"Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars" (235).
Even though history is considered documented fact, Aristotle considers poetry a more important study. Poetry reflects human nature and thus will reveal to us more truth about ourselves than past events will. It is closer to who we are, closer to the origin of our actions. By understanding who we are, we can trace our actions to our thoughts and feelings, and than to the system of laws governing our moral sentiments (I just read Adam Smith, forgive me for the economics). Emotion is the rawest form of truth available to us, it is the purest state we know. Emotion is a universal truth, applicable to all. Regardless of the degree of emotion experienced or the person in question, we as humans all have the capability to relate to another, to sympathize with them, and project ourselves onto their experience.
We delight in the imitation of art because it allows us to experience aspects of life never opened to us before. Art allows us to project ourselves onto the scene and experience the action, arousing the appropriate sympathy. This is why the characters of a play are subordinate to the plot - in this way, we are able to project ourselves into the characters. In this way an infinite amount of situations and emotions are available to us. The wider range of reaction and emotion we are familiar with, the more complete we become in our sensibilities. This will allow us not only to understand the past events which history focuses on, but present and future ones as well.
Sorry this post is so late.... :-o
2 years ago