The theory of imitation by Aristotle in his book Poetics is a document in which he defines art as creative imaginative work and the world as art of God. He not only speaks about the work of art but also about the different categories of art and its capacities. He differs from the ideas about imitation presented by Plato in relation to poetry. He considers imitation as the basic and fundamental thing to execute all modes of art and creative works. He applies the phenomena to all works regarding comedy, tragedy, dancing, painting and flute-playing. He is of the view that all these forms in general are the result of imitation. He differentiates the process of imitation from the general mimicry performed by the writers and poets in an ancient era. He does not accept the view that it is thrice removed from reality. He presents his own notions about the process of imitation. Plato holds imitation as servile copying and mimicry but Aristotle advocates it as a process of creative imagination. He says that the musicians only imitate the surface realities but this concept is much wider and about the inner realities and the truth of the man. He is of the view that there should be an imitation of the expressions and the inner moods of the man. Aristotle places his subject as a wider and deep idea and he gives the idea about Catharsis.
The medium of imitation
The common principle for the creation of art is imitation but they may differ in different aspects. The creative imaginative imitation may differ varying the medium and means of imitation. Colour and sound may work as a means of imitation for creative imagination. If we apply the idea in the case of music they may produce different sounds and rhythms. The different instruments to produce music result in different sounds and different melodies. Literature is also taken as an art and imaginative work. It imitates through the use of diction and language. Aristotle is not interested in title art as a specific genre, he merely uses to name it art and creative imagination. The writers of prose work and makers of verses also try to imitate the natural imagery through the use of language and diction. Aristotle makes a particular distinction between music and verse. They both are the same in their origin but the music involves the use of tone and rhythms. The painter employs form and color to produce a creative work but the poet and writers use language to execute the plan. He does not take the idea of imitation as the exact reproduction required by the painters. He just tries to depict the inner realities in order to give a creative imaginative work. There should be an imitation of human emotions, fidelity, inner capacities and realities through the process of imitation in order to present the real and true essence of a work of art.
The object of imitation
We consider the Theory of imitation by Aristotle in his book Poetics and the idea of imitation as the exact reproduction of the action executed by someone. But only a painter can do the same with the idea. The objects for imitation are men in action in the universe. Their action is about moving from one place to another or expressing the general lifestyle. The idea demands that there should be captivity of human experiences, expressions, and inner emotions. The ‘’mimesis’’ serves as the imitation of human emotions and realities. This idea leads to recording the general human nature and the human action performed on different occasions. It involves the captivity of human emotions, to sum up, the work of art and creativity.
The agents of action
The depiction of the men in action may be represented a real-life event or may differ in different prospects. They may be imitated as better than real life or worse than real life. In the work of poetry, there is a realistic depiction of the men. They are depicted as heroic characters and better than real life. The men in action are represented as heroic and ideal figures in the process of making imaginative work such as poetry. It also ridicules the follies and fables of the man by pointing out their worse actions. Their bad actions are caricatured with the process of imaginative and ideal work.
Manner of imitation
There are different modes of imitation which poets and writers imitate. In, Theory of imitation by Aristotle in his book Poetics, the mode adopted by the poets is narration to depict the realities of the world. He may assume the character by following the path of Homer. He may pick the same idea throughout the poetic work. There should also be a manifestation of dramatic art in the process of narrating the poem.
Classification of poetry on the basis of the manner
In the case of the epic work dramatic and narrative method is adopted to portray the real action of life. In narrative work, the poet himself speaks of all events and all happenings, in order to give a creative work. The dramatic work involves the characters acting and speaking in a particular way. He makes a distinction between poetry as creative work and the other arts on the basis of the medium carried by both genres.
The origin of poetry
He is interested to trace and depict the origin of poetry from natural human impulses. The poets are great observers of human nature. Their natural instinct derives them to focus and observe the natural imagery and the realities for the origination of poetry. He is much in favour of a dramatic framework for that purpose. He carries the idea that good imitation will bring delight and pleasure to the maker of that item. He does not confine the idea of imitation to the beauty of nature; the ugly aspects of nature imitated by heroic men are also idealistic causes of the situation.