Aristotle's Poetics

Elucidate Aristotle’s concept of ‘Hamartia.’

Elucidate Aristotle’s concept of ‘Hamartia.’

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Hamartiais is a hero's tragic 'flaw' or 'frailty' that leads to his demise. Aristotle believes that a good tragedy presents a character whose downfall comes because of a flaw in him - 'an error or frailty.' Though he is renowned, prosperous, even seeming virtuous, there is a chink in his armor that will inevitably be found - and will be the source of his demise.

Fear and pity truly can only be elicited through this tragic flaw in the hero which in turn is motivated by the 'unity' or spine of the entire piece. Some poets, says Aristotle, use spectacle to motivate fear and pity, but this ultimately does not resonate for long, since spectacle produces a different type of 'pleasure' than the one requisite for tragedy. Only pity and fear can produce true 'purgation' or emotions, rather than a spectacle of false catharsis.