 
the disinterested delight of primitive man in the 
infliction of sufiSsring. It does not consist in a 
gratified feeling of malignity, softened indeed by 

* Pod. T. 1, rb yip ycXoSJv hrriv ifUpTfifU ri K&i «Irxof 
iviSww iccU otS 4^SapTuw¥f otor €v6if9 ih ytAoSor wpSawn^ 



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848 POETRY AND FINE ART 

ciTilisatioD, but ultdmately to be resolved into a 
kind of savage mirtL A good joke becomes, indeed, 
a little more pungent if it is seasoned with malice, 
but, even without the malice, laughter may be pro- 
voked. And, according to Aristotle, the quality 
that provokes laughter is a certain 'ugliness,' a 
'defect' or 'deformity/ These words, primarily 
applicable to the physically ugly, the dispro- 
portionate, the unsymmetrical, will include the 
firailties, follies, and infirmities of human nature, 
as distinguished from its graver vices or crimes. 
Further, taking accoimt of the elements which 
enter into the idea of beauty in Aristotle, we shall 
probably not unduly strain the meaning of the 
expression, if we extend it to embrace the incon- 
gruities, absurdities, or cross-purposes of life, its 
blunders and discords, its imperfect correspondences 
and adjustments, and that in matters intellectual as 
well as moral 

Aristotle's definition is indeed still wanting in 
exactness ; for though the ludicrous is always in- 
congruous, yet the incongruous (even limited as it 
is here) is not always ludicrous. Incongruity, in 
order to be ludicrous, requires a transition, a change 
of mood, resulting in the discovery either of an 
unexpected resemblance where there was unlikeness, 
or of an unexpected unlikeness where there was re- 
semblance. There is always a blending of contrasted 
feelings. The pleasure of the ludicrous thus arises 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY S49 

from the shock of soiprise at a painless incongruity. 
It sometimes allies itself with malice, sometimes 
with sympathy, and sometimes again is detached 
from both. For our present purpose, however, it is 
enough to note that, although Aristotle's definition 
k hardly complete, it has the merit of recognising 
the pure ludicrous, which is awakened by the per- 
ception of incongruity, and provokes no malignant 
or triumphant laughter. The definition harmonises 
well with his exclusion of personal satire and galling 
caricature from genuine comedy, and with his 
theory of the generalising power of poetry. 

Indeed, Aristotle selects comedy as a salient 
illustration of what he means by the representation 
of the universaL^ He points to the comedy of his 
own day, in which the tendency was shown to discard 
the use of historical names, and adopt names which 
suggest characteristic qualities. It was part of the 
effort^ which, as he says, poetry makes to express 
the universaL* The name had only to be heard in 

1 PoeL ix. 4-6. 

' Jii iz. 6, M fiiv 6Sr rfjs Jctt/i^Sm ^£i; rovro SSjkw yiyovw 
<nNm{(ravrffs yci^ riv ikvOov &cl rcDv cticorwv ovr«i ri rvx^rra 
ivii»ara innrMwTWy Kai ovx &nr^ ol ta/iPcwouiX W€pl riv Kmff 
iKiurrov rowwriv : the plot ia first oooBtnictad ; names are then 
(ovrw) giTen, the names depending upon the author's choice. If 
we take t& rvxirru 6v6fMra in its more natural sense of ^names 
giTen at random,' we can hardlj reconcile this section with § 4, oS 
(sa Tov Ka$6Xov) OTox<i^crai i) wotryr*9 ovo/Mra JrirtA^icin}, which 
apparentlj means that poetiy employs tf/pieal or mpmmm names as 
pert of its tendene j towards generalisation. 

I am, howerer, stionglx disposed to think that, for •vm ri 



L 



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350 POETRY AND FINE ART 

• 

order that the type to which the person belonged 
might be recogmsed ; much in the same way as in 
the New Comedy the Boor, the Parasite, and other 
types were known on the stage by their familiar 
masks. It may be added that not the names only 
of the characters, but the extant titles of plays com- 
posed by writers of the Middle Comedy, imply the 
same efifort after generalisation. They remind us 
of the character-sketches of Theophrastos. Such 
are 'the Peevish man' (o A^mXo^), ^the Fault- 
finder' (o M^fi^MN^), 'the Busybody' (o HoXu- 
w/Mty/M»9), 'the Boor' (o "Aypouan), 'the Hermit' 
(o liopirpoiwi). Other pieces again bear the name 
of a profession or occupation, as 'the Boxer' (o 
UAmfi), 'the Charioteer' (o 'Uvtaxin), 'the Soldier' 
(• S^paruirff^), 'the Painter' (o Zatypcufn^); and 
others are called after a people, — ' the Thessalians,' 

rvxir^^ jy^^roy we should read ov rii rvxivra ivofuira 'namei 
Hot ffmtk at hapliaiaid.' The Aiabie yenion (Margoliouth AnaUda 
OrimloliaX with its negatiTtt, to fax favonn this view. Hie copyists 
often confosa ov r6 and (Arm (ep. PmL ix. S, 1460 a 87) : so that 
if ri had onoe been writton as a dittogiaphia for ri^ the enor of 
ovn* would be accoonted for. A pasiage in Flntareh {ArittapK, it 
Mtiumdr. Camp, eh. i) confirms this coigectare. Anstophanes is 
coptjasted with Menander, as giving haphaxaid instead of char- 
acteristie names to his dramatic persons : dAA' itrrtp dwh Kki^pov 
iarmAinH TO«f w/NNnSiroif rk wfKurrvxivra r&¥ i¥OfAAru¥f iccU ovjc 
jbr Smywotfifi^ cfrc vUi irrir, CiTC ^rffpf clrc iypoocov, crrc dc^ 
sfrc ypuSt, cfrc tjpm i irnktyifnoKft. The contrast here drawn 
between the Old and the New Comedy recall% eren Terbally, 
that whidi Aristotle in this passage of the PoeUe$ draws between 
the Old and the Middle Oomedy (obsenre the emphi^ ^ in crl 
^ eSr riff im^ifMBf ^ rovro t^Aor ytytn^w). 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY S51 

'the Thebans/ *tbe CorinthiaiiB/ — and may be 
asBumed, incidentallj at least, to portray or 
satirise national characteristics. 

In varions places Aristotle indicates the dis- 
tinction between comedy proper, which playfully 
touches the iaults and foibles of humanity, and 
personal satire (4 ta/ifiudt ISUy or invectiye 
(Tioiiopla). The one kind of composition is a 
representation of the universal, the other of the 
particular; the one is identified by Aristotle with 
the comedy of his own day, the other is intended 
to include the old political comedy of Athens. He 
does not expressly mention Aristophanes, but by 
implication he reckons him among 'lampooners' (o« 
ia/A/Binroiol),* and among those who employed coarse 
or abusive language (aUxpoTioyla), instead of 
delicate innuendo {vir6poM).* He shows a marked 
preference for the Middle Comedy as presenting 
generalised types of character in conformity with 
the fundamental laws of poetry. 

It is doubtful whether Aristotle had any per- 
ception of the genius and imaginative power of 
Aristophanes. The characters of the Anstophanic 

^ Pod. T. 8. « Poti. ix. 6. 

• Eih. Nic iT. 8. 1188 a 88, JSoi £* 2r rif ic«2 lie rfr 
KmfUf&iAv rSv wqlXm/S^ koX tuv jcocWS^* roU /liv yi^p Ijw ycXoSbr 
1^ aitrxpokoyiof roif 8i fuiXXov ^ dr^yoco. Op. Fiig. wyi 
KmfMfSias (Gnmer An§ed.): iw/^ip€i i} tmiunlUk rtj[t X»tio p U % ^ 

i} Si ficitm T^ ieaAo«yifn|f j|fi^dbrc«*f : wb«re ^^i^dty n n f the 
Ariatotdiaa drovotfti. 



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S52 POETRY AND FINE ART 

drama are not Mrlj judged if they are thought of 
fliinplj as historical individuals, who are subjected 
to a merciless caricature. Socrates, Cleon, Euri- 
pides are types which represent certain movements 
in philosophy, politics, and poetry. They are 
labelled with historic names ; a few obvious traits 
are borrowed which recall the well-known person- 
alities; but the dramatic peraonages are in no 
sense the men who are known to us from history. 
Such poetic truth as they possess is derived simply 
from their typical quality. It is not, indeed, in the 
manner of Aristophanes to attempt any faithful 
portraiture of life or character. His imagination 
works by giving embodiment to what is abstract. 
His love of bold personification is in part inherited 
from his predecessora on the Attic stage : Cratinus 
had introduced Laws (N^^mm) and Biches {UXouroi) 
as his choruses. But Aristophanes goes further ; 
he seems to think through materialised ideas. He 
personifies the Just and the Unjust Logic, and 
brings them before us as lawcourt disputants ; he 
incarnates a metaphor such as the philosopher in 
the clouds, the jurymen with waspish temper, 
mankind with their airy hopes. The same bent 
of mind leads him to give a concrete form to the 
forces and tendencies of the age, and to embckiy 
them in actual persons. A play of Aristophanes 
is a dramatised debate, an ^yo&y, in which the 
persona represent opposing principles ; for in form 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY 353 

the piece is always combatiye, though the fight 
may be but a mock fight These principles are 
brought into collision and worked out to their 
most irrational conclusions, little regard being paid 
to the coherence of the parts and still less to pro- 
priety of character. The Aristophanic comedy, 
having transported real persons into a world where 
the conditions of reality are neglected, strips them 
of all that is truly individual and distinctive, it 
invests them with the attributes of a class or 
makes them representative of an idea. 

In the Middle Comedy and still more in the 
New Comedy we observe a change in the manner 
of poetic generalisation. We quit the fantastic 
world of Aristophanes with its audacious allegories 
and grotesque types of character. There is now 
a closer study of real life and a finer delineation 
of motive. The action by degrees gains strength 
and consistency, till, like that of tragedy, it has 
a beginning, a middle, and an end. Character 
and action become more intimately united. The 
typical follies and failings of mankind are woven 
into a plot, in which moral probability takes the 
place of the arbitrary sequence of loosely connected 
scenes and incidents. The broad characteristics 
of humanity receive a more fEdthful, if a more 
prosaic rendering. Moreover, the great ideas of 
Hellenism disengage themselves from local and 
accidental influences and make their appeal to 

2a 



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354 POETRY AND FINE ART 

a universal human Bentdment. In Aristotle's day 
the movement here described was but partially 
developed. He did not live to see the master- 
pieces of Menander, which were the poetic em- 
bodiment of his own theory. The Middle Ck>medy 
which suggested to him his ideal had not indeed 
altogether dropped the element of personal satire ; 
it merely replaced the invective formerly levelled 
against public men by a gentle raillery of poets 
and philosophers. Still Aristotle discerned ac- 
curately the direction in which comedy was 
travelling, and not improbably contributed by his 
reasoned principles and precepts to carry forward 
the Uteraiy movement already initiated. 

We have seen that in the Poetics (ch. ix.) he 
draws no distinction between the generalisation 
proper to tragedy and comedy respectively. It 
is an important omission, though in a treatise so 
incomplete as the Poetics^ in which we have a bare 
fragment of the section devoted to comedy, we 
are hardly warranted in assuming that he saw no 
difference in this respect between the two forms 
of poetry. Tet critics give ingenious reasons for 
what they conceive to be the orthodox Aristotelian 
view. Lessing, to whom Aristotle's authority was 
that of a lawgiver in art, and who admits that he 
considers the Poetics * as infallible as the Elements 
of Eudid,* having once satisfied himself that 
Aristotle had pronounced upon the matter in 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY 355 

dispute, enforces at length the conclusion that 
the characters in comedy are 'general/ precisely 
in the same sense as those of tragedy.^ He con- 
troverts the BBjing of Diderot that * Ck>medy has 
species, tragedy has individuals/ and the similar 
observation of Hurd that * Comedy makes all 
characters general, tragedy particular/ ' 

But, surely, there is a real distinction between 
the generalisation of tragedy and of comedy, though 
it is not exactly expressed in the sayings above 
quoted. Comedy looking at a single aspect of 
life, at the follies, the imperfections, the incon- 
sistencies of men,, withdraws its attention from the 
graver issues which concern the end of conduct 
It takes those moments when life appears to be 
idle and distorted, a thing of vanity and nothing- 
ness; it brings out its negative side, its inherent 
limitations; it exhibits situations in virhich the 
sense of the ideal is lost under an outward gaiety, 
or its realisation wholly frustrated. It does not 
detach the essentials of life from the unreal ap- 
pearances; and, though some elements of tragic 
earnestness may underlie the representation, comedy 
cannot^ while remaining within its own strict limits, 
present, as tragedy does, a rounded and complete 
action, an image of universal human nature. In 
respect of character-drawing, its usual method — so 

1 Lesdog Hamb. Dram. pp. 45S-47a 
« lb. p. 46S. 



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356 POETRY AND FINE ART 

&r as it maintains itself as a distinct artistic type 
— ^is to embody a dominant characteristic or a lead- 
ing passion, so that the single attribute becomes 
the man. 

A character so created, exhibiting an ideal of 
ooTCtonsness, misanthropy, or whatever the quality 
may be, almost of necessity runs to caricature. It 
is firamed on lines of impossible simplicity. The 
single quality, which in nature is organically related 
to other impulses and powers, is isolated and ex- 
aggerated. The process is one of abstraction, and 
corresponds to an original one-sidedness in the 
comic view of life. Even Moli^re portrays abstract 
qualities rather than living men. Not that comedy 
in its generalising effort suppresses particulars. No 
detail is too trivial for it, no utterance too momen- 
tary, no desires too purely egotistic, if only they 
can be made to serve the general effect ; but the 
details it accentuates are of a different kind from 
those which tragedy admits. In the passing and 
unreal appearances of life it finds everywhere 
material for mirth. In a sense it individualises 
eveiything, no less truly than in another sense it 
generalises alL What it can hardly achieve as a 
purely sportive activity is to combine these two 
aspects in ethical portraiture. 

The line that severs tragedy and comedy is not, 
indeed, so sharply drawn by modem dramatic art 
as it was in the ancient world ; and characters have 



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THE GENERAUSIKG POWER OF COMEDY 357 

been cieated, in which the serious and the comic 
element interpenetrate one another. By the dose 
alliance of sympathy with humour — an alliance 
which was still imperfect in antiquity — the most 
far-reaching results have been produced affecting 
the range and meaning of the ludicrous. Hiunour, 
enriched by sympathy, directs its observation to 
the more serious realities of life. It looks below 
the surface, it rediscovers the hidden incongruities 
and deeper discords to which use and wont have 
deadened our perception. It finds everywhere the 
material both for laughter and tears; and pathos 
henceforth becomes the companion of humour. The 
humorist does not, like the satirist, stand apart 
from men in fancied superiority. He recognises 
his own kinship with the humanity which provokes 
him to mirth. He sees around him shattered 
ideals; he observes the irony of destiny; he is 
aware of discords and imperfections, but accepts 
them all with playful acquiescence, and is saddened 
and amused in turn. Humour is the meeting-point 
of tragedy and comedy ; and the sajdng of Socrates 
in the Symposium has in great measure been 
justified, that the genius of tragedy and of comedy 
is the same.^ 

It is chiefly through humour of the deeper sort 
that modem comedy has acquired its generalising 

^ Plat Sympot. 2S8 D, rov «vrov avipit c7mu KUfM^fiU^ koI 



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858 POETRY AND FINE ART 

power. To the humorist there is no such thing 
as individual folly, but only folly universal in a 
world of fools. Hiunour annihilates the finite. 
As Coleridge says, 'The little is made great and 
the great little, in order to destroy both, because 
all is equal in contrast with the infinite.' Uncle 
Toby,in Tristram ShandyMth his campaigns and 
his fortresses,' is an epitome of the follies of man- 
kind In the greatest creations of humour, such as 
Jhn Quixote^ we have a summary of the contra- 
dictions of human life, of the disproportion between 
the idea and the feict, between soul and body, 
between the brilliant day-dream and the waking 
reality. 

This universalising power of humour is not, in- 
deedt unknown in ancient literature. The Birds of 
Aristophanes is a splendid example to the contrary. 
But, if we restrict our attention, as we have chiefly 
done here, to the portraiture of character that is 
individual while at the same time it is universal, 
we are at once aware of a distinction. Don Quixote 
and Sancho are living and breathing beings ; each 
is a tissue of contradictions, yet each is a true 
personality. The actors in an Aristophanic 
play are transparent caricatures. In these half- 
grotesque impersonations the individual is entirely 
subordinated to the type ; and not here only, but 
also-— so &r as we can judge — ^in the more minute 
and realistic art of the New Comedy, where differ- 



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THE GENERALISING POWER OF COMEDY S59 

ences of age, sex, &xxnij relationship, or social 
condition are carefully delineated, coexisting, how- 
ever, with strongly marked features of a common 
humanity. Greek tragedy, on the other hand, like 
all tragedy of the highest order, combines in one 
harmonious representation the individual and the 
universal Whereas comedy tends to merge the 
individual in the type, tragedy manifests the type 
through the individual In brie^ it may be said 
that comedy, in its unmixed sportive form, creates 
personified ideals, tragedy creates idealised persons. 



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CHAPTER XI 

FOETIC XTNIVEBSALITY IN GREEK LTTERATURE 

It is chaiacteristic of Aristotle's method that he 
starts from concrete facts, and that his rules are in 
the main a generalisation from these facts. He is, 
in the first instance, a Greek summing up Greek 
experience. The treasure-house of Greek art and 
poetry lay open before him ; a vast body of litera- 
ture, lost to us, was in his hands. He looked back 
upon the past^ conscious, it would seem, that the 
great ereatiye era was closed, and that in the highest 
regions, at least, of artistic composition the Greek 
genius had reached the summit of its powers. The 
time was ripe for criticiBm to take a survey of the 
whole field of poetic literature. Aristotle approaches 
the subject as the historian of poetry, but his general- 
ising fSaculty impels him to seek.the law in the facts, 
and firom the observed effects of different kinds of 
poetiy to penetrate to the essential character of 
each. U his rules have proved in most cases to be 
not merely rules of Greek art but principles of art, 
it is because first, the Greek poets contain so much 



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POETIC UNIVERSALITY IN GREEK LITERATURE 861 

that appeals to universal human natorei and because 
next, Aristotle was able from the mass of literature 
before him to disengage and to formulate this uni- 
versal element. The laws that he discovers are 
those which were already impressed on the chief 
productions of the Greek genius. 

We can hardly claim, as has been sometimes 
done for Aristotle, that he rose above the traditions 
and limitations of the Hellenic mind, and took up 
the attitude of the purely human or cosmopolitan 
spectator. On some points, doubtless, he expresses 
opinions which contradict the current ideas of his 
age. He admits that in certain cases the tragio 
poet may take entirely fictitious subjects instead 
of the well-known legends.^ He holds that metre, 
which was popularly thought to be the most essential 
element of poetiy, is in truth the least essential, if 
indeed it is essential at all' He leaves it at least 
an open question whether the drama may not still 
admit of new developments.* But in general it 
remains true that Greek experience was the starting- 
point and basis of his theory, though that experience 
had to be sifted, condensed, and interpreted, before 
any coherent doctrine of poetry could be framed or 
judgment passed on individual authors. Aristotle 
does not accept even the greater tragedians as all 
of equal authority, or all their works as alike canons 
of art; and it is a mistake to assume that the 



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362 POETRY AND FINE AI(T 

piecepts of the Poetics must, if there is no indica- 
tion to the contrary, harmonise with the practice of 
Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, if not of minor 
uniters also. His rales are based on a discriminating 
and selective principle, and imply some criterion for 
judging of artistic excellence. 

The principles of art as laid down by Aristotle 
fedthfully reflect the Greek genius in the exclusion 
of certain tendencies to which other nations have 
yielded First, pure reaUsm is forbidden ; that is, 
the Uteral and prosaic imitation which reaches per- 
fection in a jugglery of the senses by which the copy 
is mistaken for the original In the decay of Greek 
art this kind of ingenuity came into vogue, but it 
never found &vour in the best times. Even the 
custom of setting up votive statues of athletes who 
had been thrice victors in the games did not lead to 
a realism, such as in Egypt was the outcome of the 
practice which secured the immortality of a dead 
man through the material support of a portrait 
statue. Next, pure sjrmboUsm is forbidden, — ^those 
£uitastic shapes which attracted the imagination of 
Oriental nations, and which were known to the 
Greeks themselves in the arts of Egypt and Assyria. 
The body of a lion with the head of a man and the 
wings and feathers of a bird was an attempt to 
render abstract attributes in forms which do not 
correspond with the idea. Instead of the concrete 
image of a living organism the result is an impossible 



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POETIC UNIVERSALITY IN GREEK LITERATURE S63 

compound, which in transcending nature violates 
nature's laws. The Odyssey^ on the other hand, 
with its impossible adventures by sea and land, its 
magic ship, its enchanted islands, its men trans- 
formed into swine, its vision of the world below, 
is constructed according to the laws of poetic truth* 
The whole is a faithful representation of human life 
and action, the irrational elements {rh SKoya) being 
but accessories that do not disturb the main impres- 
sion. They are presented to the imagination with 
such vividness and coherence that the impossible 
becomes plausible, the fiction looks like trutL 

That these principles were arrived at after due 
observation of Oriental art is very improbable. 
Familiar as Aristotle must have been with the ex- 
ternal characteristics of this art, and with specimens 
of Greek workmanship which had been moulded 
under its influence, there is no express allusion to 
Eastern works of art in his writings. The omission 
is not explained simply by saying that he did not 
set himself the task of writing a treatise on sculpture, 
and that his sole concern was with poetry. For, 
had he given serious thought to the plastic art of 
the East, as he certainly did to that of his own 
country, some trace of it would probably have been 
found in his writings; just as his observation of 
Greek models led him to drop many detached 
remarks on painting and sculpture. To learn a 
barbarous tongue, however, was so uncongenial to 



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3C4 POETRY AND FINE ART 

a Greek that even the all-acquisitiye mind of 
Aiistotle was content to remain ignorant of every 
literature but his own ; and it may similarly have 
seemed a waste of labour to study the symbolism 
of a barbarous art^ Oriental art on the face of it 
was not a rational and intelligent creation ; it had 
no counterpart in the world of reality. 

The Greek imagination of the dassical age is 
under the strict control of reason, it is limited by 
a sense of measure and a faculty of self-restraint 
It does not like the Oriental run riot in its own 
prodigal wealth. We are always conscious of a 
reserve of power, a temperate strength which knows 

^ It it strange bow little notice the Greeks took of symbolical 
art Dion Cbrysostom (eirc 100 aj>.) Olympic (xii) 404 R in a 
speecb put into tbe nioutb of Fbidias defends tbe plastic art of 
Greece, wbicb expresses tbe divine nature in buman form. Hie 
boman body serves indeed as a symbol of tbe invisible, but it is a 
nobler symbolism than tbat of tbe barbarians, who in animal sbapes 
discover tbe divine image. Pbilostratus ViL ApoU. vi 19 discusses 
tbe point at greater lengtb. Apollonins is here supporting the 
method of Greek sculpture as contrasted with tbe grotesque forms 
under which the gods were represented in Egypt (aroira koX ycAoid 
0tmv ciSi;). Thespesion, with whom he is conversing, argues that 
the wisdom of the ijgyptians is shown chiefly in this, that they 
give up the daring attempt directly to reproduce the deity, and by 
symbol and all<^ry produce a more impressive effect : ov^v yiip 
thrtp rt Aiyvwrimp koX th /ifi OpaurvvioOai is rk r&y Otmv MtStj, 
^vfifioXucii Si avra wommtAu koX vwovoovfuvoy Koi yiip Av iccU 
^nfUFVTym, oSrm iftaivoiro. To which Apollonius replies that the 
effect would have been stiU more impressive if instead of fashioning 
a dog or goat or ibis tb^ bad offered no visible representation, and 
left it to the imagination, which is a better artist, to give form and 
shape to the divinity. 



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POETIC UNIVERSALITY IN GREEK LITERATURE S65 

its own resources and employs them without effort 
and without ostentation. The poet, the historian, 
the artist, each of them could do much more if he 
chose, but he does not care to dazzle U& He is 
bent on seeing truly, on seeing harmoniously, and 
on expressing what he sees. The materials on 
which his imagination works are fused and com- 
bined according to the laws of what is possible, 
reasonable, natural. Greek mythology as it has 
come to us in literature bears on it this mark of 
reasonableness. Traces indeed there are of an 
earlier type, — rude and unassimilated elements, 
flaws which have been left untouched by the 
shaping hand of the poet or by the constructive 
genius of the race. But compare Greek mythology 
with that of other nations, and we cannot but 
wonder at its freedom £rom the extravagant and 
grotesque. The Greeks in creating their gods in 
their own likeness followed that imperious instinct 
of their nature, which required that every product 
of their minds should be a harmonious and intelligi- 
ble creation, not a thing half in the world, half out 
of it, no hybrid compound of symbolic attributes. 

To watch the formation of the Homeric Olympus 
is to see the Greek mind working in its own 
artistic fashion. The several tribes, — Achaeans, 
Argives, Minyae, and a host of others, — ^have each 
their local gods and goddesses, uncharacterised, 
unspecialised, save by the vague omnipotence of 



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366 POETRY AND FINE ART 

godhead. With the victory of dominant races and 
the fusion of cults there came a redistribution of 
functions and attributes, that might have issued 
in unmeaning chaos or in bare abstractions. Not 
80 with the Greeks. From the motley assemblage 
of tribal divinities the Homeric gods stand out 
dear and calm as their own statues. The gods of 
other nations may be but the expression of the 
people's practical needs, or the abstracted utterance 
of their thought The gods of the Greeks are 
fashioned by a race of artists in accordance with 
nature, but completing and transcending her. The 
mythologist notes how in the assignment of their 
spheres and duties all that is non-essential is 
eliminated. Attributes which a god already has 
in common with other gods fall out. The Homeric 
Olympus is a great gathering of living type-forms, 
whose image henceforth haunted the imagination 
of the race. 

It would not be true to say that the lighter 
play of fancy is excluded from the literature 
and mythology of the Greeks. Few nations have 
taken more delight in weaving airy and poetic 
fictions apart from all reality, made out of nothing 
and ending nowhere. Almost all the Greek poets 
have something of this national taste. It breaks 
out at moments even in the prose -writers, in 
Herodotus or Plato. In one domain, that of 
comedy, fancy seems at first sight to reign supreme 



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POETIC UNIVERSALiry IN GREEK LITERATURE 367 

• 

a^id uncontrolled. It obeys its own laws and ' ' 

revels in its own absurdities. It turns the world | 

upside down, and men and gods follow its bidding. j 

The poet pelds in thorough abandonment to the 
spirit of the festival, he leads the orgy and shares I 

its madness and intoxication. No sooner is he j 

launched on its course than he is carried wherever ! 

an exuberant poetic fancy and a gift of inex- 
tinguishable laughter lead him. The transitions . 
from jest to earnest are as quick as thought. 
Whole scenes follow one another in which no 
single word can be taken seriously. Tet even 
comedy has its lucid intervals, or rather in its 
madness there is a method. In its wildest freaks 
there is some underljring reason, some intelligible 
drift and purpose. The fantastic license, however, 
of comedy stands alone in Greek literature. In 
other departments fancy is much more restrained, 
more reserved. It breaks through as a sudden 
and transient light, as gleams that come and go, 
it does not disturb the serenity of thought. 

The Greeks themselves were accustomed to 
speak of poetic genius as a form of madness, an 
inspired enthusiasm. It is the doctrine of Plato 
in the lon^ in the Phaedrus, in the Symposium. 
Even Aristotle, who sometimes writes as if the 
faculty of the logician were enough to construct 
a poem, says ' poetry is a thing inspired.' ^ Else- 

^ Shd. iii 7. 140S b 19, fi^cov y«i^ i} woiijtnt. 



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S68 POETRY AND FINE ART 

where he more accurately distinguishes two classes 
of poets, — the man of flexible genius who can take 
the impress of each character in turn, and the 
man of fine frenzy, who is lifted out of his 
proper self, and loses his own personality.^ In 
another place we read of a poet who never com- 
posed so well as when he was in 'ecstasy' or 
delirium ;* but of these compositions no specimens 
survive. Of the great poets of Greece, however, we 
can say with certainty, that whatever was the 
exact nature of their madness, inspiration, ecstasy 
'^-call it what you will — ^they never released them- 
selves from the sovereignty of reason. Capricious 
and inconsequent they were not. Their imagina- 

' PoeL XTU. 2, &5 cv^vov^ ^ roti/rwc^ ccrrtv iq /unvticoS* rovnav 
yap o! /ftiv cvrAoorot ol Si iMrrarucoC tUriv, The reading 
iKtrroxiKol is said to be found in one MS. of Vettori : the other 
JISS. have i^traarucoi On the whole the correspondence of the 
two daoses seems best maintained bj reading iKorarucoL Then, 
o! ficK, i.e. the cv^vctf^ are cvrAoorot: the finely gifted natures, 
poets who have the versatility of genius, can take the mould of 
other characters : whereas ol jc, t.s. the fMvucolf are iKinuTucoL If 
we keep jjcraorrucoc^ ol fiiv will refer to fiaviKoi, o2 8c to cv^vcts. 
By l^murrocoi will be meant a fine instinct of criticism, an 
artbtio judgment, a delicate power of seising resemblances and 
differences. In favour of this it may be argued, that the cv^v>ys 
has the special gift of a fine critical faculty : cp. Eth, Ni€. iii 6. 
1114 be, aAA4 ^vvoi 8c« Aamp o^tv ixovra^ ^ ic/mvc« koXA^ 
• • • ital itrrw cv^v^ f rovro KoXik rc^viccv. But in either 
case the cv^vi|t has a more conscious and critical fSacul^ than the 

/MUTilCOf. 

* PrM. xxz. 1. 954 a 38, Mopoicbs Si i Svpoicourcof ital 



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POETIC UNIVERSALITY IN GREEK LITERATURE 369 

tive creations even in their moat fantastic forms 
obeyed a hidden law. 

Lamb's essay on 'The Sanity of True Grenius' 
may be illustrated from Greek poetry as fitly as £rom 
Shakespeare. 'So &r from the position holding 
true, that great wit (or genius, in our modem way 
of speaking) has a necessary alliance with insanity, 
the greatest wits, on the contrary, will ever be 
found to be the sanest writers. . . • But the true 
poet dreams being awake. He is not possessed 
by his subject, but has dominion over it. . . . 
Where he seems most to recede from humanity 
he will be found the truest to it From beyond 
the scope of Nature if he summon possible exist- 
ences, he subjugates them to the law of her con- 
sistency. He is beautifully loyal to that sovereign 
directress, even when he appears most to betray 
and desert her.' The perfect sanity of the Greek 
genius is intimately connected with its universality. 
For is not insanity a kind of disordered indi- 
vidualism? The madman is an egoist; he takes 
his own fancies as the measure of all things. He 
does not correct his impressions, or compare them 
with those of others, or bring them into harmony 
with external feu^t The test of a man's sanity 
is the relation in which his mind stands to the 
universal We call a man sane not only when 
his ideas form a coherent whole in themselves^ 

but fit in with the laws and feu^ts of the outer 

2b 



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370 POETRY AND FINE ART 

world and with the nniversal human reason. Is 
not all this in keeping with Aristotle's theory that 
the effort of poetry is towards the universal ; that 
it represents the permanent possibilities of human 
nature, the essentials rather than the accidents? 
The poet does not on the one hand create at 
random or by guesswork, nor yet does he merely 
record what has happened. He tells what may 
happen according to laws of internal probability 
or necessity. The sequence of poetry is not the 
empirical sequence of fact but the logical or con- 
ceivable sequence of ideas; it eliminates chance 
and discovers unity and significance in characters 
and events. 

All great poetry and art fulfil this law of 
imiversality, but none perhaps so perfectly as the 
poetry and art of the Greeks. Take a single 
instance, — the delineation of female character in 
Greek poetry. The heroines of Homer and of the 
tragedians are broadly and unmistakably human. 
In real life woman is less individual than man; 
she runs less into idiosyncrasies, she conforms 
rather to the general type. This however, it may 
be said, is owing to the deference she pays to the 
conventional rules of society, it is due to artificial 
causes that do not reach to the foundations of 
character. But an inwardly eccentric woman is 
also rare. Go below the sur£GU!e and you find that 
with all outward marks of difference, whether of 



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POETIC UNIVERSAUTy IN GREEK LITERATURE 371 

fiashion or of maimer, and in spite of a caprice that 
has become proverbial, female character can be 
reduced to certain elemental types of womanhood. 
These essential tjrpes are few. Maiden, wife, 
mother, daughter, sister, — here are the great 
determining relations of life. They form the 
groundwork of character. Accident may modify 
character, circumstances may stamp it with a 
particular expression, and bring into relief this or 
that dominant feature. But there remains an ideal 
mould in which the tjrpe is cast. Once the deeper 
springs of feeling are moved, circumstances are 
thrust aside, and a woman's action may almost 
with certainty be predicted. 

The superiority of the Greeks over all but the 
very greatest of the modems, in portraying female 
character, is probably due to their power of seizing 
and expressing the universal side of human nature 
— ^that side which is primary and fundamental in 
woman. They 'follow,' as Coleridge says of 
Shakespeare, 'the main march of the human 
affections.' The vulgar and obtrusive elements 
of personality are cast off, and in proportion as the 
characters are divested of what is purely individual, 
do they gain in interest and elevation. Penelope, 
Nausicaa, Andromache, Antigone, Iphigenia, are 
beings far less complex than the heroines of a 
dozen novels that come out now in a single year. 
Their beauty and truth lie precisely in their typical 



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372 POETRY AND FINE ART 

liiimaiiitjr. Nor, in gaining universal significance, 
do the women of Greek literature fSade into abstract 
types. The finer shades of character are not 
excluded by the simplicity with which the main 
lines are drawn. In discarding what is accidental 
their indiyiduality is not obliterated but deepened 
and enriched ; for it is not disordered emotion or 
perplexity of motive that makes a character poetical, 
but power of will or power of love. Attentive 
study of such a poetic creation as Antigone reveals 
innumerable subtle traits illustrative of the general 
principle of Greek art by which the utmost variety 
of detail is admitted, if only it contributes to the 
total impression and is subject to a controlling 
unity of design. 

For many centuries the standing quarrel of Greek 
literature had been between the poets and the philo- 
sophers. Poetry, said the philosophers, is all fiction, 
and immoral fiction too ; philosophy seeks the good 
and the true. Plato, inheriting the ancient dislike 
of the wise men towards poetry, banished the poets 
from his ideal republic Aristotle would heal the 
strife. He discovers a meeting-point of poetry and 
philosophy in the relation in which they stand to 
the imiversaL We should have been glad if he 
had explained his conception of the exact difierence 
between them ; clearly, he did not intend to merge 
poetry in philosophy. Following the lines of his 
general theory we can assert thus much, — that 



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POETIC UNIVERSALITY IN GREEK LITERATURE 37S 

poetry is akin to philosophy in so fSEur as it aims at 
expressing the universal; but that, unlike philo- 
sophy, it employs the medium of sensuous and 
imaginative form. In this sense poetxy is a con- 
crete philosophy, 'a criticism of life' and of the 
universe. This is completely true only of the 
higher imaginative creations, of such poems as 
those of Homer, Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Dante. 
In them there is an interpretation of man and of 
life and of the world; a connected scheme and 
view of things not systematised or consdously 
unfolded, but latent, underljring the poef s thought 
and essential to the unity of the poem. Poets, too, 
even of an inferior order, who, like Wordsworth, 
are capable of presenting truly, if not the whole of 
life, yet certain definite aspects of it in imaginative 
form, are in their 0¥m way philosophers. They 
embody a consistent and harmonious wisdom of 
their own. 

Between poetry and philosophy there had been 
an ancient feud. It was otherwise with poetry and 
history. Here at first there was no opposition. 
* Poetry,' says Bacon, ' is feigned history ' ; much of 
the poetry of the Greeks might be called authentic 
history, — ^true not in precision of detail or in the 
record of personal adventures, but in its indication 
of the larger outlines of events and its embodiment 
in ideal form of the past deeds of the race. Aris- 
totle himself speaks of the myths as history ; the 



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374 POETRY AND FINE ART 

incidents they narrate are facts (tA yevSfuva) ; the 
names of their heroes are 'historical' (jevofuva 
imiJMTa) as opposed to £ctitioas {wewoi/fifUva) names.^ 
In this sense Greek tragedy was historical, but its 
fiicts were drawn not from recent history or con- 
temporaneous events. The tragedian was the suc- 
cessor of the epic poet, who was himself the earliest 
historian of the Greek race and the keeper of its 
arddves. Homer, it is true, is not to us as he was 
to the Greeks the minute and literal chronicler of 
the Trojan war. We may smile when we think of 
his lines being quoted and accepted as evidencie in 
the settlement of an international claim. Tet the 
Homeric poems are still historical documents of the 
highest value; and that not merely as reflecting 
the life of the poet's age, the sentiments and 
manners of the heroic society of which he formed 
a part, but also as preserving the popular traditions 
of Greece. Not many years ago it was the fEushion 
to speak of the legendary history of Greece as 
legend and nothing more. Art and archaeology are 
every day adding fresh testimony as to its sub- 
stantial truth. Explorations and excavations are 
restoring the traditional points of contact between 
Greece and Asia Minor. Famous dynasties which 
not long since had been resolved into sun-myths 
again stand out as historical realities. Troy, Tiryns, 
Mycenae rest on sure foundations ; their past great- 

> P^d. ix. C-7 : fi^ pp. 158-160.: 



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POETIC UNIVERSAUTV IN GREEK LITERATURE S75 

nesB, their lines of princes, their relations with out- 
side states, are not the dreams of poetic imagination. 
The kernel of truth, which was thought to be non 
existent or indiscoverable, is being extracted by the 
new appliances of the historical method 

The Hellenic people, in short, are found to have 
perpetuated their history with marvellous fidelity 
through popular mytL Myth was the unwritten 
literature of an early people, whose instinctive 
language was poetry. It was at once their philo- 
sophy and their history. It enshrined their uncon- 
scious theories of life, their reflections upon things 
human and divine. It recorded all that they knew 
about their own past, about their cities and fEunilies, 
the geographical movements of their tribes and the 
exploits of their ancestors. Myth to the Greeks was 
not simply what we mean by legend. Aristotle 
observes that the poet is none the less a poet or 
maker though the incidents of his poem should 
chance to be actual events ; for some actual events 
have that internal stamp of the probable or possible 
which makes them the subject matter of poetry.^ 
Such were the 'actual events' recorded in myth. 
They lay ready to the poet's hand as -an anonymous 
work, touched by the imagination of an artistic race, 
many of them hardly needing to be recast from the 
poetic mould in which they lay. Truth and fiction 
were here fused together, and the collective whole 

1 P$d, VL 9. 



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376 POETRY AND FINE ART 

was heroic history. This was the idealising 
medium through which the past became poetical; 
it afforded that imaginative remoteness which 
enabled the hearers to escapei from present real- 
ities. It lifted them into a higher sphere of 
eziBtence where the distractions of the present 
were forgotten in the thrilling stories of an age 
which, though distant, appealed to them by many 
associations. The Athenians fined Phrynichus for 
his Capture of MUetus not because the event it 
represented was historical instead of mythical, but 
because it was recent and painful history. As the 
&iry-land of fancy was to Spenser 

*llia world's iweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil,' 

so the Greeks looked to poetry as a refuge from the 
miseries and toilsomeness of life. The comic poet 
Ixodes in explaining the effect of tragedy gives 
expression to the common sentiment of Greece. 
* The mind, made to forget its own sufferings and 
touched with the charm of another's woe, canies 
away instruction and delight.' ^ 

^ Timodes A«ovuirM[{bwra4 : Meineke, Ckmk Frag. iL SOO, 
i yip vovs rfiv titmv A^ft^v kafii^v 

Of. Hflsiod Umg. 9S-103, 

mI yip rtf itol wiit&as ixi^v vwmfiii Ov/nn 

7lQV9im¥ 9€oirmi^ kAcSk itpvripmr ivOpAwmv 



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J 



POETIC UKIYERSAUTY IN GREEK LITERATURE 377 

Greek poetry and art with tme historic sense 
did not take the present as an isolated point, but 
projected it into the past, whose half-effaced outlines 
were restored by the imagination. Myth was the 
golden link which bound together the generations. 
The odes of Pindar are a case in point. The poet, 
starting from the individual victor in the games, 
raises the interest above the personal level and 
beyond the special occasion, by giving historical 
perspective and background to the event The 
victor's fortunes are connected with the annaLs of 
his house, with the trials and triumphs of the past. 
Nor does the poet stop at the deeds of ancestors. 
The mention of a common ancestor, of a Heracles, 
will transport him £rom Lacedaemon to Thessaly. 
He passes outside the family and the city and 
sweeps with rapid glance from colony to mother- 
city, from aty to country, £rom the personal to the 
Panhellenic interest. Thus the ode is more than 
an occasional poem, and the theme as it is unfolded 
acquires a larger meaning. * The victor is trans- 
figured into a glorious personification of his race, 
and the present is reflected, magnified, illuminated 
in the mirror of the mjrthic past.'^ The ode rises 

i/AV^o^ fjJifcapdig T€ $4oifS oT 'Okvfarov Ixovtrw^ 
aX\j/* i y€ Sva^poviw^ JiriX^dcroi, ovSi n leiyStitr 
fiifivqroi* raxim Si vaptrpaTM SSpa Otimv, 

UmbL ds Mydmiif i 11. p. 39| && ^ rovro Iv rt tcm/jufSi^ tnl 
rpaffSl^ ikkirfHa wi$ti $€mpovyT^ SorrofMr tA oIkubl irdWif. 

^ Oildcnleeyt Pimiiait^ Intr. pi zriii 



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378 POETRY AND FINE ART 

bj clear ascents from the individaal to the 
univeisaL 

It is this that constitutes Greek idealism. The 
world of reality and the world of imagination were 
not for the Greeks separate spheres which stood 
apart; the breath of poetry kindled the facts of 
expedeaeb and the traditions of the past The 
ideal in Greek art was not the opposite of the 
real, but rather its fulfilment and perfection. Each 
sprang out of the same soil ; the one was the full- 
blown flower of which the other was the germ. 



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INDEX I 



[The t%f nwom Utn giTen tr« to the Eeeeyi only, Bot to the 
TextofthePMiMf.] 



,, vopd, 281 

dS^mrm, 167, 162 ft 

aZ^of iMib^mft S47 

oliTXpoXayk X ^^^^ S61 

dxpoan^, 197 

dXi|^, oAc, 167, 208 

dXX^/NO, rd, 286 

dXoTo, 162 C 

intoffrULf 296 ff. 

dLPttYKoio, tA, 186 

draY«a<ior, card r^ 164, 166, 169, 

267, 261, 278 
<bd7ici9^141 
dra7r«iyM#if, 244, 267 
drd^, 6^ 289, 286 
drdv»v#it, 186, 187, 281 
drcipor, T^ 264 

dirX4 rpfi^if )( w*w\rfiih% 267, 807 
drflyiccX(rri#^ 231 
dpcn» )( mucCm 212 
iLpluiftn, 127 
d/oi 3M ft, 820 
Zr^io, ^rOmUMTpC^, 198, 288 
dr^JxWUi X *MwT,^ 296 
•Miuarer, r4, 169 

/lArter, r4, 141, 142, 167 
fi4Xn€TW, ri, 112, 141 

TfXeSor, r4(det)847 
T^M^f, 146, 196 
Ttr^AMM, rd, 168, 874 
ywmpquirtfi^ 166 



.»48 

.848 



8ct(0ld«&««8er), 116, 141, I 
„ (oTovf 8c7r«c&), 141, 84J 
H , <if , 167 
8e(y4r, rd, 246 
8^<rit, 261 
8i|/buoi;py4f, 146 
8(a7v7i», 186, 186, 281 
8iaX<Mi4dy«r (r^ «^i»nr), 264 
Xcd^MO, 810, 818 C 
akoAOP, r4 (in comedy), 208 
W^E(w^pAfrVW<drdrd7flr),168 
I4(ar, ««pd n^ (but li' dXXfXc), 

247 
a/»a/ia, 811 
8dMMtt<» 146, 196 
IvraTd, 168, 172 



I8eriue, 186 

tiaof, 110, 146, 146, 178, 196 

ck6f, card r4, 164 It, 169, 267, 

261 
fk6f, r4, 166, 171, 278 
cki6r, 119, 188, 819 
iKKoBalpt^eat, 281 
iKKptOit, 229 

iKicp9V0TtK^ roO fktmfp 246 
^ctfrartic^ 868 
iKTi»9€$iu Ka0SKmf, 181 
Aryxw, 227 
Afw, 199, 287 (def.) ft 
ikwNpioi r^XP^f ^^^ 
ifi^asttf 861 
Ir, r4, 264 

iFccd rois rd, 141, 148, 170, 194 
iw$M^ (4 ve^fnt ), 867 
If#mi#ui#/i^ 280 ft 
^prA4c«M,146 



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380 



POETRY AMD FINE ART 



#tcOOU(77fir, 267, 873 
^trm^nKit, 868 
«^r4fr/«Yvakf,167 

4{i##CF, Tit, 261 

^«#o8uft^ 148, 261 

^vuucih, 218, 216^ 281, 286, 288 

iwmntucdw w&€Hlfmp 265 

MmLitmta, 186, 187, 812 
€d/unffUirt¥rmr 267 
cArXsTTM, 868 
c^iir<rMT0f^ 257 
€<#»4t,868 
l^i|m,lll 



l^pfHK^Wim, 118 
i^, 176^ in, 256 



48op«2 ^MX^cSnu, 248 

48Mil85ff. 

4^1^215 

4iM^ 116^ 125, 218, 810, 818 flC 



«to/M#r^, W, 168 
Ibftrff, 188, 197 



154, 178 



Ku0atptm (cmutngA^oiDM ot)f 285 

K(Ukkp§»i69p 227 

mC#aprtt, 223 C 

si(#a^t, 4 (artidle), 228, 288 

Mi#fr7«#^ 281 

KtMimf, r4, 178 it, 849 

mtfAov iKrl$€wBai, 181 

oX^, 7^ 146^ 148 

cBTa^rAXc^^ 281 

tihmmM ){ U/hLpm$^ 284 

clrnTit, 118, 125, 145, 229 

Mpdrrm/t X X < fp < w , 215 
c^cTmi,214 

" . 219, 285, 849 ft 



XvivSm, rdf 285 
X4m, 257, 261 



ttaw0dw€tPt W, 188 

/iawuc4t, 868 

;i/yc9ot (limit of), 255 £ 

/lAot, 125 

M^iTor, 258 ff. 

/ttrdfiant, 240 

/l^/MT, 134 

Ai4ir«f and xp^pm^ 268 

^HN^r, 281, 287 

fiUfnint, 115 ff. 

Moiviic4 122 fl:, 190, 214, 280 ff. 

IMX^vOi, 211 

fa$o9, 310 fll 

fOeiH, A/SodXcTM 4^ 211, 258 



Wmc^u, 281 
Xlirpa, nC, 161 



tXa Ar y4pwT0, 154 
ola ctroi dc?, 116, 141, 343 
olK€ia 4^oni, 198 
o7ovf 6ci votciT, 141, 843 
6Xor, T«(, 175 ff., 254 ff., 258 (dat) 
</iOtof, 215, 240, 294, 842 
ifuU^fM, 118 ff., 123 ft, 181 
^driff of music, 190 
„ of poetry, 207 
Spx^t, 129 ff. 
oAr(a, 145 
<fit, 136 



r(i^ll7 

voideia, 113, 231 

wtuSid, 185, 187, 192 

wapditiyfM, 142 

wapaKoytiffiAt, 161 

vci/Nirai, 267, 268, 271 

vcvculci^rof, ^ 197 

wtpUiin, fda ^Xiov, 267, 268, 271 

W€pnr4T€ia, 245, 257, 307 

wtplrmfiA, 235 

W^t, 111 

v«tfay4r, r6. 122, 157, 159, 162 

vW^rnt and I^ro^ 154, 178 ff. 

„ „ ^iW«^201ft 
woiifTit M Md^icaXM, 201 ft 
rouciAia, 264 

flr*X^, ^4wiT6, 156, 170, 171 
r«X^/tv«M , 265 
roni^ 211 
wmnffidt, 4 #^p«, 282 
v/»a{if, 117, 310 ft 



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INDEX 



S81 



v^t iw\i, 257 

^ wwmfduUi, in, 21S, m 

wpmtfwt tt SIS 



^^, 128 ff., 184» 214 



#1^128 0: 

rvXWrft, 218 

cvm4«(a wpB^, 182, 218, 224, 

#vov8«4^ 178, 179, 197, 212fl: 

#rMrl4X~<<^ 192 

rW^^Mt, 189 

r«AA«7i#^ 188 

wwfiffiflKdt, ri, 189, 170 

#tfyi/M«,n9 

#tfr80rit, 282 

#iiri#T4PM, 820 

#^rT«#if, 282, 820 

#x4Mrs,128ff: 



T«p«xi 329 

rAfftM, 264, 285 

rcXffvnfb259 

tAm, 145, 184, 187, 194, 198, 288, 
821 

Wpatm, 170, 171 

rmirMct, i^ 170 

TJ^d6f:of,148,195 
„ and mOi, 189 
n m T^. 170 ft 



tmoOtm , i, 228, 288 

rpayuairmTm (of Saripidtt), 285 

r^«>V<<«» 228 C 

Tp a yi ^U X < w »»»8 fa » 2^9 

r^rivdta mi mf^tyXU, 248^ 857, 877 

Tpttyyik i , rk wpk^ 818. 

T<xf, 189 

rvx4rr« M#Af«« 849 

- fl-^ • » -* 1AA 



9K% 110, 145, 178, 195 
^V^MMI X •'#xHWV<«f Ml 

^utnwU, 119 ft 

^irra^ftM, 119 

^iiCXM X r y u lrf t i, 212 C 

^iX4r#^iMw, r4b 281, 288 
^6fim, 199, 287 (dot) C 
fiffWf, 197 
^^irrMr c«2Aflf&, 242 
^^vu, 145, 194 
„ tad Wxff» 110 ft 



f. *» 197 
X Kfdrrmft, 215 

„ . .«•/>« K »p*» ^••^•n*'. 1^* 

X^wrK 218, 804, 805 
X^4p»t and Ai^Mf, 288 
X^4^T«, 128 ft 



ffip|i)X^V«r«W8<180ft 
if^fx ^ ymy U , 201 



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INDEX n 

[Vkm nfiMMtt hum givm an to tht EiMji mdj, not to tbt 
Tixtofth«iMtei.] 



AociDSiiT, 169 IL 

Acdoi^ a 'wrioat' ( #w » ta<a X 1^ 

218 C. 224, 250 
*Aetioo'^(r/rfl|if), 117, 810 flC 
* Action,' unity oi; 254 C 
Addison, 225 
AoKhylua, 205, 289, 828, 880, 888, 

887, 878 
AichiteotttN^ 188 C 
Arittophanea, 203 ft, 851 £, 858 
AiistoUa aooepta Flato'a taadiing^ 

177,282 
AiiatoHa and Plato oontimstad, 115, 

148 C, 179 ff., 190 fll, 194, 207 

C, 228-229, 240, 248, 846 flC 
Art and Chanoa, 171 
ArtandMoraUty, 200iL 
ArtandNatnn, 108 £ 
Artaaapastini0(«mcMX IM It 
Art j^ne and UaeAil, 109 it, 144 

£,186 
Art, Fine, end of, 185 C, 206 
Artist, the, 192-8 
Athenaea% 129, 18S, 188, 184 

Baooh, Lord, 174, 878 
Baoon,Boger, 808 
BeantilU, the, 151 
BMinning, a (in drama), 258 fL 
Beyig and Becoming 149 
Bemaja. 227,245 
"Better^ (of poctie eharaetenX 215 
« Better,* the (H fi€inm), 141 



GEBTAvm, 185, 858 
Gbanee^l69iL 

'LFlolt810fl: 



Character (i^), aa objeet of aeethetio 

imitation, 116, 818 fL 
Chaucer, 288 
Choma, 270 

Coleridge, 181 ff., 858, 871 
Comedy, 188, 192, 208 ff., 218, 216; 

219, 840 ff: 
'Complication' (8^#it), of plot, 261 
Co^lelll^ 226, 242, 244, 271, 274, 

278, 289, 804 

Dacixb, 218, 220, 272, 278, 274, 290, 

808 
Dancing; 129 fL 
Dante, 114, 878 
D'Anbignac, 219, 271, 278 
IMmmemeiU (X^it), of plot, 257, 261, 

264,882 
De Quinoey, 829 
«Dianoia,'810, 818ff: 
Diderot, 855 
Dion Chryaoetom, 864 
Dramatic 'action,' 811 ft 
Dramatic context 210 
Dramatic Unitiea, 258 fL 
Dryden, 222, 284 

'BoTAST,* noetic, 868 

Emotions (rd^), as otjeet of 

aeathetical imiution, 116 
Bnd (in drama), 258, 268 
Knd of Fine Art, 185 ft, 206 
«Bnthnsiaam,'280ff. 
Epic poetiy, 164, 166, 264, 827 
Eratosthenes, 200 ft 
'Ethos,' 116, 818 ft 
Euripides, 204, 209, 258, 269, 285, 

294,848 



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INDEX 



383 



Fexalb ehaimottr, daliatttion •( 

S70IL 
Fietioiu, poetio, 160 C 
' Form ' (Mm), 140, 148, 145» 14« 
Fradflriek the Giwt, 875 

' Gbkxkal idea' (in Doetrr), 181 it 
'QdD6i»litfttioii' in OooMdy, 849 C 
Qoethe, 108, 181-^ 226-7, 286, 885 
Gpodnesa, of tntpc ehaiaet«% 212 
ft, 286 £,804 

' Hi^PT ending!,' 108, 288 

HegoL 108, 18F 

Hmditni, 820 

Hesiod, 876 

Hippomtet, 284-5 

History uid Poetnr, 158 it, 178 £, 

878 C 
Hobbes, 161 
Homer, 161, 168, 164, 265, 266» 868, 

870, 878 
'Homoeopathio' cnn of OMtioa, 220 

ff:,249ff. 
Honoo, 161, 220, 222 
Homonr, 857, 858 

Iambuchus, 877 

Ideal, in Art, 116, 145 flC 

Idetl tra«MlT, 807 

* Idealiae? different fenfes oi; 841 £ 

Ima^nation, 120 

'Imitation,' as an aeathetie feenn, 

cb. II. 115 ff 
'Imitation,' ol^eoti of aettUtiQb 

116, 188-9 
Imitative Art, end o( 185 fL 

< Impoetibaitiea' (in poetir), 157 fL, 

162 ft 
ImprobabflitJea (moral) in poetfy, 
167 

< Improbable poeaibaitiea,' 171 It 
IndiTidoaliiea ebaraoter, 816, 885 It 
'Irrational' («Xry«) eiemanta (in 

poetry), 162 flC 

JoHNsoK, Dr., 284, 827 
' Jnatioe, po^' 200, 288 It 

*KATHAMI%'225lt 

Kebl6,284 

Lamb, Obarlea, 869 
LeiMire (#x«Xi»)» * noUe, 185-6 
Leenng^ 226» 288, 258, 270, 287, 805» 
854 



'Liberal Arte,' 115| 185 

Lowell, 268 

Lncian, 129 

Ladieiona, tbe (det of)^ 847 

'MAi>Ni88,'poetio,868 

Mar^, death of (oeldoM tn^X 

Maxdni,289 

Menander, 850, 854 

MendeltMihn, H., 289 

Metastaaioi 218, 805 

Hetre, 184 S, 

Middle, a (in drama), 258 fL 

Milton, 114, 229, 280 

Moli^ 278, 856 

MoraUty and Art, 200 it 

Muaie, 122 It, 187, 190, 214, 280 C 

Mythology, Greek, 864 It, 875 £ 

Namis, ezpreedTe in comedy, 849 tL 
Katnre, an artiet, 145-6 
Katore and Art, 108 It. 116 
Nature and Neceiiaity, 141 
Nature, imitation o( 110 £ 
Nature, organic and inoivanie, 141 
< Neoetdty or PMbabiUfy,' 155, 261, 

870 
Newman, 172 

GmoANio unity ef a poem, 175 
n N drama, 254 It 

M H epie,264lt 

Oriental Art, 862 ff. 

' Ought to be ' (att clrai), in aeatiMtie 
•enae, 116, 141 It, 148, 157 

Paintiho, 126 flC, 215 

Pauaon, 215 

'Phantaay' (^arrmria), 119 

Philoaophy and Pbetry, 179 It, 202^ 

872 
Fhiloatratu«, 120^ 864 
Pindar, 877 
Pity and Fear, 199, 228, 285, 287 £, 

280 £ 
'Pity or Fear,' 244 
Plato and Ariatotle oontraated, 115, 

148 ff., 179 £, 190 £, 194, 207 

£, 228-9, 246, 248, 846 £ 
Pleasure^ the end of Fine Art, 185 £ 
Pleaaure, the, ot tragedy, 247*8 
Plot and Oharaoter, 810 £ 
Plot, the 'aonl* •f the tranjy, 820 

ft ^^ 

Plotlnui,151 



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S84 



POETRY AND FINE ART 



nntaieh, 202, 2i7, S50 
Po6t» as a teacLer,|200 fL 

* Poet ' (wngnfyf), indoding pO0t and 

nmtlciaftt 183 

* Poetk Jimtiee,' 209, 288 fL. 
Poetie Troth, 168 IL 

Pdetry and History, 158 C, 178 ff., 

878 e 
Poetry and Phfloaopby, 178 C, 202, 

872 
Poetry and 'Politio^* 207 
Poetry and Science, 207 
Poetiy, its means of imitation, 180 C 
Polvgnotos, 218 
'Possible,' the (in poetiy), 158 fL 

* TrohM^tj or necessity/ 155^ 981, 

870 
Frobalimty (poetie), 155 fL 

Racivb, 226, 278 
Real Erents, 158, 874 
Reality, Poetiy and, 155 
Recognition, pleasure o( 188 

Reinkens^228 

Rerersal of Fortune (vi^tWriMi), 257, 

807 
RhyUim, 189» 188, 187 

8AKITT of Greek genius, 860 

Scenery (Stage), 186 

SchiUer, 160, 196, 248, 298 

Scnlptnre, 126 if. 

Semblance, aesthetifl^ 121 

Seneca, 278 

Shakespeare, 251, 276, 277, 284, 292, 

299, 806, 809, 825, 826, 884, 835, 

869, 871 
Shelley, 185 
Sidney, Sir PhiUp^ 185, 222, 214, 

836 
bodes, 209, 260, 262, 269, 287, 
, 297, 299, 800, 807, 826» 999, 

887,8a 






Sterne, 858 
Strabo, 200 ff. 

Symbolical representation, 118, 862, 
864 

Tastx, $ x«^<« the standard of, 

197 
Timodes, 876 
^I*ng«dy, def . of, 228 fL 

„ Amotion of, 225 ff. 

„ has not direct moral pur- 
pose, 249 

H pleasure of, 247-8 

M the ideal, 807 
*Tragic collision,' 800 £ 
Tragic hero, 208, 240-1, 280 fL 

„ error or fault, 295 fL 
Tragic 'Katharsis,' 225 £ 
Twining, 161, 229 

UoLT, the, 845, 848 
Unity, ideal (of poetiy), 178 fL 
Uni^ of Action, 253 S, 
„ Time, 267 ff., 836 
H Place, 269 ff^ 274 fL 
H drama, 254 ft 
„ epic, 264 ff 
UnirerMl (iro^^Xov), the, Poetry as 
expression of, 140, 158 ff., 178, 
179 ff , 246, 250 ff , 841, 849 ff. 
UniverMdity (Poetic) in Greek liter- 
ature^ 860 ff.i» 
'Unnecessary' badness, 211 

Villain, the (as protagonist)^ 291 

ff. 
yoltaire,^245, 274 

*Wbaxni88 of the audience,' the, 

198,288 
<Whole,'a,175ff,254,258ff 

Zbllib, 229 
Zeiixi%215 



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