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The Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English defines 'classical' as being in accordance with ancient Greek or Roman models in literature or art or with later systems and standards based on them, particularly with reference to balance, regularity and simpleness of art, The eight to the fourth centuries B.C. a period yet to be paralleled in the history of human civilization, for its brilliance in literature, philosophy and the visual arts, is normally known as the 'classical age'. Even as chikjren in school, we are often advised to ready 'classics'. What do the teachers mean by the 'classics'? 'Classics' are works of fiction, like Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, that are relevant to all ages, through all times. 'Classics' are books that have stood the test of time for their relevance, their universal appeal, simplicity, regularity of form ahd a sense of beauty and balance. Would you agree with this view? Long before the term literary criticism came into practice, literary theory existed as far back as fourth century B.C. In fact the earliest work of literary theory is considered to be Aristotle's Poetics, where in he offers his famous definition of tragedy.

Plato and Aristotle in Greece and Horace and Longinus in Rome formed the core of classical criticism in ancient times. It should however be remembered that the Greeks influenced the Romans as is obvious from the works of Seneca, Virgil and the later twentieth century GraecoRoman models used by writers of the French and German courtly romances. Though Plato, Aristotle, Horace and Longinus, as a part of classical criticism, the focus would be limited to just the Republic, Poetics, Ars Poetica-and On the Sublime.

-Classical Works-

Plato’s –Republic

Aristotle’s –Poetics, Rhetoric

Horace- Ars Poetica (Art of Poetry)

Longinus- On the Sublime

An Introduction to Plato and Aristotle

In ancient Greece, the schools of Philosophy and Rhetoric were theoretical training grounds for the young men of these city states.' Moreover for them, their interests were not specialised, they applied their knowledge of philosophy and rhetoric to every kind of subject matter.

Young Greek men were trained . under two main schools that of philosophy and rhetoric, the rhetoricians studied 'poiesis' or what can now be termed literary theory or criticism.


The easiest thing is to imagine Plato as an enemy of art because he viewed art products of all kinds, whether poetry, theatre or painting as inferior copies of the ultimate reality.

Plato’s concern were not artistic but rather philosophical. His views on poetry or ‘Poesis’(Making) and ‘mimesis’ (imitation). Both reflect the urge to know the truth

beyond words. In his Republic , he has given us a picture of what a perfectly governed state should be and how that state can be created by educating young men and women.

The rulers of Platonic Utopia are not mere statesmen, they are philosophers having a deep understanding of the true nature of things.

also sound

Plato advocated that there was no room for the teaching of poetry and drama as these were

neither healthy for the creation of a strong moral character need in an administrator nor did they provide knowledge of the world. Most poetry of the contemporary Greek was unsuitable as it showed Gods and Heroes with moral

infirmities and something even savagery .Plato advocated for the need of heroism and courageous spirited poetry

.For Plato, the very purpose of art, was disruptive to the unswerving concentration of a

guardian or a citizen of his Utopia. For Plato, art was an unfaithful representation of reality.The artist was not only imitating imperfect objects of this world, s/he was also pretending to know things which s/he actually had no understanding.

Platonic view of Mimesis :- ‘Mimesis’ primarily means ‘making’. Plato gave a new metaphysical and epistemological

perspective to mimesis,enlarging it’s meaning from ‘Making’ by humanhands to ‘making’ by universal force. Allproduction of arts, in a general way, is mimesis. •In Greek- Mithexis Participation, •Homoiosis – Likeness, Paraplesia-Likeness-which all are close to the meaning of ‘mimesis’- .

•The musician imitates divine harmony, the goodman imitates the virtues, the wise

legislator imitates the Form of God, God imitates the Form in the making of this World. Theory Of Forms :-For every kind of activity there must be an ideal to be followed, and every ideal or Form must have its Super-Form. Plato postulated that there was a primary form, which was the essential nature of every object or even thought.

Worldly objects are idols or imitative images (eidola) of the ideal Forms, and artist, picture or poetic descriptions are images (eidola) of the objects of this World. Thus, all art according to Plato, remains a turning away from the truth.

The Lower Status of Art:- Phantasma is a false representation, and poets and painters; according to Plato, are adepted at doing this. Hence, Plato gave them a lower status

.•Socrates says,” The sixth (class) shall befittingly given to a poet, or any other imitative

artist. They are all seducers from the truth. •To conclude, Plato sees little good in art, and it is doubtful if he would have liked to praise Catharsis. He would have no trust on who listened to music and were purified of their diseases, with the emotional relief that audience feel after going through an artistic experience

Plato’s definition of Truth:-

Plato postulated that there was no possibility of a category such as ‘artistic-truth’ as apart from the Truth

.•There could be only one reality, that was available to the philosopher who saw things

beyond the illusion. Plato had rejected the idea that poetry could communicate the truth and also rejected the traditional idea of poetry or art being a gift (phya) from the Muse. It is all mimetic task and artist can never break the mimetic chain. The poet is making a copy of a

copy art. But for Plato, as inspiration and phyawere suspect, art was more of a deception or atbest an emotionally manipulative make belief

As dialogue on Art runs in Book X of the Republic:-So the artist has neither knowledge nor correct opinion about the goodness or badness of the things he represents. ’Apparently not’. So the poet too as artist will be pretty ignorant about the subjects of his poetry.

The form alone is real as it is unchanging.

All changing things can be a basis for opinions but not knowledge. Virtue is hence equivalent to knowledge. Lack of virtue is ignorance, knowledge is happiness. Artistic creation and enjoyment cause ignorance according to Plato.

Plato’s Main Ideas

Plato called 'poiesis'(creativity of art) an imitation or 'mimesis' because he believed drama to be a reproduction of something that is not really present, and is therefore a 'dramatisation of the reproduction' (Richard Harland, p.6). What he means is that in a play or an epic, what happens is this - the poet recreates an experience, the audience watch that re-created experience, they are in fact encouraged to live through that experience . as if they are physically within the time and space of that experience.

Plato, also goes on distinguish between 'mimesis' and 'digenesis'. "Mimesis' is the speech of a character directly reproduced,' whereas 'digenesis' is 'a narration of doings and sayings. it is easy for us to discern that drama is entirely 'mimetic' , whereas epic is mimetic only where dialogue is reproduced. Plato says poetry is mimetic as it gives dogmatic ideas(morals) and epic is a dramatised version. His basic argument against mimesis was the fact that both drama and epic imitate the world of perceptual appearances. For him, the only reality was that of . abstractions. The poet in his eyes, imitated an appearance of the abstraction and a playlan epic was hence a derivative of the derivative., hence thrice removed from reality. 'They are images, not realities.' (Plato, Republic,)

Plato's works include the Republic, Ion, Cratylus, the Dialogues of Plato and Phaedms among others. Plato has dealt at large with the notion of the poet as divinely inspired in the Phaedrus, and has tafked about the place of the poet in a good society in the Republic. In fact in Book I1 he discusses the education of the good citizen, he also examines the nature of poetry and the value of imaginative literature. Book X of the Republic discusses the nature of poetry at length. His most important contribution to literary theory lies in the form of his objections to 'poiesis'. He presents this argument brilliantly with reference to a painter.

For the ancient, poets were neither made,nor born, but chosen by the gods. Poetry was not considered to be entirely within the control of the poet. The Poet was the‘Prophetes’ of the Muse.

For him objects were nothing more than an imitation of the reality or the ideal, he felt that an individual imitating an imitation would produce an imitative form that was thrice removed from the ideal.

Plato rejected both the poet & poetry, as he felt their presence and their capability in arousing such powerful emotions would render the citizens of the Greek city states emotional basket- cases. Aristotle, on the other hand, believed the evocation pity and fear to be therapeutic to the audience, to serve as purgation or cleansing and therefore healthy.

Platonic Idea of Social Well-being :- There is no place for any artist in the Utopian State that Plato envisaged in the Republic or later in his final work- the Law. Just as appetite must be controlled and kept under constant check through resolve, reason and virtue to prepare the soul for knowledge, so should the guardians endowed with superior training and selective breeding control the general population to keep a society productive and law abiding. Plato felt that for young students most epic poetry of Homer and Iliad was weak in morals as it showed Gods and Heroes in a poor light. Plato shows the way to most purists and moralists.

Unknowingly, Plato made ground for his Christian successors like Augustine and Justine who forbade theater, masks and acting. Plato accepted the traditional Greek view that experiencing emotional employment in art formed the character of audience and artist. Plato postulated that poetry has the same effect on us when it represents sex and anger, and the other desires and feelings of pleasure and pain. The poet with all his fellow artist hardly deserves to be a citizen of the perfect state. Conlusion :-It has been speculated that Plato was well aware of the military weaknesses of the Athenian State in comparison with the disciplined army of Spartans. He, therefore, wanted no stone unturned in prescribing the strongest ideals for Athens. Bad art and poor taste among the art lovers were perhaps too noticeable

.•Therefore, Plato was so anxious to save society from the ravages of a decadent politics,

found in all art.

Similarly, poetry for Plato did the same thing - it was inferior because it was the imitation of an imitation. His pupil Aristotle was to later examine the nature and differentiating qualities of 'poiesis' and to prove that 'poiesis' was true, serious and helpful, whereas Plato had maintained that it was false, trivial and harmful, and that the poet should be kept out of his republic.

Discuss Aristotle's Main Ideas on Literary Criticism

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was Plato's pupil. But he differed from his master Plato, in that he was more interested in describing and classifying things as they were. We know him as the great teacher of Alexander the great.

Though he followed Plato in defining poetry as 'mimesis' he did not condemn it like Plato did. He regarded 'mimesis' as a natural healthy impulse. Aristotle did not consider 'mimesis' to be mere copying. Whereas Plato believed poetry to be cut off from the universal, it being removed from the true but Aristotle found Poetry as the depiction of experience valid with worthy facts.

Aristotle's theories are related to biological organisms. Just as each species of plant, has its own distinctive principles of growth and fulfilment, so does each genre, thereby suggesting that an epic does not need to live up to the tragedy, or tragedy to comedy. Each genre evolves in itself as do species of plants. What Aristotle does by classifying poetry in this manner, is that he avoids the judging of all works by the same standards and avoids attributing uniquely individual qualities to individual works, but he himself ends up considering tragedy to be superior to epics and the like.

Aristotle believed that both tragedy and the epic should have unity of action. He also said that a work of art should be such that it takes into account the capacities and limitations of the spectatorslthe audience. In other words what Aristotle proposed for the tragedy was unity of action, place and time, which was to become famous later as the three unities.

Yet another contribution of Aristotle's was the notion of 'Katharsis' (in English it is spelt catharsis) or a 'distinctive emotional response' to be aroused in the audience. What is to be aroused is a pity that arises out of fear, and that too fear with pity as opposed to self-centred

fear. He believed that such an evocation of 'pity-charged fear' (Harland, p.13) would imply a sense of awe and of something terrible about to befall the hero.

Aristotle and Literary Criticism

  • 1. Aristotle’s theory of Imitation

  • 2. His theory of Tragedy-1

  • 3. His theory of Tragedy-2

  • 4. Criticism as Dialogue

1. Aristotle’s theory of Imitation:- The poetics opens with the statement that mimesis is a valuable method for artistic representation. He then goes on to define that Rhythm, Language and Harmony are the basic channels through which artistic imitation is made possible.

Language, Rhythm and Harmony are manifested as the six elements of tragedy, namely 1. Myth or Plot, 2. Ethos or character 3. Dianoia or Argument 4. Lexis or diction 5. Melopoii or Music and finally 6. Opsis or the visual Spectacle These 6 elements are found in all other form such as the comedy & Satyr.

According to Aristotle all art and other imitation (Sculpture, Paining, poetry etc.) leads to knowledge. The pleasure that mimesis provides is on account of this knowledge.

Mimesis is defined as a pleasurable likeness. Human beings is the most living creature and he learns his earliest all lessons through imitating – ‘Ah, that is he. Imitation is one instinct of our nature. Artist is not liar but he leads us to Truth.

For Plato, all creation was an imitation of Forms, and for Aristotle, though the form (eidos) of every object existed but it is nature which itself tends to attain. Art helps Nature in attaining the perfection of Form. Art imitates Nature and the artist may imitate things as they ought to be. It has been argued that the inner principle of Nature is what art imitates.

Aristotle was clear that the purpose of imitation in drama, was to provide proper pleasure (hedona) by imitating action. Mimesis of men in action was mimesis of all human life.

Dance, imitates character, emotions and action.

The Media of Mimesis:-

A. Rhythm B. Language and C. Harmony The imitation is produced by rhythm, language and harmony, either singly or combined. Lexis(expressions) through Rhythm and Tone- Aristotle stated that in drama, Rhythm, language and harmony were all used together.

According to Aristotle mimesis is based upon a study of life as we see it and that it is pleasant and educative. It was credited a moral function.

Thus Aristotle imparted a metaphysical, moral and aesthetic worth to mimesis and thus to art which Plato had denied on all these three counts.

Give an account of Aristotle’s theory of tragedy. (or)

How does Aristotle discuss the six elements of Tragedy in his ‘Poetics’?


Describe Aristotle’s concept of Imitation.Also discuss the significance of a work of art.

Aristotle’s theory of Tragedy- Here, Aristotle discusses how mimesis works in Tragedy- (1). Introduction:- (2). The six elements of Tragedy

1.Myth (Plot),

  • 2. Ethos (Character)

  • 3. Dianoia thought-saying

  • 4. Lexis (Lang.)

  • 5. Melopoiia or Music

  • 6. Opsis or Visual Content

(3). Catharsis:-

1.Introduction:- During the ancient time, plays/dramas were performed in the religious place on special religious occasions to communicate with ancestors and gods. The strong emotions generated while worshipping the gods, the ancestors; and this also provided an aesthetic of emotional arousal which we find at its core. This aesthetic value was formulated as Catharsis (katharsis).

The Dramatic Theory in Poetics of Aristotle can be said to consist of four principles of the ancient classification system.

(1). The concept of Mimesis

(4) The concept of Catharsis- (Katharsis)

(2).The treatment of the various genres of poetry, namely epic, tragedy and comedy.

(3).The division of tragedy into 6 elements namely- 1. Plot (Muthos/myth)

2.Character(ethos) 3.Language (Lexis) 4. Thought (dianoia) 5. Music (Melopoiia) 6. Spectacle (Opsis)

Thus above 1 to 4 principles are discussed in Poetics of Aristotle.

Aristotle’s 6 elements of tragedy

1. Myth (Muthos) or Plot:- For the ancient Muthos or myth simply meant the story, commonly translated into English as Plot.

(Plot implies intricate turn of events, full of surprise and suspense.) The stories, of only some famous houses which came from the collective memory of the culture are recreated and nurtured here.

Aristotle has called myth ‘the soul of tragedy. It was dramatic action (praxis) and was

imitation (mimesis) of an action made up of series of dramatic events or series.

Myth or Plot as an organic whole:- Aristotle postulated that myth or plot must be in an organic whole, almost like the body of structure of a living animal. It must have a definite shape or magnitude. Aristotle defined tragedy as:-

‘Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of certain magnitude. A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle and an end. It must be in a certain magnitude for beauty depends on magnitude and order. As in the case of animate bodies and organism a certain magnitude is necessary. So it must be in a certain length as to embrace easily by memory.

Here, Aristotle wanted to convey us that a plot (myth,muthos) of a tragedy must be in a whole with certain magnitude (length) as to comprehend easily by the readers/spectators.

For example, our human being bodies are in certain magnitude as well our bodily parts i.e. nose, ears, legs, hands, head, etc. So as a whole we can have a perfect human figure as to figure it out that this is a man or woman or (baby) boy or girl. Hence a spectator can easily comprehend visually. So magnitude means the outer structure which is supported by the unity of action. Aristotle allows the poet to make changed in the events- as poet can modify history. The wholeness and magnitude provide a unity of action to the plot.

For Aristotle, there is only one kind of Unity, that of Action. He does not prescribe unities of time and place. These were attributed to him by the Renaissance critics.

Two kinds of Myths- Simple and Complex:-








the simple (aploi) and the complex



The simple plot or myth is without reversal of fortune (peripetia) and recognition of a past act or identity of person (anagnorsis) .

The complex plot or myth has both- reversal of fortune (peripetia) and recognition of a past act or identity of person (anagnorsis).

Anagnorisis- that’s recognition of a past act or identity of person is defined as a ‘change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons

destined by the poet to face good or bad fortune. In both tragic-comic peripetia and

anagnorsis clearly work together.


Pathos or Suffering:- The third part of a Myth, that is the scene of suffering is called


Destructive and painful action, such as death on the stage, bodily agony, wounding etc. The best tragedies were those in which the final destructive was averted. It fulfills the tragic purpose of arousing horror and pity.

2. Ethos or Character:- Broadly speaking, character in a tragedy had to be a ‘good man’, and those in comedy and satire, were, ‘mean persons’ (bad man). So all

characters fall into the category of either admirable people or ludicrous folks. The Aristotle prescribed several qualities of the protagonist of a tragedy. He must have goodness, moral purpose, propriety (reflect goodness) ,true to life and consitency.

Aristotle has given us pattern of what the tragic hero should be like. He should be a good man as ourselves. As he was always supposed to be a royal house-hold. He should have moral choices- The protagonist does not take too long to decide- it may be Hippolytus, Antigone, Drestes or Hecabe. He should give the reasons for making the choice, deliberately revealing the thought process behind the choice. The protagonist was obliged to explain his conduct to his family, friends and the gods. The greatness of ethos or character was judged by the courage with which moral choices were made. A confused procrastinator like Hamlet unable to make a timely choice, would have been an anti-hero to the ancient Greek.

Hamartia or the Tragic Falling:- Instead of our right choice, we fail some time in our life. To explain the logic of failure, Aristotle has used the term hamartia- which means hitting off the mark. It is an error or flaw (but Aristotle had not made it clear whether it’s intellectual flaw or moral flaw) of judgement made inadvertently. The value of Hamartia was highly raised in Christian as well as in Modern moralists. Tragedy where the downfall of the hero is caused by a cardinal (basic) sin or a serious lapse. Even by making the right choice the hero could not avert (prevent) a calamity or suffering, because his suffering was not always caused by his weakness. According to this theory it was not ambition of a Macbeth, the jealousy of an Othello, or the arrogance of a Lear not was it the inner sin that destroyed man, but instead it was the dilemma imposed upon him by forces far beyond his control that caused destruction.

Here suffering comes not from within but from without.

Aristotle postulated the terms:-

Moira and hubris. Moira literally meaning portion or the family share, metaphorically indicate the misfortune allotted by the gods.

Hubris means daring A hero made sustain efforts to avert and escape from the tragic misfortune.

Moira and Hubris were concepts used by Greeks to define human behaviour. 3. Dianoia-Thought/thinking/dialogue/saying/argument ( Dia- round):-

Third in


order is

the faculty of saying what

is possible and pertinent in given

Dianoia and The Protagonist:- The inner questioning that goes on in the mind of a character and makes him choose one way or another is called Dianoia. The ability to choose, the moral fibre or the courage to choose, is called ethos, but the ferment of thoughts that leads to the point of choice is known as Dianoia. Aristotle insists that dianoia be regarded as an essential element of tragedy. The power to take a decision of a character is also called Dianoia. A debate which has a moral or philosophical perspective in relation to the action of the protagonist is Dianoia.

4.Lexis or Diction or Language:- Lexis and Melopoiia (music) have been given very little notice in Poetics.

Lexis or Lang. in theatre can be divided into two parts:- A. The spoken word and B. The sung words. The spoken words in the form of a natural conversational speech was not much used in ancient theatre. Sound was considered to generate meaning in two

ways i.e., by language and by Music. ‘Next, as regards Diction, one branch of the inquiry treats modes of utterance. It includes what is a command, a prayer, a statement, a threat, a question ,an answer, and so forth.

Kinds of Styles:- Play wrights linguistic style Aristotle seems to recommend a balance between the clarity produced by the usage of current words and loftiness achieved by extraordinary usage. Loftiness was much admired by Aristotle.

5.Melopoiia or the Musical Element:- Application of music in theatre- The great playwright improved drama by not only providing fresh scripts of high literary value,

they were composed of music and dance as well. As the famous saying goes ‘

Phrnikos invented as many dance steps as the waves of the sea’’.

In Indian music we believe in the association of certain tone colours with seasons or specific emotional state. The Greek dramatists must have used the same thing.

The value of music was pivotal (crucial)in tragedy.

(6).Opsis- or the Visual Content:-

The totality of Opsis:-

Opsis has the last but the least place in Aristotelian scheme. Although Opsis should be taken to mean everything visual in theatre such as formation of dancers in the chorus the costumes, movements, gestures and hand signs of the actors. The totality of opsis was immense in Greek Theatre.

Visual Parts of Tragedy:- All plays began with a prologue, spoken by a single actor or at times by two. The chorus then entered often from the right side singing and dancing. Then followed a dramatic episode or an act in which the actor spoke or sang to each other to which the chorus also reacted mostly in song.

Greek Gesture & Dance:- Gestures for orators was prescribed by the Greek rhetoricians for arousing emotions and effective communications Quintilian has given an account of how the head, face, arms, body and feet can be made to express joy, sorrow, humility, abhorrence, wonder and many other emotions. Quaintilian and Plutarch etc. indicate that a definite choreology for the purpose of teaching and practicing dance exist in Greece.

Conclusion:- Aristotle provides a frame work for us to see the art of tragedy in its totality and as a theatrical experience. Plato’s primary concern was to see the function of tragedy in the Utopian State, Aristotle’s aim was to analysis tragedy as it was to be found in Greek Culture. Aristotle described the genre of tragedy in six parts as well recorded how these diverse parts made a whole.

Aristotle’s theory of Tragedy-2 Hedone Proper Pleasure- Catharsis, (Emotional Arousal ) Aristotle has talked about the proper pleasure of tragedy (hedone) . Catharsis

has been regarded as the sole aim of tragedy. ‘Pleasure which is proper only to

tragedy and which is not be found in comedy or any other form. Aristotle states that tragedy cannot afford every kind of pleasure but only that which is proper to it, and this comes about from pity and fear through imitation. Pleasure is said to be derived from completeness and wholeness of action in a plot. Pleasure is said to be a result of music and spectacular effects.

Tragedy defined:- “ Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in (pleasurable) language embellished with (accessories) each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play in the form of action (dramatic), not of narrative, through pity and fear effecting the purgation or Katharsis of these emotions-


Catharsis- (Katharsis) Purgation:-

Catharsis is not only a fact of psychology or of pathology, but a principle of art. Clinical definition:- According to the Hippocratic theory, an imbalance among the elements of air, bile-black bile, yellow bile, melancholy, and phlegm causes each and every disease.

Musical Catharsis:- In the ancient time , there was a practice of curing madness. The Patients were made to listen to certain melodies which made them fall back into their normal state, as if they had undergone a medical or purgative (cathartic) treatment. Catharsis yield in net result of a noble emotional satisfaction which is an essential feature of it. It fulfills the aesthetic function.

- Inner restoration, but not the enjoyment of a new aesthetic element, can at best be the purpose of Catharsis. The factors of enjoyment–that’s hedone (proper pleasure) which is different.

The restorative function of catharsis may bring relief such as a sick person feels upon recovery.

The dual concept of purity and impurity which pervaded the physical, moral, religious

and spiritual life of the Greeks was the most deep seated factor governing their daily’s


Entertainment and ritual were intertwined in ancient theatre. Religion, customs and faiths were revived through the device of re-telling the myths in the form of dramatic enactment on festival and special occasions. In this manner tragedy was a reliving of the pollution and purity cycle by both the actors and the spectators. All underwent into catharsis. Thus catharsis is the process of proving purity.

In this regard of Else’s view it seems Catharsis is purification of the tragic deed and

not of the emotions of the spectators. This goes against all other instances of Catharsis as mentioned by Plato and Aristotle. Aristotle is more concerned with showing how we can feel pity for the protagonist and not purifying the sin and the sinner.

Arousal Of Emotion:-

Aristotle does not state that the purpose of the dramatist’s art is to create emotional excitement. He said;” The pleasure proper to tragedy’ comes from pity and fear

through imitation- (Poetics-xiv:3), In the first eleven chapters of the second book of Rhetoric, it is shown that a orator can arouse anger, affection, friendliness, enmity, hatred, fear, shame, pity, indignation and many other emotions. The supreme emotion on which tragedy depends most is pity-(eleos). Here Pity means Compassionate

grief, sympathy for sorrow that’s witnessed. Situation like the loss of a child, a father

murder, the abduction of a wife, horror at unjust sexual compulsions etc. can become tragic or provide pleasure proper to tragedy.

The Other Major Tragic emotion is fear Phobos- which seems to imply an instinct to run away. Terror is better translation to it. The symptoms of fear as described by

rhetoricians and dramatists are of shivering, shuddling, shrieking, hair standing on etc. prostration – • Anger and hatred are the desire for revenge when harms has been done to a dear one. Conclusion:- Aristotelian scheme of artistic creation was as follows:- Mimesis was the prime method that results in a powerful emotional arousal which provided for the audience not only a specific sort of pleasure (hedone) but also a relief or Catharsis.



rhetoricians and dramatists are of shivering, shuddling, shrieking, hair standing on etc. prostration – • Anger

How will you differentiate Horace and his critical outlook on poetry?

  • Introduction

  • Plato and Aristotle are succeeded by a number of Roman literary critics.

  • There are some who expand upon Plato’s and Aristotle’s thought, such as Plotinus.

  • There are others who strive to study other aspects of literature, such as Horace and Longinus, whose works concern aspects of literature not yet described by Plato and Aristotle.


    • 1. the neoclassical critics have a desire to imitate the classical age and classical writers.

    • 2. the neoclassical critics attempt to assess why the classical writers were so successful.

    • 3. the neoclassical critics attempt to revive the glories of the ancient classical literature.

    • 4. the neoclassical critics attempt to systematize the rules for writing good poetry.

  • Horace

  • Horace's Art of Poetry (Ars Poetica)was a work specifically devoted to poetry. Horace's tone is discursive and informal, and his poemappears to have little structure, leaping from theme to theme in a seemingly chaotic fashion. Horace insists that dramatic characters should be true to life. The Rhetorician Quintilan said about his odes-

    "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words.”

    Central to the theories of Plato and Aristotle, that poetry is an imitative art, Horace explicitly alludes to this idea when he declares that 'the skilled imitator should look to human life and character for his models, and from there derive a language that is true to life.

    Horace takes it for granted that the poet needs natural talent, but talent is nothing without training and labour. For Horace, poetry needs sophistication, refinement, and artistry. Poets must be prepared to take infinite pains over their work, revising, correcting and, above all, responding to the advice of the experienced critic.

    Poetry, for Horace, is above all a skilled craft, not amateur activity to be pursued by gentlemen of leisure spare time, or by those who think that they can be poets merely preach morals For all Horace's emphasis on the technical aspects of the poet's craft, being a good poet is not merely a matter of technical expertise, for the poet will need to have a knowledge of moral philosophy and of life if he is to create convincing characters, and improve his audience in the process. • He means primarily a knowledge derived from the study of ethics, which will enable the poet to set appropriate examples of human behavior before his audience.

    The emotional impact of poetry: Horace believes that the speaker (the poet) must feel the emotions he wishes to convincingly communicate.part

    • Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) is more interested in how the poet may delight and instruct an intelligent reader than he is in defining what a poem is or what literature is.

    • This is connected to his famous catchphrase “utile et dulce” which means that literature must be both enjoyable and useful.

    • Horace’s Art of Poetry also contains a number of catchphrases that influence particularly the neo-classical movements of the seventeenth century in France and England.

    • Horace’s version of imitation differs from that of Plato’s and Aristotle’s

    • It recognizes the importance of copying nature

    • But, it emphasizes imitation of the methods of the great classical writers.

    • This emphasis is echoed by neoclassical writers like Dryden and Pope

    • Horace emphasizes decorum, by which he means the rightness of each part to the whole.

    • His concept is also influential in the neoclassical movements.

    • His most influential work remains the Art of Poetry, which summarizes entirely his critical thoughts and influence many neoclassicist writers.

    • Horace: Artist as a Craftsman

    • Horace was the classicist who established the classical sets of belief rules and orders, restraint and correct expression.

    • He wished that

      • 1. The writer should choose correct and right words;

      • 2. He should use meters maintaining their appropriateness;

      • 3. He should be able to choose a proper subject;

      • 4. He should make use of proper poetic diction;

      • 5. He should follow the rules of ancient arts.

  • Horace: The Rules of Decorum

  • For Horace:

  • 1.

    A writer must choose a subject within his power and appropriate to his gifts;

    • 2. He must say at any given moment what needs to be said, and no more.

    • 3. He must choose vocabulary, meter and form that are right for his subject, whether noble, exciting, erotic or joyous.

    • Horace warns against extravagant improbability and inappropriateness.

    • Indeed the prevailing emphasis throughout is on the need for consistency, coherence and decorum.

    • It is the writer's business to refine and polish his text that the highest standards of propriety and artistry are maintained.

    • However, Horace demands a craft man’s skill in an artist;

    • he does not utterly neglect the role of natural talent in art.

    • In fact, he is insisting on a complementary relationship between learned artistry and genius.

    Horace: Art for poetry

    • His Art for poetry can also he read as a useful advice to the perspective writers.

    • It remained an influential document for the Neoclassical writers.

    • He equates poetry with painting:

      • 1. In poetry, words are like various colors that are put beautifully.

    • He focuses on decorum in poetry:

      • 1. the rightness of each part to the whole.

      • 2. There should be the harmony of each parts of poetry to the whole.

  • These ideas become laws for neo-classical writers.

  • Decorum: Elements of Good Poetry

    • He outlines the following rules of decorum to be in good poetry so that the pragmatic effect of poetry (Teach and delight) can be achieved:

    • Unity and simplicity of forms:

      • 1. Simplicity refers to clarity that is everyone understands.

      • 2. Unity is the perfect combination of beginning, middle and ending.

      • 3. Everything should be matching so that it creates decorum and the sense of propriety. (Correctnes + Suitable)

  • Form and content matched:

    • 1. The style should be proper.

  • 3.

    And in the same way, the treatment of serious matter should not be in trivial form.

    • 4. Therefore, from and content should be matched.

    • 5. Poets and painters should not create monotony by showing dolphin in the forest and elephant in the sea.

    • 6. Such unnatural combination fails to teach and give the delight.

    • Appropriate use of words:

      • 1. The words come and go like the leaves of a tree.

      • 2. The words need to be used in proper places according to the nature words.

    of the

    • 3. Cliché should not be used and the language of common people should be magnified.

    • 4. Poets should use familiar words in quite different way.

    • 5. If characters want to speak words then it is okay but it should have its origin in Greek.

    • Appropriateness of meter:

      • 1. Horace prefers Virgil's opinion that to follow Homer is to follow nature.

      • 2. Homer says it is appropriate to use hexameter in epic, iambic pentameter in tragedy and hexameter and iambic pentameter in elegy.

  • Consistency of characters:

    • 1. The characters should be consistent and life like.

    • 2. His views on characters are identical to Aristotle.

    • 3. Character traits should be based on age, there should not be any exaggeration, that is which is not possible to the character must not be presented.

    • 4. Therefore, characters should be convincing, probable and consistent.

  • Style (Starting and ending):

    • 1. The writer can take one of the following techniques to present the content:

      • Prolepsis (flash back): What happened before the action takes place.

      • Analepsis (foreshadowing): What happens next to on going action.

    • Anachronistic (random): Mixture of all techniques. Overall Elements of Good Poetry

      • Whatever the technique there is, the end of poetry should teach and delight.

      • To teach, actions should be physical than verbal because whatever people see, they are likely to believe.

    • Therefore, it is better to perform everything. But scenes of murder, violence etc should not be shown on the stage.

    • Deus ex machina (God from the machine) is to be hidden. LONGINUS

     Therefore, it is better to perform everything. But scenes of murder, violence etc should not

    Describe the influence of Longinus on Literary work of Art?

    Longinus was a shadowy figure, of uncertain date and identity, whose treatise, On the Sublime, survived antiquity in a single, incomplete manuscript.

    • On the Sublime, its subject is what he calls HUPSOS (height, grandeur, or sublimity) = quality of writing which he describes as the hallmark of great literature. Sublimity is characterized by its ability to amaze and transport an audience, overwhelming them with its irresistible power. True sublimity stands up to repeated examination by the educated reader, and withstands the test of time, appealing to all people of all ages. Sublimity, Longinus says, is innate, an inborn gift, but it must be cultivated; art is necessary if the natural ability is to be used to the best effect.

    • How does Longinus define the "sublime”?

    • How is the "true sublime" differentiated from the “false sublime"?

    • What according to him are the sources of the "sublime"? DEFINITION OF SUBLIME

    • Longinus defines sublime as

    a kind of greatness and excellence in language raising the style of the ordinary language.

    Sublimity springs from a great and lofty soul, thereby becoming " one echo of a great soul".

    It should not only be distinct and excellent in composition.

    It should move the readers along with the effects of pleasure and persuasion.

    Such effects should be subtle, flashing at the right moment, scattering everything before it like a thunder bolt and at once displaying the power of plentitude.

    sublime is lofty and excellent poetic creation with power to please, persuade and move the readers through lifting up their souls.

    Sublimity is thus the aesthetic improvement or refinement of the soul through the reconciliation of the (innate) poetic inspiration and (acquired/learned) rhetorical mastery of the writers.

    Longinus believes that sublimity is achieved by a clever handling of Nature (innateness) and Art,(learning) which is inborn genius and learned skills.

    • The Five sources of the Sublime

    The main body of Longinus' treatise is concerned with the discussion and illustration of five sources of sublimity:

    The five sources, Longinus mentions for the sublime, are either innate or acquired

    Two innate sources are related to the author and three acquired sources are related to the poem.


    Power of forming great conceptions

    The first is grandeur of thought, the ability to form grand conceptions, which is a characteristic of natural greatness, excellence in literature depends upon the mental powers of the author, for 'sublimity is the echo of a noble mind'. Sublimity may also arise from the author's capacity to choose the most sticking details to describe a situation and to fuse them into a whole. Although greatness of mind is a natural capacity, the sublimity that results from it can be inspired by the imitation or emulation of previous writers who have shown themselves capable of achieving sublimity.


    Vehement and inspired passion Phantasia

    Another way of cultivating the capacity for sublimity is through Phantasia, or visualization, when the speaker imagines the scene he describes so vividly that he can bring it before the eyes of his audience. Powerful and inspired emotion is the second source of sublimity.

    The second source of sublime is the genuine emotion.

    The emotion should be strong and natural expressed in lofty and elevated language.

    So, it can move the readers with pleasure and persuasion.

    It should match with the grandeur of subject, thought and lofty style.


    The due formation and use of figures of speech

    The third is the effective use of stylish and rhetorical figures as a means of increasing the emotional impact of literature.

    • The formation and use of figures help the elevated expression if they are properly used.

    • Such a use of figures should not be mechanical and forceful.

    • They should be used genuinely and as per the demands of the contextual environment.

    • Example

    The proper use of rhetorical question makes an immediate appeal to the emotions.

    It is a statement in question form that suggests its own answer.


    Power of forming great conceptions:

    The fourth source is to be found in noble diction and phrasing, this includes the skillful use of metaphors and other figures of speech

    • 1. Noble diction

    • It includes choice and arrangement of words.

    • Longinus says that the use of proper and striking words captivate (hold attention) the hearers.

    • The words, to him, should be noble corresponding to the subject matter and emotion.

    • So as to convey grandeur and beauty, giving breath in to dead things.

      • 5. Dignified and elevated composition

    It is concerned with the grandeur of thought in writers.


    It is the first essential source of sublime.

    Lofty and natural expression is thoughts.

    possible when there are noble and


    The great thoughts come from the imagination of a great creative genius and from a sound interpretation of the imitation of nature and of the great predecessors.

    • The Factors of the False Sublime

    • while discussing the sources of true sublime, Longinus also deals with the factors of the false sublime or what is not sublime.

    To him, the vices of the sublime emerge out of the lack of passion sincerely and inadequacy of communication caused by faulty techniques.

    The following factors are described to mention how they cause sublime to be false:

    • 1. Bathos or bombast: all that overwrought, pseudo-tragic clap-trap (trivial and unbelievable talk) associated with melodrama

    • 2. Inflated and hyperbolic Language: that is used, inappropriately, to heighten subjects that do not deserve such a treatment

    • 3. Fashionable expressions and fanciful images: especially when sincerity is sidelined in favor of the obsession for fashionable style

    Conclusion: Great literature is not simply a stylistic quality, but an expression of the author's mind and character; greatness of speech is the province of those whose thoughts are deep, and this is why lofty expressions come naturally to the most high-minded of men."