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Aristotle believed that mimesis could be defined as the replication of nature. In Greek thought, the concept of mimesis was very important because they believed that art was a search for imitating the beauty of reality, and this concept of imitation is very important in the search for true art that reflects reality accurately. For Aristotle, mimesis did not just simply involve imitation but also equally appealed to mathematical principles in search of perfection.
Aristotle, linked to the concept of mimesis, wrote about the "four causes" in nature. The first was a "formal cause" which is like a blueprint, and the second is the material, which focuses on what an object is made out of. The third is the agent which is the artist that made the object. The fourth and final cause is the good, or the purpose of the object. It is a natural human inclination, Aristotle argued, to try and reflect the beauty and perfection of reality that we see around us in poetic form.
Aristotle also believed that mimesis is the key to the cathartic response that he thought was so important in tragedy. Through watching tragic events occur on stage, we experience "simulated repersentation" which enables us to engage in a kind of mimetic roleplay, allowing us to experience the same emotions that are reflected on the stage and thus be purged of them.
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