Tag: Aristotle

Poetic squashing

Poetic squashing


Nearly 2400 years have passed since Aristotle perfectly summed up good and bad writing in The Poetics, and yet still we get narrative disasters like (for example) Prometheus. Aristotle obviously didn’t know Hollywood existed and yet he describes it perfectly in the first paragraph quoted below. He even tells us how to do “villain crushed by a huge object” correctly…

“Of simple plots and actions those that are episodic are the worst. By an episodic plot I mean one in which the sequence of the episodes is neither probable nor necessary. Plays of this kind are written by bad poets because they cannot help it, and by good poets because of the actors; writing for the dramatic competitions, they often strain a plot beyond  the bounds of possibility, and are thus obliged to dislocate the continuity of events.

However, tragedy is the representation not only of a complete…

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