Aristotle’s Poetics Essay

Aristotle’s Poetics addresses the key concepts and components that make a tragedy into a work of art. Written around 330 BCE, these components still hold true for what helps to create a great tragedy, even in the 21st century. 

I believe all qualities and ingredients discussed by Aristotle still apply to contemporary theatre. The importance of the components Aristotle discusses may not be as important or apply the same way as they used to, but I reason that the components can still occur at the core of any great play. 

While I believe that the elements discussed by Aristotle still apply to at least the roots of contemporary theatre, there are qualities that have been put to the side as the people behind creating theatre have changed. I feel tragedy in general is less sought after, as audiences now look for a sense of escapism through theatre into a place where they can forget their problems for a bit and have a laugh. The use of Tragicomedy has become more popular, taking away the seriousness that Aristotle said a tragedy needs in order to be good. 

Aristotle’s list of what a tragedy should and shouldn’t consist of did not confuse me. However, I believe if the gender normative wasn’t how it was in his time there would be plenty of details changed in his book. For example, when he discusses what makes a character, he states that showing valor in a woman is inappropriate. That simply isn’t the case in todays world of storytelling, as more people now want a woman filled with valor on the stage. 

 Aristotle’s qualities and components match up well with what I feel makes a great play. Having a unified plot, that has a fundamental beginning, middle, and end that doesn’t drag out for too long is an excellent basis for any story. Having a well written character requires thought behind their action and speech that connects to the initial plot. Aristotle discussed how spectacle is not necessary since it is not necessary to perform a play, as a tragedy can stand alone as the written word, but I believe that there is no harm in putting spectacle on a higher platform than Aristotle did. I agree that it is not as connected with poetry as the other components are, but it is still a very artistic process as it involves creating the sensory half of a play. Besides that, I agree with Aristotle on the components of what makes a good tragedy. 

While theatre is advancing so rapidly, and more values and components are being added daily to the spectacle side of theatre, what Aristotle wrote so long ago still rings true to what, at least at its core, makes up a cathartic story through tragedy.

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