Aristotle’s Poetics


Here’s a history lesson from the Greek godfather of dramatic theory:

MIMESIS – imitation, representation, re-enactment
CATHARSIS – cleansing, purgation, purification, clarification
PERIPETEIA – reversal, adventure
ANAGNORISIS – recognition, identification
HAMARTIA – miscalculation , sin (tragic flaw)

Drama contains six key elements. Comedy and tragedy both contain the same elements only organized in a difference way.

MYTHOS (plot) How are actions sequenced? They should evoke fear, pity or laughter and should involved a reversal of fortune for the protagonist.

ETHOS (character) Ideally the protogonist should respond to a misfortune (active) rather than to events along the way (passive). Main characters should be good or relatable, appropriate to undertake their journey and consistent.

DIANOIA (thought) Through action and dialogue, characters can explain their motivation and plot.

LEXIS (dialogue) Characters explain their morality, thoughts and action through word.

MELOS (melody) The background chorus singing, chanting or speaking the morality and dilemma of the story.

OPSIS (spectacle) The visual coda (set design) of the story. Aristotle considered this to be the least artistic element of storytelling.

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