Can the element of 'tragedy' be considered aesthetically-pleasing? If yes, how?I understand the term aesthetically-pleasing to mean ;beautiful; or 'artistically-engaging'. If tragedy can be...

Can the element of 'tragedy' be considered aesthetically-pleasing? If yes, how?

I understand the term aesthetically-pleasing to mean ;beautiful; or 'artistically-engaging'. If tragedy can be considered aesthetic - would this be explained because it is an artistic feature nevertheless, despite it causing possible upset and catharsis to the audeince/reader?

Appreciate any answers and detailed explanations to help me understand this issue better. Thanks.

Asked on by mjay25

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The notion of there being a specifically tragic pleasure is derived from Aristotle’s Poetics. In this work, Aristotle argues that there are pleasures unique to tragedy. The first part of tragic pleasure is a general pleasure all humans derive from viewing mimesis, or imitations; the skill of the imitation in tragedy increases tragic pleasures, as do the other aesthetic elements. What makes tragic pleasure different from comic or epic is not clearly articulated in Aristotle, but may be due to the way in which fear and pity achieve catharsis of the emotions, i.e. in some way by experiencing fear and pity as we watch tragedy, we are purged of those emotions and brought into better emotional balance, and that re-balancing of emotions feels pleasurable, as Aristotle defines pleasure as a sinking (relaxing, probably) of the soul into its natural (healthy) state.

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