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This is a translation of Aristotle’s “Poetics”, an account of Greek tragedy, which demonstrates how the elements of plot, character and spectacle combine to produce “pity and fear”, and why pleasure is derived from this apparently painful process. It introduces the concepts of “mimesis” (“imitation”), “hamartia” (“error”) and “katharsis”, which have informed thinking about drama ever since. It examines the mythological heroes whom Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripidies brought to the stage, and explains the most effective plays rely on complication and resolution, recognitions and reversals.
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