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Aristoteles, Poetics http://classics.mit.edu//Aristotle/poetics.html Provided by The Internet Classics Archive. See bottom for copyright. Available online at http://classics.mit.edu//Aristotle/poetics.

html Poetics y Aristotle Translated by S. !. utcher """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" S#CTI$% & Part I I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various 'inds, noting the essential (uality of each, to in(uire into the structure of the plot as re(uisite to a good poem) into the number and nature of the parts of *hich a poem is composed) and similarly into *hatever else falls *ithin the same in(uiry. +ollo*ing, then, the order of nature, let us begin *ith the principles *hich come first. #pic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and ,ithyrambic poetry, and the music of the flute and of the lyre in most of their forms, are all in their general conception modes of imitation. They differ, ho*ever, from one another in three respects" the medium, the ob-ects, the manner or mode of imitation, being in each case distinct. +or as there are persons *ho, by conscious art or mere habit, imitate and represent various ob-ects through the medium of color and form, or again by the voice) so in the arts above mentioned, ta'en as a *hole, the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or .harmony,. either singly or combined. Thus in the music of the flute and of the lyre, .harmony. and rhythm alone are employed) also in other arts, such as that of the shepherd.s pipe, *hich are essentially similar to these. In dancing, rhythm alone is used *ithout .harmony.) for even dancing imitates character, emotion, and action, by rhythmical movement. There is another art *hich imitates by means of language alone, and that either in prose or verse" *hich verse, again, may either combine

different meters or consist of but one 'ind" but this has hitherto been *ithout a name. +or there is no common term *e could apply to the mimes of Sophron and /enarchus and the Socratic dialogues on the one hand) and, on the other, to poetic imitations in iambic, elegiac, or any similar meter. People do, indeed, add the *ord .ma'er. or .poet. to the name of the meter, and spea' of elegiac poets, or epic 0that is, he1ameter2 poets, as if it *ere not the imitation that ma'es the poet, but the verse that entitles them all to the name. #ven *hen a treatise on medicine or natural science is brought out in verse, the name of poet is by custom given to the author) and yet !omer and #mpedocles have nothing in common but the meter, so that it *ould be right to call the one poet, the other physicist rather than poet. $n the same principle, even if a *riter in his poetic imitation *ere to combine all meters, as Chaeremon did in his Centaur, *hich is a medley composed of meters of all 'inds, *e should bring him too under the general term poet. So much then for these distinctions. There are, again, some arts *hich employ all the means above mentioned" namely, rhythm, tune, and meter. Such are ,ithyrambic and %omic poetry, and also Tragedy and Comedy) but bet*een them originally the difference is, that in the first t*o cases these means are all employed in combination, in the latter, no* one means is employed, no* another. Such, then, are the differences of the arts *ith respect to the medium of imitation Part II Since the ob-ects of imitation are men in action, and these men must be either of a higher or a lo*er type 0for moral character mainly ans*ers to these divisions, goodness and badness being the distinguishing mar's of moral differences2, it follo*s that *e must represent men either as better than in real life, or as *orse, or as they are. It is the same in painting. Polygnotus depicted men as nobler than they are, Pauson as less noble, ,ionysius dre* them true to life. %o* it is evident that each of the modes of imitation above mentioned *ill e1hibit these differences, and become a distinct 'ind in imitating ob-ects that are thus distinct. Such diversities may be found even in dancing, flute"playing, and lyre"playing. So again in language, *hether prose or verse unaccompanied by music. !omer, for e1ample, ma'es men better than they are) Cleophon as they are) !egemon the Thasian, the inventor of parodies, and %icochares, the author of the ,eiliad, *orse than they are. The same thing holds good of ,ithyrambs and %omes) here too one may portray different types, as Timotheus and Philo1enus differed in representing their Cyclopes. The same distinction

mar's off Tragedy from Comedy) for Comedy aims at representing men as *orse, Tragedy as better than in actual life. Part III There is still a third difference" the manner in *hich each of these ob-ects may be imitated. +or the medium being the same, and the ob-ects the same, the poet may imitate by narration" in *hich case he can either ta'e another personality as !omer does, or spea' in his o*n person, unchanged" or he may present all his characters as living and moving before us. These, then, as *e said at the beginning, are the three differences *hich distinguish artistic imitation" the medium, the ob-ects, and the manner. So that from one point of vie*, Sophocles is an imitator of the same 'ind as !omer" for both imitate higher types of character) from another point of vie*, of the same 'ind as Aristophanes" for both imitate persons acting and doing. !ence, some say, the name of .drama. is given to such poems, as representing action. +or the same reason the ,orians claim the invention both of Tragedy and Comedy. The claim to Comedy is put for*ard by the 3egarians" not only by those of 4reece proper, *ho allege that it originated under their democracy, but also by the 3egarians of Sicily, for the poet #picharmus, *ho is much earlier than Chionides and 3agnes, belonged to that country. Tragedy too is claimed by certain ,orians of the Peloponnese. In each case they appeal to the evidence of language. The outlying villages, they say, are by them called 'omai, by the Athenians demoi: and they assume that comedians *ere so named not from 'oma5ein, .to revel,. but because they *andered from village to village 0'ata 'omas2, being e1cluded contemptuously from the city. They add also that the ,orian *ord for .doing. is dran, and the Athenian, prattein. This may suffice as to the number and nature of the various modes of imitation. Part I6 Poetry in general seems to have sprung from t*o causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. +irst, the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference bet*een him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons) and no less universal is the pleasure felt in things imitated. 7e have evidence of this in the facts of e1perience. $b-ects *hich in themselves *e vie* *ith pain, *e delight to contemplate *hen reproduced *ith minute fidelity: such as the forms of the most ignoble animals and of dead bodies. The cause of this again is, that to learn gives the liveliest pleasure, not

only to philosophers but to men in general) *hose capacity, ho*ever, of learning is more limited. Thus the reason *hy men en-oy seeing a li'eness is, that in contemplating it they find themselves learning or inferring, and saying perhaps, .Ah, that is he.. +or if you happen not to have seen the original, the pleasure *ill be due not to the imitation as such, but to the e1ecution, the coloring, or some such other cause. Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. %e1t, there is the instinct for .harmony. and rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting *ith this natural gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry. Poetry no* diverged in t*o directions, according to the individual character of the *riters. The graver spirits 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 did hymns to the gods and the praises of famous men. A poem of the satirical 'ind cannot indeed be put do*n to any author earlier than !omer) though many such *riters probably there *ere. ut from !omer on*ard, instances can be cited" his o*n 3argites, for e1ample, and other similar compositions. The appropriate meter *as also here introduced) hence the measure is still called the iambic or lampooning measure, being that in *hich people lampooned one another. Thus the older poets *ere distinguished as *riters of heroic or of lampooning verse. As, in the serious style, !omer is pre"eminent among poets, for he alone combined dramatic form *ith e1cellence of imitation so he too first laid do*n the main lines of comedy, by dramati5ing the ludicrous instead of *riting personal satire. !is 3argites bears the same relation to comedy that the Iliad and $dyssey do to tragedy. ut *hen Tragedy and Comedy came to light, the t*o classes of poets still follo*ed their natural bent: the lampooners became *riters of Comedy, and the #pic poets *ere succeeded by Tragedians, since the drama *as a larger and higher form of art. 7hether Tragedy has as yet perfected its proper types or not) and *hether it is to be -udged in itself, or in relation also to the audience" this raises another (uestion. e that as it may, Tragedy" as also Comedy" *as at first mere improvisation. The one originated *ith the authors of the ,ithyramb, the other *ith those of the phallic songs, *hich are still in use in many of our cities. Tragedy advanced by slo* degrees) each ne* element that sho*ed itself *as in turn developed. !aving passed through many changes, it found its natural form, and there it stopped.

Aeschylus first introduced a second actor) he diminished 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. 3oreover, it *as not till late that the short plot *as discarded for one of greater compass, and the grotes(ue diction of the earlier satyric form for the stately manner of Tragedy. The iambic measure then replaced the trochaic tetrameter, *hich *as originally employed *hen the poetry *as of the satyric order, and had greater *ith dancing. $nce dialogue had come in, %ature herself discovered the appropriate measure. +or the iambic is, of all measures, the most collo(uial *e see it in the fact that conversational speech runs into iambic lines more fre(uently than into any other 'ind of verse) rarely into he1ameters, and only *hen *e drop the collo(uial intonation. The additions to the number of .episodes. or acts, and the other accessories of *hich tradition tells, must be ta'en as already described) for to discuss them in detail *ould, doubtless, be a large underta'ing. Part 6 Comedy is, as *e have said, an imitation of characters of a lo*er type" not, ho*ever, in the full sense of the *ord bad, the ludicrous being merely a subdivision of the ugly. It consists in some defect or ugliness *hich is not painful or destructive. To ta'e an obvious e1ample, the comic mas' is ugly and distorted, but does not imply pain. The successive changes through *hich Tragedy passed, and the authors of these changes, are *ell 'no*n, *hereas Comedy has had no history, because it *as not at first treated seriously. It *as late before the Archon granted a comic chorus to a poet) the performers *ere till then voluntary. Comedy had already ta'en definite shape *hen comic poets, distinctively so called, are heard of. 7ho furnished it *ith mas's, or prologues, or increased the number of actors" these and other similar details remain un'no*n. As for the plot, it came originally from Sicily) but of Athenian *riters Crates *as the first *ho abandoning the .iambic. or lampooning form, generali5ed his themes and plots. #pic poetry agrees *ith Tragedy in so far as it is an imitation in verse of characters of a higher type. They differ in that #pic poetry admits but one 'ind of meter and is narrative in form. They differ, again, in their length: for Tragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to e1ceed this limit, *hereas the #pic action has no limits of time. This, then, is a second point of difference) though at first the same freedom *as admitted in Tragedy as in #pic poetry. $f their constituent parts some are common to both, some peculiar

to Tragedy: *hoever, therefore 'no*s *hat is good or bad Tragedy, 'no*s also about #pic poetry. All the elements of an #pic poem are found in Tragedy, but the elements of a Tragedy are not all found in the #pic poem. Part 6I $f the poetry *hich imitates in he1ameter verse, and of Comedy, *e *ill spea' hereafter. 8et us no* discuss Tragedy, resuming its formal definition, as resulting from *hat has been already said. Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude) in language embellished *ith each 'ind of artistic ornament, the several 'inds being found in separate parts of the play) in the form of action, not of narrative) through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. y .language embellished,. I mean language into *hich rhythm, .harmony. and song enter. y .the several 'inds in separate parts,. I mean, that some parts are rendered through the medium of verse alone, others again *ith the aid of song. %o* as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it necessarily follo*s in the first place, that Spectacular e(uipment *ill be a part of Tragedy. %e1t, Song and ,iction, for these are the media of imitation. y .,iction. I mean the mere metrical arrangement of the *ords: as for .Song,. it is a term *hose sense every one understands. Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action) and an action implies personal agents, *ho necessarily possess certain distinctive (ualities both of character and thought) for it is by these that *e (ualify actions themselves, and these" thought and character" are the t*o natural causes from *hich actions spring, and on actions again all success or failure depends. !ence, the Plot is the imitation of the action" for by plot I here mean the arrangement of the incidents. y Character I mean that in virtue of *hich *e ascribe certain (ualities to the agents. Thought is re(uired *herever a statement is proved, or, it may be, a general truth enunciated. #very Tragedy, therefore, must have si1 parts, *hich parts determine its (uality" namely, Plot, Character, ,iction, Thought, Spectacle, Song. T*o of the parts constitute the medium of imitation, one the manner, and three the ob-ects of imitation. And these complete the fist. These elements have been employed, *e may say, by the poets to a man) in fact, every play contains Spectacular elements as *ell as Character, Plot, ,iction, Song, and Thought. ut most important of all is the structure of the incidents. +or Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a (uality.

%o* character determines men.s (ualities, but it is by their actions that they are happy or the reverse. ,ramatic action, therefore, is not *ith a vie* to the representation of character: character comes in as subsidiary to the actions. !ence the incidents and the plot are the end of a tragedy) and the end is the chief thing of all. Again, *ithout action there cannot be a tragedy) there may be *ithout character. The tragedies of most of our modern poets fail in the rendering of character) and of poets in general this is often true. It is the same in painting) and here lies the difference bet*een 9eu1is and Polygnotus. Polygnotus delineates character *ell) the style of 9eu1is is devoid of ethical (uality. Again, if you string together a set of speeches e1pressive of character, and *ell finished in point of diction and thought, you *ill not produce the essential tragic effect nearly so *ell as *ith a play *hich, ho*ever deficient in these respects, yet has a plot and artistically constructed incidents. esides *hich, the most po*erful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy" Peripeteia or :eversal of the Situation, and :ecognition scenes" are parts of the plot. A further proof is, that novices in the art attain to finish of diction and precision of portraiture before they can construct the plot. It is the same *ith almost all the early poets. The plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it *ere, the soul of a tragedy) Character holds the second place. A similar fact is seen in painting. The most beautiful colors, laid on confusedly, *ill not give as much pleasure as the chal' outline of a portrait. Thus Tragedy is the imitation of an action, and of the agents mainly *ith a vie* to the action. Third in order is Thought" that is, the faculty of saying *hat is possible and pertinent in given circumstances. In the case of oratory, this is the function of the political art and of the art of rhetoric: and so indeed the older poets ma'e their characters spea' the language of civic life) the poets of our time, the language of the rhetoricians. Character is that *hich reveals moral purpose, sho*ing *hat 'ind of things a man chooses or avoids. Speeches, therefore, *hich do not ma'e this manifest, or in *hich the spea'er does not choose or avoid anything *hatever, are not e1pressive of character. Thought, on the other hand, is found *here something is proved to be or not to be, or a general ma1im is enunciated. +ourth among the elements enumerated comes ,iction) by *hich I mean, as has been already said, the e1pression of the meaning in *ords) and its essence is the same both in verse and prose. $f the remaining elements Song holds the chief place among the embellishments The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its o*n, but,

of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least *ith the art of poetry. +or the po*er of Tragedy, *e may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. esides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet. Part 6II These principles being established, let us no* discuss the proper structure of the Plot, since this is the first and most important thing in Tragedy. %o*, according to our definition Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and *hole, and of a certain magnitude) for there may be a *hole that is *anting in magnitude. A *hole is that *hich has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that *hich does not itself follo* anything by causal necessity, but after *hich something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that *hich itself naturally follo*s some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing follo*ing it. A middle is that *hich follo*s something as some other thing follo*s it. A *ell constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at hapha5ard, but conform to these principles. Again, a beautiful ob-ect, *hether it be a living organism or any *hole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement of parts, but must also be of a certain magnitude) for beauty depends on magnitude and order. !ence a very small animal organism cannot be beautiful) for the vie* of it is confused, the ob-ect being seen in an almost imperceptible moment of time. %or, again, can one of vast si5e be beautiful) for as the eye cannot ta'e it all in at once, the unity and sense of the *hole is lost for the spectator) as for instance if there *ere one a thousand miles long. As, therefore, in the case of animate bodies and organisms a certain magnitude is necessary, and a magnitude *hich may be easily embraced in one vie*) so in the plot, a certain length is necessary, and a length *hich can be easily embraced by the memory. The limit of length in relation to dramatic competition and sensuous presentment is no part of artistic theory. +or had it been the rule for a hundred tragedies to compete together, the performance *ould have been regulated by the *ater"cloc'" as indeed *e are told *as formerly done. ut the limit as fi1ed by the nature of the drama itself is this: the greater the length, the more beautiful *ill the piece be by reason of its si5e, provided that the *hole be perspicuous. And to define the matter roughly, *e may say that the proper magnitude is comprised *ithin such limits, that the se(uence of events, according to the la* of probability or necessity, *ill admit of a change from bad fortune to good, or from good fortune to

bad. Part 6III ;nity of plot does not, as some persons thin', consist in the unity of the hero. +or infinitely various are the incidents in one man.s life *hich cannot be reduced to unity) and so, too, there are many actions of one man out of *hich *e cannot ma'e one action. !ence the error, as it appears, of all poets *ho have composed a !eracleid, a Theseid, or other poems of the 'ind. They imagine that as !eracles *as one man, the story of !eracles must also be a unity. ut !omer, as in all else he is of surpassing merit, here too" *hether from art or natural genius" seems to have happily discerned the truth. In composing the $dyssey he did not include all the adventures of $dysseus" such as his *ound on Parnassus, or his feigned madness at the mustering of the host" incidents bet*een *hich there *as no necessary or probable connection: but he made the $dyssey, and li'e*ise the Iliad, to center round an action that in our sense of the *ord is one. As therefore, in the other imitative arts, the imitation is one *hen the ob-ect imitated is one, so the plot, being an imitation of an action, must imitate one action and that a *hole, the structural union of the parts being such that, if any one of them is displaced or removed, the *hole *ill be dis-ointed and disturbed. +or a thing *hose presence or absence ma'es no visible difference, is not an organic part of the *hole. Part I/ It is, moreover, evident from *hat has been said, that it is not the function of the poet to relate *hat has happened, but *hat may happen" *hat is possible according to the la* of probability or necessity. The poet and the historian differ not by *riting in verse or in prose. The *or' of !erodotus might be put into verse, and it *ould still be a species of history, *ith meter no less than *ithout it. The true difference is that one relates *hat has happened, the other *hat may happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to e1press the universal, history the particular. y the universal I mean ho* a person of a certain type on occasion spea' or act, according to the la* of probability or necessity) and it is this universality at *hich poetry aims in the names she attaches to the personages. The particular is" for e1ample" *hat Alcibiades did or suffered. In Comedy this is already apparent: for here the poet first constructs the plot on the lines of probability, and then inserts characteristic names" unli'e the lampooners *ho *rite about particular individuals. ut tragedians still 'eep to real names, the reason being that *hat is possible is credible: *hat has not happened *e do not at once feel sure to be possible) but *hat has happened is manifestly possible: other*ise it *ould not have happened. Still

there are even some tragedies in *hich there are only one or t*o *ell"'no*n names, the rest being fictitious. In others, none are *ell 'no*n" as in Agathon.s Antheus, *here incidents and names ali'e are fictitious, and yet they give none the less pleasure. 7e must not, therefore, at all costs 'eep to the received legends, *hich are the usual sub-ects of Tragedy. Indeed, it *ould be absurd to attempt it) for even sub-ects that are 'no*n are 'no*n only to a fe*, and yet give pleasure to all. It clearly follo*s that the poet or .ma'er. should be the ma'er of plots rather than of verses) since he is a poet because he imitates, and *hat he imitates are actions. And even if he chances to ta'e a historical sub-ect, he is none the less a poet) for there is no reason *hy some events that have actually happened should not conform to the la* of the probable and possible, and in virtue of that (uality in them he is their poet or ma'er. $f all plots and actions the episodic are the *orst. I call a plot .episodic. in *hich the episodes or acts succeed one another *ithout probable or necessary se(uence. ad poets compose such pieces by their o*n fault, good poets, to please the players) for, as they *rite sho* pieces for competition, they stretch the plot beyond its capacity, and are often forced to brea' the natural continuity. ut again, Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear or pity. Such an effect is best produced *hen the events come on us by surprise) and the effect is heightened *hen, at the same time, they follo*s as cause and effect. The tragic *onder *ill then be greater than if they happened of themselves or by accident) for even coincidences are most stri'ing *hen they have an air of design. 7e may instance the statue of 3itys at Argos, *hich fell upon his murderer *hile he *as a spectator at a festival, and 'illed him. Such events seem not to be due to mere chance. Plots, therefore, constructed on these principles are necessarily the best. Part / Plots are either Simple or Comple1, for the actions in real life, of *hich the plots are an imitation, obviously sho* a similar distinction. An action *hich is one and continuous in the sense above defined, I call Simple, *hen the change of fortune ta'es place *ithout :eversal of the Situation and *ithout :ecognition A Comple1 action is one in *hich the change is accompanied by such :eversal, or by :ecognition, or by both. These last should arise from the internal structure of the plot, so that *hat follo*s should be the necessary or probable result of the preceding action. It ma'es all the difference *hether any given event is a case of propter hoc or post hoc.

Part /I :eversal of the Situation is a change by *hich the action veers round to its opposite, sub-ect al*ays to our rule of probability or necessity. Thus in the $edipus, the messenger comes to cheer $edipus and free him from his alarms about his mother, but by revealing *ho he is, he produces the opposite effect. Again in the 8ynceus, 8ynceus is being led a*ay to his death, and ,anaus goes *ith him, meaning to slay him) but the outcome of the preceding incidents is that ,anaus is 'illed and 8ynceus saved. :ecognition, as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to 'no*ledge, producing love or hate bet*een the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune. The best form of recognition is coincident *ith a :eversal of the Situation, as in the $edipus. There are indeed other forms. #ven inanimate things of the most trivial 'ind may in a sense be ob-ects of recognition. Again, *e may recogni5e or discover *hether a person has done a thing or not. ut the recognition *hich is most intimately connected *ith the plot and action is, as *e have said, the recognition of persons. This recognition, combined *ith :eversal, *ill produce either pity or fear) and actions producing these effects are those *hich, by our definition, Tragedy represents. 3oreover, it is upon such situations that the issues of good or bad fortune *ill depend. :ecognition, then, being bet*een persons, it may happen that one person only is recogni5ed by the other" *hen the latter is already 'no*n" or it may be necessary that the recognition should be on both sides. Thus Iphigenia is revealed to $restes by the sending of the letter) but another act of recognition is re(uired to ma'e $restes 'no*n to Iphigenia. T*o parts, then, of the Plot" :eversal of the Situation and :ecognition" turn upon surprises. A third part is the Scene of Suffering. The Scene of Suffering is a destructive or painful action, such as death on the stage, bodily agony, *ounds, and the li'e. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" S#CTI$% < Part /II The parts of Tragedy *hich must be treated as elements of the *hole have been already mentioned. 7e no* come to the (uantitative parts" the separate parts into *hich Tragedy is divided" namely, Prologue, #pisode, #1ode, Choric song) this last being divided into Parode and Stasimon. These are common to all plays: peculiar to some are the

songs of actors from the stage and the Commoi. The Prologue is that entire part of a tragedy *hich precedes the Parode of the Chorus. The #pisode is that entire part of a tragedy *hich is bet*een complete choric songs. The #1ode is that entire part of a tragedy *hich has no choric song after it. $f the Choric part the Parode is the first undivided utterance of the Chorus: the Stasimon is a Choric ode *ithout anapaests or trochaic tetrameters: the Commos is a -oint lamentation of Chorus and actors. The parts of Tragedy *hich must be treated as elements of the *hole have been already mentioned. The (uantitative parts" the separate parts into *hich it is divided" are here enumerated. Part /III As the se(uel to *hat has already been said, *e must proceed to consider *hat the poet should aim at, and *hat he should avoid, in constructing his plots) and by *hat means the specific effect of Tragedy *ill be produced. A perfect tragedy should, as *e have seen, be arranged not on the simple but on the comple1 plan. It should, moreover, imitate actions *hich e1cite pity and fear, this being the distinctive mar' of tragic imitation. It follo*s plainly, in the first place, that the change of fortune presented must not be the spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity: for this moves neither pity nor fear) it merely shoc's us. %or, 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 (uality) it neither satisfies the moral sense nor calls forth pity or fear. %or, again, should the do*nfall of the utter villain be e1hibited. A plot of this 'ind *ould, doubtless, satisfy the moral sense, but it *ould inspire neither pity nor fear) for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man li'e ourselves. Such an event, therefore, *ill be neither pitiful nor terrible. There remains, then, the character bet*een these t*o e1tremes" that of a man *ho is not eminently good and -ust, yet *hose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty. !e must be one *ho is highly reno*ned and prosperous" a personage li'e $edipus, Thyestes, or other illustrious men of such families. A *ell"constructed plot should, therefore, be single in its issue, 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 great error or frailty, in a character either such as *e have described, or better rather than *orse. The practice of the stage bears out our vie*. At first

the poets recounted any legend that came in their *ay. %o*, the best tragedies are founded on the story of a fe* houses" on the fortunes of Alcmaeon, $edipus, $restes, 3eleager, Thyestes, Telephus, and those others *ho have done or suffered something terrible. A tragedy, then, to be perfect according to the rules of art should be of this construction. !ence they are in error *ho censure #uripides -ust because he follo*s this principle in his plays, many of *hich end unhappily. It is, as *e have said, the right ending. The best proof is that on the stage and in dramatic competition, such plays, if *ell *or'ed out, are the most tragic in effect) and #uripides, faulty though he may be in the general management of his sub-ect, yet is felt to be the most tragic of the poets. In the second ran' comes the 'ind of tragedy *hich some place first. 8i'e the $dyssey, it has a double thread of plot, and also an opposite catastrophe for the good and for the bad. It is accounted the best because of the *ea'ness of the spectators) for the poet is guided in *hat he *rites by the *ishes of his audience. The pleasure, ho*ever, thence derived is not the true tragic pleasure. It is proper rather to Comedy, *here those *ho, in the piece, are the deadliest enemies" li'e $restes and Aegisthus" (uit the stage as friends at the close, and no one slays or is slain. Part /I6 +ear and pity may be aroused by spectacular means) but they may also result from the inner structure of the piece, *hich is the better *ay, and indicates a superior poet. +or the plot ought to be so constructed that, even *ithout the aid of the eye, he *ho hears the tale told *ill thrill *ith horror and melt to pity at *hat ta'es Place. This is the impression *e should receive from hearing the story of the $edipus. ut to produce this effect by the mere spectacle is a less artistic method, and dependent on e1traneous aids. Those *ho employ spectacular means to create a sense not of the terrible but only of the monstrous, are strangers to the purpose of Tragedy) for *e must not demand of Tragedy any and every 'ind of pleasure, but only that *hich is proper to it. And since the pleasure *hich the poet should afford is that *hich comes from pity and fear through imitation, it is evident that this (uality must be impressed upon the incidents. 8et us then determine *hat are the circumstances *hich stri'e us as terrible or pitiful. Actions capable of this effect must happen bet*een persons *ho are either friends or enemies or indifferent to one another. If an enemy 'ills an enemy, there is nothing to e1cite pity either in the act or the intention" e1cept so far as the suffering in itself is pitiful.

So again *ith indifferent persons. ut *hen the tragic incident occurs bet*een those *ho are near or dear to one another" if, for e1ample, a brother 'ills, or intends to 'ill, a brother, a son his father, a mother her son, a son his mother, or any other deed of the 'ind is done" these are the situations to be loo'ed for by the poet. !e may not indeed destroy the frame*or' of the received legends" the fact, for instance, that Clytemnestra *as slain by $restes and #riphyle by Alcmaeon" but he ought to sho* of his o*n, and s'ilfully handle the traditional. material. 8et us e1plain more clearly *hat is meant by s'ilful handling. The action may be done consciously and *ith 'no*ledge of the persons, in the manner of the older poets. It is thus too that #uripides ma'es 3edea slay her children. $r, again, the deed of horror may be done, but done in ignorance, and the tie of 'inship or friendship be discovered after*ards. The $edipus of Sophocles is an e1ample. !ere, indeed, the incident is outside the drama proper) but cases occur *here it falls *ithin the action of the play: one may cite the Alcmaeon of Astydamas, or Telegonus in the 7ounded $dysseus. Again, there is a third case" =to be about to act *ith 'no*ledge of the persons and then not to act. The fourth case> is *hen some one is about to do an irreparable deed through ignorance, and ma'es the discovery before it is done. These are the only possible *ays. +or the deed must either be done or not done" and that *ittingly or un*ittingly. ut of all these *ays, to be about to act 'no*ing the persons, and then not to act, is the *orst. It is shoc'ing *ithout being tragic, for no disaster follo*s It is, therefore, never, or very rarely, found in poetry. $ne instance, ho*ever, is in the Antigone, *here !aemon threatens to 'ill Creon. The ne1t and better *ay is that the deed should be perpetrated. Still better, that it should be perpetrated in ignorance, and the discovery made after*ards. There is then nothing to shoc' us, *hile the discovery produces a startling effect. The last case is the best, as *hen in the Cresphontes 3erope is about to slay her son, but, recogni5ing *ho he is, spares his life. So in the Iphigenia, the sister recogni5es the brother -ust in time. Again in the !elle, the son recogni5es the mother *hen on the point of giving her up. This, then, is *hy a fe* families only, as has been already observed, furnish the sub-ects of tragedy. It *as not art, but happy chance, that led the poets in search of sub-ects to impress the tragic (uality upon their plots. They are compelled, therefore, to have recourse to those houses *hose history contains moving incidents li'e these. #nough has no* been said concerning the structure of the incidents, and the right 'ind of plot. Part /6

In respect of Character there are four things to be aimed at. +irst, and most important, it must be good. %o* any speech or action that manifests moral purpose of any 'ind *ill be e1pressive of character: the character *ill be good if the purpose is good. This rule is relative to each class. #ven a *oman may be good, and also a slave) though the *oman may be said to be an inferior being, and the slave (uite *orthless. The second thing to aim at is propriety. There is a type of manly valor) but valor in a *oman, or unscrupulous cleverness is inappropriate. Thirdly, 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 though the sub-ect of the imitation, *ho suggested the type, be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent. As an e1ample of motiveless degradation of character, *e have 3enelaus in the $restes) of character indecorous and inappropriate, the lament of $dysseus in the Scylla, and the speech of 3elanippe) of inconsistency, the Iphigenia at Aulis" for Iphigenia the suppliant in no *ay resembles her later self. As in the structure of the plot, so too in the portraiture of character, the poet should al*ays aim either at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a given character should spea' or act in a given *ay, by the rule either of necessity or of probability) -ust as this event should follo* that by necessary or probable se(uence. It is therefore evident that the unraveling of the plot, no less than the complication, must arise out of the plot itself, it must not be brought about by the ,eus e1 3achina" as in the 3edea, or in the return of the 4ree's in the Iliad. The ,eus e1 3achina should be employed only for events e1ternal to the drama" for antecedent or subse(uent events, *hich lie beyond the range of human 'no*ledge, and *hich re(uire to be reported or foretold) for to the gods *e ascribe the po*er of seeing all things. 7ithin the action there must be nothing irrational. If the irrational cannot be e1cluded, it should be outside the scope of the tragedy. Such is the irrational element the $edipus of Sophocles. Again, since Tragedy is an imitation of persons *ho are above the common level, the e1ample of good portrait painters should be follo*ed. They, *hile reproducing the distinctive form of the original, ma'e a li'eness *hich is true to life and yet more beautiful. So too the poet, in representing men *ho are irascible or indolent, or have other defects of character, should preserve the type and yet ennoble it. In this *ay Achilles is portrayed by Agathon and !omer. These then are rules the poet should observe. %or should he neglect those appeals to the senses, *hich, though not among the essentials, are the concomitants of poetry) for here too there is much room for error. ut of this enough has been said in our published treatises.

Part /6I 7hat :ecognition is has been already e1plained. 7e *ill no* enumerate its 'inds. +irst, the least artistic form, *hich, from poverty of *it, is most commonly employed" recognition by signs. $f these some are congenital" such as .the spear *hich the earth"born race bear on their bodies,. or the stars introduced by Carcinus in his Thyestes. $thers are ac(uired after birth) and of these some are bodily mar's, as scars) some e1ternal to'ens, as nec'laces, or the little ar' in the Tyro by *hich the discovery is effected. #ven these admit of more or less s'ilful treatment. Thus in the recognition of $dysseus by his scar, the discovery is made in one *ay by the nurse, in another by the s*ineherds. The use of to'ens for the e1press purpose of proof" and, indeed, any formal proof *ith or *ithout to'ens" is a less artistic mode of recognition. A better 'ind is that *hich comes about by a turn of incident, as in the ath Scene in the $dyssey. %e1t come the recognitions invented at *ill by the poet, and on that account *anting in art. +or e1ample, $restes in the Iphigenia reveals the fact that he is $restes. She, indeed, ma'es herself 'no*n by the letter) but he, by spea'ing himself, and saying *hat the poet, not *hat the plot re(uires. This, therefore, is nearly allied to the fault above mentioned" for $restes might as *ell have brought to'ens *ith him. Another similar instance is the .voice of the shuttle. in the Tereus of Sophocles. The third 'ind depends on memory *hen the sight of some ob-ect a*a'ens a feeling: as in the Cyprians of ,icaeogenes, *here the hero brea's into tears on seeing the picture) or again in the 8ay of Alcinous, *here $dysseus, hearing the minstrel play the lyre, recalls the past and *eeps) and hence the recognition. The fourth 'ind is by process of reasoning. Thus in the Choephori: .Some one resembling me has come: no one resembles me but $restes: therefore $restes has come.. Such too is the discovery made by Iphigenia in the play of Polyidus the Sophist. It *as a natural reflection for $restes to ma'e, .So I too must die at the altar li'e my sister.. So, again, in the Tydeus of Theodectes, the father says, .I came to find my son, and I lose my o*n life.. So too in the Phineidae: the *omen, on seeing the place, inferred their fate" .!ere *e are doomed to die, for here *e *ere cast forth.. Again, there is a composite 'ind of recognition involving false inference on the part of one of the characters, as in the $dysseus ,isguised as a 3essenger. A said =that no one else *as able to bend the bo*) ... hence 0the disguised $dysseus2 imagined that A *ould> recogni5e the bo* *hich, in fact,

he had not seen) and to bring about a recognition by this means" the e1pectation that A *ould recogni5e the bo*" is false inference. ut, of all recognitions, the best is that *hich arises from the incidents themselves, *here the startling discovery is made by natural means. Such is that in the $edipus of Sophocles, and in the Iphigenia) for it *as natural that Iphigenia should *ish to dispatch a letter. These recognitions alone dispense *ith the artificial aid of to'ens or amulets. %e1t come the recognitions by process of reasoning. Part /6II In constructing the plot and *or'ing it out *ith the proper diction, the poet should place the scene, as far as possible, before his eyes. In this *ay, seeing everything *ith the utmost vividness, as if he *ere a spectator of the action, he *ill discover *hat is in 'eeping *ith it, and be most unli'ely to overloo' inconsistencies. The need of such a rule is sho*n by the fault found in Carcinus. Amphiaraus *as on his *ay from the temple. This fact escaped the observation of one *ho did not see the situation. $n the stage, ho*ever, the Piece failed, the audience being offended at the oversight. Again, the poet should *or' out his play, to the best of his po*er, *ith appropriate gestures) for those *ho feel emotion are most convincing through natural sympathy *ith the characters they represent) and one *ho is agitated storms, one *ho is angry rages, *ith the most lifeli'e reality. !ence poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. In the one case a man can ta'e the mould of any character) in the other, he is lifted out of his proper self. As for the story, *hether the poet ta'es it ready made or constructs it for himself, he should first s'etch its general outline, and then fill in the episodes and amplify in detail. The general plan may be illustrated by the Iphigenia. A young girl is sacrificed) she disappears mysteriously from the eyes of those *ho sacrificed her) she is transported to another country, *here the custom is to offer up an strangers to the goddess. To this ministry she is appointed. Some time later her o*n brother chances to arrive. The fact 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. !o*ever, he comes, he is sei5ed, and, *hen on the point of being sacrificed, reveals *ho he is. The mode of recognition may be either that of #uripides or of Polyidus, in *hose play he e1claims very naturally: .So it *as not my sister only, but I too, *ho *as doomed to be sacrificed.) and by that remar' he is saved. After this, the names being once given, it remains to fill in the

episodes. 7e must see that they are relevant to the action. In the case of $restes, for e1ample, there is the madness *hich led to his capture, and his deliverance by means of the purificatory rite. In the drama, the episodes are short, but it is these that give e1tension to #pic poetry. Thus the story of the $dyssey can be stated briefly. A certain man is absent from home for many years) he is -ealously *atched by Poseidon, and left desolate. 3ean*hile his home is in a *retched plight" suitors are *asting his substance and plotting against his son. At length, tempest"tost, he himself arrives) he ma'es certain persons ac(uainted *ith him) he attac's the suitors *ith his o*n hand, and is himself preserved *hile he destroys them. This is the essence of the plot) the rest is episode. Part /6III #very tragedy falls into t*o parts" Complication and ;nraveling or ,enouement. Incidents e1traneous to the action are fre(uently combined *ith a portion of the action proper, to form the Complication) the rest is the ;nraveling. y the Complication I mean all that e1tends from the beginning of the action to the part *hich mar's the turning"point to good or bad fortune. The ;nraveling is that *hich e1tends from the beginning of the change to the end. Thus, in the 8ynceus of Theodectes, the Complication consists of the incidents presupposed in the drama, the sei5ure of the child, and then again ... =the ;nraveling> e1tends from the accusation of murder to There are four 'inds of Tragedy: the Comple1, depending entirely on :eversal of the Situation and :ecognition) the Pathetic 0*here the motive is passion2" such as the tragedies on A-a1 and I1ion) the #thical 0*here the motives are ethical2" such as the Phthiotides and the Peleus. The fourth 'ind is the Simple. =7e here e1clude the purely spectacular element>, e1emplified by the Phorcides, the Prometheus, and scenes laid in !ades. The poet should endeavor, if possible, to combine all poetic elements) or failing that, the greatest number and those the most important) the more so, in face of the caviling criticism of the day. +or *hereas there have hitherto been good poets, each in his o*n branch, the critics no* e1pect one man to surpass all others in their several lines of e1cellence. In spea'ing of a tragedy as the same or different, the best test to ta'e is the plot. Identity e1ists *here the Complication and ;nraveling are the same. 3any poets tie the 'not *ell, but unravel it oth arts, ho*ever, should al*ays be mastered. Again, the poet should remember *hat has been often said, and not ma'e an #pic structure into a tragedy" by an #pic structure I mean one *ith a multiplicity of plots" as if, for instance, you *ere to

ma'e a tragedy out of the entire story of the Iliad. In the #pic poem, o*ing to its length, each part assumes its proper magnitude. In the drama the result is far from ans*ering to the poet.s e1pectation. The proof is that the poets *ho have dramati5ed the *hole story of the +all of Troy, instead of selecting portions, li'e #uripides) or *ho have ta'en the *hole tale of %iobe, and not a part of her story, li'e Aeschylus, either fail utterly or meet *ith poor success on the stage. #ven Agathon has been 'no*n to fail from this one defect. In his :eversals of the Situation, ho*ever, he sho*s a marvelous s'ill in the effort to hit the popular taste" to produce a tragic effect that satisfies the moral sense. This effect is produced *hen the clever rogue, li'e Sisyphus, is out*itted, or the brave villain defeated. Such an event is probable in Agathon.s sense of the *ord: .is probable,. he says, .that many things should happen contrary to probability.. The Chorus too should be regarded as one of the actors) it should be an integral part of the *hole, and share in the action, in the manner not of #uripides but of Sophocles. As for the later poets, their choral songs pertain as little to the sub-ect of the piece as to that of any other tragedy. They are, therefore, sung as mere interludes" a practice first begun by Agathon. ?et *hat difference is there bet*een introducing such choral interludes, and transferring a speech, or even a *hole act, from one play to another. Part /I/ It remains to spea' of ,iction and Thought, the other parts of Tragedy having been already discussed. concerning Thought, *e may assume *hat is said in the :hetoric, to *hich in(uiry the sub-ect more strictly belongs. ;nder Thought is included every effect *hich has to be produced by speech, the subdivisions being: proof and refutation) the e1citation of the feelings, such as pity, fear, anger, and the li'e) the suggestion of importance or its opposite. %o*, it is evident that the dramatic incidents must be treated from the same points of vie* as the dramatic speeches, *hen the ob-ect is to evo'e the sense of pity, fear, importance, or probability. The only difference is that the incidents should spea' for themselves *ithout verbal e1position) *hile effects aimed at in should be produced by the spea'er, and as a result of the speech. +or *hat *ere the business of a spea'er, if the Thought *ere revealed (uite apart from *hat he says@ %e1t, as regards ,iction. $ne branch of the in(uiry treats of the 3odes of ;tterance. ut this province of 'no*ledge belongs to the art of ,elivery and to the masters of that science. It includes, for instance" *hat is a command, a prayer, a statement, a threat, a (uestion, an ans*er, and so forth. To 'no* or not to 'no* these things involves no serious censure upon the poet.s art. +or *ho can admit the fault

imputed to !omer by Protagoras" that in the *ords, .Sing, goddess, of the *rath, he gives a command under the idea that he utters a prayer@ +or to tell some one to do a thing or not to do it is, he says, a command. 7e may, therefore, pass this over as an in(uiry that belongs to another art, not to poetry. Part // 8anguage in general includes the follo*ing parts: 8etter, Syllable, Connecting 7ord, %oun, 6erb, Inflection or Case, Sentence or Phrase. A 8etter is an indivisible sound, yet not every such sound, but only one *hich can form part of a group of sounds. +or even brutes utter indivisible sounds, none of *hich I call a letter. The sound I mean may be either a vo*el, a semivo*el, or a mute. A vo*el is that *hich *ithout impact of tongue or lip has an audible sound. A semivo*el that *hich *ith such impact has an audible sound, as S and :. A mute, that *hich *ith such impact has by itself no sound, but -oined to a vo*el sound becomes audible, as 4 and ,. These are distinguished according to the form assumed by the mouth and the place *here they are produced) according as they are aspirated or smooth, long or short) as they are acute, grave, or of an intermediate tone) *hich in(uiry belongs in detail to the *riters on meter. A Syllable is a nonsignificant sound, composed of a mute and a vo*el: for 4: *ithout A is a syllable, as also *ith A" 4:A. ut the investigation of these differences belongs also to metrical science. A Connecting 7ord is a nonsignificant sound, *hich 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. $r, a nonsignificant sound, *hich out of several sounds, each of them significant, is capable of forming one significant sound" as amphi, peri, and the li'e. $r, a nonsignificant sound, *hich mar's the beginning, end, or division of a sentence) such, ho*ever, that it cannot correctly stand by itself at the beginning of a sentence" as men, etoi, de. A %oun is a composite significant sound, not mar'ing time, of *hich no part is in itself significant: for in double or compound *ords *e do not employ the separate parts as if each *ere in itself significant. Thus in Theodorus, .god"given,. the doron or .gift. is not in itself significant. A 6erb is a composite significant sound, mar'ing time, in *hich, as in the noun, no part is in itself significant. +or .man. or .*hite. does not e1press the idea of .*hen.) but .he *al's. or .he has *al'ed. does connote time, present or past.

Inflection belongs both to the noun and verb, and e1presses either the relation .of,. .to,. or the li'e) or that of number, *hether one or many, as .man. or .men.) or the modes or tones in actual delivery, e.g., a (uestion or a command. .,id he go@. and .go. are verbal inflections of this 'ind. A Sentence or Phrase is a composite significant sound, some at least of *hose parts are in themselves significant) for not every such group of *ords consists of verbs and nouns" .the definition of man,. for e1ample" but it may dispense even *ith the verb. Still it *ill al*ays have some significant part, as .in *al'ing,. or .Cleon son of Cleon.. A sentence or phrase may form a unity in t*o *ays" either as signifying one thing, or as consisting of several parts lin'ed together. Thus the Iliad is one by the lin'ing together of parts, the definition of man by the unity of the thing signified. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" S#CTI$% A Part //I 7ords are of t*o 'inds, simple and double. y simple I mean those composed of nonsignificant elements, such as ge, .earth.. y double or compound, those composed either of a significant and nonsignificant element 0though *ithin the *hole *ord no element is significant2, or of elements that are both significant. A *ord may li'e*ise be triple, (uadruple, or multiple in form, li'e so many 3assilian e1pressions, e.g., .!ermo"caico"1anthus =*ho prayed to +ather 9eus>.. #very *ord is either current, or strange, or metaphorical, or ornamental, or ne*ly"coined, or lengthened, or contracted, or altered. y a current or proper *ord I mean one *hich is in general use among a people) by a strange *ord, one *hich is in use in another country. Plainly, therefore, the same *ord may be at once strange and current, but not in relation to the same people. The *ord sigynon, .lance,. is to the Cyprians a current term but to us a strange one. 3etaphor is the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, proportion. Thus from genus to species, as: .There lies my ship.) for lying at anchor is a species of lying. +rom species to genus, as: .6erily ten thousand noble deeds hath $dysseus *rought.) for ten thousand is a species of large number, and is here used for a large number generally. +rom species to species, as: .7ith

blade of bron5e dre* a*ay the life,. and .Cleft the *ater *ith the vessel of unyielding bron5e.. !ere arusai, .to dra* a*ay. is used for tamein, .to cleave,. and tamein, again for arusai" each being a species of ta'ing a*ay. Analogy or proportion is *hen the second term is to the first as the fourth to the third. 7e may then use the fourth for the second, or the second for the fourth. Sometimes too *e (ualify the metaphor by adding the term to *hich the proper *ord is relative. Thus the cup is to ,ionysus as the shield to Ares. The cup may, therefore, be called .the shield of ,ionysus,. and the shield .the cup of Ares.. $r, again, as old age is to life, so is evening to day. #vening may therefore be called, .the old age of the day,. and old age, .the evening of life,. or, in the phrase of #mpedocles, .life.s setting sun.. +or some of the terms of the proportion there is at times no *ord in e1istence) still the metaphor may be used. +or instance, to scatter seed is called so*ing: but the action of the sun in scattering his rays is nameless. Still this process bears to the sun the same relation as so*ing to the seed. !ence the e1pression of the poet .so*ing the god"created light.. There is another *ay in *hich this 'ind of metaphor may be employed. 7e may apply an alien term, and then deny of that term one of its proper attributes) as if *e *ere to call the shield, not .the cup of Ares,. but .the *ineless cup.. A ne*ly"coined *ord is one *hich has never been even in local use, but is adopted by the poet himself. Some such *ords there appear to be: as ernyges, .sprouters,. for 'erata, .horns.) and areter, .supplicator., for hiereus, .priest.. A *ord is lengthened *hen its o*n vo*el is e1changed for a longer one, or *hen a syllable is inserted. A *ord is contracted *hen some part of it is removed. Instances of lengthening are: poleos for poleos, Peleiadeo for Peleidou) of contraction: 'ri, do, and ops, as in mia ginetai amphoteron ops, .the appearance of both is one.. An altered *ord is one in *hich part of the ordinary form is left unchanged, and part is recast: as in de1iteron 'ata ma5on, .on the right breast,. de1iteron is for de1ion. %ouns in themselves are either masculine, feminine, or neuter. 3asculine are such as end in %, :, S, or in some letter compounded *ith S" these being t*o, PS and /. +eminine, such as end in vo*els that are al*ays long, namely # and $, and" of vo*els that admit of lengthening" those in A. Thus the number of letters in *hich nouns masculine and feminine end is the same) for PS and / are e(uivalent to endings in S. %o noun ends in a mute or a vo*el short by nature. Three only end in I" meli, .honey.) 'ommi, .gum.) peperi, .pepper.) five end in ;. %euter nouns end in these t*o latter vo*els) also in % and S.

Part //II The perfection of style is to be clear *ithout being mean. The clearest style is that *hich uses only current or proper *ords) at the same time it is mean" *itness the poetry of Cleophon and of Sthenelus. That diction, on the other hand, is lofty and raised above the commonplace *hich employs unusual *ords. y unusual, I mean strange 0or rare2 *ords, metaphorical, lengthened" anything, in short, that differs from the normal idiom. ?et a style *holly composed of such *ords is either a riddle or a -argon) a riddle, if it consists of metaphors) a -argon, if it consists of strange 0or rare2 *ords. +or the essence of a riddle is to e1press true facts under impossible combinations. %o* this cannot be done by any arrangement of ordinary *ords, but by the use of metaphor it can. Such is the riddle: .A man I sa* *ho on another man had glued the bron5e by aid of fire,. and others of the same 'ind. A diction that is made up of strange 0or rare2 terms is a -argon. A certain infusion, therefore, of these elements is necessary to style) for the strange 0or rare2 *ord, the metaphorical, the ornamental, and the other 'inds above mentioned, *ill raise it above the commonplace and mean, *hile the use of proper *ords *ill ma'e it perspicuous. ut nothing contributes more to produce a cleanness of diction that is remote from commonness than the lengthening, contraction, and alteration of *ords. +or by deviating in e1ceptional cases from the normal idiom, the language *ill gain distinction) *hile, at the same time, the partial conformity *ith usage *ill give perspicuity. The critics, therefore, are in error *ho censure these licenses of speech, and hold the author up to ridicule. Thus #ucleides, the elder, declared that it *ould be an easy matter to be a poet if you might lengthen syllables at *ill. !e caricatured the practice in the very form of his diction, as in the verse: B#picharen eidon 3arathonade badi5onta, BI sa* #pichares *al'ing to 3arathon, B or, Bou' an g.eramenos ton e'einou elleboron. B%ot if you desire his hellebore. B To employ such license at all obtrusively is, no doubt, grotes(ue) but in any mode of poetic diction there must be moderation. #ven metaphors, strange 0or rare2 *ords, or any similar forms of speech, *ould produce the li'e effect if used *ithout propriety and *ith the e1press purpose of being ludicrous. !o* great a difference is made by the appropriate

use of lengthening, may be seen in #pic poetry by the insertion of ordinary forms in the verse. So, again, if *e ta'e a strange 0or rare2 *ord, a metaphor, or any similar mode of e1pression, and replace it by the current or proper term, the truth of our observation *ill be manifest. +or e1ample, Aeschylus and #uripides each composed the same iambic line. ut the alteration of a single *ord by #uripides, *ho employed the rarer term instead of the ordinary one, ma'es one verse appear beautiful and the other trivial. Aeschylus in his Philoctetes says: Bphagedaina d.he mou sar'as esthiei podos. BThe tumor *hich is eating the flesh of my foot. B #uripides substitutes thoinatai, .feasts on,. for esthiei, .feeds on.. Again, in the line, Bnun de m.eon oligos te 'ai outidanos 'ai aei'es, B?et a small man, *orthless and unseemly, B the difference *ill be felt if *e substitute the common *ords, Bnun de m.eon mi'ros te 'ai astheni'os 'ai aeides. B?et a little fello*, *ea' and ugly. B $r, if for the line, Bdiphron aei'elion 'atatheis oligen te trape5an, BSetting an unseemly couch and a meager table, B *e read, Bdiphron mochtheron 'atatheis mi'ran te trape5an. BSetting a *retched couch and a puny table. B $r, for eiones booosin, .the sea shores roar,. eiones 'ra5ousin, .the sea shores screech.. Again, Ariphrades ridiculed the tragedians for using phrases *hich no one *ould employ in ordinary speech: for e1ample, domaton apo, .from the house a*ay,. instead of apo domaton, .a*ay from the house). sethen, ego de nin, .to thee, and I to him). Achilleos peri, .Achilles about,. instead of peri Achilleos, .about Achilles). and the li'e.

It is precisely because such phrases are not part of the current idiom that they give distinction to the style. This, ho*ever, he failed to see. It is a great matter to observe propriety in these several modes of e1pression, as also in compound *ords, strange 0or rare2 *ords, and so forth. ut the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another) it is the mar' of genius, for to ma'e good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances. $f the various 'inds of *ords, the compound are best adapted to dithyrambs, rare *ords to heroic poetry, metaphors to iambic. In heroic poetry, indeed, all these varieties are serviceable. ut in iambic verse, *hich reproduces, as far as may be, familiar speech, the most appropriate *ords are those *hich are found even in prose. These are the current or proper, the metaphorical, the ornamental. Concerning Tragedy and imitation by means of action this may suffice. Part //III As to that poetic imitation *hich is narrative in form and employs a single meter, the plot manifestly ought, as in a tragedy, to be constructed on dramatic principles. It should have for its sub-ect a single action, *hole and complete, *ith a beginning, a middle, and an end. It *ill thus resemble a living organism in all its unity, and produce the pleasure proper to it. It *ill differ in structure from historical compositions, *hich of necessity present not a single action, but a single period, and all that happened *ithin that period to one person or to many, little connected together as the events may be. +or as the sea"fight at Salamis and the battle *ith the Carthaginians in Sicily too' place at the same time, but did not tend to any one result, so in the se(uence of events, one thing sometimes follo*s another, and yet no single result is thereby produced. Such is the practice, *e may say, of most poets. !ere again, then, as has been already observed, the transcendent e1cellence of !omer is manifest. !e never attempts to ma'e the *hole *ar of Troy the sub-ect of his poem, though that *ar had a beginning and an end. It *ould have been too vast a theme, and not easily embraced in a single vie*. If, again, he had 'ept it *ithin moderate limits, it must have been over"complicated by the variety of the incidents. As it is, he detaches a single portion, and admits as episodes many events from the general story of the *ar" such as the Catalogue of the ships and others" thus diversifying the poem. All other poets ta'e a single hero, a single period, or an action single indeed, but *ith a multiplicity of parts. Thus did the author of the Cypria and of the 8ittle Iliad. +or this reason the Iliad and the $dyssey each furnish the sub-ect of one tragedy, or, at most,

of t*o) *hile the Cypria supplies materials for many, and the 8ittle Iliad for eight" the A*ard of the Arms, the Philoctetes, the %eoptolemus, the #urypylus, the 3endicant $dysseus, the 8aconian 7omen, the +all of Ilium, the ,eparture of the +leet. Part //I6 Again, #pic poetry must have as many 'inds as Tragedy: it must be simple, or comple1, or .ethical,.or .pathetic.. The parts also, *ith the e1ception of song and spectacle, are the same) for it re(uires :eversals of the Situation, :ecognitions, and Scenes of Suffering. 3oreover, the thoughts and the diction must be artistic. In all these respects !omer is our earliest and sufficient model. Indeed each of his poems has a t*ofold character. The Iliad is at once simple and .pathetic,. and the $dyssey comple1 0for :ecognition scenes run through it2, and at the same time .ethical.. 3oreover, in diction and thought they are supreme. #pic poetry differs from Tragedy in the scale on *hich it is constructed, and in its meter. As regards scale or length, *e have already laid do*n an ade(uate limit: the beginning and the end must be capable of being brought *ithin a single vie*. This condition *ill be satisfied by poems on a smaller scale than the old epics, and ans*ering in length to the group of tragedies presented at a single sitting. #pic poetry has, ho*ever, a great" a special" capacity for enlarging its dimensions, and *e can see the reason. In Tragedy *e cannot imitate several lines of actions carried on at one and the same time) *e must confine ourselves to the action on the stage and the part ta'en by the players. ut in #pic poetry, o*ing to the narrative form, many events simultaneously transacted can be presented) and these, if relevant to the sub-ect, add mass and dignity to the poem. The #pic has here an advantage, and one that conduces to grandeur of effect, to diverting the mind of the hearer, and relieving the story *ith varying episodes. +or sameness of incident soon produces satiety, and ma'es tragedies fail on the stage. As for the meter, the heroic measure has proved its fitness by he1ameter test of e1perience. If a narrative poem in any other meter or in many meters *ere no* composed, it *ould be found incongruous. +or of all measures the heroic is the stateliest and the most massive) and hence it most readily admits rare *ords and metaphors, *hich is another point in *hich the narrative form of imitation stands alone. $n the other hand, the iambic and the trochaic tetrameter are stirring measures, the latter being a'in to dancing, the former e1pressive of action. Still more absurd *ould it be to mi1 together different meters, as *as done by Chaeremon. !ence no one has ever composed a poem on a

great scale in any other than heroic verse. %ature herself, as *e have said, teaches the choice of the proper measure. !omer, admirable in all respects, has the special merit of being the only poet *ho rightly appreciates the part he should ta'e himself. The poet should spea' as little as possible in his o*n person, for it is not this that ma'es him an imitator. $ther poets appear themselves upon the scene throughout, and imitate but little and rarely. !omer, after a fe* prefatory *ords, at once brings in a man, or *oman, or other personage) none of them *anting in characteristic (ualities, but each *ith a character of his o*n. The element of the *onderful is re(uired in Tragedy. The irrational, on *hich the *onderful depends for its chief effects, has *ider scope in #pic poetry, because there the person acting is not seen. Thus, the pursuit of !ector *ould be ludicrous if placed upon the stage" the 4ree's standing still and not -oining in the pursuit, and Achilles *aving them bac'. ut in the #pic poem the absurdity passes unnoticed. %o* the *onderful is pleasing, as may be inferred from the fact that every one tells a story *ith some addition of his 'no*ing that his hearers li'e it. It is !omer *ho has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies s'ilfully. The secret of it lies in a fallacy +or, assuming that if one thing is or becomes, a second is or becomes, men imagine that, if the second is, the first li'e*ise is or becomes. ut this is a false inference. !ence, *here the first thing is untrue, it is (uite unnecessary, provided the second be true, to add that the first is or has become. +or the mind, 'no*ing the second to be true, falsely infers the truth of the first. There is an e1ample of this in the ath Scene of the $dyssey. Accordingly, the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities. The tragic plot must not be composed of irrational parts. #verything irrational should, if possible, be e1cluded) or, at all events, it should lie outside the action of the play 0as, in the $edipus, the hero.s ignorance as to the manner of 8aius. death2) not *ithin the drama" as in the #lectra, the messenger.s account of the Pythian games) or, as in the 3ysians, the man *ho has come from Tegea to 3ysia and is still speechless. The plea that other*ise the plot *ould have been ruined, is ridiculous) such a plot should not in the first instance be constructed. ut once the irrational has been introduced and an air of li'elihood imparted to it, *e must accept it in spite of the absurdity. Ta'e even the irrational incidents in the $dyssey, *here $dysseus is left upon the shore of Ithaca. !o* intolerable even these might have been *ould be apparent if an inferior poet *ere to treat the sub-ect. As it is, the absurdity is veiled by the poetic charm *ith *hich the poet invests it.

The diction should be elaborated in the pauses of the action, *here there is no e1pression of character or thought. +or, conversely, character and thought are merely obscured by a diction that is over"brilliant Part //6 7ith respect to critical difficulties and their solutions, the number and nature of the sources from *hich they may be dra*n may be thus e1hibited. The poet being an imitator, li'e a painter or any other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three ob-ects" things as they *ere or are, things as they are said or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. The vehicle of e1pression is language" either current terms or, it may be, rare *ords or metaphors. There are also many modifications of language, *hich *e concede to the poets. Add to this, that the standard of correctness is not the same in poetry and politics, any more than in poetry and any other art. 7ithin the art of poetry itself there are t*o 'inds of faults" those *hich touch its essence, and those *hich are accidental. If a poet has chosen to imitate something, =but has imitated it incorrectly> through *ant of capacity, the error is inherent in the poetry. ut if the failure is due to a *rong choice" if he has represented a horse as thro*ing out both his off legs at once, or introduced technical inaccuracies in medicine, for e1ample, or in any other art" the error is not essential to the poetry. These are the points of vie* from *hich *e should consider and ans*er the ob-ections raised by the critics. +irst as to matters *hich concern the poet.s o*n art. If he describes the impossible, he is guilty of an error) but the error may be -ustified, if the end of the art be thereby attained 0the end being that already mentioned2" if, that is, the effect of this or any other part of the poem is thus rendered more stri'ing. A case in point is the pursuit of !ector. if, ho*ever, the end might have been as *ell, or better, attained *ithout violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not -ustified: for every 'ind of error should, if possible, be avoided. Again, does the error touch the essentials of the poetic art, or some accident of it@ +or e1ample, not to 'no* that a hind has no horns is a less serious matter than to paint it inartistically. +urther, if it be ob-ected that the description is not true to fact, the poet may perhaps reply, . ut the ob-ects are as they ought to be.) -ust as Sophocles said that he dre* men as they ought to be) #uripides, as they are. In this *ay the ob-ection may be met. If, ho*ever, the representation be of neither 'ind, the poet may ans*er,

.This is ho* men say the thing is.. applies to tales about the gods. It may *ell be that these stories are not higher than fact nor yet true to fact: they are, very possibly, *hat /enophanes says of them. ut anyho*, .this is *hat is said.. Again, a description may be no better than the fact: .Still, it *as the fact.) as in the passage about the arms: .;pright upon their butt"ends stood the spears.. This *as the custom then, as it no* is among the Illyrians. Again, in e1amining *hether *hat has been said or done by some one is poetically right or not, *e must not loo' merely to the particular act or saying, and as' *hether it is poetically good or bad. 7e must also consider by *hom it is said or done, to *hom, *hen, by *hat means, or for *hat end) *hether, for instance, it be to secure a greater good, or avert a greater evil. $ther difficulties may be resolved by due regard to the usage of language. 7e may note a rare *ord, as in oureas men proton, .the mules first =he 'illed>,. *here the poet perhaps employs oureas not in the sense of mules, but of sentinels. So, again, of ,olon: .ill"favored indeed he *as to loo' upon.. It is not meant that his body *as ill"shaped but that his face *as ugly) for the Cretans use the *ord eueides, .*ell"flavored. to denote a fair face. Again, 5oroteron de 'eraie, .mi1 the drin' livelier. does not mean .mi1 it stronger. as for hard drin'ers, but .mi1 it (uic'er.. Sometimes an e1pression is metaphorical, as .%o* all gods and men *ere sleeping through the night,. *hile at the same time the poet says: .$ften indeed as he turned his ga5e to the Tro-an plain, he marveled 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... , oie, .alone. is metaphorical) for the best 'no*n may be called the only one. Again, the solution may depend upon accent or breathing. Thus !ippias of Thasos solved the difficulties in the lines, didomen 0didomen2 de hoi, and to men hou 0ou2 'ataputhetai ombro. $r again, the (uestion may be solved by punctuation, as in #mpedocles: .$f a sudden things became mortal that before had learnt to be immortal, and things unmi1ed before mi1ed.. $r again, by ambiguity of meaning, as paroche'en de pleo nu1, *here the *ord pleo is ambiguous. $r by the usage of language. Thus any mi1ed drin' is called oinos, .*ine.. !ence 4anymede is said .to pour the *ine to 9eus,. though the gods do not drin' *ine. So too *or'ers in iron are called chal'eas,

or .*or'ers in bron5e.. This, ho*ever, may also be ta'en as a metaphor. Again, *hen a *ord seems to involve some inconsistency of meaning, *e should consider ho* many senses it may bear in the particular passage. +or e1ample: .there *as stayed the spear of bron5e." *e should as' in ho* many *ays *e may ta'e .being chec'ed there.. The true mode of interpretation is the precise opposite of *hat 4laucon mentions. Critics, he says, -ump at certain groundless conclusions) they pass adverse -udgement and then proceed to reason on it) and, assuming that the poet has said *hatever they happen to thin', find fault if a thing is inconsistent *ith their o*n fancy. The (uestion about Icarius has been treated in this fashion. The critics imagine he *as a 8acedaemonian. They thin' it strange, therefore, that Telemachus should not have met him *hen he *ent to 8acedaemon. ut the Cephallenian story may perhaps be the true one. They allege that $dysseus too' a *ife from among themselves, and that her father *as Icadius, not Icarius. It is merely a mista'e, then, that gives plausibility to the ob-ection. In general, the impossible must be -ustified by reference to artistic re(uirements, or to the higher reality, or to received opinion. 7ith respect to the re(uirements of art, a probable impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improbable and yet possible. Again, it may be impossible that there should be men such as 9eu1is painted. .?es,. *e say, .but the impossible is the higher thing) for the ideal type must surpass the realty.. To -ustify the irrational, *e appeal to *hat is commonly said to be. In addition to *hich, *e urge that the irrational sometimes does not violate reason) -ust as .it is probable that a thing may happen contrary to probability.. Things that sound contradictory should be e1amined by the same rules as in dialectical refutation" *hether the same thing is meant, in the same relation, and in the same sense. 7e should therefore solve the (uestion by reference to *hat the poet says himself, or to *hat is tacitly assumed by a person of intelligence. The element of the irrational, and, similarly, depravity of character, are -ustly censured *hen there is no inner necessity for introducing them. Such is the irrational element in the introduction of Aegeus by #uripides and the badness of 3enelaus in the $restes. Thus, there are five sources from *hich critical ob-ections are dra*n. Things are censured either as impossible, or irrational, or morally hurtful, or contradictory, or contrary to artistic correctness. The ans*ers should be sought under the t*elve heads above mentioned.

Part //6I The (uestion may be raised *hether the #pic 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 *hich appeals to the better sort of audience, the art *hich imitates anything and everything is manifestly most unrefined. The audience is supposed to be too dull to comprehend unless something of their o*n is thro*n by the performers, *ho therefore indulge in restless movements. ad flute"players t*ist and t*irl, if they have to represent .the (uoit"thro*,. or hustle the coryphaeus *hen they perform the Scylla. Tragedy, it is said, has this same defect. 7e may compare the opinion that the older actors entertained of their successors. 3ynniscus used to call Callippides .ape. on account of the e1travagance of his action, and the same vie* *as held of Pindarus. Tragic art, then, as a *hole, stands to #pic in the same relation as the younger to the elder actors. So *e are told that #pic poetry is addressed to a cultivated audience, *ho do not need gesture) Tragedy, to an inferior public. eing then unrefined, it is evidently the lo*er of the t*o. %o*, in the first place, this censure attaches not to the poetic but to the histrionic art) for gesticulation may be e(ually overdone in epic recitation, as by Sosistratus, or in lyrical competition, as by 3nasitheus the $puntian. %e1t, all action is not to be condemned" any more than all dancing" but only that of bad performers. Such *as the fault found in Callippides, as also in others of our o*n day, *ho are censured for representing degraded *omen. Again, Tragedy li'e #pic poetry produces its effect even *ithout action) it reveals its po*er by mere reading. If, then, in all other respects it is superior, this fault, *e say, is not inherent in it. And superior it is, because it has an the epic elements" it may even use the epic meter" *ith the music and spectacular effects as important accessories) and these produce the most vivid of pleasures. +urther, it has vividness of impression in reading as *ell as in representation. 3oreover, the art attains its end *ithin narro*er limits for the concentrated effect is more pleasurable than one *hich is spread over a long time and so diluted. 7hat, for e1ample, *ould be the effect of the $edipus of Sophocles, if it *ere cast into a form as long as the Iliad@ $nce more, the #pic imitation has less unity) as is sho*n by this, that any #pic poem *ill furnish sub-ects for several tragedies. Thus if the story adopted by the poet has a strict unity, it must either be concisely told and appear truncated) or, if it conforms to the #pic canon of length, it must seem *ea' and *atery. =Such length implies some loss of unity,> if, I mean, the poem is constructed out of several actions, li'e the Iliad and the $dyssey, *hich have many such parts, each *ith a certain magnitude of its o*n. ?et these poems are as perfect

as possible in structure) each is, in the highest degree attainable, an imitation of a single action. If, then, tragedy is superior to epic poetry in all these respects, and, moreover, fulfills its specific function better as an art" for each art ought to produce, not any chance pleasure, but the pleasure proper to it, as already stated" it plainly follo*s that tragedy is the higher art, as attaining its end more perfectly. Thus much may suffice concerning Tragic and #pic poetry in general) their several 'inds and parts, *ith the number of each and their differences) the causes that ma'e a poem good or bad) the ob-ections of the critics and the ans*ers to these ob-ections.... T!# #%, """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Copyright statement: The Internet Classics Archive by ,aniel C. Stevenson, 7eb Atomics. 7orld 7ide 7eb presentation is copyright 0C2 &CCD"&CCE, ,aniel C. Stevenson, 7eb Atomics. All rights reserved under international and pan"American copyright conventions, including the right of reproduction in *hole or in part in any form. ,irect permission re(uests to classicsFclassics.mit.edu. Translation of BThe ,eeds of the ,ivine AugustusB by Augustus is copyright 0C2 Thomas ushnell, S4.