Poetics by Aristotle
Written 330 BC
Recommended Age Group: Adult
Summary: Poetics is one of the most fundamental works of poetry. Aristotle wrote it to give the requirements for good and bad poetry. It includes ideas on rhyme and meter as well as plot, character, and language. Here are some of the highlights:
- Plot is more important than character in plays because we only can know the character by what they are doing.
- People are portrayed as better or worse than in real life and rarely as they really are.
- Have to get the right length, too short there isn’t enough meat to the story, too long the memory can’t hold it all in and the meaning and full beauty are lost.
- Speaking of Homer, “In composing the Odyssey he did not include all the adventure of Odysseus” because they don’t matter to the plot.
- “Poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.” Universal is “how a person of a certain type will on occasion speak or act.”
Personal Notes: There are so many different ideas that I could write an entire book about. Aristotle makes a lot of good points that are not only applicable to poetry but also to life. I especially think the idea about not making it too long is applicable in real life to almost anything. When telling a story to other people about something that happened to you the people lose interest if you include needless details.
Admittedly there were parts that were extremely dull. There were sections near the end that talked about metaphors and used a lot of Greek (well, I assume it was, I don’t speak or read it) and it was tough to get through. Now I understand why my College professors only had me read highlights.