Aristotle the famous disciple of Plato was not a literary critic in the modern sense of the term. However, in his book ‘Poetics’, Aristotle discusses the nature of poetry. Drawing upon the Greek literature, he puts forward cogent arguments about the nature of poetry. His approach is scientific and materialistic. He agrees with Plato and says that poetry is imitation like any other art. Artists and Poets imitate things. According to Aristotle, imitation is an inborn instinct. But he does not agree with the view of Plato that poetry is twice removed from reality, as it is an imitation of imitation. Accepting the given apparent world as real Aristotle holds that poetry represents life. Having said that, he classifies poetry in terms of their structure into different types such as ballad, epic, tragedy, satire so on. Poetry gives pleasure to the poet and the reader. Not only that, a poem reveals truths of universal kind. Comparing a poet with a historian, he says that a historian merely records what has happened in the past. But a poet is a prophet as well. He can also say what may happen in the future, what is possible according to the law of probability. Aristotle states that it is for the pleasure poetry offers and its ability to satisfy the basic instinct in man for rhythm, poetry is written and read. Unlike Plato, Aristotle does not see instruction as the basic function of poetry. However, if it instructs in addition to providing pleasure or if the instruction is incidental, it is acceptable. Such poetry serves two purposes, i.e., it gives pleasure and it inculcates moral values in the readers. Aristotle agrees with Plato that poetry appeals to emotions. But he does not accept the contention of Plato that poetry is harmful to society. He believes that poetry has a beneficial effect on society. He says that tragedy, the greatest form of poetry as he sees it, arouses the feelings of pity and fear in the minds of readers and spectators and refines their emotions. When one watches the sufferings of others in a tragedy or in other forms of poetry, the emotions of pity and fear in ones mind finds an outlet and one is relieved of the excess of these emotions. One feels lifted out of one self and becomes nobler than before.

1 comments

  1. Imelda Aragoncillo // October 3, 2014 at 9:22 PM  

    I totally agree .a writer often writes what his/her emotions dictates at a given moment ,expressing his emotions in poetry to themselves and/or it's readers.