Discuss Aristotle’s Concept of Imitation.


Discuss Aristotle’s Concept of Imitation.- Literature Xpres


Aristotle did not invent the term ‘Imitation'. He borrowed the word from his master Plato who was the first to use the Word in connection with poetry. But Aristotle breathes into it a new a and definite meaning, so that poetic imitation is no longer considered mere mimicry, but is regarded as an act of imaginative creation by which the poet, drawing his material from the phenomenal world, makes something new out of it.

According to Aristotle imitation is the common basis of all the fine arts. While Plato had equated poetry with painting, Aristotle equates it with music. The poet imitates not the surface of things but the higher reality embedded within. All art is a mode of imitation. Yet there are differences between the various modes of imitation. One such difference lies in their media of imitation. Another is the manner of imitation. The medium of imitation means the vehicle or the material through which the artists imitates. The media of the poet and the painter are different. The one imitates through form and colour, the other through language, rhythm and harmony. The musician imitates through rhythm and harmony. In this way, poetry is nearer to music than painting. As regards the manner of imitation, Aristotle says that there may-be three way of imitation:
(i)                 narrative,
(ii)              dramatic
(iii)            a combination of these two.





 The poet may narrate a part of his store and represent part of it through a dialogue between assumed characters. On the basis of the manner of imitation, poetry is classified as epic and dramatic. In dramatic poetry, the dramatic personages act the story, and in epic poetry a poet narrates the story, as well as tells it though a dialogue between assumed characters.

Regarding the objects of imitation. Aristotle says that the objects of poetic imitation are "men in action." According to Aristotle, Imitation is not a mere photographic representation of the surface of things, but is a creative process. 'It is not the junction of the poet to relate what has happened but what may happen-according to the laws of probability or necessity.  Thus, he demonstrates the superiority of poetry over history.
Plato condemned poetry as an imitation of "Shadow of shadows". The poets have no knowledge of truth; they are liars. Poetry is, therefore, "mother of lies". But to Aristotle art imitates not the mere shows of things, but the " ideal reality." embodied in very object of the world. The process of nature is a "creative process", everything in nature is constantly growing and moving up, and the poet imitates this upward movement of nature. Art reproduces the original not as it is, but as it appears to the senses. Thus, the poet does not copy the external world.

Thus Aristotle very convincingly refuted the charge of Plato, and provided a defense of poetry, which has ever since been used by lovers of poetry in justification of their Muse. :1-le breathed new life and soul into the concept of poetic imitation, enlarged its scope, and showed that it is, in reality, a creative process.

Source: Literary Criticism Book

Discuss Aristotle’s Concept of Imitation. Discuss Aristotle’s Concept of Imitation. Reviewed by Literature Xpress on Friday, November 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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