Character in a play is that which reveals the moral purpose of the agents, i.
He determines that tragedy, like all poetry, is a kind of imitation mimesisbut adds that it has a serious purpose and uses direct action rather than narrative to achieve its ends.
The aim of tragedy, Aristotle writes, Tragic hamlet or agamemnon to bring about a "catharsis" of the spectators — to arouse in them sensations of pity and fear, and to purge them of these emotions so that they leave the theater feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men.
According to Aristotle, tragedy has six main elements: Most of the Poetics is devoted to analysis of the scope and proper use of these elements, with illustrative examples selected from many tragic dramas, especially those of Sophocles, although Aeschylus, Euripides, and some playwrights whose works no longer survive are also cited.
Particularly significant is his statement that the plot is the most important element of tragedy: Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of action and life, of happiness and misery.
And life consists of action, and its end is a mode of activity, not a quality. The purpose of action in the tragedy, therefore, is not the representation of character: Hence the incidents and the plot are the end of the tragedy; and the end is the chief thing of all.
Without action there cannot be a tragedy; there may be one without character. The plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy: Aristotle goes on to discuss the structure of the ideal tragic plot and spends several chapters on its requirements.
He says that the plot must be a complete whole — with a definite beginning, middle, and end — and its length should be such that the spectators can comprehend without difficulty both its separate parts and its overall unity. The plot is intended to illustrate matters of cosmic rather than individual significance, and the protagonist is viewed primarily as the character who experiences the changes that take place.
This stress placed by the Greek tragedians on the development of plot and action at the expense of character, and their general lack of interest in exploring psychological motivation, is one of the major differences between ancient and modern drama.
Since the aim of a tragedy is to arouse pity and fear through an alteration in the status of the central character, he must be a figure with whom the audience can identify and whose fate can trigger these emotions. Aristotle says that "pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves.
In addition, the hero should not offend the moral sensibilities of the spectators, and as a character he must be true to type, true to life, and consistent. However, overemphasis on a search for the decisive flaw in the protagonist as the key factor for understanding the tragedy can lead to superficial or false interpretations.
It is true that the hero frequently takes a step that initiates the events of the tragedy and, owing to his own ignorance or poor judgment, acts in such a way as to bring about his own downfall. Unless the conclusions of most tragedies are interpreted on this level, the reader is forced to credit the Greeks with the most primitive of moral systems.
It is worth noting that some scholars believe the "flaw" was intended by Aristotle as a necessary corollary of his requirement that the hero should not be a completely admirable man.
The remainder of the Poetics is given over to examination of the other elements of tragedy and to discussion of various techniques, devices, and stylistic principles.
Aristotle mentions two features of the plot, both of which are related to the concept of harmartia, as crucial components of any well-made tragedy. This sudden acquisition of knowledge or insight by the hero arouses the desired intense emotional reaction in the spectators, as when Oedipus finds out his true parentage and realizes what crimes he has been responsible for.
Aristotle wrote the Poetics nearly a century after the greatest Greek tragedians had already died, in a period when there had been radical transformations in nearly all aspects of Athenian society and culture. The tragic drama of his day was not the same as that of the fifth century, and to a certain extent his work must be construed as a historical study of a genre that no longer existed rather than as a description of a living art form.
This approach is not completely suited to a literary study and is sometimes too artificial or formula-prone in its conclusions. Nonetheless, the Poetics is the only critical study of Greek drama to have been made by a near-contemporary.
It contains much valuable information about the origins, methods, and purposes of tragedy, and to a degree shows us how the Greeks themselves reacted to their theater. The ideas and principles of the Poetics are reflected in the drama of the Roman Empire and dominated the composition of tragedy in western Europe during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.Feb 15, · George Herbert as a Religious poet George Herbert is considered as a religious poet because of the subject matter of his poetry which is fully devotional and religious in nature.
My subject is the study of two great tragic characters, Hamlet and Orestes, regarded as Traditional Types. I do not compare play with play, but simply character with character, though in the course of the comparison I shall of course consider the situations in which my heroes are placed and the other persons with whom they are associated.
Agamemnon was the first to be written and provides the story and characters on which Sophocles and Euripides improvised. Sophocles turned Electra into a character living outside the palace, struggling to combat the depravity around her yet unable to act against it.
Elizabethan Revenge in Hamlet, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
An Analysis of Agamemnon as a Tragic Hero in the Play "Agamemnon" by Aeschylus PAGES 2. WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: tragic hero, agamemnon, aeschylus.
Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University. Exactly what I needed. Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama From The Elizabethan Translations of Seneca's Tragedies.E.
M. Spearing. Cambridge: W. Hefper & Sons. In the sixteenth century the popularity of Seneca's tragedies was immense.