In this assignment, we will discuss, Aristotle’s concept of tragedy in Poetics, the elements of tragedy, Aristotle’s six elements definition of tragedy, meaning, synonym, Greek tragedy what is tragedy according to Aristotle so that the students may understand very well. The word tragedy comes to us in association with Aristotle’s work poetics. Tragedy comes down to us as a tradition. He is considered as best and most acceptable of all the poetic forms. The theory of tragedy by Aristotle is remarkable for its insight and uniqueness.

Tragedy definition

Tragedy synonyms are here disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm, devastation, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, reverse, vicissitude, setback, trial, tribulation, affliction, blight, injury, adversity, sad event, serious accident, shock, blow, pain, sorrow, misery, distress agony unhappiness, sadness, disappointment, bummer, tragic drama, play, buskin.

According to Aristotle concept of tragedy in Poetics is under below

Meaning or Definition of Greek Tragedy 

The definition hints at the function and the nature of the tragedy. The nature of the tragedy is about the manner, medium and objects of imitation. According to Aristotle concept of tragedy in Poetics is very much lucid even today.

Aristotle’s concept of tragedy in Poetics, elements of tragedy, Aristotle’s six elements definition of tragedy, meaning, synonym, Greek tragedy, what is tragedy according to Aristotle

The origin of tragedy

According to Aristotle concept of tragedy in Poetics is very much comprehensive, no nee can refuse it. Aristotle defines the origin of tragedy in his book Poetics in the best possible way. He has identified the origin as developed from the heroic strain. That was originally developed from the hymns which were sung in the praise of the gods and the warriors and great men. Aristotle considered it as a higher form than the epic and the heroic poetry of the early ages. Aristotle compares the different stages of the evolution of tragedy and the epic in his book POETICS. He thought that the Tragedy has attained its full form and higher development till the time he has completely written it at that time. The tragedy is a more coherent and concentrated form than the epic and other literary forms.

Aristotle formulated the components of the tragedy. These are the six formative and basic components of the tragedy in poetics by Aristotle. Tragedy is composed of three external and three internal parts or elements of tragedy by Aristotle. The internal parts are based on the plot of the tragedy, characters and thoughts. The external parts are diction, song and spectacle. Songs are found in the choral parts of the tragedy and performed by the chorus of the tragedy.

The quantitative elements of tragedy by Aristotle

There are five quantitative components of tragedy. Modern dramatic plays do not utilize such elements in the course of the play. But Greek tragedy is based on such elements and we can apply all to the context of Greek tragedy. These elements are characterized as; a prologue, episode, exode, and choric song.  Choric songs can be divided into further parts. These are titled the Parade and Stasimon. 

The plot is the pivotal element of tragedy

So far as according to Aristotle’s concept of tragedy in Poetics Without a plot there can be no tragedy. Plot is considered the soul and basic component of tragedy by Aristotle. The plot is considered as the sequence and arrangement of events and incidents in the narration of the plays or tragedy. The plot is considered the living and pivotal part. The tragedy and the part of the tragedy must be representative of unity. If a play depicts the plot with the introduction of the single hero it will not follow the pattern of the formal and mechanical unity. A hero can face troubles of life at several moments but all of these are not necessary to depict in one play. Thus the arrangement of the plots should be selected by the author and the poet to bring classical unity to the play.

Simple plot

“Greek Tragedy” was sometimes based on a simple plot. The plot of the tragedy is basically divided into two components. These are simple and complex plots. A simple plot does not involve any violent change during the course of the tragedy. It does not involve any Peripeteia and Anagnorisis. It is about two states avoiding reality and about the recognition of reality and truth respectively. 

Complex plot

A complex plot involves sudden, abrupt and violent change. It must involve the recognition of truth and the insight of reality by the hero of the tragedy. The hero must undergo suffering during the course of the play. Aristotle considers and is in favour of the complex plot for tragedy.

A tragic hero/ character

Aristotle considers the four essentials for the better art of characterization in the Greek tragedy. He says that goodness should be the quality of the character of the tragedy. A character must behave appropriately in the tragedy. He must behave according to the designation assigned to him. He must not change his role during the course of the tragic play. A character should follow the path of goodness. He must be true to life in order to depict action in the tragic play. The characters must be living a better life in order to compete with the demands of the tragic play. The character must be representative of the true tragic action and the daily routine human nature of man. The characters must be consistent in their dealings A person should behave particularly according to the role assigned to him during the course of the tragic play.

Ideal tragic hero

An ideal tragic hero must be an intermediate sort of person who fits the tragic action of the play. He should follow a specific pattern of goodness and vices in order to create a special effect of catharsis in the play. He must fall from prosperity in order to undergo suffering for insight of the truth and reality. His downfall must be based on his hamartia; an error of judgment. He must be a highly renowned person.


Thought is the power of saying and expressing something in the tragic play. It is about the possibility of the action that can be occurred during the course of the action. It can be treated on an elevated scale in order to produce a special effect in tragedy.

Embellishment/songs in tragedy

A group of dancers and singers is introduced within the course of the tragic play in order to embellish the tragedy. The group comes with the dancing rhythms in order to produce a pleasurable effect in the play. The songs are verses sung to praise the gods and their warriors or notable figures. It is an imitation of action through songs or verses. But these are not necessary to the parts of tragedy by Aristotle.


Diction is the use of language in the tragic play. It is about the mode of communication and expression of ideas between the different characters. it is the way to express the inner thoughts and feelings exercised by the characters of the play. It includes the interpretation of the ideas and the thoughts of the characters. The langue used in the tragedy must be clear and must represent the sentiments of the characters. So, According to Aristotle’s concept of tragedy in Poetics, diction is also an element or characteristic of a tragedy


This is the less important element of the tragedy. It has to do more with the stagecraft of the tragedy. It is considered the external aspect of the tragedy. It relates to the manner of imitation according to the theory of Aristotle.

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