Aristotle's Metaphysics Literary Elements

Aristotle's Metaphysics Literary Elements


Philosophy, argument, theses

Setting and Context

Fourth century BC, Athens, Greece, after philosophers like Socrates and Plato, and Sophists.

Narrator and Point of View

Unmoderated argument (first person with author as narrator) from the point of view of Aristotle as himself.

Tone and Mood

The feel of the work is rigorously logical, but the mood in spite of the terse logic and arguments maintains a very reverent mood and a humble position of man's role as learner.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Logical, syllogistic reasoning is offered as the correct manner for thought. The opposite would be the "antagonistic" system.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is its core argument, which is that things exist a certain way and not another, and that it's caused to be that way by a higher force, which is revealed to be the Unmoved Mover.


The passage about the Unmoved Mover is perhaps the most implicative passage; it informs the entirety of the work and serves as the grounds for Aristotle's arguments about logic and truth. The reason things are true has to do with God's existence and the reason things exist is a consequence of God's ultimate causality.


Because their is no literal plot, the work doesn't maintain the capability for certain literary structures, of which foreshadowing is one.


This is another difficult catergory for this philosophical work, because there is little implicature in Aristotle's logic (famously so). This means that Aristotle is very specific about the explicit nature of his arguments--therefore no hyperbole/understatement.


The work contains allusions to Plato's Phaedo, Republic, Timaeus, et al, along with extensive discussions concerning arguments posited by the Greek sophists (especially in section B which discusses paradoxes).


Little to none, although the work is considered to be evocative and artistic in other ways.


Many positions held in the work can be understood in paradoxical ways, such as God's uncaused existence, or perhaps the unveriability of his logical system (which doesn't mean that he is not right--it just means that there is no way to observe his rightness in any literal or physical way). Other paradoxes are offered in section B which focuses on such issues.


The entirety of the work is offered in parallel arguments. The structure for his arguments is "If this be, and if this be, then this also is." All his positions are loosely syllogistic.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy is employed when referencing certain camps of thought, and the work employs a certain metonymy as well (i.e. "Aristotle says..." in lieu of "Aristotle wrote in the Metaphysics that...").

The Unmoved Mover passage can be viewed as a synecdochic to the philosophical systems offered in the Metaphysics. Essentially, the arguments are parallel; all things are caused by an unobservable prior causation, of which God is synecdoche and source for all the interrelated causes.


Little to no personification is employed as a literary feature in the core arguments of the work.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.