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Works by Aristotle
Pages of Poetics

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mentioned will exhibit these differences, and become a distinct kind

in imitating objects that are thus distinct. Such diversities may be

found even in dancing, flute-playing, and lyre-playing. So again in

language, whether prose or verse unaccompanied by music. Homer, for

example, makes men better than they are; Cleophon as they are; Hegemon

the Thasian, the inventor of parodies, and Nicochares, the author of

the Deiliad, worse than they are. The same thing holds good of

Dithyrambs and Nomes; here too one may portray different types, as

Timotheus and Philoxenus differed in representing their Cyclopes.

The same distinction marks off Tragedy from Comedy; for Comedy aims at

representing men as worse, Tragedy as better than in actual life.



There is still a third difference- the manner in which each of these

objects may be imitated. For the medium being the same, and the

objects the same, the poet may imitate by narration- in which case

he can either take another personality as Homer does, or speak in

his own person, unchanged- or he may present all his characters as

living and moving before us.

These, then, as we said at the beginning, are the three

differences which distinguish artistic imitation- the medium, the

objects, and the manner. So that from one point of view, Sophocles

is an imitator of the same kind as Homer- for both imitate higher

types of character; from another point of view, of the same kind as

Aristophanes- for both imitate persons acting and doing. Hence, some

say, the name of 'drama' is given to such poems, as representing

action. For the same reason the Dorians claim the invention both of

Tragedy and Comedy. The claim to Comedy is put forward by the

Megarians- not only by those of Greece proper, who allege that it

originated under their democracy, but also by the Megarians of Sicily,

for the poet Epicharmus, who is much earlier than Chionides and

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