Arist. Poet. 1454a31–33 Again

Research outputpeer-review


Among the examples on how not to portray a character in tragedy, Aristotle names the female protagonist of the Iphigenia in Aulis, claiming that she is drawn in violation of the principle of consistency: begging to spare her life she is much unlike her later self. Philologists stood for Euripides, charging Aristotle with a lack of intuitive understanding. Moreover, as has been pointed out, the unaffected character of Iphigenia’s behaviour could find a footing in the ample observations on human psychology Aristotle himself made elsewhere in the Ethics and Rheth-oric. Certain modern scholars, however, tend to side with Aristotle. To argumentatively prove or disprove the feasibility of the change Iphigenia undergoes seems thus to be close to impos-sible, both psychologically and aesthetically. A thought not alien to the Poetics goes as simple as that: not all the shifts and turns, so human and so easily observed in life, should find their way into art. One supposes Aristotle all too well recognised the fact that no example would in this case prove to be free of blame, while holding that the general applicability and inherent veracity of his theory goes unimpaired by the fact that it could in principle be assailed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-415
JournalPhilologia Classica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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