Explain the concept of tragic unity in Aristotle's Poetics.

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Aristotle characterises tragedy as possessed of a unity of action, time and place. Aristotle described unity of action as follows: “tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude.” In other words, the main action of tragedy should be something serious (murder,...

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Aristotle characterises tragedy as possessed of a unity of action, time and place. Aristotle described unity of action as follows: “tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude.” In other words, the main action of tragedy should be something serious (murder, ritual pollution, the rise and fall of a ruler) or non-trivial. The tragedy, although it may start in medias res, and report its backstory, as it were, should conclude with a resolution. This meant that a tragedy should have a single major plot, in which a protagonist underwent a reversal of fortune. Unlike epic, the scope of tragedy should be restricted to a single plot line. The action of a tragedy should take place in a single 24 hour period (although earlier actions may be reported) and should be set in a single place.

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