With reference to Aristotle's Poetics, what are the elements of tragedy?

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First, one should note that Aristotle's concept of tragedy is based exclusively on how tragedy was performed in Athens in his own period; thus, his account of it might differ from one of a critic acquainted with Shakespeare or Japanese Noh theater. 

These are the key elements of tragedy for Aristotle:

  • Plot or action: this is the most important element. It should be of a certain magnitude, as a plot revolving around something trivial is more appropriate to comedy.
  • Character: A tragic hero should be an admirable person who undergoes a reversal of fortune rather than someone despicable.
  • Thought and diction: This refers to the text of the play, and both should be slightly elevated when compared to ordinary speech and appropriate to the characters.
  • Melody: In Greek tragedy, the chorus sings and dances. The choral parts should be closely integrated to the rest of the drama.
  • Spectacle: The visual effects of a play add interest for the audience.

According to Aristotle, the goal of tragedy is to arouse the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 540 words.)

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