morally hurtful, or contradictory, or contrary to artistic
correctness. The answers should be sought under the twelve heads above
The question may be raised whether the Epic or Tragic mode of
imitation is the higher. If the more refined art is the higher, and
the more refined in every case is that which appeals to the better
sort of audience, the art which imitates anything and everything is
manifestly most unrefined. The audience is supposed to be too dull
to comprehend unless something of their own is thrown by the
performers, who therefore indulge in restless movements. Bad
flute-players twist and twirl, if they have to represent 'the
quoit-throw,' or hustle the coryphaeus when they perform the Scylla.
Tragedy, it is said, has this same defect. We may compare the
opinion that the older actors entertained of their successors.
Mynniscus used to call Callippides 'ape' on account of the
extravagance of his action, and the same view was held of Pindarus.
Tragic art, then, as a whole, stands to Epic in the same relation as
the younger to the elder actors. So we are told that Epic poetry is
addressed to a cultivated audience, who do not need gesture;
Tragedy, to an inferior public. Being then unrefined, it is
evidently the lower of the two.
Now, in the first place, this censure attaches not to the poetic but
to the histrionic art; for gesticulation may be equally overdone in
epic recitation, as by Sosistratus, or in lyrical competition, as by
Mnasitheus the Opuntian. Next, all action is not to be condemned-
any more than all dancing- but only that of bad performers. Such was
the fault found in Callippides, as also in others of our own day,
who are censured for representing degraded women. Again, Tragedy
like Epic poetry produces its effect even without action; it reveals