Basics: Aristotle & More

aristotle bustAristotle

The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) made significant and lasting contributions to nearly every aspect of human knowledge, from logic to biology to ethics and aesthetics. Though overshadowed in classical times by the work of his teacher Plato, from late antiquity through the Enlightenment, Aristotle’s surviving writings were incredibly influential. In Arabic philosophy, he was known simply as “The First Teacher”; in the West, he was “The Philosopher.” SOURCE

Aristotle’s Poetics c. 335 BCE is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and the first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. SOURCE

Poetics (complete): aristotle-poetics-complete

Poetics (highlighted selections): aristotle-poetics-selections

Aristotle’s Recipe for Theatre: Six Elements

  1. plot (differentiate: plot vs. story)
  2. character
  3. thought
  4. dialogue
  5. music
  6. spectacle

Video Examples:

How do these elements and priorities change in some of your favorite plays, movies, and television programs?

Good examples: SeinfeldTrue BloodThe SimpsonsHunger GamesTransformers, soap operas,

Purpose of Theatre

  • Aristotle: catharsis
  • Horace: to delight and instruct

Levels of Appeal

  1. emotional
  2. intellectual
  3. visceral
  4. transcendent (metaphysical, spiritual, aesthetic)

Determine primary appeal in trailers for upcoming movies.

YouTube Resources