Aristotle’s Poetics Chapters 10-12 Summary & Analysis

Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12

Aristotle’s Poetics Chapters 10-12 Summary

In order for plot to function, it not only needs the essential concepts from the previous chapters, but the subsequent components as well: astonishment, reversal (or peripeteia), recognition, and suffering.

Astonishment refers to a tragedy’s ability to inspire ‘fear and pity.’ Both fear and pity are elicited from an audience when the events come all of sudden, but not accidentally. The surprise that drives the tragedy must desire it’s a part of a grander design.

Reversal is that the change by which the most action of the story comes full-circle — for instance, In Oedipus, the messenger who involves free Oedipus from his fears of his mother produces the other effect together with his news.

Recognition is that the change from ignorance to knowledge, usually involving people coming to know the identities of 1 another or discovering whether an individual ‘has done a thing or not.’ the simplest sorts of recognition are linked with a reversal (as in Oedipus) and, in tandem, will produce pity and fear from the audience.

Suffering may be a destructive or painful action, which is usually the results of a reversal or recognition. Aristotle points out that a ‘simple’ plot omits a reversal or recognition, but a ‘complex plot has one or the opposite – or both if it’s truly transcendent. All tragedies, however, depend upon suffering as a part of its plan to elicit pity and fear from the audience.

Finally, Aristotle points out the structural parts of a tragedy (or ‘quantitative’ parts, as he calls them). These are the prologue, episode, exode, and choric song.

The prologue is that the part of the tragedy which precedes the primary undivided utterance of the chorus. The episode is that a part of the tragedy between choral songs, and therefore the exode is that the first a part of a tragedy with no choric song after it.

Aristotle’s Poetics Chapters 10-12 Analysis

Three key concepts are introduced during this section – reversal, recognition, and catharsis (though Aristotle refers to the last as ‘purgation.’) an easy tragedy will have none of those elements (or a perfunctory catharsis), but a posh tragedy will use reversal and recognition to realize catharsis.

Reversal works in tandem with a story’s spine or center to make sure that the hero comes full circle. Oedipus is that the best example of a hero who encounters such a reversal — he hears news that his fears are allayed, the mystery solved, then within the course of enjoying this relief and hearing the news, he realizes that it actually implicates him.

Often, recognition may be a tool to realize this reversal or a byproduct of it — during this case, Oedipus recognizes truth identity of his father and mother, the character of his own crimes, and therefore the accuracy of the prophecy. In one swift blow, Oedipus has come full circle and is now the victim of his own look for justice and truth.

The concept of suffering is slightly misleading therein it doesn’t refer simply to a character’s endurance of physical and emotional pain. so as to really produce catharsis – the commingling of fear and pity in an audience – the suffering must be a consequence of reversal or recognition. And indeed, the more surprising the reversal or recognition – as within the case of Oedipus – the more the audience will themselves suffer empathetically, realizing that they too are ambushed by the causal chain of the plot. whilst ‘objective’ observers, audience members too are flawed – and thus learn from the tragic hero’s fate.

Catharsis, then, is a pity for the hero, and fear that his fate could befall us. While pity is that the results of any combination of reversal and recognition, fear can only be a product of reversal and recognition crafted into a surprising ending to the plot. And indeed, absolutely the pinnacle of tragedy comes when surprise, reversal, recognition, and suffering are united around the core spine of the story during a swift blow to the audience at the top of the third act.

Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12 = Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12 = Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12 = Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12 = Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12 = Aristotle's Poetics Chapters 10-12


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here