Compare and Contrast between Epic and Tragedy

Introduction : Epic & Tragedy Aristotle’s Poetics includes definition, comparison and differences.

Introduction to Aristotle

Aristotle was born at a Greek colonial town in 384 B.C. He was a philosopher, moralist, psychologist, logician and a literary critic. He was the student of philosophic school of Plato in early age but in his old age he himself runs the school. His major works are literary essays, literary dialogues (except fragments other were lost), constitution of Athens and treatises. He died in 322 B.C.

Definition of Tragedy by Aristotle

According to Aristotle the tragedy is Imitation of an action that is serious and also having magnitude, complete in itself; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work, in dramatic , not in narrative form, with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions”. (Poetics Section-II chapter 6)

Definition of Epic

An epic is a long narrative poem about the deeds of warriors and heroes.

Differences between epic & tragedy Aristotle’s Poetics

The basic difference between epic and tragedy is that epic is in narrative form and tragedy is in dramatic form.

In epic there is narration by writer or the character in the story and there is no action in the epic but in tragedy there is action.

Tragedy has action so, it needs spectacle but in epic there is no action so, there is no spectacle.

Tragedy uses the choric songs but in epic there are no choric songs and epic uses single meter, heroic couplet in hexameter but in tragedy the variety of meter is used.

In tragedy preferably single theme is presented and in epic many themes can be presented as in tragedy single plot is preferable but in epic the multi plots can be used.

One another difference between epic and tragedy is that tragedy has less length than epic comparatively. Likewise tragedy more observes the unities than epic.

Similarities between Epic and Tragedy

Epic and tragedy both are written in verse form. Both can have simple or complex plot.

Tragedy is different from epic as above mentioned different elements and as the different genre of literature, both have their qualities as different genre of literature.

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