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Pages of Poetics

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the poet for good or bad fortune. The best form of recognition is

coincident with a Reversal of the Situation, as in the Oedipus.

There are indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most

trivial kind may in a sense be objects of recognition. Again, we may

recognize or discover whether a person has done a thing or not. But

the recognition which is most intimately connected with the plot and

action is, as we have said, the recognition of persons. This

recognition, combined with Reversal, will produce either pity or fear;

and actions producing these effects are those which, by our

definition, Tragedy represents. Moreover, it is upon such situations

that the issues of good or bad fortune will depend. Recognition, then,

being between persons, it may happen that one person only is

recognized by the other- when the latter is already known- or it may

be necessary that the recognition should be on both sides. Thus

Iphigenia is revealed to Orestes by the sending of the letter; but

another act of recognition is required to make Orestes known to


Two parts, then, of the Plot- Reversal of the Situation and

Recognition- 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, wounds, and the




The parts of Tragedy which must be treated as elements of the

whole have been already mentioned. We now come to the quantitative

parts- the separate parts into which Tragedy is divided- namely,

Prologue, Episode, Exode, 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 which precedes the

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