How do Horace and Aristotle view the effect of literature on an audience?  

Horace and Aristotle both note the profound impact that literature can have on an audience. Aristotle challenges the notion that some audiences are "cultivated" and others are "unrefined." For Aristotle, if the audience isn't impacted properly, it's not their fault, it's that of the "bad performers." Horace seems to second that idea. He writes, "If you would have me weep, you must first express the passion of grief yourself."

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This is quite a relevant question. Think about how much debate right now centers on how movies and TV shows and the like impact us, the audience. That's what Horace and Aristotle were concerned about too.

Concerning Aristotle, one place you might want to start is the idea of highbrow versus lowbrow culture. In our culture, we tend to view some things as having more value than others. For example, a painting in a museum might be deemed more important than a tweet. Yet why should a painting in a museum hold more value than a post on social media for an audience? Shouldn't the audience decide?

Aristotle collapses conventional notions of the "cultivated audience" and the "unrefined" viewer when he discusses the epic versus the tragedy . Aristotle writes how people think of the epic as "higher" since it doesn’t need "gesture" like the tragic. However, Aristotle notes that "gesticulation may be equally overdone in epic," and "all action is not to be condemned, any more than all dancing, but only...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 915 words.)

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