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This is a translation of Aristotle's "Poetics", an account of Greek tragedy, which demonstrates how the elements of plot, character and spectacle combine to produce "pity and fear", and why pleasure is derived from this apparently painful process. It introduces the concepts of "mimesis" ("imitation"), "hamartia" ("error") and "katharsis", which have informed thinking about drama ever since. It examines the mythological heroes whom Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripidies brought to the stage, and explains the most effective plays rely on complication and resolution, recognitions and reversals.
Aristotle was born at Stagira, in the dominion of the kings of Macedonia, in 384 BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens in the Academy of Plato. However he left on Plato's death and, some time later, became the tutor of young Alexander The Great.His writings have profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy, and they are still studied and debated today. Malcolm Heath has been Reader in Greek Language and Literature at Leeds University since 1991.