recognition by this means- the expectation that A would recognize
the bow- is false inference.
But, of all recognitions, the best is that which arises from the
incidents themselves, where the startling discovery is made by natural
means. Such is that in the Oedipus of Sophocles, and in the Iphigenia;
for it was natural that Iphigenia should wish to dispatch a letter.
These recognitions alone dispense with the artificial aid of tokens or
amulets. Next come the recognitions by process of reasoning.
In constructing the plot and working it out with the proper diction,
the poet should place the scene, as far as possible, before his
eyes. In this way, seeing everything with the utmost vividness, as
if he were a spectator of the action, he will discover what is in
keeping with it, and be most unlikely to overlook inconsistencies. The
need of such a rule is shown by the fault found in Carcinus.
Amphiaraus was on his way from the temple. This fact escaped the
observation of one who did not see the situation. On the stage,
however, the Piece failed, the audience being offended at the
Again, the poet should work out his play, to the best of his
power, with appropriate gestures; for those who feel emotion are
most convincing through natural sympathy with the characters they
represent; and one who is agitated storms, one who is angry rages,
with the most lifelike reality. Hence poetry implies either a happy
gift of nature or a strain of madness. In the one case a man can
take the mould of any character; in the other, he is lifted out of his
As for the story, whether the poet takes it ready made or constructs
it for himself, he should first sketch its general outline, and then
fill in the episodes and amplify in detail. The general plan may be