CriticaLink | Aristotle: Poetics | Terms


Aristotle describes catharsis as the purging of the emotions of pity and fear that are aroused in the viewer of a tragedy. Debate continues about what Aristotle actually means by catharsis, but the concept is linked to the positive social function of tragedy. See the discussion by Hans-Georg Gadamer in the Overview to this resource for one perspective on what catharsis means.