Aristotle's Poetics. It examines and explains an excerpt from the philosopher's work. The essay examines the way in which tragedy works and affects its audience, according to Aristotle.

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According to Aristotle, poetry, along with other art forms, is based, more than anything, in man's "instinct" of imitation. Tragedy, which Aristotle regards as a superior form of drama, is a particular type of this imitation which follows specific formulas in order to achieve its goals. Tragedy "is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete and of a certain magnitude." It uses "artistic" language of different kinds which are found within "separate parts …

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…The audience must be able to identify with this character, specifically with his/her hamartia, in order to feel the fear or pity intended by the poet, and experience catharsis. The character should be "good," "proper," "true to life," and "consistent." This way, the audience will empathize with the character. These dramas are political in that the poets decide what traits are, in fact, tragic flaws, and what characteristics the audience should be purified of.