Aristotle (384-322 B. C. E. ), the son of a physician, was the student of Plato from approximately 367 B. C. until his mentorâ€™s death in 348/347. After carrying on philosophical and scientific investigations elsewhere in the Greek world and serving as the tutor to Alexander the Great, he returned to Athens in 335 B. C. E. to found the Lyceum, a major philosophical center, which he used as his base for prolific investigations into many areas of philosophy. Aristotle is a towering figure in ancient Greek philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. As a prolific writer and polymath, Aristotle radically transformed most, if not all, areas of knowledge he touched. It is no wonder that Aquinas referred to him simply as â€œThe Philosopher. â€ In his lifetime, Aristotle wrote as many as 200 treatises, of which only 31 survive. Unfortunately for us, these works are in the form of lecture notes and draft manuscripts never intended for general readership, so they do not demonstrate his reputed polished prose style which attracted many great followers, including the Roman Cicero. Aristotle was the first to classify areas of human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as mathematics, biology, and ethics. Some of these classifications are still used today. [There has been long speculation that the original Poetics comprised two books, our extant Poetics and a lost second book that supposedly dealt with comedy and catharsis. No firm evidence for the existence of this second book has been adduced. Our (knowledge of the text of the Poetics depends principally on a manuscript of the tenth or eleventh century and a second manuscript dating from the fourteenth century. ] (not to write in notes)*. Aristotle could be considered the first popular literary critic. Unlike Plato, who all but condemned written verse, Aristotle breaks it down and analyses it so as to separate the good from the bad. On a number of subjects Aristotle developed positions that significantly differed from those of his teacher. We very clearly note this profound difference of opinion with Plato and, indeed, observe the overt correction of his erstwhile master in Aristotleâ€™s literary and aesthetic theories. Aristotelian aesthetics directly contradicts Platoâ€™s negative view of art by establishing a potent intellectual role. The principal source of our knowledge of Aristotleâ€™s aesthetic and literary theory is the Poetics, but important supplementary information is found in other treatises, chiefly the Rhetoric, the Politics, and the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotleâ€™s main contribution to criticism may well be the idea that poetry is after all an art with an object of its own, that it can be rationally understood and reduced to an intelligible set of rules (that is, it is an â€œart,â€ according to the definition in the Ethics). The main concern of the rules of the Poetics, however, is not with the composition of literary works; it is rather with their critical evaluation. Consequently, criticism can be a science, and not a mass of random principles and intuitions. Aristotle speaks of the educative value of visual, musical and verbal arts. Both the Rhetoric and the Poetics can be considered â€“to be expansions of this view. We might say that Aristotle sets literature free from Platoâ€™s radical moralism and didacticism, while he still expects it to be conformable to a moral understanding of the world. For him, literature is a rational and beneficial activity, and not an irrational and dangerous one, as it was for Plato. Aristotle? s approach to literature is mainly philosophical: he is more concerned with the nature and the structure of poetry than with its origin. The origins of poetry had been grounded on the instinct of imitation which is natural to man. The first poetical works were spontaneous improvisations. The origins of the different genres is justified by Aristotle thus: â€œPoetry soon branched into two channels, according to the temperaments of individual poets. The more serious-minded among them represented noble actions and the doings of noble persons, while the more trivial wrote about the meaner sort of people; thus, while the one type wrote hymns and panegyrics, these others began by writing invectives. (Poetics II). â€ The development goes through serious or comic epic poems such as those written by Homer to comedy and tragedy; â€œthese new forms were both grander and more highly regarded than the earlierâ€ (Poetics II). Aristotle does not, however, decide on whether tragedy (and by implication, literature) has already developed as far as it can; but he does assert that it has come to a standstill. Aristotle makes a brief outline of the history of tragedy: â€œAt first the poets had used the tetrameter because they were writing satyr-poetry, which was more closely related to the dance; but once dialogue had been introduced, by its very nature it hit upon the right measure, for the iambic is of all measures the one best suited to speech . . . . Another change was the increased number of episodes, or acts. (Poetics II). â€ Aristotle also deals briefly with the rise of comedy: â€œthe early history of comedy. . . is obscure, because it was not taken seriously. Comedy had already acquired certain clear-cut forms before there is any mention of those who are named as its poets. Nor is it known who introduced masks, or prologues, or a plurality of actors, and other things of that kind. Of Athenian poets Crates was the first to discard the lampoon pattern and to adopt stories and plots of a more general nature. (Poetics II). â€ The work of Aristotle as a whole may be considered to be an attempt to develop a structural and metalinguistic approach to literature. Although it preserves a concern with valuation, its main thrust is towards the definition of theoretical possibilities and general laws. Some critics have spoken of Aristotleâ€™s sin of omission in relationship with lyric poetry and the inspirational element in literature. This is a fact. But it does not seem so important when we look at what Aristotle does say and the principles he establishes. We can barely recognize the aspect of criticism after Aristotleâ€™s work, if we compare it to its previous state. His is the most important single contribution to criticism in the whole history of the discipline.
William Shakespeare Comparison 130 Essay William Shakespeare entertains multiple themes throughout his sonnet collection and portays an overarching theme of love. Sir Philip Sydneyâ€™s difficulties with love are shown in his collection of sonnets â€œAstrophil and Stellaâ€. Both poets discuss the complications with love and the desire it creates. For example, in sonnet 1 Sydney has trouble conveying his love but hopes that through these sonnets she (Stella) will understand. Shakespeareâ€™s sonnet 129 as well as Sydney sonnet 109 both mention the reason for their hardships with love: what is fueling their desire. Both are struggling with lust but use different tones, ditcions and reasonings to arrive at the same point. Shakespeareâ€™s Sonnet 129 is grouped with poems known as the â€œdarkâ€ woman sonnets. This set of poems are on the darker side of Shakepeares classic love sonnets. Love is overbearing and causes the speaker to do things he normally wouldnâ€™t. He claims that anticipation of sex creates erratic human behavior. Shakespeare uses graphic imagery, â€œmurderous, bloody, full of blameâ€ to illustrate his frustration towards the situation (3). He blames his sexual desires and claims that they are driving him to insanity (â€œmakeâ€¦.taker madâ€ (8)). To him, lust is a sin and is the root of peoples pain. Throughout the poem the order of words tends to be reversed and repeated (â€œmadâ€, â€œpast reasonâ€) to deepen the impression of conflict, as in line 2: â€œlust in action; and till action, lust. â€ Despite intuition he is bound by passion and questions why he should â€œpurs[ue]â€ what he knows to be worthless (â€œswallowâ€™d baitâ€). The poem explains that sex is blissful while yourâ€™re doing it and, once youâ€™re done, a true sorrow that it ever happened A bliss in proof, and provâ€™d, a very woe; Before, a joy proposâ€™d; behind, a dream:â€¦(11-12). Here he embelishes the notion that people will go to absurd lengths in the pursuit of sex but end up hating themselves for it afterwards. Sydneyâ€™s Sonnet 109 immediately identifies â€˜desireâ€™ as the antagonist of the poet. In the first line he refers to love as a trap (â€œsnareâ€) for the ignorant to fall for. But Sydney has already fallen into this â€œlove trapâ€ and is referring to himself as the â€œfoolâ€ to do so. Syndey in the first few lines considers himself foolish for feeling this desire. He claims that desire leads people to act stupidly: â€œWith scattered thoughtâ€ and â€œcauseless careâ€, that while trying to accomplish a foolish task he was wasting his time. All his hard work was for nothing, consuming his rationality. Sydney and Shakespeare blame themselves for their craving of love, desire. The speaker in sonnet 129 canâ€™t help his appeal to this â€œdarkâ€ woman he refers. He knows it is painful to let desire go. He understands the self-hating conclusion to his lust but canâ€™t help his actions: â€œBefore, a joy proposâ€™d; behind, a dreamâ€(12). While Shakespeare anticipates sex, it seems like joy; afterward, a bad dream. Blaming his sexual attraction to others as a culpit for personal agony. Sydney describes the same struggles in his sonnet 109. To Sydney the process of falling in love is nothing but torture. His â€œmangled mindâ€ knows it worthless to feel this way and, similar to Shakespeare, doesnâ€™t â€œknow how to kill desireâ€(14). Both speakers convey an ambivalent tone towards desire. In line 5 Sydney has given into desire but in line 6 knows of its uselessness â€œDesire! Desire! I have too dearly brought / worthelesse wareâ€. Similarly, in the couplet at the end of Sonnet 129 Shakespeare writes â€œAll this the world well knowsâ€ to avoid the heavenly experience caused by desire because it â€œleads men to this hellâ€ (13-14). The authors identify what the outcome of their desires will be but allow it to happen anyways. Desire turns the speakers mad. In Shakespeareâ€™s case the desire for sex is â€œon purpose laid to make the taker madâ€(8); He has experienced all the stages of lust and each time it has made him crazy. As for Sydney, the reference to â€œmangled mindâ€ explains that he is on his way to insanity. He paid for his desire by driving â€œ[him]selfâ€ crazy. Sydney and Shakespeare seem to not know what to do. They are confused with the aching for love they possess. And it drives the speakers, whether it be Shakespeare or Sydney, to insanity. Both poets as well express the idea elsewhere that the â€œdarkâ€ women and â€œStellaâ€ are superior to them. They believe that they are at fault for this desire they occupy. In Sonnet 129 the poets endeavors convince him that the â€œdarkâ€ lady is better than he knows her to be. Similarily, Sydney makes it evident that this desire is a flaw in himself and not in the desired. In Sonnet 129 Shakespeare makes it vague to whether or not he is the speaker. Sydney seems to make it more evident by using point of view such as â€œI haveâ€. Under the rubric of a single theme the reader notices as many similarites as differences. Shakespeare uses very different syntax than Sydney to express the same idea. First of all, Sonnet 129 concerns physical appetites that are blamed for fueling sexual desires. â€œIs lust in action; and till action, lustâ€(2). Sydneys sonnet 109 blames his emotional feelings his mind canâ€™t help but feel â€œWithin my self to seek my only hireâ€ (13). Shakespeare uses mutiple juxtapositions such as â€œbeforeâ€/ â€œbehindâ€ and â€œheavanâ€/ â€œhellâ€. The juxtapositions allowed Shakespeare to convey both sides of his suffers. The vulgar tone in sonnet 129 contributes to the speakers hatred for physical desires. That it makes people â€œsavage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;â€(4). Shakespeare explains exactly what will happen when one undergoes these sexual yearnings â€œPast reason hunted; and no sooner had, / Past reason hated, as a swallowâ€™d baitâ€(6-7) allowing no room for interpretation. Sydney, on the other hand, exlpains the pain he feels, but is not exact what will happen subsequently. He recognizes the conclusion but doesnâ€™t know what it will fell like. Sydney understands that his desire will be worthless. Sonnet 129â€™s speaker has experienced desires worthlessness. He asserts that everyone knows and will finish as he did, in agony and pain: â€œAll this the world well knowsâ€ (13). The listâ€™s Shakespeares writes helps explain his frustration with sex and the â€œdarkâ€ lady. Listâ€™s solify details to pas experiences. It gives the reader more evidence to the speakers opinion. Whereas, Syndey effectivley emphasizes his point through punction and repition â€œDesire! , Desire! â€(5). Convincing the reader of Sydneys troubles. Sydney and Shakespeare suggest that love drives them out of control but have their own view on the intensity of the stress. Some people would consider that these feelings are more than standard. Not that they are exaggerating feelings in the sonnets but drive themselves to an extreme stage of loathing. Sydney expresses a lyrical tone compared to Shakespeares disdainful tone. Syndey voices his inner feelings and reads as though he has thought a lot about his struggles. In line 8 he writes â€œWho shouldst my mind to higher things prepareâ€, and explains that his mind should concentrate on more important things than desire. The use of â€œmy mindâ€ suggests that Sydney is trying to convince himself to focus on more important things. This plays in directly with his lyrical tone. Shakespeare, on the other hand, is more disdainful in his writing, â€œHad, having, and in quest to have, extreme;â€(10) and scornful towards his involvements with desire. In the end, Shakespeare in sonnet 129 and Sydney in sonnet 109 both write about their struggles with lust. Syndey composes his feelings throughout sonnet 109 while Shakespeare makes it evident of his scornful position towards desire itself.
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