Euripedes Medea versus Aristotlean Poetics Essay

1570 Words 7 Pages
Aristotle, a philosopher, scientist, spiritualist and passionate critic of the arts, spent many years studying human nature and its relevance to the stage. His rules of tragedy in fact made a deep imprint on the writing of tragic works, while he influenced the structure of theatre, with his analysis of human nature. Euripides 'Medea', a Greek tragedy written with partial adherence to the Aristotelian rules, explores the continuation of the ancient Greek tales surrounding the mythology of Medea, Princess of Colchis, and granddaughter of Helios, the sun god, with heartlessness to rival the infamous Circe. While the structure of this play undoubtedly perpetuates many of the Aristotelian rules, there are some dramatic structures which …show more content…
(Act 1, sc ii. Lines 277-280)

These lines, even out of context, represent pity for Medea, as well as fear on her behalf. When the audience feels these emotions as a result of the action, they are experiencing the cathartic response to which Aristotle gave mention.

Of course, catharsis isn?t the only element prevalent in a tragic success by Aristotle?s rules, and many of his other teachings indicate a far more structural approach to creating successful tragic theatre. Perhaps the most famous of his rules is the employment of the ?Three Unities?. That is, the unity of time, place and action. Well known modern critic, Tariq Hayat Las (2006) wrote that ?The unity of time limits the supposed action to the duration, roughly, of a single day, unity of place limits it to one general locality, and the unity of action limits it to a single set of incidents which are related as cause and effect, "having a beginning, a middle, and an end." This definition, essentially, is an abridged translation of what Aristotle originally wrote himself, and thoroughly, yet succinctly outlines what the three unities are all about. Medea, with relevance to these unities, is particularly adherent, in the sense that the location does not change, the time is apparent in its constraints and every action serve as a reaction to what came previously in the text.
It is difficult to give a textual example of the three unities, because the whole principle of their
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