Discuss why Aristotle says that poetry is something more philosophical and of graver import than history in Poetics.

In the Poetics, Aristotle writes that poetry is more philosophical and of greater importance than history because it deals with universals rather than specifics, the wide range of things that could happen instead of the narrow range of things that have happened.

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In chapter 9 of the Poetics, Aristotle writes that poetry is a more serious matter than history and that it is closer to philosophy. This is because poetry, like philosophy, is concerned with the universal rather than the specific. History is an account of the relatively small number of things that have happened in the world, but poetry can include anything that might happen and therefore has a wider scope.

Aristotle goes on to specify that by the universal, he means the way in which a person of a certain type would speak or act in a certain situation "according to the law of probability or necessity." This brings poetry close to what is now called psychology. When the audience observes the behavior of Oedipus, Creon, or Antigone in particular circumstances, they gain a deeper understanding of human nature than they would from reading about how a real king or general acted in a historical text.

The conduct of the characters in drama must contain recognizable psychological truth in order to be approved as the way in which a person of that type would act in that situation. The dramatic performance, therefore, also fosters a communal understanding among the audience, including universal values and ideals.

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