Aristotle on Catharsis

Following my reading of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, I have become fascinated with the relationship between Philosophy and Art, namely Aesthetics, and the Metaphysics of Appearances. This is certainly an area I intend to explore more fully, especially Nietzsche’s controversial opinion that Euripides (through the machinations of Socrates) brought about the downfall of Tragic Art. In an attempt to better understand this, I began delving into the world of Greek Tragedy, with a focus on the Aesthetic Philosophies that define it. Naturally, this brought me back into contact with the two literary phenomena of Mimesis and Catharsis, via such writings as Plato’s Ion; certain passages of The Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics – this latter work being a truly remarkable treatise to examine in detail.

After much perusing of various essays on Mimesis and Catharsis, I have settled on writing an essay exploring Aristotle’s doctrine of Catharsis, with particular attention to his standpoint on Tragedy. The working title as it stands is ‘Catharsis as an Aesthetic Telos in Aristotle’s Poetics‘.  My intention here is to demonstrate that (like many of his doctrines) Aristotle saw Catharsis as a Teleological process leading to a climactic intellectual elucidation during the course of the Drama, leaving its audience in a state of satisfied equanimity by its dénoument

I shall post the finished work to the ‘Philosophy’ page of Aristologos, under ‘Aristotle’.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *