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illustrated by the Iphigenia. A young girl is sacrificed; she

disappears mysteriously from the eyes of those who sacrificed her; she

is transported to another country, where the custom is to offer up

an strangers to the goddess. To this ministry she is appointed. Some

time later her own brother chances to arrive. The fact that the oracle

for some reason ordered him to go there, is outside the general plan

of the play. The purpose, again, of his coming is outside the action

proper. However, he comes, he is seized, and, when on the point of

being sacrificed, reveals who he is. The mode of recognition may be

either that of Euripides or of Polyidus, in whose play he exclaims

very naturally: 'So it was not my sister only, but I too, who was

doomed to be sacrificed'; and by that remark he is saved.

After this, the names being once given, it remains to fill in the

episodes. We must see that they are relevant to the action. In the

case of Orestes, for example, there is the madness which led to his

capture, and his deliverance by means of the purificatory rite. In the

drama, the episodes are short, but it is these that give extension

to Epic poetry. Thus the story of the Odyssey can be stated briefly. A

certain man is absent from home for many years; he is jealously

watched by Poseidon, and left desolate. Meanwhile his home is in a

wretched plight- suitors are wasting his substance and plotting

against his son. At length, tempest-tost, he himself arrives; he makes

certain persons acquainted with him; he attacks the suitors with his

own hand, and is himself preserved while he destroys them. This is the

essence of the plot; the rest is episode.

POETICS|18

XVIII




Every tragedy falls into two parts- Complication and Unraveling

or Denouement. Incidents extraneous to the action are frequently

combined with a portion of the action proper, to form the

Complication; the rest is the Unraveling. By the Complication I mean

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