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Book Of Job V. Aristotle's Poetics

             Aristotle was, arguably, the greatest single thinker that has ever walked the earth. His thoughts and writings covered all aspects of life. So important were his works that to not know them was, until not too long ago, considered uncivilized. He composed a set of standards which have been applied throughout the ages to determine, in a scholarly fashion, what indeed is and what is not true drama. Although Job was written many years before Aristotle laid his ideas to paper, it is an example of what drama should be, according to the regulations established in Poetics.
             One of the first standards that Aristotle set up was the idea of extremes. This idea, established in section II of Poetics, calls for the "good" characters to be overly good and "bad" characters exceedingly bad. Job is without peer in the land of men, being "perfect and upright." (Job 93). Additionally, he is even given credit with being the "greatest of all men in the east." (Job 93). Job is forced to deal with troubles created by Satan himself, the epitome of evil. The factions of absolute good and unqualified evil square off in this early drama. .
             Aristotle was extremely adamant that the "change of fortune" must be from good to bad. However, the reduction in stature must not be caused by some debauchery of the character's but rather by some "error or frailty" in order to elicit more of an emotional response. This allows the audience to empathize with the character rather than being shocked by the action. (Poetics 973). Job fits this prerequisite quite well. Events cannot get much worse than when a person loses all ten of his children, over ten thousand of his animals, his entire household, and his wealth to boot. Job is the archetype of the innocent victim. His fortune changes from the ultimate measure of wealth to the lowest measure of despair. Again, this action is not caused by any of Job's actions but is the result of circumstances completely out of his control.

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