CriticaLink | Aristotle: Poetics | Questions

1. How do the tragedies you have read for class conform to the principles Aristotle outlines?

2. How does The Epic of Gilgamesh conform to the principles Aristotle outlines for the epic? For the tragedy? What about Genesis and Exodus?

3. Can you think of contemporary works that meet most or all of Aristotle's requirements for a successful tragedy?

4. Is catharsis still a viable concept within aesthetics? Why or why not?

5. How have the "modes" of presentation changed with the introduction of new technologies? Are there forms of "spectacle," for example, that are characteristic of the late twentieth century?

6. Aristotle does not seem to recognize the possibility of abstract art. Can you think of aspects of his theory of mimesis that can still apply to non-representational or experimental artworks?

7. To what extent is it important for an audience to "identify" with the characters in a literary work? Can you imagine an aesthetic approach that does not rely on this kind of identification?

8. How have ideas about performance changed over time? What makes a good actor?