Philosophy and Literature 41 (1):201-206 (2017)

Jules Brody argues that Aristotle's usage of hamartia in The Poetics is best understood in terms of its literal meaning, "missing the mark," rather than in the broader, familiar sense of "tragic flaw." Hamartia is a morally neutral non-normative term, derived from the verb hamartano, meaning "to miss the mark," "to fall short of an objective." And by extension: to reach one destination rather than the intended one; to make a mistake, not in the sense of a moral failure, but in the nonjudgmental sense of taking one thing for another, taking something for its opposite. Hamartia may betoken an error of discernment due to ignorance, to the lack of an essential piece of information.1 Or, as S. H. Butcher would have it:...
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DOI 10.1353/phl.2017.0013
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