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Aspects of Tragedy

            According to Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher who wrote about metaphysics, rhetoric, and so on, "Tragedy- is "a representation of an action which is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude "in language which is garnished in various forms in its different parts "in the mode of dramatic enactment, not narrative "and through the arousal of pity and fear effecting the purification of such emotions."" What exactly does Aristotle mean by using such words as "garnish,"" "style,"" and so on? He goes on to describe in detail his ideas about the elements of successful tragedy.
             Presentation is a main focus of tragedy. For example, Aristotle states that, "By garnished' I mean with rhythm and melody and by the various forms' I mean that some parts use spoken meter and others use lyric song."" He goes on to say that the audience responds well to decoration of anything they are to focus upon and that meter in regards to speaking is very important. Tragedy focuses on a main action that is brought to pass by the actors, who must be characterized both by the way they look and by the way they think. Aristotle goes on to say that, "For it is through these that we can also judge the qualities of their actions, and it is in their actions that all men either succeed or fail."" He goes on to say that the character's "thought- reveals even more about their arguments or their statements in part because they reveal something more personal and private.
             As Aristotle puts it, "tragedy as a whole must have six elements which make it what it is: they are plot-structure, character, style, thought, spectacle, and lyric poetry."" He goes on to explain that the most important element is the structure of events because it revolves around happiness and unhappiness, which change only because of action. Reversals and recognitions are the greatest tools tragedy can employ when controlling the emotion of an audience.

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