Comment on Aristotle’s view on the effects of Tragedy/ Catharsis in Tragedy
Aristotle's definition of tragedy in The Poetics (Chapter 6) includes the element of the emotional effect of tragedy. While describing the nature of tragedy, he claims that the action of the tragedy has a healthy impact on the mind and arouses pity and fear wherewith to accomplish the catharsis of such emotions. The implication here is that a tragic action, as it is represented, liberates the mind of a spectator from the selfish narrowness of the mundane existence and elevates him to a sublime, though somewhat mysterious, meaning of life. This has a significant moral purpose to purge out of his mind what are the elements of pity and fear. The purging of the emotions of pity and fear from the mind is characterized as the catharsis by Aristotle.
Aristotle's contention about catharsis in tragedy has diverse interpretations and opinions. There are opinions that Aristotle has insisted on the purification of human emotions by the imitation of an action in tragedy. The suggestion is that tragedy purifies all gross and narrow elements and stirs healthy and lofty sentiments and these, for the time being, come up on the surface of the mind.
In Aristotle's view tragic pity and fear may be aroused by the fable or by the very incidents as well as structure of the play. In his conception, the tragic action should be so framed that even, without the spectacle, the cathartic effect may be achieved by the mere recital of the story. "The Plot, in fact, should be so framed that, even without seeing the things take place, he who simply hears the account of them shall be filled with horror and pity at the incidents". (Chapter 14)
Indeed, the emotion of pity and fear is spontaneously brought out of the mind of a spectator by the impact of tragedy—by its stirring incidents, situations and characters. Human mind is purged out of its gross selfishness and achieves quiet and peace by the realization of the...