We have seen in previous chapters how the conventions dictated both the outward form and the inner coherence of a seventeenth-century French tragedy, while unavoidable restrictions (put to good use by the best dramatists) affected the amount of physical action depicted on stage and hence the contemporary audience’s understanding of the terms plot and action. Now in the Poetics Aristotle is careful to suggest that language is secondary to plot and hence to action. In Chapter 9 he says that ‘the poet [i.e. the playwright] must be more the poet of his stories or Plots than of his verses, inasmuch as he is a poet by virtue of the imitative element in his work, and it is actions that he imitates’; and the list of constituent parts of tragedy in Chapter 6 places Diction after Plot, Characters and Thought but before Melody and Spectacle.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Modern Reader Basic Vocabulary Single Speech Formal Rhetoric
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.