Poetics

by

Aristotle

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Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived from 384 to 322 B.C.E. Aristotle’s writing and theories had a profound influence in the development of modern politics, science, and ethics. Poetics, which is thought to… read analysis of Aristotle

Oedipus

Oedipus is a mythical Greek king and the main character in Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex. Oedipus unknowingly murders his father and has sex with his mother— after he becomes aware of what he has… read analysis of Oedipus

Iphigeneia

Iphigeneia is a princess in Greek mythology, Orestes’s sister, and a character in Euripides’s Iphigeneia at Aulis and Iphigeneia in Tauris. According to these plays, Iphigeneia is set to be sacrificed, but… read analysis of Iphigeneia

Odysseus

Odysseus is a legendary hero in Greek mythology and the main character in Homer’s Odyssey. Aristotle uses Odysseus as an example of reversal and recognition in Poetics and refers multiple times to the… read analysis of Odysseus

Sophocles

Sophocles was an ancient Greek playwright of tragedy who lived in the fifth century B.C.E. Like Homer, Aristotle uses Sophocles and his tragic plays—including Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Electra—to make specific… read analysis of Sophocles
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Homer

Homer was a Greek writer who is thought to have lived between the 12th and eighth centuries B.C.E. Aristotle uses Homer and his famous epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, to make… read analysis of Homer

Achilles

Achilles is a hero in Greek mythology and a character in Homer’s epic poem the Iliad. Aristotle refers to Homer’s portrayal of Achilles as a character with bad traits who is still depicted… read analysis of Achilles

Aegisthus

Aegisthus is a figure in Greek mythology. He is Orestes and Iphigeneia’s stepfather, and he appears in Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’s Oresteia, and Sophocles’s Electra. As the story goes… read analysis of Aegisthus

Aeschylus

Aeschylus was an Ancient Greek playwright of tragedy who lived in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. Aristotle briefly mentions Aeschylus and his Oresteia plays to make specific points and arguments in Poetics. Aeschylus… read analysis of Aeschylus

Ajax

Ajax is hero in Greek mythology and a character in Homer’s Iliad and Sophocles’s Ajax. Aristotle doesn’t mention a specific poem featuring Ajax; however, he does claim that any poetry that features… read analysis of Ajax

Creon

Creon is a king in Greek mythology and a character in Sophocles’s Antigone. After Antigone hangs herself, Creon’s son, Haemon, tries to kill Creon—but Haemon fails and then kills himself. Aristotle mentions Sophocles’s… read analysis of Creon

Hector

Hector is a prince in Greek mythology and a character in Homer’s Iliad. According to Homer, Hector is killed by Achilles in a fight; however, Achilles chases Hector around the city of Troy… read analysis of Hector

Medea

Medea is a figure in Greek mythology and the main character in Euripides’s Medea. Medea murders her own children in revenge after her husband, Jason, runs off with a princess. Aristotle uses Medea… read analysis of Medea

Menelaus

Menelaus is a king in Greek mythology. He is a major character in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but Aristotle references Euripides’s Menelaus in Orestes. Menelaus is Orestes’s uncle, and in… read analysis of Menelaus

Merope

Merope is a queen in Greek mythology and a character in Euripides’s lost tragedy Cresphontes, in which Merope nearly kills her son unwittingly but stops when she recognizes him. Aristotle uses Merope and… read analysis of Merope

Orestes

Orestes is a figure in Greek mythology and Iphigeneia’s brother. He is the subject of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Sophocles’s Electra, and Euripides’s Iphigeneia at Aulis and Iphigeneia in Taurisread analysis of Orestes
Minor Characters
Euripides
Euripides was a Greek playwright of tragedy during the fifth century B.C.E. Aristotle uses Euripides’s tragedies Medea and Orestes to make points and arguments in Poetics.
Aristophanes
Aristophanes was an Ancient Greek playwright of comedy who lived during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. Aristotle mentions Aristophanes only briefly in Poetics, which generally does not explore comedy (it is thought that the part of the manuscript focusing on comedy did not survive antiquity).
Herodotus
Herodotus was a Greek historian from the fifth century B.C.E. Aristotle uses Herodotus to illustrate his point that histories are different from poetry because histories focus on a specific time, while poems focus on a specific action.