rhythm, 'harmony' and song enter. By 'the several kinds in separate
parts,' I mean, that some parts are rendered through the medium of
verse alone, others again with the aid of song.
Now as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it necessarily
follows in the first place, that Spectacular equipment will be a
part of Tragedy. Next, Song and Diction, for these are the media of
imitation. By 'Diction' I mean the mere metrical arrangement of the
words: as for 'Song,' it is a term whose sense every one understands.
Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action; and an action
implies personal agents, who necessarily possess certain distinctive
qualities both of character and thought; for it is by these that we
qualify actions themselves, and these- thought and character- are
the two natural causes from which actions spring, and on actions again
all success or failure depends. Hence, the Plot is the imitation of
the action- for by plot I here mean the arrangement of the
incidents. By Character I mean that in virtue of which we ascribe
certain qualities to the agents. Thought is required wherever a
statement is proved, or, it may be, a general truth enunciated.
Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine
its quality- namely, Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle,
Song. Two of the parts constitute the medium of imitation, one the
manner, and three the objects of imitation. And these complete the
fist. These elements have been employed, we may say, by the poets to a
man; in fact, every play contains Spectacular elements as well as
Character, Plot, Diction, Song, and Thought.
But most important of all is the structure of the incidents. For
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
quality. Now character determines men's qualities, but it is by
their actions that they are happy or the reverse. Dramatic action,
therefore, is not with a view to the representation of character:
character comes in as subsidiary to the actions. Hence the incidents