"...the life and soul...of Tragedy is the Plot; and that the Characters come second..."
In "Poetics," Aristotle breaks down the necessities of Tragedy, along with characteristic action of imitation, similar to music. He covers not only Tragedy, but also epic and comedy, although not in nearly as much depth.
This particular phrase, where Aristotle is saying that the plot of a tragedy is by far more important than anything else, even characters, is quite a bold statement. He even compares the importance of plot over characters to the importance of order over color in a painting. Characters are like the added color that make paintings attractive, but the paintings are meaningless, (even in color), if they have no plot, represented by order (232).
This is an important phrase in representing, for one, Aristotle's incredible attention to the perfecting of such 'poetics' as Tragedy. This could also reflect his idea that the mimesis within these topics can be found within action, or plot. The plot is the main area of imitation, whereas, characters, props, etc. are just actors in that imitation.
Without this phrase, one of Aristotle's main points would be lost, along with the beauty of his painting comparison, which reveals his personal understanding and passion for his ideas on the elements of Tragedy.
This is definitely a bold claim, in that many would disagree that order is necessary in any poetic, even Tragedy. While Aristotle states this as an absolute, I feel he might have several critiques of the definitiveness of his claim.
2 years ago