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Aristotle's Concept of Tragedy and Epic. (Comparison and Contrast).

According to Aristotle, tragedy and epic are two distinct form of poetry. In “Poetics”his treatment of the epic is slight as compared to his treatment of tragedy. There are a few general statements as to its nature and form; attention is called to the main difference beween Tragedy and epic and lastly, the comparative value of the two forms is discussed in the sort of appendix to the work.

There are similarities between tragedy and epic:
Both tragedy in epic are imitation of serious subjects and both deal with characters of higher type.
Plot, character, thought, and diction are common elements of both tragedy and epic.
The structure of both tragedy and epic should show a unity.
Like tragic plots , the epic plots can be simple our complex emphasizing character or suffering.

There are also difference between epic and tragedy:
Epic dffers from tragedy in it length. Epic can be greater than tragedy. Tragedy endeavours, as far as possible to confind itself in a single revolution of the sun whereas the time limit of epic are not fixed.
The Epic can relate a number of incidents happening simultaneously to different persons at different places, whereas in a tragedy is presented only the part of the story which is connected with one place and one set of persons.
Epic dffers from tragedy in the use metre. According to Aristotle, in epic only the hexametre is used, whereas in tragedy, iambic and trochaic tetrametre are suitable.
Epic relates an action concerning the fortunes of a nation , and thus it represents the life of an entire period. In tragedy on the other hand, the emphasis is given on an individual.
In tragedy it is necessary to reduce the element of the irrational to the minimum possible degree. But in epic , the tales of an improbable and marvellous kind supply in a greater degree that element of wander which is the legitimate source of artistic pleasure.
Epic uses the mode of narrative while the tragedy uses the mode of dramatic. The multiple story is quite good for an epic, but not for tragedy. Moreover, the epic is the story of the past , while the drama is a representation of the story of present.
Tragedy has music and spectacle, which are absent in epic and tragedy evokes more completely the specific cathartic effect than epic.

The question now arises which of the two – Epic and tragedy – is superior to the other. Many people think that epic is superior to tragedy because it is addressed to a more refined audience than the mixture gathering at the theatre and does not depend for its effect on acting or gestures essential to tragedy. But Aristotle voted in favor of tragedy. He says that having all the constituent parts of epic, tragedy has got two more--- music and spectacle --- which give rise to the most vivid of pleasures. Tragedy has greater unity of effect for the concentrated effect is more pleasurable than which is superior to epic, as tragedy attains it’s end more perfectly than epic.

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