Poetics: Chapter 12 - Summary

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The Quantitative Parts of Tragedy

      The plays are divided into acts in modern times and its counterpart in the ancient Greek practice. The quantitive parts of tragedy are part of Greek theatrical convention. Critics and scholars have considered this chapter to be an interpolation, as it hampers the smooth flow of ideas in the Poetics. The quantitative parts of tragedy are (1) Prologue, (2) Episode, (3) Exode, (4) Choric song, which is divided into (i) Parode, (ii) Stasimon and (iii) Commos. The Prologue is the entire part of the tragedy between the beginning and Parode of the chorus. The Parode is the entrance song of the Chorus. An Episode is one of the entire parts of the tragedy coming between two complete choral songs. In modern times its equivalent would be an Act of the play. That the part of the Tragedy should be treated as formative elements in the whole was mentioned in a previous chapter. The Exode is all that follows the last choral song. A Stasimon is a song of the Chorus without anapaests or trochees while a Commos is a lamentation Sung by the Chorus and actors in concert.

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