Aristotle (384-322 BC) was the greatest encyclopedic scholar and philosopher of the ancient world. He was born in Macedonia, in the city of Stagira. From 343 BC. er this thinker was the tutor of Alexander, the future Macedonian king. In 334 BC er he returned to Athens and founded his school of philosophy here, which was called "Likey." Aristotle loved to lecture, walking along the paths of the garden with his students. So, Likey received another name - the peripopathic school (from the word “peripato”, meaning “walk”). Its representatives were engaged, in addition to philosophy, and specific sciences (geography, astronomy, physics, history). Aristotle is a student of Plato, but at the same time his ideological opponent and critic. In contrast to his teacher, he was basically a materialist philosopher. Aristotle was not only the greatest philosopher of antiquity. He was also a literary theorist, medical scientist, physicist, zoologist.
A lot of valuable in the field of the theory of art gave Aristotle. Ethics, politics, poetics - all this worried him. They summarized everything that was said to him about the essence of art. The Thinker brought all this into the system and expressed his aesthetic views on the basis of generalization in the treatise “Poetics”. Only the first part of this work has reached us. In it, Aristotle outlined the theory of tragedy, as well as general aesthetic principles. The second, devoted to the theory of comedy, unfortunately, has not been preserved.
The beauty question that Aristotle raised
“Poetics” - the philosopher's treatise - raises the question of what beauty is, about its essence. It comes from an aesthetic understanding of art. This thinker sees the beautiful 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 the cognitive function. Aristotle considered him to be a creative imitation of being, nature; believed that art can help people to know life itself. Such 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.
Read more about the essence of art
He believed that in the art of imitation of life is carried out in different ways: harmony, word, rhythm. However, speaking in the “Poetics” about the imitation of being, Aristotle does not identify this imitation with simple copying. On the contrary, he insists that both fiction and synthesis should be present in art.
Poetry and history
According to Aristotle, the task of the poet is not a story about what happened in reality, but about what could happen, that is, about the possible, of necessity or probability. The historian actually speaks about what happened. Therefore, poetry is more serious and philosophical than history: it speaks of the general, while history is of the singular.
Meaning of the tragedy
Of all the arts, Aristotle brings poetry to the fore, and places tragedy in it above everything. He writes in “Poetics” that in the tragedy there is the same as in the epic (image of events), and also has something in common with the lyrics (image of emotions). But in it, besides this, there is a performance on the stage, that is, a visual image, which is not present either in the lyrics or in the epic.
The main features of the tragedy: the plot
Aristotle (“Poetics”, 6th chapter) notes that tragedy is an imitation of the action of the finished and important, which has a certain volume with the help of speech, variously decorated in each of the parts; through not a story, but an action that, through fear and compassion, performs the purification of affects. The Thinker emphasizes that a deep idea must be expressed in tragedy. In his opinion, the main role is played by characters and plots. The latter, as he notes in Chapter 7, must be organically coherent, complete, and its size is determined by the essence of the matter. Tragedy is always better, extended to the full clarification of this plot.
Recognition and peripetia - that certainly includes the plot. Peripeteia - the change of some events to the opposite, the transition from unhappiness to happiness, or vice versa. Usually in a tragedy, it gives the transition from happiness to unhappiness. Reverse takes place in a comedy. This transition in the tragedy must be justified, vital, arising from the logic of the events that were depicted. Aristotle especially appreciated the peripeteia of the tragedy “Oedipus the Tsar” 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 tragedy
We continue to describe the main provisions of the "Poetics" of Aristotle. On the second (after the plot), he puts in his work characters. They must be noble in the tragedy in the way of thinking, according to Aristotle. “Poetics” is a work in which the necessity is noted that everything that the heroes of the tragedy say and do comes from their attitude to life, from their convictions. They should not be either evil or perfect, but they must be good people, willingly or unwittingly made some mistake. Only in this case, the characters are able to arouse a sense of compassion and fear in the audience.
If a beautiful, innocent hero perishes, suffers misfortune, such a tragedy will arouse only indignation among those who watch it. If in the finale a vicious hero comes to death or is punished, then the audience will only have satisfaction from such an ending, but they will not survive with either compassion or fear. If a good person is depicted, however, someone guilty of something, and this character dies or misfortune happens to him, this tragedy will arouse the audience’s compassion for him and fear for himself, then there is a fear of making this or that mistake or finding himself in a similar position. . With all these and other thoughts can be more familiarized by reading such work as the "Poetics" of Aristotle. Briefly in this article we have described only its main provisions.
According to Aristotle, the model for 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 the heroes, who are moving from happiness to unhappiness. Aristotle’s Poetics states that the choir must be an organic part of the tragedy. The Thinker believed that creating the unity of the actors and the choir could best of all Sophocles.
Catharsis, or Purification through compassion and fear
Verbal form of tragedy
Aristotle in “Poetics” pays a lot of attention to the reasoning about the verbal form of the tragedy. The philosopher, in the very definition of this genre, calls the speech in it decorated. He understands language as a decoration, of which he values the metaphor especially (chapter 22). However, Aristotle believes that it is necessary to use, in addition to artistic means, and commonly used words that give speech clarity.
Dramatic works, according to the thinker, should be created by iambic rhythm. It is closest to the spoken language. A hexameter should be used in the epic, because it corresponds to the sublime pathetics of poems.
Tragedy and epic
Aristotle attributed many theoretical principles to the tragedy also to the epic, believing that the plots with recognition and peripetias, the poet’s thoughts, characters, and the verbal form also distinguish epic poetry. However, the tragedy, in his opinion, is more significant, higher than the epos, since it produces a rather small amount, thanks to the scenic action, more than the epos. The expression of the attitude to this type of art of the whole Greek society was such an assessment of the tragedy.
The relevance of “Poetics” today
Valuable are also 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, in particular, is devoted to his treatise “Politics”). Today, his statements about the meaning of artistic means of expression for a literary work have not lost their significance either. 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 to comprehend 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 principles of the Aristotelian “Poetics” remain binding for the artistic work and unshakable. This, for example, is the requirement to depict in a dramatic work a deep intense 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"). Summary introduces the reader only with the main of his ideas.