Poetics: Chapter 22 - Summary

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Diction and Style

      Aristotle stipulates the style of a poet should neither be so ornate as to become a riddle to understand, nor so ordinary that it seems mean or low. At the same time, the poet's language and style should be clear. If he uses current words alone, his style would be clear but not dignified. If, on the other hand, he uses strange word all the time, his style would become unintelligible. In other words, the diction of poetry does differ from the language of ordinary conversation, but not to the extent of becoming unintelligible.


      Regarding metaphor, Aristotle observes that is a gift which cannot be taught. Critics tend to ignore this statement, which is made without fanfare. It is clear that Aristotle does not discount poetic inspiration and natural in writing poetry; though the poetic art involves great craftsmanship, it is also a matter of natural gift and inspiration.

      Aristotle further comments on which type of words are most suitable for which species of poetry. Aristotle makes a valid observation when he says that the iambic verse is quite closely modeled on the rhythm of ordinary speech.

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