What contribution did Aristotle make to theatre in his Poetics?
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Aristotle’s monumental work, Poetics, identified three distinct forms of literature – Lyric (utilizing one narrator), Epic (utilizing more than one narrator), and Dramatic (utilizing no narrator at all). He goes on to set the “rules” of the tragic theatre presentations of his time (the works of Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus specifically), notably the three Unities (time, Space, and Action), the six parts of drama (Plot, character, diction, thought, spectactle, melody), and (most important) the social responsibility of theatre, a collective public enterprise with a clear social duty. As the Renaissance revived these principles and documents, Aristotle’s philosophies formed western theatre history’s foundations, and served as guidelines for all the best dramatic output of the era.
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