CONCEPT OF IDEAL TRAGIC PLOT IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE, he defines the plot as the very first principle and the pivotal element of tragedy.


In this topic we will elaborate on the CONCEPT OF the IDEAL TRAGIC PLOT IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE, What is an ideal plot according to Aristotle?, What are the characteristics of an ideal tragic plot according to Aristotle?, What are the features of an ideal plot in tragedy discuss with reference to Aristotle’s The Poetics? What is a simple plot according to Aristotle?, What does Aristotle say about the plot in tragedy? What idea of the plot does Aristotle convey in Chapter 8 of his poetics? What is the formal structure of a plot according to Aristotle?, What is the relation between plot and character? If you want to read about Ideal Polt then click here


Aristotle has stated the formulated and quantitative components of tragedy in his book Aristotle.  Tragedy is about the depiction of the action and the action is performed by the men in action. This action is based on many incidents and events during the course of tragedy. “CONCEPT OF IDEAL TRAGIC PLOT IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE” is that he defines the plot as the very first principle and the pivotal element of tragedy. The arrangement of the incidents and events in a specific pattern is the plot of the tragic play. The action can be stated as the progress and change in the position of the individual human being. Humans are the agents of these actions represented in the tragedy.   

Distinction between the story and the plot

When we are supposed to consider the plot as the soul of the tragedy then it becomes necessary to differentiate between the story and the plot. Aristotle does not imply the term plot with the collaboration of the word story. In order to put focus on the tragic plot he defines the poet as the maker of the tragic poet. He borrowed the idea from the Greeks. Greeks employed the word poet as the maker. The poet does not indulge in the process of making a story for the tragic play. His focus is on the tragic plot. For making up a tragic play he can use any of the stories either traditional or religious or contemporary story for his subject matter. Aristotle is interested to make the proper boundary between the plot and the story before explaining the components of the plot. He does so in order to avoid the possible ambiguity. Poet is never compelled by anyone to make a story. He picks his desired one from the ancient work. Aristotle puts his focus on the creation of the plot. He sees it as a creative and fundamental act. It involves the episodes which are further connected to each other.

The construction of the plot

The logical relationship between the events and incidents is about the construction of the plot. It involves the process of episodizing. It should follow the laws of probability and necessity to bring a whole unity to the plot. The incidents of the plot should carry all the information necessary for the makeup of the plot. The irrational and chaotic behaviour will destroy and affect the construction of the plot. He says that there is no need to add the words ‘’how’’ and ‘’why’’ to the beginning of the plots. The events must be presented in a simple, clear, lucid and logical style. There should be a close relationship between the middle, beginning and end of the tragic plot in order to bring unity to the plot. There should be a chain-like connection between the incidents and events. The introductory events should follow the middle and the end should be followed up by the middle. There is no possibility of coincidence in the course of the tragic plot.

Plot should be an artistic whole

CONCEPT OF IDEAL TRAGIC PLOT IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE: Aristotle focuses on the components of the plot. The various incidents and events must be connected logically to the later part of the plot. The introductory events start the change in the course of the tragic plot. The change is from happiness to misery and falling from prosperity to adversity.  An unhappy ending is necessary for the tragedy. The Greek plays are about the execution of serious action. They considered the tragedy as a serious dramatic action. He is in favour of the unhappy ending in order to draw a moral lesson. Aristotle views the ending of Euripides and thinks that their tragic action lies due to the perfection of the unhappy ending.

The magnitude of the plot

It is about the importance of the plot within the tragic drama. The plot of a tragic play must carry a certain magnitude. The plot must not exceed the concerned magnitude. It must follow the proper limit in order to narrate all the necessary events. If the plot does not follow the proper magnitude we will witness that there will be no coherence in the events of the plot.

Simple plot

The simple plot does not evolve any drastic change. A simple plot is without the recognition of the truth and reality. There is a change in the fortune of the characters and they fall from happiness to misery and prosperity to adversity. There is the continuation of the events till the end of the plot.

Complex plots

The plots following a special pattern include the reversal and the discovery of the truth. The reversal of the fortune is based on the defect of the character. The error of judgment brings the downfall of the character. The character may suffer from blindness of insight and bring his own downfall. The hero may be unaware of the reality and the inner truth about the situation. He may act particularly because of Anagnorisis.


PERIPETY is about the reversal of fortune. The hero falls from prosperity to adversity. It is about the abrupt change in the tragic action brought by the action of the characters. The tragic plot and crisis involve the PERIPETY to bring abrupt change.


The discovery is about the state of an abrupt change from ignorance to truth and reality. The tragic incidents cooperate to bring the discovery in the tragic drama. It is about discovering the status of the relationship between different characters. It highlights the tragic effect of the tragedy. Aristotle praises the Oedipus Rex for depicting both PERIPETY and discovery. These elements are responsible for the feelings of pity and fear aroused in the audience and the readers.


The tragic end of the play follows two categories complication and denouement. Complication involves the abrupt turning point of the tragic play. It is about the tragic event occurring in the play. The remaining and the later part after the complication involves the denouement. It aims towards the single ending of the tragic drama. There must not be a duality of action at the end. The denouement must bring feelings of pity and fear through the eternal justice done to the tragic characters. He never favours in demand of poetic justice in case of tragic drama. He has not seated a model for the execution of tragic-comedy.

Dramatic unities

Aristotle always favours a single action for the execution of tragedy. He is never in favour of blending happiness and misery. He has deliberately drawn a boundary between two extremes. He has nothing to say about the unity of place. He ruled out the plurality of tragic action in his poetics. His chief concern is to bring unity of action in order to make the plot an organic whole. It should follow a specific pattern of a single revolution. He says that it is the duty of the epic to narrate a number of actions occurring in different places and different events. Tragedy is performed on the stage as a religious festival; therefore there is no chance for the unity of place.


CONCEPT OF IDEAL TRAGIC PLOT IN POETICS BY ARISTOTLE We can term the concept of the ideal tragic plot as the classical one. Because he has presented patterns and order to link all the events and incidents. He has considered the fatal plot more tragic and fit for the execution of tragedy. He focuses on the unity of action and on the oneness of action during the tragic play. He works to give the concept of an ideal tragic plot according to the law of probability and necessity.

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