Poetics: Chapter 3 - Full Text

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The manner of imitation: Narrative or Dramatic. Etymology of 'Drama', and Origin of Drama

      III. A third difference in these arts is in the manner in which each object is represented. Given both the same means and the same kinds of objects for imitation, one may either (i) speak at one moment in narrative and at another in an assumed character, as Homer does; or (ii) one may remain the same throughout, without any such change; or (iii) the imitators may represent the whole story dramatically, as though they were actually doing the things described.

      As we said at the beginning, therefore, the differences in the imitation of these arts come under three heads their means, their objects, and their manner.

      So that as an imitator, Sophocles will be on one side akin to Homer, both portraying good men; and on another to Aristophanes, since both present their personages as acting and doing. This in fact, according to some, is the reason for plays being termed dramas, because in a play personages act out the story.

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