PRECIS: Poetics

In "Poetics," Aristotle states that there are six literary elements which are fundamental to the genre of tragedy. Of these six, he states that plot is the most important (232). To prove this point, Aristotle uses the analogy of painting, stating that if the most beautiful of colors were put onto a canvas without order, the effect would be less pleasing than a simple black and white sketch of a portrait. In this analogy the colors equate with characters and the order with plot.

In 335BCE, many people might have agreed with Aristotle, but in today's society people appreciate numerous forms of art, many of which are radically different than what Aristotle would have been exposed to in ancient Greece. For example, abstract painting. I doubt that Aristotle would have had much appreciation for such art, as it often lacks recognizable subjects and does not always 'imitate' anything in the external world. I don't believe that Aristotle could have ever predicted, or understood, that society might come to appreciate forms of art without 'form,' or enjoy works of literature, not because of a complex or ornate plot, but because of an investment in character, which is something that has been accomplished in post-modern literature.

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