Aristotle (384-322 BC) - the greatest scientist, encyclopaedist and philosopher of the ancient world. He was born in Macedonia, in the town of Stagir. From 343 BC. e. this thinker was the educator of Alexander, the future Macedonian king. In 334 BC. e. he returned to Athens and founded here his philosophical school, which was called "Likey". Aristotle liked to lecture, walking along the paths of the garden with his students. So, Likey got one more name - peripatical school (from the word "peripato", meaning "walk"). Its representatives engaged, in addition to philosophy, and specific sciences (geography, astronomy, physics, history). Aristotle is a disciple of Plato, but at the same time his ideological adversary and critic. In contrast to his teacher, he was, in the main, a philosopher-materialist. Aristotle was not only the greatest philosopher of antiquity. He was also a theorist of literature, a medical scientist, a physicist, a zoologist.
Aristotle gave much valuable in the field of the theory of art. Ethics, politics, poetics - all this worried him. They generalized everything that was said before him about the essence of art. The Thinker brought all this into the system and expressed his aesthetic views on the basis of a generalization in the treatise "Poetics". Only the first part of this work has reached us. In it, Aristotle expounded the theory of tragedy, as well as general aesthetic principles. The second, devoted to the theory of comedy, unfortunately, has not survived.
The question of the beauty that Aristotle raised
"Poetics" - a treatise of the philosopher - raises the question of what is beauty, about its essence. It comes from the aesthetic understanding of art. The fine thinker sees in the arrangement of things and in the form itself. He does not agree with Plato in the matter of understanding the essence of art. The latter considered him only a distorted, weak copy of the world of ideas. Plato also did not attach importance to the art of cognitive function. Aristotle, however, considered him creative imitation of being, nature; believed that art can help people to know life itself. This is the aesthetics of Aristotle ("Poetics" is devoted to the disclosure of this topic). This thinker, therefore, recognized the cognitive value that aesthetic pleasure has.
More on the essence of art
He believed that in art, imitation of life is accomplished in various ways: harmony, word, rhythm. However, speaking in "Poetics" about imitation of being, Aristotle does not identify this imitation with simple copying. On the contrary, he insists that both artistic fiction and generalization should be present in art.
Poetry and History
According to Aristotle, the task of the poet is not a story about what actually happened, but what could happen, that is, about a possible, if necessary or probable. About what has actually happened, the historian says. Therefore, poetry is more serious and more philosophical than history: it talks about the general, while history is about the individual.
The meaning of the tragedy
Of all the arts, Aristotle brings poetry to the forefront, and tragedy places the highest priority in it. He writes in Poetics that in tragedy there is the same thing as in the epic (the depiction of events), and also there is a common with the lyrics (the image of emotions). But in it, besides this, there is a representation on the stage, that is, a visual image, which is not present in the lyrics or in the epic.
The main features of the tragedy: the plot
Aristotle ("Poetics", 6th chapter) notes that the tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete and important, which has a certain volume with the help of speech, variously decorated in each of the parts; by means of not a story, but an action which, through fear and compassion, purifies the affects. The thinker emphasizes that a deep idea must be expressed in tragedy. In it, in his opinion, the main role is played by characters and plot lines. The latter, as he notes in the 7th chapter, must be organically complete, complete, and its size is determined by the essence of the matter. Always better is the tragedy, extended to full clarification of this plot.
Recognition and vicissitudes - something that necessarily includes a plot. Peripetia is the reversal of some events to the opposite, the transition from unhappiness to happiness, or vice versa. Usually it in the tragedy gives the transition from happiness to misfortune. The reverse takes place in the comedy. This transition in tragedy must be necessary, justified, vital, resulting from the logic of events that were depicted. Especially high Aristotle appreciated the peripeteity of the tragedy "Oedipus the King" of Sophocles.
Imposes the same requirement for vitality, naturalness, and cognition “Poetics” of Aristotle. A tragedy must end with the correct ending. Aristotle disapproves of the ending, in which the recognition happens by accident, by means of signs or any things. He contends in his Poetics of composition, where the recognition and the vicissitudes flowed from the plot, there is by probability or necessity from what has happened before: in fact there is a big difference, whether there will be an event after something or through something. Consequently, the thinker requires compliance with the unity of action in tragedy. He says nothing about the unity of place, no special meaning attaches to the unity of time.
Characters in the tragedy
Let's continue to describe the main provisions of the "Poetics" of Aristotle. On the second (after the plot), he places his characters in his work. They should be in the tragedy in the way of thinking noble, says Aristotle. "Poetics" is a work in which the need is noted for everything that the heroes of the tragedy say and do, stem from their relationship to life, from their beliefs. They should not be neither vicious, nor ideal, but necessarily - good people, willingly or unwillingly made some mistake. Only in this case, the characters are able to arouse a feeling of compassion and fear in the audience.
If a beautiful, innocent hero dies, suffers misfortune, such a tragedy will only excite indignation among those who watch it. If in the finale it comes to ruin or punished the vicious hero, then the spectators will have only such satisfaction from such an ending, but they will not survive neither compassion nor fear. If a good person is depicted, however guilty of something, and this character will perish or a misfortune will happen to him, the tragedy will arouse in the audience compassion for him and fear for himself, that is, the fear of making a mistake or being in a similar situation . With all these and other thoughts you can learn more by reading such a work as "Poetics" of Aristotle. In this article, we briefly describe only its main provisions.
According to Aristotle, the model of the construction of this kind of character is the image of Oedipus in the tragedy of Sophocles with the same name. Euripides thinker considers "the most tragic of poets" for his skill in revealing the characters of heroes who pass from happiness to misfortune. In the "Poetics" of Aristotle, it is said that the choir should be an organic part of the tragedy. The Thinker believed that to create a unity of actors and the choir was the best Sophocles.
Catharsis, or Purification through compassion and fear
Verbal form of tragedy
Aristotle in "Poetics" pays much attention to the argument about the verbal form of the tragedy. The philosopher already in the very definition of this genre calls speech in her decorated. He understands the language tools under the adornment, from which he values especially highly the metaphor (chapter 22). However, Aristotle believes that it is necessary to use, in addition to artistic means, and common words that give clarity to speech.
Dramatic works, according to the thinker, should be created by iambic rhythm. He is closest to the spoken language. A hexameter should be used in the epic, because it corresponds to the lofty pathetics of poems.
Tragedy and epic
Presented to the tragedy of many theoretical principles Aristotle also refers to the epic, believing that the storylines with recognition and peripeteias, and the poet's thoughts, and characters, and the verbal form also distinguish epic poetry. However, the tragedy, in his opinion, is more significant, higher than the epic, since it produces, with a rather small volume, due to the scenic nature of the action, more than the epos. An expression of the attitude towards this type of art of the entire Greek society was such an assessment of the tragedy.
Relevance of "Poetics" today
Valuable also are the views of this thinker on drama as an important means of educating the masses. Aristotle attached great importance to aesthetic education in the state of man (this is, in particular, his treatise "Politics" is devoted to). His value today is also not lost in his statements about the significance of artistic means of expressiveness for a literary work. Always said that. " clarity is one of the most important virtues of style. "(Aristotle," Poetics "). "Rhetoric" is another of his work, which addresses this issue. The theory of style and ways of comprehending clarity he sets out in this work (especially in the third book).
Aristotle and the Classicists
Aristotle's “Poetics” – the expression theory of art the world of antiquity. She was a Canon for those theorists who worked in a later time. This was particularly true of the enlightenment of the 18th century and the classics of the 17th century. However, the classicists in the principles of the “Poetics” sought to see only what seemed consonant with their own social principles. That is why they are focusing on the top of society, Aristotle attributed to the requirement that only people of noble birth should be depicted in the tragedies. In fact, the Creator of “Poetics” required only a image of noble behavior, way of thinking of people. And they can be, in his opinion, even the slaves. The classicists, in addition, required to comply with all three of unity, while Aristotle insisted only on unity of action.
Until now, many of the principles of the Aristotelian "Poetics" remain binding for the work of art and are unshakable. This, for example, is the requirement to depict in a dramatic work a deep tense conflict, the principle of ideological content, as well as the demands placed on the hero and the need to use a literary language. All these and other provisions described in his work Aristotle ("Poetics"). The summary only introduces the reader to the main of his ideas.