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The universality of poetry in Aristotle’s Poetics

By M. Heath

Abstract

This paper considers three questions arising out of Aristotle's statement that poetry is concerned with the universal. First, what does it mean? Secondly, what constraints does it impose on the construction of (in particular) tragic plots? This question is considered with special reference to the possible role of chance in tragedy. Thirdly, why is poetry concerned with the universal— that is, why is poetry such that these constraints are appropriate?\ud \ud \ud In chapter 9 of the Poetics Aristotle states that poetry is concerned with the universal. In this paper I shall consider three questions arising out of this statement. First, what does it mean? Secondly, what constraints does it impose on the construction of (in particular) tragic plots? I shall consider this question with special reference to the possible role of chance in tragedy. Thirdly, why is poetry concerned with the universal—that is, why is poetry such that these constraints are appropriate

Year: 1991
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:523

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