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Works by Aristotle
Pages of Poetics

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Thought, on the other hand, is found where something is proved to be

or not to be, or a general maxim is enunciated.

Fourth among the elements enumerated comes Diction; by which I mean,

as has been already said, the expression of the meaning in words;

and its essence is the same both in verse and prose.

Of the remaining elements Song holds the chief place among the


The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own,

but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least

with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is

felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the

production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage

machinist than on that of the poet.



These principles being established, let us now discuss the proper

structure of the Plot, since this is the first and most important

thing in Tragedy.

Now, according to our definition Tragedy is an imitation of an

action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; for

there may be a whole that is wanting in magnitude. A whole is that

which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which

does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which

something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is

that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by

necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is

that which follows something as some other thing follows it. A well

constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at

haphazard, but conform to these principles.

Again, a beautiful object, whether it be a living organism or any

whole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement

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