Aristotles poetics

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  • Přidal/a: anonymous
  • Datum přidání: 01. července 2007
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Aristotles poetics

Aristotle’s Poetics has probably been the single most influential work in all-literary criticism. Since Aristotle also was interested in the proper organisation of human communities, from the one - family to the city - state he also tried to describe the social function of literature. He explains and evaluates literature as a product of human design. Poetics examines the nature of tragedy and Aristotle attempts to establish a guideline for tragedy, and to so he didn’t simply theorise on his own predilections. Rather, he studied a significant number of Greek plays and focused on their most successful examples. Aristotle distinguished clearly between works which operated upon the audience’s minds by manipulating the emotions via thoughtful processes from those which sought their impacts by shocking the audience with scenes which were taboo in ordinary social life (e.g., murders, violent accidents). An alternative means of moving the audience’s emotions is having painful circumstances strike those who are either friends or related to each other (blood relations). Aristotle also points out terms such as catharsis, which can be said that is purification of one’s soul. Catharsis is achieved through emotions of pity and fear, which is created in the audience as they witness the tragedy of a character who suffers unjustly, but is not entirely innocent. Catharsis (‘purification’ or ‘purgation’) of pity and fear was a part of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. He speaks briefly of catharsis, but he gives no further explanation. Pity is aroused by someone who undeservedly falls into misfortune, and fear is evoked by our recognising that it is someone like ourselves who enters this misfortune. And he believed that tragedy affects the spectator by arousing the emotions of pity and fear. The meaning of this phrase is extremely debatable.
 Purification of the audience’s feeling of pity and fear so that in real life we understand better whether we should feel them.
 Purgation of our pity and fear so that we can face life with less of these emotions or more control over them.  Purification of the events of the plot, so that the central character’s errors or transgressions become ‘cleansed’ by his or her recognition and suffering.

Horror movies may be said to be ‘cathartic‘ because the camera’s viewpoint with the perpetrator of the violence: “ you wield the knife or axe,” “you chase” the unlucky victim,” “you see” the body fall out towards you.” The movies, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, and all their many imitators, are examples of tragedies that use spectacle to move the audience’s emotions. Does this in viewpoint produce the same kind of ‘catharsis‘ that Aristotle wrote about? I think that horrors arouse a terror in their audiences through this vicarious identification. The audience is no longer feeling overwhelming pity and fear, but is left depleted of emotion. This kind of critical work helps to give some structure to and make cleaver distinctions within the genre of tragedy. We can find in his system guiding principles rather than absolute dictates.

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