Aristole Essay

1607 words - 7 pages

Preamble
Drama is an aspect of literature represented in performances and has been a part of the world for many decades. Drama originated in classical Greece around the fifth century B.C. The earliest performances took place in amphitheaters, which the Greeks invented to incorporate plays in their religious and civic festivals. These Greek festivals were huge theatrical events filled with three days of drama. The structure of the amphitheater allowed for an audience of thousands to observe the theatrics and watch as the actors vie to win the drama competition. In addition, ancient Greek theater used dramas to relay moral and political messages to their communities.
There are two different categories of drama: comedy and tragedy. Greek theater used two masks known as Thalia (comedy mask) and Melpomene (tragedy mask) to symbolize these two types. In a general sense comedy and tragedy differ only in there endings. For instance both comedies and tragedies can have moments of laughter and sadness, but comedies end happy while tragedies end very sad. While both genres of drama have greatly influenced theater as we know it today, Greek tragedy is better known as having a more important part in modern history. This is because tragic plays portray many issues still plaguing society’s today. Although societies develop through the ages, the people who make up the societies will always have the same faults, desires, consequences; and in a broad sense this is what tragedies portray.
Aristotle was a famous philosopher during the Greek period. Aristotle’s poetics are his collection of writings addressing different type’s literary theory, including tragic theory. In these writings Aristotle provided the following definition of tragedy, “Tragedy is an imitation of an action of high importance, complete and of some amplitude; in language enhanced by distinct and varying beauties; acted not narrated; by means of pity and fear effecting its purgation of these emotions (945). “
By Aristotle’s definition, ancient Greek tragedies were comprised of many elements. First, tragedies were plays where actors portrayed only one huge and extremely serious problem. Next Aristotle asserted that the chorus was an essential part of tragic dramas. In ancient Greek theater a chorus sang to provide the audience with commentary on the play. Aristotle thought that the audience should view the chorus as actors and that the chorus should use the rhythms of their voices to add to the dramatic elements to help the audience better follow the performance. In addition Aristotle felt that tragic plays must be acted out because simple narration does not provide the same dramatic effect on the audience. The dramatic effect Aristotle classified in two words: pity and fear. He believed that after watching a tragedy the audience would release these two emotions. Feelings of pity should come after they watch the tragic hero fall from their honorable position in society, while fear is released...

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