University of Central Florida


How does Aristotle deal with the problem Plato raised, specifically, that drama portrays suffering and in so doing feeds our appetite for suffering and increases the desiring part of our soul?


Depictions of suffering are necessary to help us always be conscious of the fact that our actions might cause suffering.


Depictions of suffering purge these negative emotions in us, allowing us to imaginatively experience suffering without releasing those emotions in our everyday lives.


Depictions of suffering give us rational arguments about suffering.


None of the above.

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

In order to truly produce catharsis - the commingling of fear and pity in an audience - the suffering must be a consequence of reversal or recognition. And indeed, the more surprising the reversal or recognition - as in the case of Oedipus - the more the audience will themselves suffer empathetically, realizing that they too have been ambushed by the causal chain of the plot. Even as 'objective' observers, audience members too are flawed - and thus learn from the tragic hero's fate.

Aristotle believed that we might experience the suffering within the play and learn something from the drama. I think there is a combination of 2 and 3.