Aristotle’s Poetics

According to antique worldview, it is impossible to cure the sole with laughter. Comedy is considered to be a low genre that does not help in self-improvement process. In a contrary to comedy, tragedy is a serious genre that creates a highly emotional atmosphere and leads to catharsis.

Aristotle defines catharsis as “purgation of pity and fear” (Aristotle). He thought that the dramatic art has to show touching and scaring tragedies, so that people will be shocked by the performance. The philosopher wrote that after seeing a good tragedy, the audience will be purified from evil and they will become more sensitive and reflective in real life.

The artwork “Loneliness” created by Javier Ideami can be called an example of work that leads to catharsis. It has a tragic concept – the author writes it is about “lonely human, navigating the uncertain oceans of life, chasing the lights of the next horizon” (Ideami). The protagonist of this picture is a naked woman in despair. It is evident that there is an inner dilemma and the protagonist goes through moral suffering. The forlorn landscape in the background, drawn in black and white colors, emphasizes this dubious state.

In my opinion, the artwork by Ideami has a strong purifying effect. Many people in the modern society suffer from loneliness and depression. They might see their personification in the protagonist and feel the cold wind of touching their naked skin. The view might create a melancholic atmosphere if they have a vivid imagination. There is a ways in which this picture might lead the audience to catharsis. According to it, people will be horrified by the scene of loneliness. That is why they will try to avoid this variant of future by making new acquaintances and being more attentive to people around them. It might pit perfectly the concept of “purgation of pity and fear”, proposed by Aristotle.

Works Cited

Aristotle. The basic works of Aristotle. McKeon, R. (Ed.). New York: Modern Library. 2001. Print.

Ideami, Javier. Loneliness. N.d. Painting. n.p. Web. <>.

Bohart, A. C. Toward a cognitive theory of catharsis. Psychotherapy: Theory Research & Practice, 17, (1980): 192-201. Print.

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