What is Aristotle's theory of artistic imitation?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aristotle's theory of artistic imitation or mimesis distinguishes various different types of mimesis.

First, one can imitate directly, by pure mimesis, as in tragedy, by diegesis or narration, or using a mixed mode combining diegesis and mimesis, as is seen in Homer and Hesiod.

Mimesis can be done by means of words, as in dramatic poetry or by means of marble or paint, as in the visual arts of pottery, painting, and sculpture.

Human beings take natural pleasure in imitation, which explains some of the pleasure we experience in watching tragedy or looking at sculpture.