The Theatre of the Greeks: Or, The History, Literature, and Criticism of the Grecian Drama : with an Original Treatise on the Principal Tragic and Comic Metres

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J. Smith, 1830 - Greek drama - 572 pages

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Page 139 - For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality. Now character determines men's qualities, but it is by their actions that they are happy or the reverse.
Page 140 - A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something...
Page 149 - And as the strongest proof of it we find that upon the stage, and in the dramatic contests, such tragedies, if they succeed, have always the most tragic effect; and Euripides, though in other respects faulty in the conduct of his subjects, seems clearly to be the most tragic of all poets. I place in the second rank that kind of fable to which some assign the first: that which is of a double construction like the Odyssey, and also ends in two opposite events, to the good and to the bad characters.
Page 141 - Hence it is that no very minute animal can be beautiful ; the eye comprehends the whole too instantaneously to distinguish and compare the parts : — neither, on the contrary, can one of a prodigious size be beautiful; because, as all its parts cannot be seen at once, the whole, the unity of object, is lost to the spectator ; as it would be, for example, if he were surveying an animal of very many miles in length.
Page 136 - COMEDY, as was said before, is an imitation of bad characters; bad, not with respect to every sort of vice, but to the RIDICULOUS only, as being a species of turpitude or deformity ; since it may be defined to be — a fault or deformity of such a sort as is neither painful nor destructive. A ridiculous face, for example, is something ugly and distorted, but not so as to cause pain.
Page 159 - Farther : there is less unity in all epic imitation ; as appears from this — that any epic poem will furnish matter for several tragedies. For, supposing the poet to choose a fable strictly one, the consequence must be, either, that his poem, if proportionably contracted, will appear curtailed and defective, or, if extended to the usual length, will become weak, and, as it were, diluted. If, on the other hand, we suppose him to employ several fables — that is, a fable composed of several actions...
Page 158 - Among the many just claims of Homer to our praise, this is one — that he is the only poet who seems to have understood what part in his poem it was proper for him to take himself. The poet, in his own person, should speak as little as possible ; for he is not then the imitator.
Page 131 - Socratic dialogues; or poems in iambic, elegiac, or other metres, in which the epic species of imitation may be conveyed. Custom, indeed, connecting the poetry or making with the metre, has denominated some elegiac poets, ie, makers...
Page 141 - ... many miles in length. As, therefore, in animals and other objects, a certain magnitude is requisite, but that magnitude must be such as to present a whole easily comprehended by the eye...
Page 132 - Megarians; both by those of Greece, who contend that it took its rise in their popular government, and by those of Sicily, among whom the poet Epicharmus flourished long before Chionides and Magnes: and tragedy, also, is claimed by some of the Dorians of Peloponnesus. In support of these claims they argue from the words themselves. They allege that the Doric word for a village is...

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