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According to Aristotle, what emotions should a tragedy evoke? What is the point of evoking them?

1 Answer

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Pity (not sympathy, but compassion) for the plight;

    fear for the flight or fight.

    The point of evoking pity and fear:

    that similar emotions in the audience are brought to the surface, to the light, and that this airs out those emotions, like opening the window to fresh air might do for a stuffy room.

    It may be important to understand that Aristotle developed this analysis based on (or based off ;-)  contemporaneous Greek drama, which is comparatively better-organized or of higher morality than much of current Western drama.  In other words, Greek drama and what Aristotle discerned as its merit is based on a noble awareness of God and suffering as leading toward ultimate good or catharsis.  This is notable in Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides--although Aeschylus is most God-oriented, Sophocles noble-humanity oriented, and Euripides emphasizes and works with the human spirit and justice in all walks of life.  Yet, all express a sense of orderliness in the universe, of cause and effect.  Shakespeare's plays are most like the classic Greek plays, and yet more emphasize human freedom to make choices and live or endure by their consequences.

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