Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 386

To answer this question, one must first understand what an analysis of a text is. A literary analysis requires a reader to carefully examine and evaluate a text. This evaluation tends to look at different aspects of the text. Some of the aspects examined within a literary analysis are writing style (or voice), the success of the message presented, and the use of literary devices.

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Aristotle's writing style (voice) is highly elevated, similar to others writing during his time. Sentences are stylistically long, and he uses multi-syllabic words, which lowers the readability for some who are not familiar with this type of writing. This type of writing can be found to be difficult for readers who are not dedicated to understanding and working through a challenging text.

The success of the text can only be defined by an individual reader, given that the success of a text is subjective. Personally, I do not find Aristotle's intent of defining soul successful. That said, he is successful at discussing the historical definitions of the soul and his own understanding of what the soul is.

Aristotle's language, for the most part, lacks a figurative base. In fact, his language is far more scientific, although lyrical (given the long and flowing sentences). Therefore, although straightforward, Aristotle's language makes readers think about and reflect upon the information he presents. He does use the literary device of rhetorical questioning. These do not simply ask simplistic questions. They function in a way that makes the reader take pause and think about what Aristotle is really saying.

Also, by posing these questions, he illustrates another literary aspect: a stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness shows a person's thoughts as a continuous flow. Aristotle does this by thinking through his thoughts as he makes them. He brings up a thought, explains the thought, and then expounds upon the thought.

On a side note, an objective analysis of Aristotle's On the Soul is not as straightforward as other texts. Given that Aristotle's works centered on philosophy, the study of nature, reality, and existence, any analysis of a specific text will draw out different things for different readers. Therefore, one must examine any text for the aspects which speak to him or her directly, providing a subjective analysis of what the text says to him or her.

Context

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 130

On the Soul is divided into three books. The first consists mainly of a review of the opinions of Aristotle’s predecessors about the soul, and refutation of their errors. The second book and the first part of the third define the soul and describe and explain the nutritive and sensitive faculties. The rest of the third book treats the intellect.

The original meaning of the word psych was “breath,” and in the earliest Greek literature it had come to stand for “breath-soul,” being identified with vital functions in general, while a separate blood-soul was held to be the seat of consciousness. Aristotle seems to have been unaware of this view. By his time, psych meant “life-principle,” whether simple or complex, the inner cause of vital movements of all kinds.

Theories of the Soul

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 355

Aristotle begins by describing in detail the views about the soul held by his predecessors, finding them to fall into two groups: first, those according to which the soul is one of the elements (earth, air, fire, water) or some combination of them, or a special (material) soul-substance, and second, the doctrine that the soul is the harmony of the body. Theories of the first kind have in common the characteristic of trying to account for bodily movements...

(The entire section contains 3555 words.)

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