Aristotle on Character, Women, and Natural Slaves

Philosophia 38 (2) (2010)

This article discusses Aristotle’s notion of character, and how it should be presented in a play, such as a tragic drama. In Poetics 1450a 24, Aristotle entertains the possibility of a tragedy without character, and commentators have argued about whether a tragic drama can really unfold without characters of its agents being manifested; and whether Aristotle really meant a tragic drama that is completely devoid of character, or simply one that contains personalities that are considered to be stereotyped or wooden. I will discuss different opinions of commentators on this issue, and offer my reasons for supporting one of their views. Since this remark on “characterless tragedy” was made in order to show the superiority of plot over character in tragedy, I will need to discuss these two elements in full; and it is in Aristotle’s discussion of the element of character that his view on women and natural slaves was presented
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