Aristotle's Triple Threat Legacy

by Professor Julia Evergreen Keefer

Professor Keefer is a kinesiologist, rhetoric professor, and screenwriter

Aristotle was the world's foremost multidisciplinary professor, an inspiration to those of us in the twenty-first century who seek to cross disciplines to improve cognitive performance and seek greater understanding of the world.

To study Aristotle's three main books in light of twenty-first methodology and pedagogy
To seek disciplinary connections between dramaturgy, kinesiology, and rhetoric/argumentation--or law, medicine, and the theater
To investigate the best way to train physically, cognitively, and psychologically, analyzing the best way to improve the body with fitness, the mind with mental gymnasiums, and the emotions through the character transformation of a dramatic catharsis

Required Reading
Aristotle's Poetics, Physics, Rhetoric, The Motion and Gait of Animals
A Screenwriting Textbook (Syd Field, Linda Aronson, Robert McKee etc.)
An Anatomy/Kinesiology Fitness Book
An Argumentation/Rhetoric Textbook
The Discoveries by Alan Lightman


Aristotle was born in Stageira (Greek: St??e??a) in Chalcidice . His parents were Phaestis and Nicomachus, who became physician to King Amyntas of Macedon . Aristotle was educated as a member of the aristocracy . At about the age of eighteen, he went to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy . Aristotle remained at the Academy for nearly twenty years, not leaving until after Plato's death in 347 BC . He then traveled with Xenocrates to the court of Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. While in Asia, Aristotle traveled with Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island. Aristotle married Hermias' daughter (or niece) Pythias . She bore him a daughter, whom they named Pythias. Soon after Hermias' death, Aristotle was invited by Philip of Macedon to become tutor to Alexander the Great .

After spending several years tutoring the young Alexander, Aristotle returned to Athens. By 335 BC , he established his own school there, the Lyceum . Aristotle directed courses at the Lyceum for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died. Aristotle soon became involved with Herpyllis of Stagira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus .

It is during this time in Athens that Aristotle is thought to have composed many of his works. Although Aristotle wrote dialogues, only fragments of these have survived. The works that have survived are in treatise form and, for the most part, were not meant for widespread publication. These are generally thought to be lecture notes or texts used by his students. Among the most important are Physics , Metaphysics (or Ontology ) , Nicomachean Ethics , Politics , De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics . These works, although connected in many fundamental ways, differ significantly in both style and substance.

Aristotle not only studied almost every subject possible at the time, but made significant contributions to most of them. In science, Aristotle studied anatomy , astronomy , economics , embryology , geography , geology , meteorology , physics , and zoology . In philosophy, Aristotle wrote on aesthetics , ethics , government , metaphysics , politics , psychology , rhetoric and theology . He also dealt with education , foreign customs, literature and poetry . His combined works practically constitute an encyclopedia of Greek knowledge. It has been remarked that Aristotle was likely the last person to know everything there was to be known in his own time. [1]

Upon Alexander's death in 323 BC , anti-Macedonian feelings in Athens once again flared. Eurymedon the hierophant denounced Aristotle, claiming he did not hold the gods in honor. Aristotle fled the city to his mother's family estate in Chalcis, explaining, "I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy ." [2] However, he died there of natural causes within the year. Aristotle left a will , which has been preserved, in which he asked to be buried next to his wife.


For more details on this topic, see Aristotle's theory of universals .

Aristotle defines his philosophy in terms of essence , saying that philosophy is "the science of the universal essence of that which is actual". Plato had defined it as the "science of the idea ", meaning by idea what we should call the unconditional basis of phenomena . Both pupil and master regard philosophy as concerned with the universal ; Aristotle, however, finds the universal in particular things, and called it the essence of things, while Plato finds that the universal exists apart from particular things, and is related to them as their prototype or exemplar . For Aristotle, therefore, philosophic method implies the ascent from the study of particular phenomena to the knowledge of essences, while for Plato philosophic method means the descent from a knowledge of universal ideas to a contemplation of particular imitations of those ideas. In a certain sense, Aristotle's method is both inductive and deductive , while Plato's is essentially deductive from a priori principles (Jori, 2003).

In Aristotle's terminology, "natural philosophy" was a branch of philosophy that studied the phenomena of the natural world, and included matters that today fall under the domain of physics , biology , and other natural sciences . In modern times the scope of philosophy has come to be more narrowly defined as limited to more generic or abstract inquiries such as ethics and metaphysics, in which logic plays a major role, and as excluding the empirical study of the natural world by means of the scientific method . In contrast, in Aristotle's time and use, philosophy was taken to encompass all facets of intellectual inquiry.

In the larger sense of the word, Aristotle makes philosophy coextensive with reasoning , which he also called "science". Note, however, that his use of the term science carries a different meaning than that covered by the term " scientific method ." For Aristotle, "all science ( dianoia ) is either practical, poetical or theoretical". By practical science he means ethics and politics; by poetical science, he means the study of poetry and the other fine arts; while by theoretical science he means physics, mathematics , and metaphysics.

If logic, or, as Aristotle calls it, Analytic , is regarded as a study preliminary to philosophy, the divisions of Aristotelian philosophy are: (1) Logic ; (2) Theoretical Philosophy, including Metaphysics , Physics , Mathematics , (3) Practical Philosophy; and (4) Poetical Philosophy.

Aristotle's epistemology


Main article: Aristotelian logic For more details on this topic, see Non-Aristotelian logic .

Aristotle's conception of logic was the dominant form of logic up until the advances in mathematical logic in the 19th century. Kant stated in the Critique of Pure Reason that Aristotle's theory of logic had arrived at a complete account of the core of deductive inference.


Aristotle "says that 'on the subject of reasoning' he 'had nothing else on an earlier date to speak of'" (Bochenski, 1951). However, Plato reports that syntax was thought of before him, by Prodikos of Keos , who was concerned by the right use of words. Logic seems to have emerged from dialectics ; the earlier philosophers used concepts like reductio ad absurdum as a rule when discussing, but never understood its logical implications. Even Plato had difficulties with logic. Although he had the idea of constructing a system for deduction , he was never able to construct one. Instead, he relied on his dialectic , which was a confusion between different sciences and methods (Bochenski, 1951). Plato thought that deduction would simply follow from premises , so he focused on having good premises so that the conclusion would follow. Later on, Plato realized that a method for obtaining the conclusion would be beneficial. Plato never obtained such a method, but his best attempt was published in his book Sophist , where he introduced his division method (Rose, 1968).

Analytics and the Organon

Main article: Organon

What we today call Aristotelian logic , Aristotle himself would have labeled "analytics". The term "logic" he reserved to mean dialectics . Most of Aristotle's work is probably not in its original form, since it was most likely edited by students and later lecturers. The logical works of Aristotle were compiled into six books in about the early 1st century AD:

  1. Categories
  2. On Interpretation
  3. Prior Analytics
  4. Posterior Analytics
  5. Topics
  6. On Sophistical Refutations

The order of the books (or the teachings from which they are composed) is not certain, but this list was derived from analysis of Aristotle's writings. It goes from the basics, the analysis of simple terms in the Categories, to the study of more complex forms, namely, syllogisms (in the Analytics) and dialectics (in the Topics and Sophistical Refutations). There is one volume of Aristotle's concerning logic not found in the Organon , namely the fourth book of Metaphysics. (Bochenski, 1951).

Modal logic

Aristotle is also the creator of syllogisms with modalities (modal logic). The word modal refers to the word 'modes', explaining the fact that modal logic deals with the modes of truth. Aristotle introduced the qualification of 'necessary' and 'possible' premises. He constructed a logic which helped in the evaluation of truth but which was difficult to interpret. (Rose, 1968).


Aristotle, by Francesco Hayez

In the period between his two stays in Athens, between his times at the Academy and the Lyceum, Aristotle conducted most of the scientific thinking and research for which he is now most renowned. In fact, most of Aristotle's life was devoted to the study of the objects of natural science. Aristotle's Metaphysics contains observations on the nature of numbers but he made no original contributions to Mathematics. He did, however, perform original research in the natural sciences, including: botany, zoology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, geometry and several other sciences.

Aristotle's writings on science are largely qualitative, not quantitative. Beginning in the sixteenth century, scientists began applying mathematics to the physical sciences, and Aristotle's work in this area was found to be hopelessly inadequate. His failings were largely due to lacking concepts like mass, velocity, force, and temperature. He had a notion of what speed and temperature was, but no quantitative understanding of them, which was partly due to not having basic experimental apparatus, like a clock or thermometer.

His writings provide an account of many scientific observations, but there are some curious errors. For example, in his History of Animals he claimed that human males have more teeth than females. In a similar vein, Galileo showed by simple experiments that Aristotle's theory that the heavier object falls faster than a lighter object is incorrect.

In places, Aristotle goes too far in deriving 'laws of the universe' from simple observation and over-stretched reason . Today's scientific method assumes that such thinking without sufficient facts is ineffective, and that discerning the validity of one's hypothesis requires far more rigorous experimentation than that which Aristotle used to support his laws.

Aristotle also had some scientific blind spots, the largest being his inability to see the application of mathematics to physics. Aristotle held that physics was about changing objects with a reality of their own, whereas mathematics was about unchanging objects without a reality of their own. In this philosophy, he could not imagine that there was a relationship between them. He also posited a flawed cosmology that we may discern in selections of the Metaphysics , which was widely accepted up until the 1500s. From the 3rd century to the 1500s, the dominant view held that the Earth was the center of the universe ( geocentrism ). This scientific concept, as proposed by Aristotle and Plato was later adopted as dogma by the Roman Catholic Church because it placed mankind at the center of the universe, and scientists who disagreed, such as Galileo , were considered heretics. This erroneous concept was eventually rejected.

Aristotle's scientific shortcomings should not mislead one into forgetting the immense advances that he made in the many fields of science. For instance, he founded logic as a formal science and created foundations to biology that were not superseded (in the West) for two millennia. Also, he introduced the fundamental notion that nature is composed of things that change and that studying such changes can provide useful knowledge. This made the study of physics, and all other sciences, respectable. This observation, though, goes beyond physics and is really the subject matter of metaphysics.

Aristotle's metaphysics

Aristotle defines metaphysics as "the knowledge of immaterial being", or of "being in the highest degree of abstraction". He calls metaphysics "first philosophy", and also "the theologic science".


The Material Cause is that from which a thing comes into existence as from its parts, constituents, substratum or materials. This reduces the explanation of causes to the parts (factors, elements, constituents, ingredients) forming the whole (system, structure, compound, complex, composite, or combination) (the part-whole causation). An example of a material cause might be the marble in a carved statue.

The Formal Cause tells us what a thing is, that any thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis, or archetype. It embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the whole (macrostructure) is the cause of its parts (the whole-part causation). An example of a formal cause might be the sketches or plans of the carved statue.


The Efficient Cause is that from which the change or the ending of the change first starts. It identifies 'what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed' and so suggests all sorts of agents, nonliving or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent or agency or particular events or states of affairs. An example of an efficient cause might be the artist who carved the statue.

The Final Cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. The final cause or telos is the purpose or end that something is supposed to serve, or it is that from which and that to which the change is. This also covers modern ideas of mental causation involving such psychological causes as volition, need, motivation, or motives, rational, irrational, ethical, all that gives purpose to behavior. The final cause of the artist might be the statue itself. ( teleology )

Additionally, things can be causes of one another, causing each other reciprocally, as hard work causes fitness and vice versa, although not in the same way or function, the one is as the beginning of change, the other as the goal. [Thus Aristotle first suggested a reciprocal or circular causality as a relation of mutual dependence or action or influence of cause and effect.] Also, Aristotle indicated that the same thing can be the cause of contrary effects, its presence and absence may result in different outcomes.

Aristotle marked two modes of causation: proper (prior) causation and accidental (chance) causation. All causes, proper and incidental, can be spoken as potential or as actual, particular or generic. The same language refers to the effects of causes, so that generic effects assigned to generic causes, particular effects to particular causes, operating causes to actual effects. Essentially, causality does not suggest a temporal relation between the cause and the effect.

All further investigations of causality will consist of imposing the favorite hierarchies on the order causes, such as final > efficient> material > formal ( Thomas Aquinas ), or of restricting all causality to the material and efficient causes or to the efficient causality (deterministic or chance) or just to regular sequences and correlations of natural phenomena (the natural sciences describing how things happen instead of explaining the whys and wherefores).

Chance and spontaneity

Spontaneity and chance are causes of effects. Chance as an incidental cause lies in the realm of accidental things. It is "from what is spontaneous" (but note that what is spontaneous does not come from chance). For a better understanding of Aristotle's conception of "chance" it might be better to think of "coincidence": Something takes place by chance if a person sets out with the intent of having one thing take place, but with the result of another thing (not intended) taking place. For example: A person seeks donations. That person may find another person willing to donate a substantial sum. However, if the person seeking the donations met the person donating, not for the purpose of collecting donations, but for some other purpose, Aristotle would call the collecting of the donation by that particular donator a result of chance. It must be unusual that something happens by chance. In other words, if something happens all or most of the time, we cannot say that it is by chance.

However, chance can only apply to human beings, it is in the sphere of moral actions. According to Aristotle, chance must involve choice (and thus deliberation), and only humans are capable of deliberation and choice. "What is not capable of action cannot do anything by chance" ( Physics , 2.6).

Substance, potentiality and actuality

Aristotle examines the concept of substance ( ousia ) in his Metaphysics , Book VII and he concludes that a particular substance is a combination of both matter and form . As he proceeds to the book VIII, he concludes that the matter of the substance is the substratum or the stuff of which it is composed e.g. the matter of the house are the bricks, stones, timbers etc., or whatever constitutes the potential house. While the form of the substance, is the actual house, namely ‘covering for bodies and chattels' or any other differentia (see also predicables ). The formula that gives the components is the account of the matter, and the formula that gives the differentia is the account of the form (Metaphysics VIII, 1043a 10-30).

With regard to the change ( kinesis ) and its causes now, as he defines in his Physics and On Generation and Corruption 319b-320a, he distinguishes the coming to be from 1. growth and diminution, which is change in quantity 2. locomotion, which is change in space and 3. alteration, which is change in quality. The coming to be is a change where nothing persists of which the resultant is property. In that particular change he introduces the concept of potentiality ( dynamis ) and actuality ( entelecheia ) in association with the matter and the form.

Referring to potentiality, this is what a thing is capable of doing, or being acted upon, if it is not prevented from something else. For example, a seed of a plant in the soil is potentially ( dynamei ) plant, and if is not prevented by something, it will become a plant. Potentially beings can either 'act' ( poiein ) or 'be acted upon' ( paschein ), as well as can be either innate or come by practice or learning. For example, the eyes possess the potentiality of sight (innate - being acted upon), while the capability of playing the flute can be possessed by learning (exercise - acting).

Referring now to actuality, this is the fulfillment of the end of the potentiality. Because the end ( telos ) is the principle of every change, and for the sake of the end exists potentiality, therefore actuality is the end. Referring then to our previous example, we could say that actuality is when the seed of the plant becomes a plant.

“ For that for the sake of which a thing is, is its principle, and the becoming is for the sake of the end; and the actuality is the end, and it is for the sake of this that the potentiality is acquired. For animals do not see in order that they may have sight, but they have sight that they may see.” (Aristotle, Metaphysics IX 1050a 5-10).

In conclusion, the matter of the house is its potentiality and the form is its actuality . The Formal Cause ( aitia ) then of that change from potential to actual house, is the reason ( logos ) of the house builder and the Final Cause is the end, namely the house itself. Then Aristotle proceeds and concludes that the actuality is prior to potentiality in formula, in time and in substantiality.

With this definition of the particular substance ( matter and form ) Aristotle tries to solve the problem of the unity of the beings; e.g. , what is that makes the man one? Since, according to Plato there are two Ideas: animal and biped, how then is man a unity? However, according to Aristotle, the potential being (matter) and the actual one (form) are one and the same thing. (Aristotle, Metaphysics VIII 1045a-b).

The five elements

Main article: Five Elements

Each of the four earthly elements has its natural place; the earth at the centre of the universe, then water, then air, then fire. When they are out of their natural place they have natural motion, requiring no external cause, which is towards that place; so bodies sink in water, air bubbles up, rain falls, flame rises in air. The heavenly element has perpetual circular motion.


Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand, whilst Plato gestures to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms .

Aristotle has been criticized on several grounds. Since he was perhaps the philosopher most respected by European thinkers during and after the Renaissance, these thinkers often took Aristotle's erroneous positions as given, which held back science in this epoch.


It is the opinion of many that Aristotle's system of thought remains the most marvellous and influential one ever put together by any single mind. According to historian Will Durant, no other philosopher has contributed so much to the enlightenment of the world. [5] He single-handedly founded the sciences of Logic , Biology and Psychology .

Aristotle is referred to as "The Philosopher" by Scholastic thinkers like Thomas Aquinas . See Summa Theologica , Part I, Question 3, etc. These thinkers blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity, bringing the thought of Ancient Greece into the Middle Ages. It required a repudiation of some Aristotelian principles for the sciences and the arts to free themselves for the discovery of modern scientific laws and empirical methods. The medieval English poet Chaucer describes his student as being happy by having

At his bedded hed
Twenty books clothed in blake or red,
Of Aristotle and his philosophie;


The Italian poet Dante says of Aristotle in the first circles of hell ,

I saw the Master there of those who know,
Amid the philosophic family,
By all admired, and by all reverenced;
There Plato too I saw, and Socrates,
Who stood beside him closer than the rest.

Dante The Divine Comedy

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has been said to take nearly all of his political philosophy from Aristotle. [6]


The loss of his works

Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues ( Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold"), [7] the vast majority of his writings are now lost, while the literary character of those that remain is disputed. Aristotle's works were lost and rediscovered several times, and it is believed that about one fifth of his original works have survived.

One story of the original manuscripts of his treatises is described by Strabo in his Geography and Plutarch in his Parallel Lives . [8] The manuscripts were left from Aristotle to his successor Theophrastus , who in turn willed them to Neleus of Scepsis . Neleus supposedly took the writings from Athens to Scepsis , where his heirs let them languish in a cellar until the first century BC, when Apellicon of Teos discovered and purchased the manuscripts, bringing them back to Athens. According to the story, Apellicon tried to repair some of the damage that was done during the manuscripts' stay in the basement, introducing a number of errors into the text. When Lucius Cornelius Sulla occupied Athens in 86 BC, he carried off the library of Appellicon to Rome , where they were first published in 60 BC by the grammarian Tyrranion of Amisus and then by philosopher Andronicus of Rhodes .

Carnes Lord attributes the popular belief in this story to the fact that it provides "the most plausible explanation for the rapid eclipse of the Peripatetic school after the middle of the third century, and for the absence of widespread knowledge of the specialized treatises of Aristotle throughout the Hellenistic period, as well as for the sudden reappearance of a flourishing Aristotelianism during the first century B.C." [9] Lord voices a number of reservations concerning this story, however. First, the condition of the texts is far too good for them to have suffered considerable damage followed by Apellicon's inexpert attempt at repair. Second, there is "incontrovertible evidence," Lord says, that the treatises were in circulation during the time in which Strabo and Plutarch suggest they were confined the cellar in Scepsis. Third, the definitive edition of Aristotle's texts seems to have been made in Athens some fifty years before Andronicus supposedly compiled his. And fourth, ancient library catalogues predating Andronicus' intervention list an Aristotelean corpus quite similar to the one we currently possess. Lord sees a number of post-Aristotelean interpolations in the Politics , for example, but is generally confident that the work has come down to us relatively intact.

After the Roman period, Aristotle's works were by and large lost to the West for a second time. They were, however, preserved in the East by various Muslim scholars and philosophers, many of whom wrote extensive commentaries on his works. Aristotle lay at the foundation of the falsafa movement in Islamic philosophy , stimulating the thought of Al-Farabi , Ibn Sina , Ibn Rushd and others.

As the influence of the falsafa grew in the West, in part due to Gerard of Cremona 's translations and the spread of Averroism , the demand for Aristotle's works grew. William of Moerbeke translated a number of them into Latin. When Thomas Aquinas wrote his theology , working from Moerbeke's translations, the demand for Aristotle's writings grew and the Greek manuscripts returned to the West, stimulating a revival of Aristotelianism in Europe .

The extant works of Aristotle are broken down according to the five categories in the Corpus Aristotelicum . The titles are given in accordance with the standard set by the Revised Oxford Translation. [10] Not all of these works are considered genuine, but differ with respect to their connection to Aristotle, his associates and his views. Some, such as the Athenaion Politeia or the fragments of other politeia are regarded by most scholars as products of Aristotle's "school" and compiled under his direction or supervision. Other works, such as On Colours may have been products of Aristotle's successors at the Lyceum, e.g., Theophrastus and Straton . Still others acquired Aristotle's name through similarities in doctrine or content, such as the De Plantis, possibly by Nicolaus of Damascus . A final category, omitted here, includes medieval palmistries , astrological and magical texts whose connection to Aristotle is purely fanciful and self-promotional. Those that are seriously disputed are marked with an asterisk.

[ edit ] Logical writings

[ edit ] Physical and scientific writings


[ edit ] Metaphysical writings


[ edit ] Ethical writings


[ edit ] Aesthetic writings


[ edit ] A work outside the Corpus Aristotelicum


[ edit ] Specific editions


[ edit ] Named after Aristotle

Academic Genealogy Notable teachers Notable students
Plato Alexander the Great

Demetrius of Phalerum
Eudemos of Rhodes
Mnason of Phocis


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by W. Rhys Roberts

Table of Contents

Book I
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Part 1

Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic. Both alike are concerned with such things as come, more or less, within the general ken of all men and belong to no definite science. Accordingly all men make use, more or less, of both; for to a certain extent all men attempt to discuss statements and to maintain them, to defend themselves and to attack others. Ordinary people do this either at random or through practice and from acquired habit. Both ways being possible, the subject can plainly be handled systematically, for it is possible to inquire the reason why some speakers succeed through practice and others spontaneously; and every one will at once agree that such an inquiry is the function of an art.

Now, the framers of the current treatises on rhetoric have constructed but a small portion of that art. The modes of persuasion are the only true constituents of the art: everything else is merely accessory. These writers, however, say nothing about enthymemes, which are the substance of rhetorical persuasion, but deal mainly with non-essentials. The arousing of prejudice, pity, anger, and similar emotions has nothing to do with the essential facts, but is merely a personal appeal to the man who is judging the case. Consequently if the rules for trials which are now laid down some states-especially in well-governed states-were applied everywhere, such people would have nothing to say. All men, no doubt, think that the laws should prescribe such rules, but some, as in the court of Areopagus, give practical effect to their thoughts and forbid talk about non-essentials. This is sound law and custom. It is not right to pervert the judge by moving him to anger or envy or pity-one might as well warp a carpenter's rule before using it. Again, a litigant has clearly nothing to do but to show that the alleged fact is so or is not so, that it has or has not happened. As to whether a thing is important or unimportant, just or unjust, the judge must surely refuse to take his instructions from the litigants: he must decide for himself all such points as the law-giver has not already defined for him.

Now, it is of great moment that well-drawn laws should themselves define all the points they possibly can and leave as few as may be to the decision of the judges; and this for several reasons. First, to find one man, or a few men, who are sensible persons and capable of legislating and administering justice is easier than to find a large number. Next, laws are made after long consideration, whereas decisions in the courts are given at short notice, which makes it hard for those who try the case to satisfy the claims of justice and expediency. The weightiest reason of all is that the decision of the lawgiver is not particular but prospective and general, whereas members of the assembly and the jury find it their duty to decide on definite cases brought before them. They will often have allowed themselves to be so much influenced by feelings of friendship or hatred or self-interest that they lose any clear vision of the truth and have their judgement obscured by considerations of personal pleasure or pain. In general, then, the judge should, we say, be allowed to decide as few things as possible. But questions as to whether something has happened or has not happened, will be or will not be, is or is not, must of necessity be left to the judge, since the lawgiver cannot foresee them. If this is so, it is evident that any one who lays down rules about other matters, such as what must be the contents of the 'introduction' or the 'narration' or any of the other divisions of a speech, is theorizing about non-essentials as if they belonged to the art. The only question with which these writers here deal is how to put the judge into a given frame of mind. About the orator's proper modes of persuasion they have nothing to tell us; nothing, that is, about how to gain skill in enthymemes.

Hence it comes that, although the same systematic principles apply to political as to forensic oratory, and although the former is a nobler business, and fitter for a citizen, than that which concerns the relations of private individuals, these authors say nothing about political oratory, but try, one and all, to write treatises on the way to plead in court. The reason for this is that in political oratory there is less inducement to talk about nonessentials. Political oratory is less given to unscrupulous practices than forensic, because it treats of wider issues. In a political debate the man who is forming a judgement is making a decision about his own vital interests. There is no need, therefore, to prove anything except that the facts are what the supporter of a measure maintains they are. In forensic oratory this is not enough; to conciliate the listener is what pays here. It is other people's affairs that are to be decided, so that the judges, intent on their own satisfaction and listening with partiality, surrender themselves to the disputants instead of judging between them. Hence in many places, as we have said already, irrelevant speaking is forbidden in the law-courts: in the public assembly those who have to form a judgement are themselves well able to guard against that.

It is clear, then, that rhetorical study, in its strict sense, is concerned with the modes of persuasion. Persuasion is clearly a sort of demonstration, since we are most fully persuaded when we consider a thing to have been demonstrated. The orator's demonstration is an enthymeme, and this is, in general, the most effective of the modes of persuasion. The enthymeme is a sort of syllogism, and the consideration of syllogisms of all kinds, without distinction, is the business of dialectic, either of dialectic as a whole or of one of its branches. It follows plainly, therefore, that he who is best able to see how and from what elements a syllogism is produced will also be best skilled in the enthymeme, when he has further learnt what its subject-matter is and in what respects it differs from the syllogism of strict logic. The true and the approximately true are apprehended by the same faculty; it may also be noted that men have a sufficient natural instinct for what is true, and usually do arrive at the truth. Hence the man who makes a good guess at truth is likely to make a good guess at probabilities.

It has now been shown that the ordinary writers on rhetoric treat of non-essentials; it has also been shown why they have inclined more towards the forensic branch of oratory.

Rhetoric is useful (1) because things that are true and things that are just have a natural tendency to prevail over their opposites, so that if the decisions of judges are not what they ought to be, the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be blamed accordingly. Moreover, (2) before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct. Here, then, we must use, as our modes of persuasion and argument, notions possessed by everybody, as we observed in the Topics when dealing with the way to handle a popular audience. Further, (3) we must be able to employ persuasion, just as strict reasoning can be employed, on opposite sides of a question, not in order that we may in practice employ it in both ways (for we must not make people believe what is wrong), but in order that we may see clearly what the facts are, and that, if another man argues unfairly, we on our part may be able to confute him. No other of the arts draws opposite conclusions: dialectic and rhetoric alone do this. Both these arts draw opposite conclusions impartially. Nevertheless, the underlying facts do not lend themselves equally well to the contrary views. No; things that are true and things that are better are, by their nature, practically always easier to prove and easier to believe in. Again, (4) it is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. And if it be objected that one who uses such power of speech unjustly might do great harm, that is a charge which may be made in common against all good things except virtue, and above all against the things that are most useful, as strength, health, wealth, generalship. A man can confer the greatest of benefits by a right use of these, and inflict the greatest of injuries by using them wrongly.

It is clear, then, that rhetoric is not bound up with a single definite class of subjects, but is as universal as dialectic; it is clear, also, that it is useful. It is clear, further, that its function is not simply to succeed in persuading, but rather to discover the means of coming as near such success as the circumstances of each particular case allow. In this it resembles all other arts. For example, it is not the function of medicine simply to make a man quite healthy, but to put him as far as may be on the road to health; it is possible to give excellent treatment even to those who can never enjoy sound health. Furthermore, it is plain that it is the function of one and the same art to discern the real and the apparent means of persuasion, just as it is the function of dialectic to discern the real and the apparent syllogism. What makes a man a 'sophist' is not his faculty, but his moral purpose. In rhetoric, however, the term 'rhetorician' may describe either the speaker's knowledge of the art, or his moral purpose. In dialectic it is different: a man is a 'sophist' because he has a certain kind of moral purpose, a 'dialectician' in respect, not of his moral purpose, but of his faculty.

Let us now try to give some account of the systematic principles of Rhetoric itself-of the right method and means of succeeding in the object we set before us. We must make as it were a fresh start, and before going further define what rhetoric is.

Part 2

Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion. This is not a function of any other art. Every other art can instruct or persuade about its own particular subject-matter; for instance, medicine about what is healthy and unhealthy, geometry about the properties of magnitudes, arithmetic about numbers, and the same is true of the other arts and sciences. But rhetoric we look upon as the power of observing the means of persuasion on almost any subject presented to us; and that is why we say that, in its technical character, it is not concerned with any special or definite class of subjects.

Of the modes of persuasion some belong strictly to the art of rhetoric and some do not. By the latter I mean such things as are not supplied by the speaker but are there at the outset-witnesses, evidence given under torture, written contracts, and so on. By the former I mean such as we can ourselves construct by means of the principles of rhetoric. The one kind has merely to be used, the other has to be invented.

Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided. This kind of persuasion, like the others, should be achieved by what the speaker says, not by what people think of his character before he begins to speak. It is not true, as some writers assume in their treatises on rhetoric, that the personal goodness revealed by the speaker contributes nothing to his power of persuasion; on the contrary, his character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion he possesses. Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile. It is towards producing these effects, as we maintain, that present-day writers on rhetoric direct the whole of their efforts. This subject shall be treated in detail when we come to speak of the emotions. Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.

There are, then, these three means of effecting persuasion. The man who is to be in command of them must, it is clear, be able (1) to reason logically, (2) to understand human character and goodness in their various forms, and (3) to understand the emotions-that is, to name them and describe them, to know their causes and the way in which they are excited. It thus appears that rhetoric is an offshoot of dialectic and also of ethical studies. Ethical studies may fairly be called political; and for this reason rhetoric masquerades as political science, and the professors of it as political experts-sometimes from want of education, sometimes from ostentation, sometimes owing to other human failings. As a matter of fact, it is a branch of dialectic and similar to it, as we said at the outset. Neither rhetoric nor dialectic is the scientific study of any one separate subject: both are faculties for providing arguments. This is perhaps a sufficient account of their scope and of how they are related to each other.

With regard to the persuasion achieved by proof or apparent proof: just as in dialectic there is induction on the one hand and syllogism or apparent syllogism on the other, so it is in rhetoric. The example is an induction, the enthymeme is a syllogism, and the apparent enthymeme is an apparent syllogism. I call the enthymeme a rhetorical syllogism, and the example a rhetorical induction. Every one who effects persuasion through proof does in fact use either enthymemes or examples: there is no other way. And since every one who proves anything at all is bound to use either syllogisms or inductions (and this is clear to us from the Analytics), it must follow that enthymemes are syllogisms and examples are inductions. The difference between example and enthymeme is made plain by the passages in the Topics where induction and syllogism have already been discussed. When we base the proof of a proposition on a number of similar cases, this is induction in dialectic, example in rhetoric; when it is shown that, certain propositions being true, a further and quite distinct proposition must also be true in consequence, whether invariably or usually, this is called syllogism in dialectic, enthymeme in rhetoric. It is plain also that each of these types of oratory has its advantages. Types of oratory, I say: for what has been said in the Methodics applies equally well here; in some oratorical styles examples prevail, in others enthymemes; and in like manner, some orators are better at the former and some at the latter. Speeches that rely on examples are as persuasive as the other kind, but those which rely on enthymemes excite the louder applause. The sources of examples and enthymemes, and their proper uses, we will discuss later. Our next step is to define the processes themselves more clearly.

A statement is persuasive and credible either because it is directly self-evident or because it appears to be proved from other statements that are so. In either case it is persuasive because there is somebody whom it persuades. But none of the arts theorize about individual cases. Medicine, for instance, does not theorize about what will help to cure Socrates or Callias, but only about what will help to cure any or all of a given class of patients: this alone is business: individual cases are so infinitely various that no systematic knowledge of them is possible. In the same way the theory of rhetoric is concerned not with what seems probable to a given individual like Socrates or Hippias, but with what seems probable to men of a given type; and this is true of dialectic also. Dialectic does not construct its syllogisms out of any haphazard materials, such as the fancies of crazy people, but out of materials that call for discussion; and rhetoric, too, draws upon the regular subjects of debate. The duty of rhetoric is to deal with such matters as we deliberate upon without arts or systems to guide us, in the hearing of persons who cannot take in at a glance a complicated argument, or follow a long chain of reasoning. The subjects of our deliberation are such as seem to present us with alternative possibilities: about things that could not have been, and cannot now or in the future be, other than they are, nobody who takes them to be of this nature wastes his time in deliberation.

It is possible to form syllogisms and draw conclusions from the results of previous syllogisms; or, on the other hand, from premisses which have not been thus proved, and at the same time are so little accepted that they call for proof. Reasonings of the former kind will necessarily be hard to follow owing to their length, for we assume an audience of untrained thinkers; those of the latter kind will fail to win assent, because they are based on premisses that are not generally admitted or believed.

The enthymeme and the example must, then, deal with what is in the main contingent, the example being an induction, and the enthymeme a syllogism, about such matters. The enthymeme must consist of few propositions, fewer often than those which make up the normal syllogism. For if any of these propositions is a familiar fact, there is no need even to mention it; the hearer adds it himself. Thus, to show that Dorieus has been victor in a contest for which the prize is a crown, it is enough to say 'For he has been victor in the Olympic games', without adding 'And in the Olympic games the prize is a crown', a fact which everybody knows.

There are few facts of the 'necessary' type that can form the basis of rhetorical syllogisms. Most of the things about which we make decisions, and into which therefore we inquire, present us with alternative possibilities. For it is about our actions that we deliberate and inquire, and all our actions have a contingent character; hardly any of them are determined by necessity. Again, conclusions that state what is merely usual or possible must be drawn from premisses that do the same, just as 'necessary' conclusions must be drawn from 'necessary' premisses; this too is clear to us from the Analytics. It is evident, therefore, that the propositions forming the basis of enthymemes, though some of them may be 'necessary', will most of them be only usually true. Now the materials of enthymemes are Probabilities and Signs, which we can see must correspond respectively with the propositions that are generally and those that are necessarily true. A Probability is a thing that usually happens; not, however, as some definitions would suggest, anything whatever that usually happens, but only if it belongs to the class of the 'contingent' or 'variable'. It bears the same relation to that in respect of which it is probable as the universal bears to the particular. Of Signs, one kind bears the same relation to the statement it supports as the particular bears to the universal, the other the same as the universal bears to the particular. The infallible kind is a 'complete proof' (tekmerhiou); the fallible kind has no specific name. By infallible signs I mean those on which syllogisms proper may be based: and this shows us why this kind of Sign is called 'complete proof': when people think that what they have said cannot be refuted, they then think that they are bringing forward a 'complete proof', meaning that the matter has now been demonstrated and completed (peperhasmeuou); for the word 'perhas' has the same meaning (of 'end' or 'boundary') as the word 'tekmarh' in the ancient tongue. Now the one kind of Sign (that which bears to the proposition it supports the relation of particular to universal) may be illustrated thus. Suppose it were said, 'The fact that Socrates was wise and just is a sign that the wise are just'. Here we certainly have a Sign; but even though the proposition be true, the argument is refutable, since it does not form a syllogism. Suppose, on the other hand, it were said, 'The fact that he has a fever is a sign that he is ill', or, 'The fact that she is giving milk is a sign that she has lately borne a child'. Here we have the infallible kind of Sign, the only kind that constitutes a complete proof, since it is the only kind that, if the particular statement is true, is irrefutable. The other kind of Sign, that which bears to the proposition it supports the relation of universal to particular, might be illustrated by saying, 'The fact that he breathes fast is a sign that he has a fever'. This argument also is refutable, even if the statement about the fast breathing be true, since a man may breathe hard without having a fever.

It has, then, been stated above what is the nature of a Probability, of a Sign, and of a complete proof, and what are the differences between them. In the Analytics a more explicit description has been given of these points; it is there shown why some of these reasonings can be put into syllogisms and some cannot.

The 'example' has already been described as one kind of induction; and the special nature of the subject-matter that distinguishes it from the other kinds has also been stated above. Its relation to the proposition it supports is not that of part to whole, nor whole to part, nor whole to whole, but of part to part, or like to like. When two statements are of the same order, but one is more familiar than the other, the former is an 'example'. The argument may, for instance, be that Dionysius, in asking as he does for a bodyguard, is scheming to make himself a despot. For in the past Peisistratus kept asking for a bodyguard in order to carry out such a scheme, and did make himself a despot as soon as he got it; and so did Theagenes at Megara; and in the same way all other instances known to the speaker are made into examples, in order to show what is not yet known, that Dionysius has the same purpose in making the same request: all these being instances of the one general principle, that a man who asks for a bodyguard is scheming to make himself a despot. We have now described the sources of those means of persuasion which are popularly supposed to be demonstrative.

There is an important distinction between two sorts of enthymemes that has been wholly overlooked by almost everybody-one that also subsists between the syllogisms treated of in dialectic. One sort of enthymeme really belongs to rhetoric, as one sort of syllogism really belongs to dialectic; but the other sort really belongs to other arts and faculties, whether to those we already exercise or to those we have not yet acquired. Missing this distinction, people fail to notice that the more correctly they handle their particular subject the further they are getting away from pure rhetoric or dialectic. This statement will be clearer if expressed more fully. I mean that the proper subjects of dialectical and rhetorical syllogisms are the things with which we say the regular or universal Lines of Argument are concerned, that is to say those lines of argument that apply equally to questions of right conduct, natural science, politics, and many other things that have nothing to do with one another. Take, for instance, the line of argument concerned with 'the more or less'. On this line of argument it is equally easy to base a syllogism or enthymeme about any of what nevertheless are essentially disconnected subjects-right conduct, natural science, or anything else whatever. But there are also those special Lines of Argument which are based on such propositions as apply only to particular groups or classes of things. Thus there are propositions about natural science on which it is impossible to base any enthymeme or syllogism about ethics, and other propositions about ethics on which nothing can be based about natural science. The same principle applies throughout. The general Lines of Argument have no special subject-matter, and therefore will not increase our understanding of any particular class of things. On the other hand, the better the selection one makes of propositions suitable for special Lines of Argument, the nearer one comes, unconsciously, to setting up a science that is distinct from dialectic and rhetoric. One may succeed in stating the required principles, but one's science will be no longer dialectic or rhetoric, but the science to which the principles thus discovered belong. Most enthymemes are in fact based upon these particular or special Lines of Argument; comparatively few on the common or general kind. As in the therefore, so in this work, we must distinguish, in dealing with enthymemes, the special and the general Lines of Argument on which they are to be founded. By special Lines of Argument I mean the propositions peculiar to each several class of things, by general those common to all classes alike. We may begin with the special Lines of Argument. But, first of all, let us classify rhetoric into its varieties. Having distinguished these we may deal with them one by one, and try to discover the elements of which each is composed, and the propositions each must employ.

Part 3

Rhetoric falls into three divisions, determined by the three classes of listeners to speeches. For of the three elements in speech-making--speaker, subject, and person addressed--it is the last one, the hearer, that determines the speech's end and object. The hearer must be either a judge, with a decision to make about things past or future, or an observer. A member of the assembly decides about future events, a juryman about past events: while those who merely decide on the orator's skill are observers. From this it follows that there are three divisions of oratory-(1) political, (2) forensic, and (3) the ceremonial oratory of display.

Political speaking urges us either to do or not to do something: one of these two courses is always taken by private counsellors, as well as by men who address public assemblies. Forensic speaking either attacks or defends somebody: one or other of these two things must always be done by the parties in a case. The ceremonial oratory of display either praises or censures somebody. These three kinds of rhetoric refer to three different kinds of time. The political orator is concerned with the future: it is about things to be done hereafter that he advises, for or against. The party in a case at law is concerned with the past; one man accuses the other, and the other defends himself, with reference to things already done. The ceremonial orator is, properly speaking, concerned with the present, since all men praise or blame in view of the state of things existing at the time, though they often find it useful also to recall the past and to make guesses at the future.

Rhetoric has three distinct ends in view, one for each of its three kinds. The political orator aims at establishing the expediency or the harmfulness of a proposed course of action; if he urges its acceptance, he does so on the ground that it will do good; if he urges its rejection, he does so on the ground that it will do harm; and all other points, such as whether the proposal is just or unjust, honourable or dishonourable, he brings in as subsidiary and relative to this main consideration. Parties in a law-case aim at establishing the justice or injustice of some action, and they too bring in all other points as subsidiary and relative to this one. Those who praise or attack a man aim at proving him worthy of honour or the reverse, and they too treat all other considerations with reference to this one.

That the three kinds of rhetoric do aim respectively at the three ends we have mentioned is shown by the fact that speakers will sometimes not try to establish anything else. Thus, the litigant will sometimes not deny that a thing has happened or that he has done harm. But that he is guilty of injustice he will never admit; otherwise there would be no need of a trial. So too, political orators often make any concession short of admitting that they are recommending their hearers to take an inexpedient course or not to take an expedient one. The question whether it is not unjust for a city to enslave its innocent neighbours often does not trouble them at all. In like manner those who praise or censure a man do not consider whether his acts have been expedient or not, but often make it a ground of actual praise that he has neglected his own interest to do what was honourable. Thus, they praise Achilles because he championed his fallen friend Patroclus, though he knew that this meant death, and that otherwise he need not die: yet while to die thus was the nobler thing for him to do, the expedient thing was to live on.

It is evident from what has been said that it is these three subjects, more than any others, about which the orator must be able to have propositions at his command. Now the propositions of Rhetoric are Complete Proofs, Probabilities, and Signs. Every kind of syllogism is composed of propositions, and the enthymeme is a particular kind of syllogism composed of the aforesaid propositions.

Since only possible actions, and not impossible ones, can ever have been done in the past or the present, and since things which have not occurred, or will not occur, also cannot have been done or be going to be done, it is necessary for the political, the forensic, and the ceremonial speaker alike to be able to have at their command propositions about the possible and the impossible, and about whether a thing has or has not occurred, will or will not occur. Further, all men, in giving praise or blame, in urging us to accept or reject proposals for action, in accusing others or defending themselves, attempt not only to prove the points mentioned but also to show that the good or the harm, the honour or disgrace, the justice or injustice, is great or small, either absolutely or relatively; and therefore it is plain that we must also have at our command propositions about greatness or smallness and the greater or the lesser-propositions both universal and particular. Thus, we must be able to say which is the greater or lesser good, the greater or lesser act of justice or injustice; and so on.

Such, then, are the subjects regarding which we are inevitably bound to master the propositions relevant to them. We must now discuss each particular class of these subjects in turn, namely those dealt with in political, in ceremonial, and lastly in legal, oratory.

Part 4

First, then, we must ascertain what are the kinds of things, good or bad, about which the political orator offers counsel. For he does not deal with all things, but only with such as may or may not take place. Concerning things which exist or will exist inevitably, or which cannot possibly exist or take place, no counsel can be given. Nor, again, can counsel be given about the whole class of things which may or may not take place; for this class includes some good things that occur naturally, and some that occur by accident; and about these it is useless to offer counsel. Clearly counsel can only be given on matters about which people deliberate; matters, namely, that ultimately depend on ourselves, and which we have it in our power to set going. For we turn a thing over in our mind until we have reached the point of seeing whether we can do it or not.

Now to enumerate and classify accurately the usual subjects of public business, and further to frame, as far as possible, true definitions of them is a task which we must not attempt on the present occasion. For it does not belong to the art of rhetoric, but to a more instructive art and a more real branch of knowledge; and as it is, rhetoric has been given a far wider subject-matter than strictly belongs to it. The truth is, as indeed we have said already, that rhetoric is a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics; and it is partly like dialectic, partly like sophistical reasoning. But the more we try to make either dialectic rhetoric not, what they really are, practical faculties, but sciences, the more we shall inadvertently be destroying their true nature; for we shall be re-fashioning them and shall be passing into the region of sciences dealing with definite subjects rather than simply with words and forms of reasoning. Even here, however, we will mention those points which it is of practical importance to distinguish, their fuller treatment falling naturally to political science.

The main matters on which all men deliberate and on which political speakers make speeches are some five in number: ways and means, war and peace, national defence, imports and exports, and legislation.

As to Ways and Means, then, the intending speaker will need to know the number and extent of the country's sources of revenue, so that, if any is being overlooked, it may be added, and, if any is defective, it may be increased. Further, he should know all the expenditure of the country, in order that, if any part of it is superfluous, it may be abolished, or, if any is too large, it may be reduced. For men become richer not only by increasing their existing wealth but also by reducing their expenditure. A comprehensive view of these questions cannot be gained solely from experience in home affairs; in order to advise on such matters a man must be keenly interested in the methods worked out in other lands.

As to Peace and War, he must know the extent of the military strength of his country, both actual and potential, and also the mature of that actual and potential strength; and further, what wars his country has waged, and how it has waged them. He must know these facts not only about his own country, but also about neighbouring countries; and also about countries with which war is likely, in order that peace may be maintained with those stronger than his own, and that his own may have power to make war or not against those that are weaker. He should know, too, whether the military power of another country is like or unlike that of his own; for this is a matter that may affect their relative strength. With the same end in view he must, besides, have studied the wars of other countries as well as those of his own, and the way they ended; similar causes are likely to have similar results.

With regard to National Defence: he ought to know all about the methods of defence in actual use, such as the strength and character of the defensive force and the positions of the forts-this last means that he must be well acquainted with the lie of the country-in order that a garrison may be increased if it is too small or removed if it is not wanted, and that the strategic points may be guarded with special care.

With regard to the Food Supply: he must know what outlay will meet the needs of his country; what kinds of food are produced at home and what imported; and what articles must be exported or imported. This last he must know in order that agreements and commercial treaties may be made with the countries concerned. There are, indeed, two sorts of state to which he must see that his countrymen give no cause for offence, states stronger than his own, and states with which it is advantageous to trade.

But while he must, for security's sake, be able to take all this into account, he must before all things understand the subject of legislation; for it is on a country's laws that its whole welfare depends. He must, therefore, know how many different forms of constitution there are; under what conditions each of these will prosper and by what internal developments or external attacks each of them tends to be destroyed. When I speak of destruction through internal developments I refer to the fact that all constitutions, except the best one of all, are destroyed both by not being pushed far enough and by being pushed too far. Thus, democracy loses its vigour, and finally passes into oligarchy, not only when it is not pushed far enough, but also when it is pushed a great deal too far; just as the aquiline and the snub nose not only turn into normal noses by not being aquiline or snub enough, but also by being too violently aquiline or snub arrive at a condition in which they no longer look like noses at all. It is useful, in framing laws, not only to study the past history of one's own country, in order to understand which constitution is desirable for it now, but also to have a knowledge of the constitutions of other nations, and so to learn for what kinds of nation the various kinds of constitution are suited. From this we can see that books of travel are useful aids to legislation, since from these we may learn the laws and customs of different races. The political speaker will also find the researches of historians useful. But all this is the business of political science and not of rhetoric.

These, then, are the most important kinds of information which the political speaker must possess. Let us now go back and state the premisses from which he will have to argue in favour of adopting or rejecting measures regarding these and other matters.

Part 5

It may be said that every individual man and all men in common aim at a certain end which determines what they choose and what they avoid. This end, to sum it up briefly, is happiness and its constituents. Let us, then, by way of illustration only, ascertain what is in general the nature of happiness, and what are the elements of its constituent parts. For all advice to do things or not to do them is concerned with happiness and with the things that make for or against it; whatever creates or increases happiness or some part of happiness, we ought to do; whatever destroys or hampers happiness, or gives rise to its opposite, we ought not to do.

We may define happiness as prosperity combined with virtue; or as independence of life; or as the secure enjoyment of the maximum of pleasure; or as a good condition of property and body, together with the power of guarding one's property and body and making use of them. That happiness is one or more of these things, pretty well everybody agrees.

From this definition of happiness it follows that its constituent parts are:-good birth, plenty of friends, good friends, wealth, good children, plenty of children, a happy old age, also such bodily excellences as health, beauty, strength, large stature, athletic powers, together with fame, honour, good luck, and virtue. A man cannot fail to be completely independent if he possesses these internal and these external goods; for besides these there are no others to have. (Goods of the soul and of the body are internal. Good birth, friends, money, and honour are external.) Further, we think that he should possess resources and luck, in order to make his life really secure. As we have already ascertained what happiness in general is, so now let us try to ascertain what of these parts of it is.

Now good birth in a race or a state means that its members are indigenous or ancient: that its earliest leaders were distinguished men, and that from them have sprung many who were distinguished for qualities that we admire.

The good birth of an individual, which may come either from the male or the female side, implies that both parents are free citizens, and that, as in the case of the state, the founders of the line have been notable for virtue or wealth or something else which is highly prized, and that many distinguished persons belong to the family, men and women, young and old.

The phrases 'possession of good children' and 'of many children' bear a quite clear meaning. Applied to a community, they mean that its young men are numerous and of good a quality: good in regard to bodily excellences, such as stature, beauty, strength, athletic powers; and also in regard to the excellences of the soul, which in a young man are temperance and courage. Applied to an individual, they mean that his own children are numerous and have the good qualities we have described. Both male and female are here included; the excellences of the latter are, in body, beauty and stature; in soul, self-command and an industry that is not sordid. Communities as well as individuals should lack none of these perfections, in their women as well as in their men. Where, as among the Lacedaemonians, the state of women is bad, almost half of human life is spoilt.

The constituents of wealth are: plenty of coined money and territory; the ownership of numerous, large, and beautiful estates; also the ownership of numerous and beautiful implements, live stock, and slaves. All these kinds of property are our own, are secure, gentlemanly, and useful. The useful kinds are those that are productive, the gentlemanly kinds are those that provide enjoyment. By 'productive' I mean those from which we get our income; by 'enjoyable', those from which we get nothing worth mentioning except the use of them. The criterion of 'security' is the ownership of property in such places and under such Conditions that the use of it is in our power; and it is 'our own' if it is in our own power to dispose of it or keep it. By 'disposing of it' I mean giving it away or selling it. Wealth as a whole consists in using things rather than in owning them; it is really the activity-that is, the use-of property that constitutes wealth.

Fame means being respected by everybody, or having some quality that is desired by all men, or by most, or by the good, or by the wise.

Honour is the token of a man's being famous for doing good. it is chiefly and most properly paid to those who have already done good; but also to the man who can do good in future. Doing good refers either to the preservation of life and the means of life, or to wealth, or to some other of the good things which it is hard to get either always or at that particular place or time-for many gain honour for things which seem small, but the place and the occasion account for it. The constituents of honour are: sacrifices; commemoration, in verse or prose; privileges; grants of land; front seats at civic celebrations; state burial; statues; public maintenance; among foreigners, obeisances and giving place; and such presents as are among various bodies of men regarded as marks of honour. For a present is not only the bestowal of a piece of property, but also a token of honour; which explains why honour-loving as well as money-loving persons desire it. The present brings to both what they want; it is a piece of property, which is what the lovers of money desire; and it brings honour, which is what the lovers of honour desire.

The excellence of the body is health; that is, a condition which allows us, while keeping free from disease, to have the use of our bodies; for many people are 'healthy' as we are told Herodicus was; and these no one can congratulate on their 'health', for they have to abstain from everything or nearly everything that men do.-Beauty varies with the time of life. In a young man beauty is the possession of a body fit to endure the exertion of running and of contests of strength; which means that he is pleasant to look at; and therefore all-round athletes are the most beautiful, being naturally adapted both for contests of strength and for speed also. For a man in his prime, beauty is fitness for the exertion of warfare, together with a pleasant but at the same time formidable appearance. For an old man, it is to be strong enough for such exertion as is necessary, and to be free from all those deformities of old age which cause pain to others. Strength is the power of moving some one else at will; to do this, you must either pull, push, lift, pin, or grip him; thus you must be strong in all of those ways or at least in some. Excellence in size is to surpass ordinary people in height, thickness, and breadth by just as much as will not make one's movements slower in consequence. Athletic excellence of the body consists in size, strength, and swiftness; swiftness implying strength. He who can fling forward his legs in a certain way, and move them fast and far, is good at running; he who can grip and hold down is good at wrestling; he who can drive an adversary from his ground with the right blow is a good boxer: he who can do both the last is a good pancratiast, while he who can do all is an 'all-round' athlete.

Happiness in old age is the coming of old age slowly and painlessly; for a man has not this happiness if he grows old either quickly, or tardily but painfully. It arises both from the excellences of the body and from good luck. If a man is not free from disease, or if he is strong, he will not be free from suffering; nor can he continue to live a long and painless life unless he has good luck. There is, indeed, a capacity for long life that is quite independent of health or strength; for many people live long who lack the excellences of the body; but for our present purpose there is no use in going into the details of this.

The terms 'possession of many friends' and 'possession of good friends' need no explanation; for we define a 'friend' as one who will always try, for your sake, to do what he takes to be good for you. The man towards whom many feel thus has many friends; if these are worthy men, he has good friends.

'Good luck' means the acquisition or possession of all or most, or the most important, of those good things which are due to luck. Some of the things that are due to luck may also be due to artificial contrivance; but many are independent of art, as for example those which are due to nature-though, to be sure, things due to luck may actually be contrary to nature. Thus health may be due to artificial contrivance, but beauty and stature are due to nature. All such good things as excite envy are, as a class, the outcome of good luck. Luck is also the cause of good things that happen contrary to reasonable expectation: as when, for instance, all your brothers are ugly, but you are handsome yourself; or when you find a treasure that everybody else has overlooked; or when a missile hits the next man and misses you; or when you are the only man not to go to a place you have gone to regularly, while the others go there for the first time and are killed. All such things are reckoned pieces of good luck.

As to virtue, it is most closely connected with the subject of Eulogy, and therefore we will wait to define it until we come to discuss that subject.

Part 6

It is now plain what our aims, future or actual, should be in urging, and what in depreciating, a proposal; the latter being the opposite of the former. Now the political or deliberative orator's aim is utility: deliberation seeks to determine not ends but the means to ends, i.e. what it is most useful to do. Further, utility is a good thing. We ought therefore to assure ourselves of the main facts about Goodness and Utility in general.

We may define a good thing as that which ought to be chosen for its own sake; or as that for the sake of which we choose something else; or as that which is sought after by all things, or by all things that have sensation or reason, or which will be sought after by any things that acquire reason; or as that which must be prescribed for a given individual by reason generally, or is prescribed for him by his individual reason, this being his individual good; or as that whose presence brings anything into a satisfactory and self-sufficing condition; or as self-sufficiency; or as what produces, maintains, or entails characteristics of this kind, while preventing and destroying their opposites. One thing may entail another in either of two ways-(1) simultaneously, (2) subsequently. Thus learning entails knowledge subsequently, health entails life simultaneously. Things are productive of other things in three senses: first as being healthy produces health; secondly, as food produces health; and thirdly, as exercise does-i.e. it does so usually. All this being settled, we now see that both the acquisition of good things and the removal of bad things must be good; the latter entails freedom from the evil things simultaneously, while the former entails possession of the good things subsequently. The acquisition of a greater in place of a lesser good, or of a lesser in place of a greater evil, is also good, for in proportion as the greater exceeds the lesser there is acquisition of good or removal of evil. The virtues, too, must be something good; for it is by possessing these that we are in a good condition, and they tend to produce good works and good actions. They must be severally named and described elsewhere. Pleasure, again, must be a good thing, since it is the nature of all animals to aim at it. Consequently both pleasant and beautiful things must be good things, since the former are productive of pleasure, while of the beautiful things some are pleasant and some desirable in and for themselves.

The following is a more detailed list of things that must be good. Happiness, as being desirable in itself and sufficient by itself, and as being that for whose sake we choose many other things. Also justice, courage, temperance, magnanimity, magnificence, and all such qualities, as being excellences of the soul. Further, health, beauty, and the like, as being bodily excellences and productive of many other good things: for instance, health is productive both of pleasure and of life, and therefore is thought the greatest of goods, since these two things which it causes, pleasure and life, are two of the things most highly prized by ordinary people. Wealth, again: for it is the excellence of possession, and also productive of many other good things. Friends and friendship: for a friend is desirable in himself and also productive of many other good things. So, too, honour and reputation, as being pleasant, and productive of many other good things, and usually accompanied by the presence of the good things that cause them to be bestowed. The faculty of speech and action; since all such qualities are productive of what is good. Further-good parts, strong memory, receptiveness, quickness of intuition, and the like, for all such faculties are productive of what is good. Similarly, all the sciences and arts. And life: since, even if no other good were the result of life, it is desirable in itself. And justice, as the cause of good to the community.

The above are pretty well all the things admittedly good. In dealing with things whose goodness is disputed, we may argue in the following ways:-That is good of which the contrary is bad. That is good the contrary of which is to the advantage of our enemies; for example, if it is to the particular advantage of our enemies that we should be cowards, clearly courage is of particular value to our countrymen. And generally, the contrary of that which our enemies desire, or of that at which they rejoice, is evidently valuable. Hence the passage beginning:

"Surely would Priam exult. "

This principle usually holds good, but not always, since it may well be that our interest is sometimes the same as that of our enemies. Hence it is said that 'evils draw men together'; that is, when the same thing is hurtful to them both.

Further: that which is not in excess is good, and that which is greater than it should be is bad. That also is good on which much labour or money has been spent; the mere fact of this makes it seem good, and such a good is assumed to be an end-an end reached through a long chain of means; and any end is a good. Hence the lines beginning:

"And for Priam (and Troy-town's folk) should

"they leave behind them a boast; "


"Oh, it were shame

"To have tarried so long and return empty-handed

"as erst we came; "

and there is also the proverb about 'breaking the pitcher at the door'.

That which most people seek after, and which is obviously an object of contention, is also a good; for, as has been shown, that is good which is sought after by everybody, and 'most people' is taken to be equivalent to 'everybody'. That which is praised is good, since no one praises what is not good. So, again, that which is praised by our enemies [or by the worthless] for when even those who have a grievance think a thing good, it is at once felt that every one must agree with them; our enemies can admit the fact only because it is evident, just as those must be worthless whom their friends censure and their enemies do not. (For this reason the Corinthians conceived themselves to be insulted by Simonides when he wrote:

"Against the Corinthians hath Ilium no complaint.) "

Again, that is good which has been distinguished by the favour of a discerning or virtuous man or woman, as Odysseus was distinguished by Athena, Helen by Theseus, Paris by the goddesses, and Achilles by Homer. And, generally speaking, all things are good which men deliberately choose to do; this will include the things already mentioned, and also whatever may be bad for their enemies or good for their friends, and at the same time practicable. Things are 'practicable' in two senses: (1) it is possible to do them, (2) it is easy to do them. Things are done 'easily' when they are done either without pain or quickly: the 'difficulty' of an act lies either in its painfulness or in the long time it takes. Again, a thing is good if it is as men wish; and they wish to have either no evil at an or at least a balance of good over evil. This last will happen where the penalty is either imperceptible or slight. Good, too, are things that are a man's very own, possessed by no one else, exceptional; for this increases the credit of having them. So are things which befit the possessors, such as whatever is appropriate to their birth or capacity, and whatever they feel they ought to have but lack-such things may indeed be trifling, but none the less men deliberately make them the goal of their action. And things easily effected; for these are practicable (in the sense of being easy); such things are those in which every one, or most people, or one's equals, or one's inferiors have succeeded. Good also are the things by which we shall gratify our friends or annoy our enemies; and the things chosen by those whom we admire: and the things for which we are fitted by nature or experience, since we think we shall succeed more easily in these: and those in which no worthless man can succeed, for such things bring greater praise: and those which we do in fact desire, for what we desire is taken to be not only pleasant but also better. Further, a man of a given disposition makes chiefly for the corresponding things: lovers of victory make for victory, lovers of honour for honour, money-loving men for money, and so with the rest. These, then, are the sources from which we must derive our means of persuasion about Good and Utility.

Part 7

Since, however, it often happens that people agree that two things are both useful but do not agree about which is the more so, the next step will be to treat of relative goodness and relative utility.

A thing which surpasses another may be regarded as being that other thing plus something more, and that other thing which is surpassed as being what is contained in the first thing. Now to call a thing 'greater' or 'more' always implies a comparison of it with one that is 'smaller' or 'less', while 'great' and 'small', 'much' and 'little', are terms used in comparison with normal magnitude. The 'great' is that which surpasses the normal, the 'small' is that which is surpassed by the normal; and so with 'many' and 'few'.

Now we are applying the term 'good' to what is desirable for its own sake and not for the sake of something else; to that at which all things aim; to what they would choose if they could acquire understanding and practical wisdom; and to that which tends to produce or preserve such goods, or is always accompanied by them. Moreover, that for the sake of which things are done is the end (an end being that for the sake of which all else is done), and for each individual that thing is a good which fulfils these conditions in regard to himself. It follows, then, that a greater number of goods is a greater good than one or than a smaller number, if that one or that smaller number is included in the count; for then the larger number surpasses the smaller, and the smaller quantity is surpassed as being contained in the larger.

Again, if the largest member of one class surpasses the largest member of another, then the one class surpasses the other; and if one class surpasses another, then the largest member of the one surpasses the largest member of the other. Thus, if the tallest man is taller than the tallest woman, then men in general are taller than women. Conversely, if men in general are taller than women, then the tallest man is taller than the tallest woman. For the superiority of class over class is proportionate to the superiority possessed by their largest specimens. Again, where one good is always accompanied by another, but does not always accompany it, it is greater than the other, for the use of the second thing is implied in the use of the first. A thing may be accompanied by another in three ways, either simultaneously, subsequently, or potentially. Life accompanies health simultaneously (but not health life), knowledge accompanies the act of learning subsequently, cheating accompanies sacrilege potentially, since a man who has committed sacrilege is always capable of cheating. Again, when two things each surpass a third, that which does so by the greater amount is the greater of the two; for it must surpass the greater as well as the less of the other two. A thing productive of a greater good than another is productive of is itself a greater good than that other. For this conception of 'productive of a greater' has been implied in our argument. Likewise, that which is produced by a greater good is itself a greater good; thus, if what is wholesome is more desirable and a greater good than what gives pleasure, health too must be a greater good than pleasure. Again, a thing which is desirable in itself is a greater good than a thing which is not desirable in itself, as for example bodily strength than what is wholesome, since the latter is not pursued for its own sake, whereas the former is; and this was our definition of the good. Again, if one of two things is an end, and the other is not, the former is the greater good, as being chosen for its own sake and not for the sake of something else; as, for example, exercise is chosen for the sake of physical well-being. And of two things that which stands less in need of the other, or of other things, is the greater good, since it is more self-sufficing. (That which stands 'less' in need of others is that which needs either fewer or easier things.) So when one thing does not exist or cannot come into existence without a second, while the second can exist without the first, the second is the better. That which does not need something else is more self-sufficing than that which does, and presents itself as a greater good for that reason. Again, that which is a beginning of other things is a greater good than that which is not, and that which is a cause is a greater good than that which is not; the reason being the same in each case, namely that without a cause and a beginning nothing can exist or come into existence. Again, where there are two sets of consequences arising from two different beginnings or causes, the consequences of the more important beginning or cause are themselves the more important; and conversely, that beginning or cause is itself the more important which has the more important consequences. Now it is plain, from all that has been said, that one thing may be shown to be more important than another from two opposite points of view: it may appear the more important (1) because it is a beginning and the other thing is not, and also (2) because it is not a beginning and the other thing is-on the ground that the end is more important and is not a beginning. So Leodamas, when accusing Callistratus, said that the man who prompted the deed was more guilty than the doer, since it would not have been done if he had not planned it. On the other hand, when accusing Chabrias he said that the doer was worse than the prompter, since there would have been no deed without some one to do it; men, said he, plot a thing only in order to carry it out.

Further, what is rare is a greater good than what is plentiful. Thus, gold is a better thing than iron, though less useful: it is harder to get, and therefore better worth getting. Reversely, it may be argued that the plentiful is a better thing than the rare, because we can make more use of it. For what is often useful surpasses what is seldom useful, whence the saying:

"The best of things is water. "

More generally: the hard thing is better than the easy, because it is rarer: and reversely, the easy thing is better than the hard, for it is as we wish it to be. That is the greater good whose contrary is the greater evil, and whose loss affects us more. Positive goodness and badness are more important than the mere absence of goodness and badness: for positive goodness and badness are ends, which the mere absence of them cannot be. Further, in proportion as the functions of things are noble or base, the things themselves are good or bad: conversely, in proportion as the things themselves are good or bad, their functions also are good or bad; for the nature of results corresponds with that of their causes and beginnings, and conversely the nature of causes and beginnings corresponds with that of their results. Moreover, those things are greater goods, superiority in which is more desirable or more honourable. Thus, keenness of sight is more desirable than keenness of smell, sight generally being more desirable than smell generally; and similarly, unusually great love of friends being more honourable than unusually great love of money, ordinary love of friends is more honourable than ordinary love of money. Conversely, if one of two normal things is better or nobler than the other, an unusual degree of that thing is better or nobler than an unusual degree of the other. Again, one thing is more honourable or better than another if it is more honourable or better to desire it; the importance of the object of a given instinct corresponds to the importance of the instinct itself; and for the same reason, if one thing is more honourable or better than another, it is more honourable and better to desire it. Again, if one science is more honourable and valuable than another, the activity with which it deals is also more honourable and valuable; as is the science, so is the reality that is its object, each science being authoritative in its own sphere. So, also, the more valuable and honourable the object of a science, the more valuable and honourable the science itself is-in consequence. Again, that which would be judged, or which has been judged, a good thing, or a better thing than something else, by all or most people of understanding, or by the majority of men, or by the ablest, must be so; either without qualification, or in so far as they use their understanding to form their judgement. This is indeed a general principle, applicable to all other judgements also; not only the goodness of things, but their essence, magnitude, and general nature are in fact just what knowledge and understanding will declare them to be. Here the principle is applied to judgements of goodness, since one definition of 'good' was 'what beings that acquire understanding will choose in any given case': from which it clearly follows that that thing is hetter which understanding declares to be so. That, again, is a better thing which attaches to better men, either absolutely, or in virtue of their being better; as courage is better than strength. And that is a greater good which would be chosen by a better man, either absolutely, or in virtue of his being better: for instance, to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong, for that would be the choice of the juster man. Again, the pleasanter of two things is the better, since all things pursue pleasure, and things instinctively desire pleasurable sensation for its own sake; and these are two of the characteristics by which the 'good' and the 'end' have been defined. One pleasure is greater than another if it is more unmixed with pain, or more lasting. Again, the nobler thing is better than the less noble, since the noble is either what is pleasant or what is desirable in itself. And those things also are greater goods which men desire more earnestly to bring about for themselves or for their friends, whereas those things which they least desire to bring about are greater evils. And those things which are more lasting are better than those which are more fleeting, and the more secure than the less; the enjoyment of the lasting has the advantage of being longer, and that of the secure has the advantage of suiting our wishes, being there for us whenever we like. Further, in accordance with the rule of co-ordinate terms and inflexions of the same stem, what is true of one such related word is true of all. Thus if the action qualified by the term 'brave' is more noble and desirable than the action qualified by the term 'temperate', then 'bravery' is more desirable than 'temperance' and 'being brave' than 'being temperate'. That, again, which is chosen by all is a greater good than that which is not, and that chosen by the majority than that chosen by the minority. For that which all desire is good, as we have said;' and so, the more a thing is desired, the better it is. Further, that is the better thing which is considered so by competitors or enemies, or, again, by authorized judges or those whom they select to represent them. In the first two cases the decision is virtually that of every one, in the last two that of authorities and experts. And sometimes it may be argued that what all share is the better thing, since it is a dishonour not to share in it; at other times, that what none or few share is better, since it is rarer. The more praiseworthy things are, the nobler and therefore the better they are. So with the things that earn greater honours than others-honour is, as it were, a measure of value; and the things whose absence involves comparatively heavy penalties; and the things that are better than others admitted or believed to be good. Moreover, things look better merely by being divided into their parts, since they then seem to surpass a greater number of things than before. Hence Homer says that Meleager was roused to battle by the thought of

"All horrors that light on a folk whose city

"is ta'en of their foes,

"When they slaughter the men, when the burg is

"wasted with ravening flame,

"When strangers are haling young children to thraldom,

"(fair women to shame.) "

The same effect is produced by piling up facts in a climax after the manner of Epicharmus. The reason is partly the same as in the case of division (for combination too makes the impression of great superiority), and partly that the original thing appears to be the cause and origin of important results. And since a thing is better when it is harder or rarer than other things, its superiority may be due to seasons, ages, places, times, or one's natural powers. When a man accomplishes something beyond his natural power, or beyond his years, or beyond the measure of people like him, or in a special way, or at a special place or time, his deed will have a high degree of nobleness, goodness, and justice, or of their opposites. Hence the epigram on the victor at the Olympic games:

"In time past, hearing a Yoke on my shoulders,

"of wood unshaven,

"I carried my loads of fish from, Argos to Tegea town. "

So Iphicrates used to extol himself by describing the low estate from which he had risen. Again, what is natural is better than what is acquired, since it is harder to come by. Hence the words of Homer:

"I have learnt from none but mysell. "

And the best part of a good thing is particularly good; as when Pericles in his funeral oration said that the country's loss of its young men in battle was 'as if the spring were taken out of the year'. So with those things which are of service when the need is pressing; for example, in old age and times of sickness. And of two things that which leads more directly to the end in view is the better. So too is that which is better for people generally as well as for a particular individual. Again, what can be got is better than what cannot, for it is good in a given case and the other thing is not. And what is at the end of life is better than what is not, since those things are ends in a greater degree which are nearer the end. What aims at reality is better than what aims at appearance. We may define what aims at appearance as what a man will not choose if nobody is to know of his having it. This would seem to show that to receive benefits is more desirable than to confer them, since a man will choose the former even if nobody is to know of it, but it is not the general view that he will choose the latter if nobody knows of it. What a man wants to be is better than what a man wants to seem, for in aiming at that he is aiming more at reality. Hence men say that justice is of small value, since it is more desirable to seem just than to be just, whereas with health it is not so. That is better than other things which is more useful than they are for a number of different purposes; for example, that which promotes life, good life, pleasure, and noble conduct. For this reason wealth and health are commonly thought to be of the highest value, as possessing all these advantages. Again, that is better than other things which is accompanied both with less pain and with actual pleasure; for here there is more than one advantage; and so here we have the good of feeling pleasure and also the good of not feeling pain. And of two good things that is the better whose addition to a third thing makes a better whole than the addition of the other to the same thing will make. Again, those things which we are seen to possess are better than those which we are not seen to possess, since the former have the air of reality. Hence wealth may be regarded as a greater good if its existence is known to others. That which is dearly prized is better than what is not-the sort of thing that some people have only one of, though others have more like it. Accordingly, blinding a one-eyed man inflicts worse injury than half-blinding a man with two eyes; for the one-eyed man has been robbed of what he dearly prized.

The grounds on which we must base our arguments, when we are speaking for or against a proposal, have now been set forth more or less completely.

Part 8

The most important and effective qualification for success in persuading audiences and speaking well on public affairs is to understand all the forms of government and to discriminate their respective customs, institutions, and interests. For all men are persuaded by considerations of their interest, and their interest lies in the maintenance of the established order. Further, it rests with the supreme authority to give authoritative decisions, and this varies with each form of government; there are as many different supreme authorities as there are different forms of government. The forms of government are four-democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy. The supreme right to judge and decide always rests, therefore, with either a part or the whole of one or other of these governing powers.

A Democracy is a form of government under which the citizens distribute the offices of state among themselves by lot, whereas under oligarchy there is a property qualification, under aristocracy one of education. By education I mean that education which is laid down by the law; for it is those who have been loyal to the national institutions that hold office under an aristocracy. These are bound to be looked upon as 'the best men', and it is from this fact that this form of government has derived its name ('the rule of the best'). Monarchy, as the word implies, is the constitution a in which one man has authority over all. There are two forms of monarchy: kingship, which is limited by prescribed conditions, and 'tyranny', which is not limited by anything.

We must also notice the ends which the various forms of government pursue, since people choose in practice such actions as will lead to the realization of their ends. The end of democracy is freedom; of oligarchy, wealth; of aristocracy, the maintenance of education and national institutions; of tyranny, the protection of the tyrant. It is clear, then, that we must distinguish those particular customs, institutions, and interests which tend to realize the ideal of each constitution, since men choose their means with reference to their ends. But rhetorical persuasion is effected not only by demonstrative but by ethical argument; it helps a speaker to convince us, if we believe that he has certain qualities himself, namely, goodness, or goodwill towards us, or both together. Similarly, we should know the moral qualities characteristic of each form of government, for the special moral character of each is bound to provide us with our most effective means of persuasion in dealing with it. We shall learn the qualities of governments in the same way as we learn the qualities of individuals, since they are revealed in their deliberate acts of choice; and these are determined by the end that inspires them.

We have now considered the objects, immediate or distant, at which we are to aim when urging any proposal, and the grounds on which we are to base our arguments in favour of its utility. We have also briefly considered the means and methods by which we shall gain a good knowledge of the moral qualities and institutions peculiar to the various forms of government-only, however, to the extent demanded by the present occasion; a detailed account of the subject has been given in the Politics.


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by W. Rhys Roberts

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Book II
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Part 1

We have now considered the materials to be used in supporting or opposing a political measure, in pronouncing eulogies or censures, and for prosecution and defence in the law courts. We have considered the received opinions on which we may best base our arguments so as to convince our hearers-those opinions with which our enthymemes deal, and out of which they are built, in each of the three kinds of oratory, according to what may be called the special needs of each.

But since rhetoric exists to affect the giving of decisions-the hearers decide between one political speaker and another, and a legal verdict is a decision-the orator must not only try to make the argument of his speech demonstrative and worthy of belief; he must also make his own character look right and put his hearers, who are to decide, into the right frame of mind. Particularly in political oratory, but also in lawsuits, it adds much to an orator's influence that his own character should look right and that he should be thought to entertain the right feelings towards his hearers; and also that his hearers themselves should be in just the right frame of mind. That the orator's own character should look right is particularly important in political speaking: that the audience should be in the right frame of mind, in lawsuits. When people are feeling friendly and placable, they think one sort of thing; when they are feeling angry or hostile, they think either something totally different or the same thing with a different intensity: when they feel friendly to the man who comes before them for judgement, they regard him as having done little wrong, if any; when they feel hostile, they take the opposite view. Again, if they are eager for, and have good hopes of, a thing that will be pleasant if it happens, they think that it certainly will happen and be good for them: whereas if they are indifferent or annoyed, they do not think so.

There are three things which inspire confidence in the orator's own character-the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and goodwill. False statements and bad advice are due to one or more of the following three causes. Men either form a false opinion through want of good sense; or they form a true opinion, but because of their moral badness do not say what they really think; or finally, they are both sensible and upright, but not well disposed to their hearers, and may fail in consequence to recommend what they know to be the best course. These are the only possible cases. It follows that any one who is thought to have all three of these good qualities will inspire trust in his audience. The way to make ourselves thought to be sensible and morally good must be gathered from the analysis of goodness already given: the way to establish your own goodness is the same as the way to establish that of others. Good will and friendliness of disposition will form part of our discussion of the emotions, to which we must now turn.

The Emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure. Such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their opposites. We must arrange what we have to say about each of them under three heads. Take, for instance, the emotion of anger: here we must discover (1) what the state of mind of angry people is, (2) who the people are with whom they usually get angry, and (3) on what grounds they get angry with them. It is not enough to know one or even two of these points; unless we know all three, we shall be unable to arouse anger in any one. The same is true of the other emotions. So just as earlier in this work we drew up a list of useful propositions for the orator, let us now proceed in the same way to analyse the subject before us.

Part 2

Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns one's friends. If this is a proper definition of anger, it must always be felt towards some particular individual, e.g. Cleon, and not 'man' in general. It must be felt because the other has done or intended to do something to him or one of his friends. It must always be attended by a certain pleasure-that which arises from the expectation of revenge. For since nobody aims at what he thinks he cannot attain, the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant. Hence it has been well said about wrath,

"Sweeter it is by far than the honeycomb

"dripping with sweetness,

"And spreads through the hearts of men. "

It is also attended by a certain pleasure because the thoughts dwell upon the act of vengeance, and the images then called up cause pleasure, like the images called up in dreams.

Now slighting is the actively entertained opinion of something as obviously of no importance. We think bad things, as well as good ones, have serious importance; and we think the same of anything that tends to produce such things, while those which have little or no such tendency we consider unimportant. There are three kinds of slighting-contempt, spite, and insolence. (1) Contempt is one kind of slighting: you feel contempt for what you consider unimportant, and it is just such things that you slight. (2) Spite is another kind; it is a thwarting another man's wishes, not to get something yourself but to prevent his getting it. The slight arises just from the fact that you do not aim at something for yourself: clearly you do not think that he can do you harm, for then you would be afraid of him instead of slighting him, nor yet that he can do you any good worth mentioning, for then you would be anxious to make friends with him. (3) Insolence is also a form of slighting, since it consists in doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to yourself, or because anything has happened to yourself, but simply for the pleasure involved. (Retaliation is not 'insolence', but vengeance.) The cause of the pleasure thus enjoyed by the insolent man is that he thinks himself greatly superior to others when ill-treating them. That is why youths and rich men are insolent; they think themselves superior when they show insolence. One sort of insolence is to rob people of the honour due to them; you certainly slight them thus; for it is the unimportant, for good or evil, that has no honour paid to it. So Achilles says in anger:

"He hath taken my prize for himself

"and hath done me dishonour, "


"Like an alien honoured by none, "

meaning that this is why he is angry. A man expects to be specially respected by his inferiors in birth, in capacity, in goodness, and generally in anything in which he is much their superior: as where money is concerned a wealthy man looks for respect from a poor man; where speaking is concerned, the man with a turn for oratory looks for respect from one who cannot speak; the ruler demands the respect of the ruled, and the man who thinks he ought to be a ruler demands the respect of the man whom he thinks he ought to be ruling. Hence it has been said

"Great is the wrath of kings, whose father is Zeus almighty, "


"Yea, but his rancour abideth long afterward also, "

their great resentment being due to their great superiority. Then again a man looks for respect from those who he thinks owe him good treatment, and these are the people whom he has treated or is treating well, or means or has meant to treat well, either himself, or through his friends, or through others at his request.

It will be plain by now, from what has been said, (1) in what frame of mind, (2) with what persons, and (3) on what grounds people grow angry. (1) The frame of mind is that of one in which any pain is being felt. In that condition, a man is always aiming at something. Whether, then, another man opposes him either directly in any way, as by preventing him from drinking when he is thirsty, or indirectly, the act appears to him just the same; whether some one works against him, or fails to work with him, or otherwise vexes him while he is in this mood, he is equally angry in all these cases. Hence people who are afflicted by sickness or poverty or love or thirst or any other unsatisfied desires are prone to anger and easily roused: especially against those who slight their present distress. Thus a sick man is angered by disregard of his illness, a poor man by disregard of his poverty, a man aging war by disregard of the war he is waging, a lover by disregard of his love, and so throughout, any other sort of slight being enough if special slights are wanting. Each man is predisposed, by the emotion now controlling him, to his own particular anger. Further, we are angered if we happen to be expecting a contrary result: for a quite unexpected evil is specially painful, just as the quite unexpected fulfilment of our wishes is specially pleasant. Hence it is plain what seasons, times, conditions, and periods of life tend to stir men easily to anger, and where and when this will happen; and it is plain that the more we are under these conditions the more easily we are stirred.

These, then, are the frames of mind in which men are easily stirred to anger. The persons with whom we get angry are those who laugh, mock, or jeer at us, for such conduct is insolent. Also those who inflict injuries upon us that are marks of insolence. These injuries must be such as are neither retaliatory nor profitable to the doers: for only then will they be felt to be due to insolence. Also those who speak ill of us, and show contempt for us, in connexion with the things we ourselves most care about: thus those who are eager to win fame as philosophers get angry with those who show contempt for their philosophy; those who pride themselves upon their appearance get angry with those who show contempt for their appearance and so on in other cases. We feel particularly angry on this account if we suspect that we are in fact, or that people think we are, lacking completely or to any effective extent in the qualities in question. For when we are convinced that we excel in the qualities for which we are jeered at, we can ignore the jeering. Again, we are angrier with our friends than with other people, since we feel that our friends ought to treat us well and not badly. We are angry with those who have usually treated us with honour or regard, if a change comes and they behave to us otherwise: for we think that they feel contempt for us, or they would still be behaving as they did before. And with those who do not return our kindnesses or fail to return them adequately, and with those who oppose us though they are our inferiors: for all such persons seem to feel contempt for us; those who oppose us seem to think us inferior to themselves, and those who do not return our kindnesses seem to think that those kindnesses were conferred by inferiors. And we feel particularly angry with men of no account at all, if they slight us. For, by our hypothesis, the anger caused by the slight is felt towards people who are not justified in slighting us, and our inferiors are not thus justified. Again, we feel angry with friends if they do not speak well of us or treat us well; and still more, if they do the contrary; or if they do not perceive our needs, which is why Plexippus is angry with Meleager in Antiphon's play; for this want of perception shows that they are slighting us-we do not fail to perceive the needs of those for whom we care. Again we are angry with those who rejoice at our misfortunes or simply keep cheerful in the midst of our misfortunes, since this shows that they either hate us or are slighting us. Also with those who are indifferent to the pain they give us: this is why we get angry with bringers of bad news. And with those who listen to stories about us or keep on looking at our weaknesses; this seems like either slighting us or hating us; for those who love us share in all our distresses and it must distress any one to keep on looking at his own weaknesses. Further, with those who slight us before five classes of people: namely, (1) our rivals, (2) those whom we admire, (3) those whom we wish to admire us, (4) those for whom we feel reverence, (5) those who feel reverence for us: if any one slights us before such persons, we feel particularly angry. Again, we feel angry with those who slight us in connexion with what we are as honourable men bound to champion-our parents, children, wives, or subjects. And with those who do not return a favour, since such a slight is unjustifiable. Also with those who reply with humorous levity when we are speaking seriously, for such behaviour indicates contempt. And with those who treat us less well than they treat everybody else; it is another mark of contempt that they should think we do not deserve what every one else deserves. Forgetfulness, too, causes anger, as when our own names are forgotten, trifling as this may be; since forgetfulness is felt to be another sign that we are being slighted; it is due to negligence, and to neglect us is to slight us.

The persons with whom we feel anger, the frame of mind in which we feel it, and the reasons why we feel it, have now all been set forth. Clearly the orator will have to speak so as to bring his hearers into a frame of mind that will dispose them to anger, and to represent his adversaries as open to such charges and possessed of such qualities as do make people angry.

Part 3

Since growing calm is the opposite of growing angry, and calmness the opposite of anger, we must ascertain in what frames of mind men are calm, towards whom they feel calm, and by what means they are made so. Growing calm may be defined as a settling down or quieting of anger. Now we get angry with those who slight us; and since slighting is a voluntary act, it is plain that we feel calm towards those who do nothing of the kind, or who do or seem to do it involuntarily. Also towards those who intended to do the opposite of what they did do. Also towards those who treat themselves as they have treated us: since no one can be supposed to slight himself. Also towards those who admit their fault and are sorry: since we accept their grief at what they have done as satisfaction, and cease to be angry. The punishment of servants shows this: those who contradict us and deny their offence we punish all the more, but we cease to be incensed against those who agree that they deserved their punishment. The reason is that it is shameless to deny what is obvious, and those who are shameless towards us slight us and show contempt for us: anyhow, we do not feel shame before those of whom we are thoroughly contemptuous. Also we feel calm towards those who humble themselves before us and do not gainsay us; we feel that they thus admit themselves our inferiors, and inferiors feel fear, and nobody can slight any one so long as he feels afraid of him. That our anger ceases towards those who humble themselves before us is shown even by dogs, who do not bite people when they sit down. We also feel calm towards those who are serious when we are serious, because then we feel that we are treated seriously and not contemptuously. Also towards those who have done us more kindnesses than we have done them. Also towards those who pray to us and beg for mercy, since they humble themselves by doing so. Also towards those who do not insult or mock at or slight any one at all, or not any worthy person or any one like ourselves. In general, the things that make us calm may be inferred by seeing what the opposites are of those that make us angry. We are not angry with people we fear or respect, as long as we fear or respect them; you cannot be afraid of a person and also at the same time angry with him. Again, we feel no anger, or comparatively little, with those who have done what they did through anger: we do not feel that they have done it from a wish to slight us, for no one slights people when angry with them, since slighting is painless, and anger is painful. Nor do we grow angry with those who reverence us.

As to the frame of mind that makes people calm, it is plainly the opposite to that which makes them angry, as when they are amusing themselves or laughing or feasting; when they are feeling prosperous or successful or satisfied; when, in fine, they are enjoying freedom from pain, or inoffensive pleasure, or justifiable hope. Also when time has passed and their anger is no longer fresh, for time puts an end to anger. And vengeance previously taken on one person puts an end to even greater anger felt against another person. Hence Philocrates, being asked by some one, at a time when the public was angry with him, 'Why don't you defend yourself?' did right to reply, 'The time is not yet.' 'Why, when is the time?' 'When I see someone else calumniated.' For men become calm when they have spent their anger on somebody else. This happened in the case of Ergophilus: though the people were more irritated against him than against Callisthenes, they acquitted him because they had condemned Callisthenes to death the day before. Again, men become calm if they have convicted the offender; or if he has already suffered worse things than they in their anger would have themselves inflicted upon him; for they feel as if they were already avenged. Or if they feel that they themselves are in the wrong and are suffering justly (for anger is not excited by what is just), since men no longer think then that they are suffering without justification; and anger, as we have seen, means this. Hence we ought always to inflict a preliminary punishment in words: if that is done, even slaves are less aggrieved by the actual punishment. We also feel calm if we think that the offender will not see that he is punished on our account and because of the way he has treated us. For anger has to do with individuals. This is plain from the definition. Hence the poet has well written:

"Say that it was Odysseus, sacker of cities, "

implying that Odysseus would not have considered himself avenged unless the Cyclops perceived both by whom and for what he had been blinded. Consequently we do not get angry with any one who cannot be aware of our anger, and in particular we cease to be angry with people once they are dead, for we feel that the worst has been done to them, and that they will neither feel pain nor anything else that we in our anger aim at making them feel. And therefore the poet has well made Apollo say, in order to put a stop to the anger of Achilles against the dead Hector,

"For behold in his fury he doeth despite to the senseless clay. "

It is now plain that when you wish to calm others you must draw upon these lines of argument; you must put your hearers into the corresponding frame of mind, and represent those with whom they are angry as formidable, or as worthy of reverence, or as benefactors, or as involuntary agents, or as much distressed at what they have done.

Part 4

Let us now turn to Friendship and Enmity, and ask towards whom these feelings are entertained, and why. We will begin by defining and friendly feeling. We may describe friendly feeling towards any one as wishing for him what you believe to be good things, not for your own sake but for his, and being inclined, so far as you can, to bring these things about. A friend is one who feels thus and excites these feelings in return: those who think they feel thus towards each other think themselves friends. This being assumed, it follows that your friend is the sort of man who shares your pleasure in what is good and your pain in what is unpleasant, for your sake and for no other reason. This pleasure and pain of his will be the token of his good wishes for you, since we all feel glad at getting what we wish for, and pained at getting what we do not. Those, then, are friends to whom the same things are good and evil; and those who are, moreover, friendly or unfriendly to the same people; for in that case they must have the same wishes, and thus by wishing for each other what they wish for themselves, they show themselves each other's friends. Again, we feel friendly to those who have treated us well, either ourselves or those we care for, whether on a large scale, or readily, or at some particular crisis; provided it was for our own sake. And also to those who we think wish to treat us well. And also to our friends' friends, and to those who like, or are liked by, those whom we like ourselves. And also to those who are enemies to those whose enemies we are, and dislike, or are disliked by, those whom we dislike. For all such persons think the things good which we think good, so that they wish what is good for us; and this, as we saw, is what friends must do. And also to those who are willing to treat us well where money or our personal safety is concerned: and therefore we value those who are liberal, brave, or just. The just we consider to be those who do not live on others; which means those who work for their living, especially farmers and others who work with their own hands. We also like temperate men, because they are not unjust to others; and, for the same reason, those who mind their own business. And also those whose friends we wish to be, if it is plain that they wish to be our friends: such are the morally good, and those well thought of by every one, by the best men, or by those whom we admire or who admire us. And also those with whom it is pleasant to live and spend our days: such are the good-tempered, and those who are not too ready to show us our mistakes, and those who are not cantankerous or quarrelsome-such people are always wanting to fight us, and those who fight us we feel wish for the opposite of what we wish for ourselves-and those who have the tact to make and take a joke; here both parties have the same object in view, when they can stand being made fun of as well as do it prettily themselves. And we also feel friendly towards those who praise such good qualities as we possess, and especially if they praise the good qualities that we are not too sure we do possess. And towards those who are cleanly in their person, their dress, and all their way of life. And towards those who do not reproach us with what we have done amiss to them or they have done to help us, for both actions show a tendency to criticize us. And towards those who do not nurse grudges or store up grievances, but are always ready to make friends again; for we take it that they will behave to us just as we find them behaving to every one else. And towards those who are not evil speakers and who are aware of neither their neighbours' bad points nor our own, but of our good ones only, as a good man always will be. And towards those who do not try to thwart us when we are angry or in earnest, which would mean being ready to fight us. And towards those who have some serious feeling towards us, such as admiration for us, or belief in our goodness, or pleasure in our company; especially if they feel like this about qualities in us for which we especially wish to be admired, esteemed, or liked. And towards those who are like ourselves in character and occupation, provided they do not get in our way or gain their living from the same source as we do-for then it will be a case of 'potter against potter':

"Potter to potter and builder to builder begrudge their reward. "

And those who desire the same things as we desire, if it is possible for us both to share them together; otherwise the same trouble arises here too. And towards those with whom we are on such terms that, while we respect their opinions, we need not blush before them for doing what is conventionally wrong: as well as towards those before whom we should be ashamed to do anything really wrong. Again, our rivals, and those whom we should like to envy us--though without ill-feeling--either we like these people or at least we wish them to like us. And we feel friendly towards those whom we help to secure good for themselves, provided we are not likely to suffer heavily by it ourselves. And those who feel as friendly to us when we are not with them as when we are-which is why all men feel friendly towards those who are faithful to their dead friends. And, speaking generally, towards those who are really fond of their friends and do not desert them in trouble; of all good men, we feel most friendly to those who show their goodness as friends. Also towards those who are honest with us, including those who will tell us of their own weak points: it has just said that with our friends we are not ashamed of what is conventionally wrong, and if we do have this feeling, we do not love them; if therefore we do not have it, it looks as if we did love them. We also like those with whom we do not feel frightened or uncomfortable-nobody can like a man of whom he feels frightened. Friendship has various forms-comradeship, intimacy, kinship, and so on.

Things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are done, which shows that they were done for our own sake and not for some other reason.

Enmity and Hatred should clearly be studied by reference to their opposites. Enmity may be produced by anger or spite or calumny. Now whereas anger arises from offences against oneself, enmity may arise even without that; we may hate people merely because of what we take to be their character. Anger is always concerned with individuals-a Callias or a Socrates-whereas hatred is directed also against classes: we all hate any thief and any informer. Moreover, anger can be cured by time; but hatred cannot. The one aims at giving pain to its object, the other at doing him harm; the angry man wants his victims to feel; the hater does not mind whether they feel or not. All painful things are felt; but the greatest evils, injustice and folly, are the least felt, since their presence causes no pain. And anger is accompanied by pain, hatred is not; the angry man feels pain, but the hater does not. Much may happen to make the angry man pity those who offend him, but the hater under no circumstances wishes to pity a man whom he has once hated: for the one would have the offenders suffer for what they have done; the other would have them cease to exist.

It is plain from all this that we can prove people to be friends or enemies; if they are not, we can make them out to be so; if they claim to be so, we can refute their claim; and if it is disputed whether an action was due to anger or to hatred, we can attribute it to whichever of these we prefer.

Part 5

To turn next to Fear, what follows will show things and persons of which, and the states of mind in which, we feel afraid. Fear may be defined as a pain or disturbance due to a mental picture of some destructive or painful evil in the future. Of destructive or painful evils only; for there are some evils, e.g. wickedness or stupidity, the prospect of which does not frighten us: I mean only such as amount to great pains or losses. And even these only if they appear not remote but so near as to be imminent: we do not fear things that are a very long way off: for instance, we all know we shall die, but we are not troubled thereby, because death is not close at hand. From this definition it will follow that fear is caused by whatever we feel has great power of destroying or of harming us in ways that tend to cause us great pain. Hence the very indications of such things are terrible, making us feel that the terrible thing itself is close at hand; the approach of what is terrible is just what we mean by 'danger'. Such indications are the enmity and anger of people who have power to do something to us; for it is plain that they have the will to do it, and so they are on the point of doing it. Also injustice in possession of power; for it is the unjust man's will to do evil that makes him unjust. Also outraged virtue in possession of power; for it is plain that, when outraged, it always has the will to retaliate, and now it has the power to do so. Also fear felt by those who have the power to do something to us, since such persons are sure to be ready to do it. And since most men tend to be bad-slaves to greed, and cowards in danger-it is, as a rule, a terrible thing to be at another man's mercy; and therefore, if we have done anything horrible, those in the secret terrify us with the thought that they may betray or desert us. And those who can do us wrong are terrible to us when we are liable to be wronged; for as a rule men do wrong to others whenever they have the power to do it. And those who have been wronged, or believe themselves to be wronged, are terrible; for they are always looking out for their opportunity. Also those who have done people wrong, if they possess power, since they stand in fear of retaliation: we have already said that wickedness possessing power is terrible. Again, our rivals for a thing cause us fear when we cannot both have it at once; for we are always at war with such men. We also fear those who are to be feared by stronger people than ourselves: if they can hurt those stronger people, still more can they hurt us; and, for the same reason, we fear those whom those stronger people are actually afraid of. Also those who have destroyed people stronger than we are. Also those who are attacking people weaker than we are: either they are already formidable, or they will be so when they have thus grown stronger. Of those we have wronged, and of our enemies or rivals, it is not the passionate and outspoken whom we have to fear, but the quiet, dissembling, unscrupulous; since we never know when they are upon us, we can never be sure they are at a safe distance. All terrible things are more terrible if they give us no chance of retrieving a blunder either no chance at all, or only one that depends on our enemies and not ourselves. Those things are also worse which we cannot, or cannot easily, help. Speaking generally, anything causes us to feel fear that when it happens to, or threatens, others cause us to feel pity.

The above are, roughly, the chief things that are terrible and are feared. Let us now describe the conditions under which we ourselves feel fear. If fear is associated with the expectation that something destructive will happen to us, plainly nobody will be afraid who believes nothing can happen to him; we shall not fear things that we believe cannot happen to us, nor people who we believe cannot inflict them upon us; nor shall we be afraid at times when we think ourselves safe from them. It follows therefore that fear is felt by those who believe something to be likely to happen to them, at the hands of particular persons, in a particular form, and at a particular time. People do not believe this when they are, or think they a are, in the midst of great prosperity, and are in consequence insolent, contemptuous, and reckless-the kind of character produced by wealth, physical strength, abundance of friends, power: nor yet when they feel they have experienced every kind of horror already and have grown callous about the future, like men who are being flogged and are already nearly dead-if they are to feel the anguish of uncertainty, there must be some faint expectation of escape. This appears from the fact that fear sets us thinking what can be done, which of course nobody does when things are hopeless. Consequently, when it is advisable that the audience should be frightened, the orator must make them feel that they really are in danger of something, pointing out that it has happened to others who were stronger than they are, and is happening, or has happened, to people like themselves, at the hands of unexpected people, in an unexpected form, and at an unexpected time.

Having now seen the nature of fear, and of the things that cause it, and the various states of mind in which it is felt, we can also see what Confidence is, about what things we feel it, and under what conditions. It is the opposite of fear, and what causes it is the opposite of what causes fear; it is, therefore, the expectation associated with a mental picture of the nearness of what keeps us safe and the absence or remoteness of what is terrible: it may be due either to the near presence of what inspires confidence or to the absence of what causes alarm. We feel it if we can take steps-many, or important, or both-to cure or prevent trouble; if we have neither wronged others nor been wronged by them; if we have either no rivals at all or no strong ones; if our rivals who are strong are our friends or have treated us well or been treated well by us; or if those whose interest is the same as ours are the more numerous party, or the stronger, or both.

As for our own state of mind, we feel confidence if we believe we have often succeeded and never suffered reverses, or have often met danger and escaped it safely. For there are two reasons why human beings face danger calmly: they may have no experience of it, or they may have means to deal with it: thus when in danger at sea people may feel confident about what will happen either because they have no experience of bad weather, or because their experience gives them the means of dealing with it. We also feel confident whenever there is nothing to terrify other people like ourselves, or people weaker than ourselves, or people than whom we believe ourselves to be stronger-and we believe this if we have conquered them, or conquered others who are as strong as they are, or stronger. Also if we believe ourselves superior to our rivals in the number and importance of the advantages that make men formidable-wealth, physical strength, strong bodies of supporters, extensive territory, and the possession of all, or the most important, appliances of war. Also if we have wronged no one, or not many, or not those of whom we are afraid; and generally, if our relations with the gods are satisfactory, as will be shown especially by signs and oracles. The fact is that anger makes us confident-that anger is excited by our knowledge that we are not the wrongers but the wronged, and that the divine power is always supposed to be on the side of the wronged. Also when, at the outset of an enterprise, we believe that we cannot and shall not fail, or that we shall succeed completely.-So much for the causes of fear and confidence.

Part 6

We now turn to Shame and Shamelessness; what follows will explain the things that cause these feelings, and the persons before whom, and the states of mind under which, they are felt. Shame may be defined as pain or disturbance in regard to bad things, whether present, past, or future, which seem likely to involve us in discredit; and shamelessness as contempt or indifference in regard to these same bad things. If this definition be granted, it follows that we feel shame at such bad things as we think are disgraceful to ourselves or to those we care for. These evils are, in the first place, those due to moral badness. Such are throwing away one's shield or taking to flight; for these bad things are due to cowardice. Also, withholding a deposit or otherwise wronging people about money; for these acts are due to injustice. Also, having carnal intercourse with forbidden persons, at wrong times, or in wrong places; for these things are due to licentiousness. Also, making profit in petty or disgraceful ways, or out of helpless persons, e.g. the poor, or the dead-whence the proverb 'He would pick a corpse's pocket'; for all this is due to low greed and meanness. Also, in money matters, giving less help than you might, or none at all, or accepting help from those worse off than yourself; so also borrowing when it will seem like begging; begging when it will seem like asking the return of a favour; asking such a return when it will seem like begging; praising a man in order that it may seem like begging; and going on begging in spite of failure: all such actions are tokens of meanness. Also, praising people to their face, and praising extravagantly a man's good points and glozing over his weaknesses, and showing extravagant sympathy with his grief when you are in his presence, and all that sort of thing; all this shows the disposition of a flatterer. Also, refusing to endure hardships that are endured by people who are older, more delicately brought up, of higher rank, or generally less capable of endurance than ourselves: for all this shows effeminacy. Also, accepting benefits, especially accepting them often, from another man, and then abusing him for conferring them: all this shows a mean, ignoble disposition. Also, talking incessantly about yourself, making loud professions, and appropriating the merits of others; for this is due to boastfulness. The same is true of the actions due to any of the other forms of badness of moral character, of the tokens of such badness, &c.: they are all disgraceful and shameless. Another sort of bad thing at which we feel shame is, lacking a share in the honourable things shared by every one else, or by all or nearly all who are like ourselves. By 'those like ourselves' I mean those of our own race or country or age or family, and generally those who are on our own level. Once we are on a level with others, it is a disgrace to be, say, less well educated than they are; and so with other advantages: all the more so, in each case, if it is seen to be our own fault: wherever we are ourselves to blame for our present, past, or future circumstances, it follows at once that this is to a greater extent due to our moral badness. We are moreover ashamed of having done to us, having had done, or being about to have done to us acts that involve us in dishonour and reproach; as when we surrender our persons, or lend ourselves to vile deeds, e.g. when we submit to outrage. And acts of yielding to the lust of others are shameful whether willing or unwilling (yielding to force being an instance of unwillingness), since unresisting submission to them is due to unmanliness or cowardice.

These things, and others like them, are what cause the feeling of shame. Now since shame is a mental picture of disgrace, in which we shrink from the disgrace itself and not from its consequences, and we only care what opinion is held of us because of the people who form that opinion, it follows that the people before whom we feel shame are those whose opinion of us matters to us. Such persons are: those who admire us, those whom we admire, those by whom we wish to be admired, those with whom we are competing, and those whose opinion of us we respect. We admire those, and wish those to admire us, who possess any good thing that is highly esteemed; or from whom we are very anxious to get something that they are able to give us-as a lover feels. We compete with our equals. We respect, as true, the views of sensible people, such as our elders and those who have been well educated. And we feel more shame about a thing if it is done openly, before all men's eyes. Hence the proverb, 'shame dwells in the eyes'. For this reason we feel most shame before those who will always be with us and those who notice what we do, since in both cases eyes are upon us. We also feel it before those not open to the same imputation as ourselves: for it is plain that their opinions about it are the opposite of ours. Also before those who are hard on any one whose conduct they think wrong; for what a man does himself, he is said not to resent when his neighbours do it: so that of course he does resent their doing what he does not do himself. And before those who are likely to tell everybody about you; not telling others is as good as not be lieving you wrong. People are likely to tell others about you if you have wronged them, since they are on the look out to harm you; or if they speak evil of everybody, for those who attack the innocent will be still more ready to attack the guilty. And before those whose main occupation is with their neighbours' failings-people like satirists and writers of comedy; these are really a kind of evil-speakers and tell-tales. And before those who have never yet known us come to grief, since their attitude to us has amounted to admiration so far: that is why we feel ashamed to refuse those a favour who ask one for the first time-we have not as yet lost credit with them. Such are those who are just beginning to wish to be our friends; for they have seen our best side only (hence the appropriateness of Euripides' reply to the Syracusans): and such also are those among our old acquaintances who know nothing to our discredit. And we are ashamed not merely of the actual shameful conduct mentioned, but also of the evidences of it: not merely, for example, of actual sexual intercourse, but also of its evidences; and not merely of disgraceful acts but also of disgraceful talk. Similarly we feel shame not merely in presence of the persons mentioned but also of those who will tell them what we have done, such as their servants or friends. And, generally, we feel no shame before those upon whose opinions we quite look down as untrustworthy (no one feels shame before small children or animals); nor are we ashamed of the same things before intimates as before strangers, but before the former of what seem genuine faults, before the latter of what seem conventional ones.

The conditions under which we shall feel shame are these: first, having people related to us like those before whom, as has been said, we feel shame. These are, as was stated, persons whom we admire, or who admire us, or by whom we wish to be admired, or from whom we desire some service that we shall not obtain if we forfeit their good opinion. These persons may be actually looking on (as Cydias represented them in his speech on land assignments in Samos, when he told the Athenians to imagine the Greeks to be standing all around them, actually seeing the way they voted and not merely going to hear about it afterwards): or again they may be near at hand, or may be likely to find out about what we do. This is why in misfortune we do not wish to be seen by those who once wished themselves like us; for such a feeling implies admiration. And men feel shame when they have acts or exploits to their credit on which they are bringing dishonour, whether these are their own, or those of their ancestors, or those of other persons with whom they have some close connexion. Generally, we feel shame before those for whose own misconduct we should also feel it-those already mentioned; those who take us as their models; those whose teachers or advisers we have been; or other people, it may be, like ourselves, whose rivals we are. For there are many things that shame before such people makes us do or leave undone. And we feel more shame when we are likely to be continually seen by, and go about under the eyes of, those who know of our disgrace. Hence, when Antiphon the poet was to be cudgelled to death by order of Dionysius, and saw those who were to perish with him covering their faces as they went through the gates, he said, 'Why do you cover your faces? Is it lest some of these spectators should see you to-morrow?'

So much for Shame; to understand Shamelessness, we need only consider the converse cases, and plainly we shall have all we need.

Part 7

To take Kindness next: the definition of it will show us towards whom it is felt, why, and in what frames of mind. Kindness-under the influence of which a man is said to 'be kind' may be defined as helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped. Kindness is great if shown to one who is in great need, or who needs what is important and hard to get, or who needs it at an important and difficult crisis; or if the helper is the only, the first, or the chief person to give the help. Natural cravings constitute such needs; and in particular cravings, accompanied by pain, for what is not being attained. The appetites are cravings for this kind: sexual desire, for instance, and those which arise during bodily injuries and in dangers; for appetite is active both in danger and in pain. Hence those who stand by us in poverty or in banishment, even if they do not help us much, are yet really kind to us, because our need is great and the occasion pressing; for instance, the man who gave the mat in the Lyceum. The helpfulness must therefore meet, preferably, just this kind of need; and failing just this kind, some other kind as great or greater. We now see to whom, why, and under what conditions kindness is shown; and these facts must form the basis of our arguments. We must show that the persons helped are, or have been, in such pain and need as has been described, and that their helpers gave, or are giving, the kind of help described, in the kind of need described. We can also see how to eliminate the idea of kindness and make our opponents appear unkind: we may maintain that they are being or have been helpful simply to promote their own interest-this, as has been stated, is not kindness; or that their action was accidental, or was forced upon them; or that they were not doing a favour, but merely returning one, whether they know this or not-in either case the action is a mere return, and is therefore not a kindness even if the doer does not know how the case stands. In considering this subject we must look at all the categories: an act may be an act of kindness because (1) it is a particular thing, (2) it has a particular magnitude or (3) quality, or (4) is done at a particular time or (5) place. As evidence of the want of kindness, we may point out that a smaller service had been refused to the man in need; or that the same service, or an equal or greater one, has been given to his enemies; these facts show that the service in question was not done for the sake of the person helped. Or we may point out that the thing desired was worthless and that the helper knew it: no one will admit that he is in need of what is worthless.

Part 8

So much for Kindness and Unkindness. Let us now consider Pity, asking ourselves what things excite pity, and for what persons, and in what states of our mind pity is felt. Pity may be defined as a feeling of pain caused by the sight of some evil, destructive or painful, which befalls one who does not deserve it, and which we might expect to befall ourselves or some friend of ours, and moreover to befall us soon. In order to feel pity, we must obviously be capable of supposing that some evil may happen to us or some friend of ours, and moreover some such evil as is stated in our definition or is more or less of that kind. It is therefore not felt by those completely ruined, who suppose that no further evil can befall them, since the worst has befallen them already; nor by those who imagine themselves immensely fortunate-their feeling is rather presumptuous insolence, for when they think they possess all the good things of life, it is clear that the impossibility of evil befalling them will be included, this being one of the good things in question. Those who think evil may befall them are such as have already had it befall them and have safely escaped from it; elderly men, owing to their good sense and their experience; weak men, especially men inclined to cowardice; and also educated people, since these can take long views. Also those who have parents living, or children, or wives; for these are our own, and the evils mentioned above may easily befall them. And those who neither moved by any courageous emotion such as anger or confidence (these emotions take no account of the future), nor by a disposition to presumptuous insolence (insolent men, too, take no account of the possibility that something evil will happen to them), nor yet by great fear (panic-stricken people do not feel pity, because they are taken up with what is happening to themselves); only those feel pity who are between these two extremes. In order to feel pity we must also believe in the goodness of at least some people; if you think nobody good, you will believe that everybody deserves evil fortune. And, generally, we feel pity whenever we are in the condition of remembering that similar misfortunes have happened to us or ours, or expecting them to happen in the future.

So much for the mental conditions under which we feel pity. What we pity is stated clearly in the definition. All unpleasant and painful things excite pity if they tend to destroy pain and annihilate; and all such evils as are due to chance, if they are serious. The painful and destructive evils are: death in its various forms, bodily injuries and afflictions, old age, diseases, lack of food. The evils due to chance are: friendlessness, scarcity of friends (it is a pitiful thing to be torn away from friends and companions), deformity, weakness, mutilation; evil coming from a source from which good ought to have come; and the frequent repetition of such misfortunes. Also the coming of good when the worst has happened: e.g. the arrival of the Great King's gifts for Diopeithes after his death. Also that either no good should have befallen a man at all, or that he should not be able to enjoy it when it has.

The grounds, then, on which we feel pity are these or like these. The people we pity are: those whom we know, if only they are not very closely related to us-in that case we feel about them as if we were in danger ourselves. For this reason Amasis did not weep, they say, at the sight of his son being led to death, but did weep when he saw his friend begging: the latter sight was pitiful, the former terrible, and the terrible is different from the pitiful; it tends to cast out pity, and often helps to produce the opposite of pity. Again, we feel pity when the danger is near ourselves. Also we pity those who are like us in age, character, disposition, social standing, or birth; for in all these cases it appears more likely that the same misfortune may befall us also. Here too we have to remember the general principle that what we fear for ourselves excites our pity when it happens to others. Further, since it is when the sufferings of others are close to us that they excite our pity (we cannot remember what disasters happened a hundred centuries ago, nor look forward to what will happen a hundred centuries hereafter, and therefore feel little pity, if any, for such things): it follows that those who heighten the effect of their words with suitable gestures, tones, dress, and dramatic action generally, are especially successful in exciting pity: they thus put the disasters before our eyes, and make them seem close to us, just coming or just past. Anything that has just happened, or is going to happen soon, is particularly piteous: so too therefore are the tokens and the actions of sufferers-the garments and the like of those who have already suffered; the words and the like of those actually suffering-of those, for instance, who are on the point of death. Most piteous of all is it when, in such times of trial, the victims are persons of noble character: whenever they are so, our pity is especially excited, because their innocence, as well as the setting of their misfortunes before our eyes, makes their misfortunes seem close to ourselves.

Part 9

Most directly opposed to pity is the feeling called Indignation. Pain at unmerited good fortune is, in one sense, opposite to pain at unmerited bad fortune, and is due to the same moral qualities. Both feelings are associated with good moral character; it is our duty both to feel sympathy and pity for unmerited distress, and to feel indignation at unmerited prosperity; for whatever is undeserved is unjust, and that is why we ascribe indignation even to the gods. It might indeed be thought that envy is similarly opposed to pity, on the ground that envy it closely akin to indignation, or even the same thing. But it is not the same. It is true that it also is a disturbing pain excited by the prosperity of others. But it is excited not by the prosperity of the undeserving but by that of people who are like us or equal with us. The two feelings have this in common, that they must be due not to some untoward thing being likely to befall ourselves, but only to what is happening to our neighbour. The feeling ceases to be envy in the one case and indignation in the other, and becomes fear, if the pain and disturbance are due to the prospect of something bad for ourselves as the result of the other man's good fortune. The feelings of pity and indignation will obviously be attended by the converse feelings of satisfaction. If you are pained by the unmerited distress of others, you will be pleased, or at least not pained, by their merited distress. Thus no good man can be pained by the punishment of parricides or murderers. These are things we are bound to rejoice at, as we must at the prosperity of the deserving; both these things are just, and both give pleasure to any honest man, since he cannot help expecting that what has happened to a man like him will happen to him too. All these feelings are associated with the same type of moral character. And their contraries are associated with the contrary type; the man who is delighted by others' misfortunes is identical with the man who envies others' prosperity. For any one who is pained by the occurrence or existence of a given thing must be pleased by that thing's non-existence or destruction. We can now see that all these feelings tend to prevent pity (though they differ among themselves, for the reasons given), so that all are equally useful for neutralizing an appeal to pity.

We will first consider Indignation-reserving the other emotions for subsequent discussion-and ask with whom, on what grounds, and in what states of mind we may be indignant. These questions are really answered by what has been said already. Indignation is pain caused by the sight of undeserved good fortune. It is, then, plain to begin with that there are some forms of good the sight of which cannot cause it. Thus a man may be just or brave, or acquire moral goodness: but we shall not be indignant with him for that reason, any more than we shall pity him for the contrary reason. Indignation is roused by the sight of wealth, power, and the like-by all those things, roughly speaking, which are deserved by good men and by those who possess the goods of nature-noble birth, beauty, and so on. Again, what is long established seems akin to what exists by nature; and therefore we feel more indignation at those possessing a given good if they have as a matter of fact only just got it and the prosperity it brings with it. The newly rich give more offence than those whose wealth is of long standing and inherited. The same is true of those who have office or power, plenty of friends, a fine family, &c. We feel the same when these advantages of theirs secure them others. For here again, the newly rich give us more offence by obtaining office through their riches than do those whose wealth is of long standing; and so in all other cases. The reason is that what the latter have is felt to be really their own, but what the others have is not; what appears to have been always what it is is regarded as real, and so the possessions of the newly rich do not seem to be really their own. Further, it is not any and every man that deserves any given kind of good; there is a certain correspondence and appropriateness in such things; thus it is appropriate for brave men, not for just men, to have fine weapons, and for men of family, not for parvenus, to make distinguished marriages. Indignation may therefore properly be felt when any one gets what is not appropriate for him, though he may be a good man enough. It may also be felt when any one sets himself up against his superior, especially against his superior in some particular respect-whence the lines

"Only from battle he shrank with Aias Telamon's son;

"Zeus had been angered with him,

"had he fought with a mightier one; "

but also, even apart from that, when the inferior in any sense contends with his superior; a musician, for instance, with a just man, for justice is a finer thing than music.

Enough has been said to make clear the grounds on which, and the persons against whom, Indignation is felt-they are those mentioned, and others like him. As for the people who feel it; we feel it if we do ourselves deserve the greatest possible goods and moreover have them, for it is an injustice that those who are not our equals should have been held to deserve as much as we have. Or, secondly, we feel it if we are really good and honest people; our judgement is then sound, and we loathe any kind of injustice. Also if we are ambitious and eager to gain particular ends, especially if we are ambitious for what others are getting without deserving to get it. And, generally, if we think that we ourselves deserve a thing and that others do not, we are disposed to be indignant with those others so far as that thing is concerned. Hence servile, worthless, unambitious persons are not inclined to Indignation, since there is nothing they can believe themselves to deserve.

From all this it is plain what sort of men those are at whose misfortunes, distresses, or failures we ought to feel pleased, or at least not pained: by considering the facts described we see at once what their contraries are. If therefore our speech puts the judges in such a frame of mind as that indicated and shows that those who claim pity on certain definite grounds do not deserve to secure pity but do deserve not to secure it, it will be impossible for the judges to feel pity.

Part 10

To take Envy next: we can see on what grounds, against what persons, and in what states of mind we feel it. Envy is pain at the sight of such good fortune as consists of the good things already mentioned; we feel it towards our equals; not with the idea of getting something for ourselves, but because the other people have it. We shall feel it if we have, or think we have, equals; and by 'equals' I mean equals in birth, relationship, age, disposition, distinction, or wealth. We feel envy also if we fall but a little short of having everything; which is why people in high place and prosperity feel it-they think every one else is taking what belongs to themselves. Also if we are exceptionally distinguished for some particular thing, and especially if that thing is wisdom or good fortune. Ambitious men are more envious than those who are not. So also those who profess wisdom; they are ambitious to be thought wise. Indeed, generally, those who aim at a reputation for anything are envious on this particular point. And small-minded men are envious, for everything seems great to them. The good things which excite envy have already been mentioned. The deeds or possessions which arouse the love of reputation and honour and the desire for fame, and the various gifts of fortune, are almost all subject to envy; and particularly if we desire the thing ourselves, or think we are entitled to it, or if having it puts us a little above others, or not having it a little below them. It is clear also what kind of people we envy; that was included in what has been said already: we envy those who are near us in time, place, age, or reputation. Hence the line:

"Ay, kin can even be jealous of their kin. "

Also our fellow-competitors, who are indeed the people just mentioned-we do not compete with men who lived a hundred centuries ago, or those not yet born, or the dead, or those who dwell near the Pillars of Hercules, or those whom, in our opinion or that of others, we take to be far below us or far above us. So too we compete with those who follow the same ends as ourselves: we compete with our rivals in sport or in love, and generally with those who are after the same things; and it is therefore these whom we are bound to envy beyond all others. Hence the saying:

"Potter against potter. "

We also envy those whose possession of or success in a thing is a reproach to us: these are our neighbours and equals; for it is clear that it is our own fault we have missed the good thing in question; this annoys us, and excites envy in us. We also envy those who have what we ought to have, or have got what we did have once. Hence old men envy younger men, and those who have spent much envy those who have spent little on the same thing. And men who have not got a thing, or not got it yet, envy those who have got it quickly. We can also see what things and what persons give pleasure to envious people, and in what states of mind they feel it: the states of mind in which they feel pain are those under which they will feel pleasure in the contrary things. If therefore we ourselves with whom the decision rests are put into an envious state of mind, and those for whom our pity, or the award of something desirable, is claimed are such as have been described, it is obvious that they will win no pity from us.

Part 11

We will next consider Emulation, showing in what follows its causes and objects, and the state of mind in which it is felt. Emulation is pain caused by seeing the presence, in persons whose nature is like our own, of good things that are highly valued and are possible for ourselves to acquire; but it is felt not because others have these goods, but because we have not got them ourselves. It is therefore a good feeling felt by good persons, whereas envy is a bad feeling felt by bad persons. Emulation makes us take steps to secure the good things in question, envy makes us take steps to stop our neighbour having them. Emulation must therefore tend to be felt by persons who believe themselves to deserve certain good things that they have not got, it being understood that no one aspires to things which appear impossible. It is accordingly felt by the young and by persons of lofty disposition. Also by those who possess such good things as are deserved by men held in honour-these are wealth, abundance of friends, public office, and the like; on the assumption that they ought to be good men, they are emulous to gain such goods because they ought, in their belief, to belong to men whose state of mind is good. Also by those whom all others think deserving. We also feel it about anything for which our ancestors, relatives, personal friends, race, or country are specially honoured, looking upon that thing as really our own, and therefore feeling that we deserve to have it. Further, since all good things that are highly honoured are objects of emulation, moral goodness in its various forms must be such an object, and also all those good things that are useful and serviceable to others: for men honour those who are morally good, and also those who do them service. So with those good things our possession of which can give enjoyment to our neighbours-wealth and beauty rather than health. We can see, too, what persons are the objects of the feeling. They are those who have these and similar things-those already mentioned, as courage, wisdom, public office. Holders of public office-generals, orators, and all who possess such powers-can do many people a good turn. Also those whom many people wish to be like; those who have many acquaintances or friends; those whom admire, or whom we ourselves admire; and those who have been praised and eulogized by poets or prose-writers. Persons of the contrary sort are objects of contempt: for the feeling and notion of contempt are opposite to those of emulation. Those who are such as to emulate or be emulated by others are inevitably disposed to be contemptuous of all such persons as are subject to those bad things which are contrary to the good things that are the objects of emulation: despising them for just that reason. Hence we often despise the fortunate, when luck comes to them without their having those good things which are held in honour.

This completes our discussion of the means by which the several emotions may be produced or dissipated, and upon which depend the persuasive arguments connected with the emotions.

Part 12

Let us now consider the various types of human character, in relation to the emotions and moral qualities, showing how they correspond to our various ages and fortunes. By emotions I mean anger, desire, and the like; these we have discussed already. By moral qualities I mean virtues and vices; these also have been discussed already, as well as the various things that various types of men tend to will and to do. By ages I mean youth, the prime of life, and old age. By fortune I mean birth, wealth, power, and their opposites-in fact, good fortune and ill fortune.

To begin with the Youthful type of character. Young men have strong passions, and tend to gratify them indiscriminately. Of the bodily desires, it is the sexual by which they are most swayed and in which they show absence of self-control. They are changeable and fickle in their desires, which are violent while they last, but quickly over: their impulses are keen but not deep-rooted, and are like sick people's attacks of hunger and thirst. They are hot-tempered, and quick-tempered, and apt to give way to their anger; bad temper often gets the better of them, for owing to their love of honour they cannot bear being slighted, and are indignant if they imagine themselves unfairly treated. While they love honour, they love victory still more; for youth is eager for superiority over others, and victory is one form of this. They love both more than they love money, which indeed they love very little, not having yet learnt what it means to be without it-this is the point of Pittacus' remark about Amphiaraus. They look at the good side rather than the bad, not having yet witnessed many instances of wickedness. They trust others readily, because they have not yet often been cheated. They are sanguine; nature warms their blood as though with excess of wine; and besides that, they have as yet met with few disappointments. Their lives are mainly spent not in memory but in expectation; for expectation refers to the future, memory to the past, and youth has a long future before it and a short past behind it: on the first day of one's life one has nothing at all to remember, and can only look forward. They are easily cheated, owing to the sanguine disposition just mentioned. Their hot tempers and hopeful dispositions make them more courageous than older men are; the hot temper prevents fear, and the hopeful disposition creates confidence; we cannot feel fear so long as we are feeling angry, and any expectation of good makes us confident. They are shy, accepting the rules of society in which they have been trained, and not yet believing in any other standard of honour. They have exalted notions, because they have not yet been humbled by life or learnt its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things-and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning; and whereas reasoning leads us to choose what is useful, moral goodness leads us to choose what is noble. They are fonder of their friends, intimates, and companions than older men are, because they like spending their days in the company of others, and have not yet come to value either their friends or anything else by their usefulness to themselves. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They disobey Chilon's precept by overdoing everything, they love too much and hate too much, and the same thing with everything else. They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it; this, in fact, is why they overdo everything. If they do wrong to others, it is because they mean to insult them, not to do them actual harm. They are ready to pity others, because they think every one an honest man, or anyhow better than he is: they judge their neighbour by their own harmless natures, and so cannot think he deserves to be treated in that way. They are fond of fun and therefore witty, wit being well-bred insolence.

Part 13

Such, then is the character of the Young. The character of Elderly Men-men who are past their prime-may be said to be formed for the most part of elements that are the contrary of all these. They have lived many years; they have often been taken in, and often made mistakes; and life on the whole is a bad business. The result is that they are sure about nothing and under-do everything. They 'think', but they never 'know'; and because of their hesitation they always add a 'possibly'or a 'perhaps', putting everything this way and nothing positively. They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worse construction on everything. Further, their experience makes them distrustful and therefore suspicious of evil. Consequently they neither love warmly nor hate bitterly, but following the hint of Bias they love as though they will some day hate and hate as though they will some day love. They are small-minded, because they have been humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or unusual than what will help them to keep alive. They are not generous, because money is one of the things they must have, and at the same time their experience has taught them how hard it is to get and how easy to lose. They are cowardly, and are always anticipating danger; unlike that of the young, who are warm-blooded, their temperament is chilly; old age has paved the way for cowardice; fear is, in fact, a form of chill. They love life; and all the more when their last day has come, because the object of all desire is something we have not got, and also because we desire most strongly that which we need most urgently. They are too fond of themselves; this is one form that small-mindedness takes. Because of this, they guide their lives too much by considerations of what is useful and too little by what is noble-for the useful is what is good for oneself, and the noble what is good absolutely. They are not shy, but shameless rather; caring less for what is noble than for what is useful, they feel contempt for what people may think of them. They lack confidence in the future; partly through experience-for most things go wrong, or anyhow turn out worse than one expects; and partly because of their cowardice. They live by memory rather than by hope; for what is left to them of life is but little as compared with the long past; and hope is of the future, memory of the past. This, again, is the cause of their loquacity; they are continually talking of the past, because they enjoy remembering it. Their fits of anger are sudden but feeble. Their sensual passions have either altogether gone or have lost their vigour: consequently they do not feel their passions much, and their actions are inspired less by what they do feel than by the love of gain. Hence men at this time of life are often supposed to have a self-controlled character; the fact is that their passions have slackened, and they are slaves to the love of gain. They guide their lives by reasoning more than by moral feeling; reasoning being directed to utility and moral feeling to moral goodness. If they wrong others, they mean to injure them, not to insult them. Old men may feel pity, as well as young men, but not for the same reason. Young men feel it out of kindness; old men out of weakness, imagining that anything that befalls any one else might easily happen to them, which, as we saw, is a thought that excites pity. Hence they are querulous, and not disposed to jesting or laughter-the love of laughter being the very opposite of querulousness.

Such are the characters of Young Men and Elderly Men. People always think well of speeches adapted to, and reflecting, their own character: and we can now see how to compose our speeches so as to adapt both them and ourselves to our audiences.

Part 14

As for Men in their Prime, clearly we shall find that they have a character between that of the young and that of the old, free from the extremes of either. They have neither that excess of confidence which amounts to rashness, nor too much timidity, but the right amount of each. They neither trust everybody nor distrust everybody, but judge people correctly. Their lives will be guided not by the sole consideration either of what is noble or of what is useful, but by both; neither by parsimony nor by prodigality, but by what is fit and proper. So, too, in regard to anger and desire; they will be brave as well as temperate, and temperate as well as brave; these virtues are divided between the young and the old; the young are brave but intemperate, the old temperate but cowardly. To put it generally, all the valuable qualities that youth and age divide between them are united in the prime of life, while all their excesses or defects are replaced by moderation and fitness. The body is in its prime from thirty to five-and-thirty; the mind about forty-nine.

Part 15

So much for the types of character that distinguish youth, old age, and the prime of life. We will now turn to those Gifts of Fortune by which human character is affected. First let us consider Good Birth. Its effect on character is to make those who have it more ambitious; it is the way of all men who have something to start with to add to the pile, and good birth implies ancestral distinction. The well-born man will look down even on those who are as good as his own ancestors, because any far-off distinction is greater than the same thing close to us, and better to boast about. Being well-born, which means coming of a fine stock, must be distinguished from nobility, which means being true to the family nature-a quality not usually found in the well-born, most of whom are poor creatures. In the generations of men as in the fruits of the earth, there is a varying yield; now and then, where the stock is good, exceptional men are produced for a while, and then decadence sets in. A clever stock will degenerate towards the insane type of character, like the descendants of Alcibiades or of the elder Dionysius; a steady stock towards the fatuous and torpid type, like the descendants of Cimon, Pericles, and Socrates.

Part 16

The type of character produced by Wealth lies on the surface for all to see. Wealthy men are insolent and arrogant; their possession of wealth affects their understanding; they feel as if they had every good thing that exists; wealth becomes a sort of standard of value for everything else.


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by W. Rhys Roberts

Go to previous Table of Contents

Book III

Part 1

In making a speech one must study three points: first, the means of producing persuasion; second, the style, or language, to be used; third, the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech. We have already specified the sources of persuasion. We have shown that these are three in number; what they are; and why there are only these three: for we have shown that persuasion must in every case be effected either (1) by working on the emotions of the judges themselves, (2) by giving them the right impression of the speakers' character, or (3) by proving the truth of the statements made.

Enthymemes also have been described, and the sources from which they should be derived; there being both special and general lines of argument for enthymemes.

Our next subject will be the style of expression. For it is not enough to know what we ought to say; we must also say it as we ought; much help is thus afforded towards producing the right impression of a speech. The first question to receive attention was naturally the one that comes first naturally-how persuasion can be produced from the facts themselves. The second is how to set these facts out in language. A third would be the proper method of delivery; this is a thing that affects the success of a speech greatly; but hitherto the subject has been neglected. Indeed, it was long before it found a way into the arts of tragic drama and epic recitation: at first poets acted their tragedies themselves. It is plain that delivery has just as much to do with oratory as with poetry. (In connexion with poetry, it has been studied by Glaucon of Teos among others.) It is, essentially, a matter of the right management of the voice to express the various emotions-of speaking loudly, softly, or between the two; of high, low, or intermediate pitch; of the various rhythms that suit various subjects. These are the three things-volume of sound, modulation of pitch, and rhythm-that a speaker bears in mind. It is those who do bear them in mind who usually win prizes in the dramatic contests; and just as in drama the actors now count for more than the poets, so it is in the contests of public life, owing to the defects of our political institutions. No systematic treatise upon the rules of delivery has yet been composed; indeed, even the study of language made no progress till late in the day. Besides, delivery is-very properly-not regarded as an elevated subject of inquiry. Still, the whole business of rhetoric being concerned with appearances, we must pay attention to the subject of delivery, unworthy though it is, because we cannot do without it. The right thing in speaking really is that we should be satisfied not to annoy our hearers, without trying to delight them: we ought in fairness to fight our case with no help beyond the bare facts: nothing, therefore, should matter except the proof of those facts. Still, as has been already said, other things affect the result considerably, owing to the defects of our hearers. The arts of language cannot help having a small but real importance, whatever it is we have to expound to others: the way in which a thing is said does affect its intelligibility. Not, however, so much importance as people think. All such arts are fanciful and meant to charm the hearer. Nobody uses fine language when teaching geometry.

When the principles of delivery have been worked out, they will produce the same effect as on the stage. But only very slight attempts to deal with them have been made and by a few people, as by Thrasymachus in his 'Appeals to Pity'. Dramatic ability is a natural gift, and can hardly be systematically taught. The principles of good diction can be so taught, and therefore we have men of ability in this direction too, who win prizes in their turn, as well as those speakers who excel in delivery-speeches of the written or literary kind owe more of their effect to their direction than to their thought.

It was naturally the poets who first set the movement going; for words represent things, and they had also the human voice at their disposal, which of all our organs can best represent other things. Thus the arts of recitation and acting were formed, and others as well. Now it was because poets seemed to win fame through their fine language when their thoughts were simple enough, that the language of oratorical prose at first took a poetical colour, e.g. that of Gorgias. Even now most uneducated people think that poetical language makes the finest discourses. That is not true: the language of prose is distinct from that of poetry. This is shown by the state of things to-day, when even the language of tragedy has altered its character. Just as iambics were adopted, instead of tetrameters, because they are the most prose-like of all metres, so tragedy has given up all those words, not used in ordinary talk, which decorated the early drama and are still used by the writers of hexameter poems. It is therefore ridiculous to imitate a poetical manner which the poets themselves have dropped; and it is now plain that we have not to treat in detail the whole question of style, but may confine ourselves to that part of it which concerns our present subject, rhetoric. The other--the poetical--part of it has been discussed in the treatise on the Art of Poetry.

Part 2

We may, then, start from the observations there made, including the definition of style. Style to be good must be clear, as is proved by the fact that speech which fails to convey a plain meaning will fail to do just what speech has to do. It must also be appropriate, avoiding both meanness and undue elevation; poetical language is certainly free from meanness, but it is not appropriate to prose. Clearness is secured by using the words (nouns and verbs alike) that are current and ordinary. Freedom from meanness, and positive adornment too, are secured by using the other words mentioned in the Art of Poetry. Such variation from what is usual makes the language appear more stately. People do not feel towards strangers as they do towards their own countrymen, and the same thing is true of their feeling for language. It is therefore well to give to everyday speech an unfamiliar air: people like what strikes them, and are struck by what is out of the way. In verse such effects are common, and there they are fitting: the persons and things there spoken of are comparatively remote from ordinary life. In prose passages they are far less often fitting because the subject-matter is less exalted. Even in poetry, it is not quite appropriate that fine language should be used by a slave or a very young man, or about very trivial subjects: even in poetry the style, to be appropriate, must sometimes be toned down, though at other times heightened. We can now see that a writer must disguise his art and give the impression of speaking naturally and not artificially. Naturalness is persuasive, artificiality is the contrary; for our hearers are prejudiced and think we have some design against them, as if we were mixing their wines for them. It is like the difference between the quality of Theodorus' voice and the voices of all other actors: his really seems to be that of the character who is speaking, theirs do not. We can hide our purpose successfully by taking the single words of our composition from the speech of ordinary life. This is done in poetry by Euripides, who was the first to show the way to his successors.

Language is composed of nouns and verbs. Nouns are of the various kinds considered in the treatise on Poetry. Strange words, compound words, and invented words must be used sparingly and on few occasions: on what occasions we shall state later. The reason for this restriction has been already indicated: they depart from what is suitable, in the direction of excess. In the language of prose, besides the regular and proper terms for things, metaphorical terms only can be used with advantage. This we gather from the fact that these two classes of terms, the proper or regular and the metaphorical-these and no others-are used by everybody in conversation. We can now see that a good writer can produce a style that is distinguished without being obtrusive, and is at the same time clear, thus satisfying our definition of good oratorical prose. Words of ambiguous meaning are chiefly useful to enable the sophist to mislead his hearers. Synonyms are useful to the poet, by which I mean words whose ordinary meaning is the same, e.g. 'porheueseai' (advancing) and 'badizein' (proceeding); these two are ordinary words and have the same meaning.

In the Art of Poetry, as we have already said, will be found definitions of these kinds of words; a classification of Metaphors; and mention of the fact that metaphor is of great value both in poetry and in prose. Prose-writers must, however, pay specially careful attention to metaphor, because their other resources are scantier than those of poets. Metaphor, moreover, gives style clearness, charm, and distinction as nothing else can: and it is not a thing whose use can be taught by one man to another. Metaphors, like epithets, must be fitting, which means that they must fairly correspond to the thing signified: failing this, their inappropriateness will be conspicuous: the want of harmony between two things is emphasized by their being placed side by side. It is like having to ask ourselves what dress will suit an old man; certainly not the crimson cloak that suits a young man. And if you wish to pay a compliment, you must take your metaphor from something better in the same line; if to disparage, from something worse. To illustrate my meaning: since opposites are in the same class, you do what I have suggested if you say that a man who begs 'prays', and a man who prays 'begs'; for praying and begging are both varieties of asking. So Iphicrates called Callias a 'mendicant priest' instead of a 'torch-bearer', and Callias replied that Iphicrates must be uninitiated or he would have called him not a 'mendicant priest' but a 'torch-bearer'. Both are religious titles, but one is honourable and the other is not. Again, somebody calls actors 'hangers-on of Dionysus', but they call themselves 'artists': each of these terms is a metaphor, the one intended to throw dirt at the actor, the other to dignify him. And pirates now call themselves 'purveyors'. We can thus call a crime a mistake, or a mistake a crime. We can say that a thief 'took' a thing, or that he 'plundered' his victim. An expression like that of Euripides' Telephus,

"King of the oar, on Mysia's coast he landed, "

is inappropriate; the word 'king' goes beyond the dignity of the subject, and so the art is not concealed. A metaphor may be amiss because the very syllables of the words conveying it fail to indicate sweetness of vocal utterance. Thus Dionysius the Brazen in his elegies calls poetry 'Calliope's screech'. Poetry and screeching are both, to be sure, vocal utterances. But the metaphor is bad, because the sounds of 'screeching', unlike those of poetry, are discordant and unmeaning. Further, in using metaphors to give names to nameless things, we must draw them not from remote but from kindred and similar things, so that the kinship is clearly perceived as soon as the words are said. Thus in the celebrated riddle

"I marked how a man glued bronze with fire to another man's body, "

the process is nameless; but both it and gluing are a kind of application, and that is why the application of the cupping-glass is here called a 'gluing'. Good riddles do, in general, provide us with satisfactory metaphors: for metaphors imply riddles, and therefore a good riddle can furnish a good metaphor. Further, the materials of metaphors must be beautiful; and the beauty, like the ugliness, of all words may, as Licymnius says, lie in their sound or in their meaning. Further, there is a third consideration-one that upsets the fallacious argument of the sophist Bryson, that there is no such thing as foul language, because in whatever words you put a given thing your meaning is the same. This is untrue. One term may describe a thing more truly than another, may be more like it, and set it more intimately before our eyes. Besides, two different words will represent a thing in two different lights; so on this ground also one term must be held fairer or fouler than another. For both of two terms will indicate what is fair, or what is foul, but not simply their fairness or their foulness, or if so, at any rate not in an equal degree. The materials of metaphor must be beautiful to the ear, to the understanding, to the eye or some other physical sense. It is better, for instance, to say 'rosy-fingered morn', than 'crimson-fingered' or, worse still, 'red-fingered morn'. The epithets that we apply, too, may have a bad and ugly aspect, as when Orestes is called a 'mother-slayer'; or a better one, as when he is called his 'father's avenger'. Simonides, when the victor in the mule-race offered him a small fee, refused to write him an ode, because, he said, it was so unpleasant to write odes to half-asses: but on receiving an adequate fee, he wrote

"Hail to you, daughters of storm-footed steeds? "

though of course they were daughters of asses too. The same effect is attained by the use of diminutives, which make a bad thing less bad and a good thing less good. Take, for instance, the banter of Aristophanes in the Babylonians where he uses 'goldlet' for 'gold', 'cloaklet' for 'cloak', 'scoffiet' for 'scoff, and 'plaguelet'. But alike in using epithets and in using diminutives we must be wary and must observe the mean.

Part 3

Bad taste in language may take any of four forms:
(1) The misuse of compound words. Lycophron, for instance, talks of the 'many visaged heaven' above the 'giant-crested earth', and again the 'strait-pathed shore'; and Gorgias of the 'pauper-poet flatterer' and 'oath-breaking and over-oath-keeping'. Alcidamas uses such expressions as 'the soul filling with rage and face becoming flame-flushed', and 'he thought their enthusiasm would be issue-fraught' and 'issue-fraught he made the persuasion of his words', and 'sombre-hued is the floor of the sea'.The way all these words are compounded makes them, we feel, fit for verse only. This, then, is one form in which bad taste is shown.

(2) Another is the employment of strange words. For instance, Lycophron talks of 'the prodigious Xerxes' and 'spoliative Sciron'; Alcidamas of 'a toy for poetry' and 'the witlessness of nature', and says 'whetted with the unmitigated temper of his spirit'.

(3) A third form is the use of long, unseasonable, or frequent epithets. It is appropriate enough for a poet to talk of 'white milk', in prose such epithets are sometimes lacking in appropriateness or, when spread too thickly, plainly reveal the author turning his prose into poetry. Of course we must use some epithets, since they lift our style above the usual level and give it an air of distinction. But we must aim at the due mean, or the result will be worse than if we took no trouble at all; we shall get something actually bad instead of something merely not good. That is why the epithets of Alcidamas seem so tasteless; he does not use them as the seasoning of the meat, but as the meat itself, so numerous and swollen and aggressive are they. For instance, he does not say 'sweat', but 'the moist sweat'; not 'to the Isthmian games', but 'to the world-concourse of the Isthmian games'; not 'laws', but 'the laws that are monarchs of states'; not 'at a run', but 'his heart impelling him to speed of foot'; not 'a school of the Muses', but 'Nature's school of the Muses had he inherited'; and so 'frowning care of heart', and 'achiever' not of 'popularity' but of 'universal popularity', and 'dispenser of pleasure to his audience', and 'he concealed it' not 'with boughs' but 'with boughs of the forest trees', and 'he clothed' not 'his body' but 'his body's nakedness', and 'his soul's desire was counter imitative' (this's at one and the same time a compound and an epithet, so that it seems a poet's effort), and 'so extravagant the excess of his wickedness'. We thus see how the inappropriateness of such poetical language imports absurdity and tastelessness into speeches, as well as the obscurity that comes from all this verbosity-for when the sense is plain, you only obscure and spoil its clearness by piling up words.

The ordinary use of compound words is where there is no term for a thing and some compound can be easily formed, like 'pastime' (chronotribein); but if this is much done, the prose character disappears entirely. We now see why the language of compounds is just the thing for writers of dithyrambs, who love sonorous noises; strange words for writers of epic poetry, which is a proud and stately affair; and metaphor for iambic verse, the metre which (as has been already' said) is widely used to-day.

(4) There remains the fourth region in which bad taste may be shown, metaphor. Metaphors like other things may be inappropriate. Some are so because they are ridiculous; they are indeed used by comic as well as tragic poets. Others are too grand and theatrical; and these, if they are far-fetched, may also be obscure. For instance, Gorgias talks of 'events that are green and full of sap', and says 'foul was the deed you sowed and evil the harvest you reaped'. That is too much like poetry. Alcidamas, again, called philosophy 'a fortress that threatens the power of law', and the Odyssey 'a goodly looking-glass of human life',' talked about 'offering no such toy to poetry': all these expressions fail, for the reasons given, to carry the hearer with them. The address of Gorgias to the swallow, when she had let her droppings fall on him as she flew overhead, is in the best tragic manner. He said, 'Nay, shame, O Philomela'. Considering her as a bird, you could not call her act shameful; considering her as a girl, you could; and so it was a good gibe to address her as what she was once and not as what she is.

Part 4

The Simile also is a metaphor; the difference is but slight. When the poet says of Achilles that he

"Leapt on the foe as a lion, "

this is a simile; when he says of him 'the lion leapt', it is a metaphor-here, since both are courageous, he has transferred to Achilles the name of 'lion'. Similes are useful in prose as well as in verse; but not often, since they are of the nature of poetry. They are to be employed just as metaphors are employed, since they are really the same thing except for the difference mentioned.

The following are examples of similes. Androtion said of Idrieus that he was like a terrier let off the chain, that flies at you and bites you-Idrieus too was savage now that he was let out of his chains. Theodamas compared Archidamus to an Euxenus who could not do geometry-a proportional simile, implying that Euxenus is an Archidamus who can do geometry. In Plato's Republic those who strip the dead are compared to curs which bite the stones thrown at them but do not touch the thrower, and there is the simile about the Athenian people, who are compared to a ship's captain who is strong but a little deaf; and the one about poets' verses, which are likened to persons who lack beauty but possess youthful freshness-when the freshness has faded the charm perishes, and so with verses when broken up into prose. Pericles compared the Samians to children who take their pap but go on crying; and the Boeotians to holm-oaks, because they were ruining one another by civil wars just as one oak causes another oak's fall. Demosthenes said that the Athenian people were like sea-sick men on board ship. Again, Demosthenes compared the political orators to nurses who swallow the bit of food themselves and then smear the children's lips with the spittle. Antisthenes compared the lean Cephisodotus to frankincense, because it was his consumption that gave one pleasure. All these ideas may be expressed either as similes or as metaphors; those which succeed as metaphors will obviously do well also as similes, and similes, with the explanation omitted, will appear as metaphors. But the proportional metaphor must always apply reciprocally to either of its co-ordinate terms. For instance, if a drinking-bowl is the shield of Dionysus, a shield may fittingly be called the drinking-bowl of Ares.

Part 5

Such, then, are the ingredients of which speech is composed. The foundation of good style is correctness of language, which falls under five heads. (1) First, the proper use of connecting words, and the arrangement of them in the natural sequence which some of them require. For instance, the connective 'men' (e.g. ego men) requires the correlative de (e.g. o de). The answering word must be brought in before the first has been forgotten, and not be widely separated from it; nor, except in the few cases where this is appropriate, is another connective to be introduced before the one required. Consider the sentence, 'But as soon as he told me (for Cleon had come begging and praying), took them along and set out.' In this sentence many connecting words are inserted in front of the one required to complete the sense; and if there is a long interval before 'set out', the result is obscurity. One merit, then, of good style lies in the right use of connecting words. (2) The second lies in calling things by their own special names and not by vague general ones. (3) The third is to avoid ambiguities; unless, indeed, you definitely desire to be ambiguous, as those do who have nothing to say but are pretending to mean something. Such people are apt to put that sort of thing into verse. Empedocles, for instance, by his long circumlocutions imposes on his hearers; these are affected in the same way as most people are when they listen to diviners, whose ambiguous utterances are received with nods of acquiescence-

"Croesus by crossing the Halys will ruin a mighty realm. "

Diviners use these vague generalities about the matter in hand because their predictions are thus, as a rule, less likely to be falsified. We are more likely to be right, in the game of 'odd and even', if we simply guess 'even' or 'odd' than if we guess at the actual number; and the oracle-monger is more likely to be right if he simply says that a thing will happen than if he says when it will happen, and therefore he refuses to add a definite date. All these ambiguities have the same sort of effect, and are to be avoided unless we have some such object as that mentioned. (4) A fourth rule is to observe Protagoras' classification of nouns into male, female, and inanimate; for these distinctions also must be correctly given. 'Upon her arrival she said her say and departed (e d elthousa kai dialechtheisa ocheto).' (5) A fifth rule is to express plurality, fewness, and unity by the correct wording, e.g. 'Having come, they struck me (oi d elthontes etupton me).'

It is a general rule that a written composition should be easy to read and therefore easy to deliver. This cannot be so where there are many connecting words or clauses, or where punctuation is hard, as in the writings of Heracleitus. To punctuate Heracleitus is no easy task, because we often cannot tell whether a particular word belongs to what precedes or what follows it. Thus, at the outset of his treatise he says, 'Though this truth is always men understand it not', where it is not clear with which of the two clauses the word 'always' should be joined by the punctuation. Further, the following fact leads to solecism, viz. that the sentence does not work out properly if you annex to two terms a third which does not suit them both. Thus either 'sound' or 'colour' will fail to work out properly with some verbs: 'perceive' will apply to both, 'see' will not. Obscurity is also caused if, when you intend to insert a number of details, you do not first make your meaning clear; for instance, if you say, 'I meant, after telling him this, that and the other thing, to set out', rather than something of this kind 'I meant to set out after telling him; then this, that, and the other thing occurred.'

Part 6

The following suggestions will help to give your language impressiveness. (1) Describe a thing instead of naming it: do not say 'circle', but 'that surface which extends equally from the middle every way'. To achieve conciseness, do the opposite-put the name instead of the description. When mentioning anything ugly or unseemly, use its name if it is the description that is ugly, and describe it if it is the name that is ugly. (2) Represent things with the help of metaphors and epithets, being careful to avoid poetical effects. (3) Use plural for singular, as in poetry, where one finds

"Unto havens Achaean, "

though only one haven is meant, and

"Here are my letter's many-leaved folds. "

(4) Do not bracket two words under one article, but put one article with each; e.g. 'that wife of ours.' The reverse to secure conciseness; e.g. 'our wife.' Use plenty of connecting words; conversely, to secure conciseness, dispense with connectives, while still preserving connexion; e.g. 'having gone and spoken', and 'having gone, I spoke', respectively. (6) And the practice of Antimachus, too, is useful-to describe a thing by mentioning attributes it does not possess; as he does in talking of Teumessus

"There is a little wind-swept knoll... "

A subject can be developed indefinitely along these lines. You may apply this method of treatment by negation either to good or to bad qualities, according to which your subject requires. It is from this source that the poets draw expressions such as the 'stringless' or 'lyreless' melody, thus forming epithets out of negations. This device is popular in proportional metaphors, as when the trumpet's note is called 'a lyreless melody'.

Part 7

Your language will be appropriate if it expresses emotion and character, and if it corresponds to its subject. 'Correspondence to subject' means that we must neither speak casually about weighty matters, nor solemnly about trivial ones; nor must we add ornamental epithets to commonplace nouns, or the effect will be comic, as in the works of Cleophon, who can use phrases as absurd as 'O queenly fig-tree'. To express emotion, you will employ the language of anger in speaking of outrage; the language of disgust and discreet reluctance to utter a word when speaking of impiety or foulness; the language of exultation for a tale of glory, and that of humiliation for a tale of and so in all other cases.

This aptness of language is one thing that makes people believe in the truth of your story: their minds draw the false conclusion that you are to be trusted from the fact that others behave as you do when things are as you describe them; and therefore they take your story to be true, whether it is so or not. Besides, an emotional speaker always makes his audience feel with him, even when there is nothing in his arguments; which is why many speakers try to overwhelm their audience by mere noise.

Furthermore, this way of proving your story by displaying these signs of its genuineness expresses your personal character. Each class of men, each type of disposition, will have its own appropriate way of letting the truth appear. Under 'class' I include differences of age, as boy, man, or old man; of sex, as man or woman; of nationality, as Spartan or Thessalian. By 'dispositions' I here mean those dispositions only which determine the character of a man's for it is not every disposition that does this. If, then, a speaker uses the very words which are in keeping with a particular disposition, he will reproduce the corresponding character; for a rustic and an educated man will not say the same things nor speak in the same way. Again, some impression is made upon an audience by a device which speech-writers employ to nauseous excess, when they say 'Who does not know this?' or 'It is known to everybody.' The hearer is ashamed of his ignorance, and agrees with the speaker, so as to have a share of the knowledge that everybody else possesses.

All the variations of oratorical style are capable of being used in season or out of season. The best way to counteract any exaggeration is the well-worn device by which the speaker puts in some criticism of himself; for then people feel it must be all right for him to talk thus, since he certainly knows what he is doing. Further, it is better not to have everything always just corresponding to everything else-your hearers will see through you less easily thus. I mean for instance, if your words are harsh, you should not extend this harshness to your voice and your countenance and have everything else in keeping. If you do, the artificial character of each detail becomes apparent; whereas if you adopt one device and not another, you are using art all the same and yet nobody notices it. (To be sure, if mild sentiments are expressed in harsh tones and harsh sentiments in mild tones, you become comparatively unconvincing.) Compound words, fairly plentiful epithets, and strange words best suit an emotional speech. We forgive an angry man for talking about a wrong as 'heaven-high' or 'colossal'; and we excuse such language when the speaker has his hearers already in his hands and has stirred them deeply either by praise or blame or anger or affection, as Isocrates, for instance, does at the end of his Panegyric, with his 'name and fame' and 'in that they brooked'. Men do speak in this strain when they are deeply stirred, and so, once the audience is in a like state of feeling, approval of course follows. This is why such language is fitting in poetry, which is an inspired thing. This language, then, should be used either under stress of emotion, or ironically, after the manner of Gorgias and of the passages in the Phaedrus.

Part 8

The form of a prose composition should be neither metrical nor destitute of rhythm. The metrical form destroys the hearer's trust by its artificial appearance, and at the same time it diverts his attention, making him watch for metrical recurrences, just as children catch up the herald's question, 'Whom does the freedman choose as his advocate?', with the answer 'Cleon!' On the other hand, unrhythmical language is too unlimited; we do not want the limitations of metre, but some limitation we must have, or the effect will be vague and unsatisfactory. Now it is number that limits all things; and it is the numerical limitation of the forms of a composition that constitutes rhythm, of which metres are definite sections. Prose, then, is to be rhythmical, but not metrical, or it will become not prose but verse. It should not even have too precise a prose rhythm, and therefore should only be rhythmical to a certain extent.

Of the various rhythms, the heroic has dignity, but lacks the tones of the spoken language. The iambic is the very language of ordinary people, so that in common talk iambic lines occur oftener than any others: but in a speech we need dignity and the power of taking the hearer out of his ordinary self. The trochee is too much akin to wild dancing: we can see this in tetrameter verse, which is one of the trochaic rhythms.

There remains the paean, which speakers began to use in the time of Thrasymachus, though they had then no name to give it. The paean is a third class of rhythm, closely akin to both the two already mentioned; it has in it the ratio of three to two, whereas the other two kinds have the ratio of one to one, and two to one respectively. Between the two last ratios comes the ratio of one-and-a-half to one, which is that of the paean.

Now the other two kinds of rhythm must be rejected in writing prose, partly for the reasons given, and partly because they are too metrical; and the paean must be adopted, since from this alone of the rhythms mentioned no definite metre arises, and therefore it is the least obtrusive of them. At present the same form of paean is employed at the beginning a at the end of sentences, whereas the end should differ from the beginning. There are two opposite kinds of paean, one of which is suitable to the beginning of a sentence, where it is indeed actually used; this is the kind that begins with a long syllable and ends with three short ones, as

"Dalogenes | eite Luki | an, "


"Chruseokom | a Ekate | pai Dios. "

The other paean begins, conversely, with three short syllables and ends with a long one, as

"meta de lan | udata t ok | eanon e | oanise nux. "

This kind of paean makes a real close: a short syllable can give no effect of finality, and therefore makes the rhythm appear truncated. A sentence should break off with the long syllable: the fact that it is over should be indicated not by the scribe, or by his period-mark in the margin, but by the rhythm itself.

We have now seen that our language must be rhythmical and not destitute of rhythm, and what rhythms, in what particular shape, make it so.

Part 9

The language of prose must be either free-running, with its parts united by nothing except the connecting words, like the preludes in dithyrambs; or compact and antithetical, like the strophes of the old poets. The free-running style is the ancient one, e.g. 'Herein is set forth the inquiry of Herodotus the Thurian.' Every one used this method formerly; not many do so now. By 'free-running' style I mean the kind that has no natural stopping-places, and comes to a stop only because there is no more to say of that subject. This style is unsatisfying just because it goes on indefinitely-one always likes to sight a stopping-place in front of one: it is only at the goal that men in a race faint and collapse; while they see the end of the course before them, they can keep on going. Such, then, is the free-running kind of style; the compact is that which is in periods. By a period I mean a portion of speech that has in itself a beginning and an end, being at the same time not too big to be taken in at a glance. Language of this kind is satisfying and easy to follow. It is satisfying, because it is just the reverse of indefinite; and moreover, the hearer always feels that he is grasping something and has reached some definite conclusion; whereas it is unsatisfactory to see nothing in front of you and get nowhere. It is easy to follow, because it can easily be remembered; and this because language when in periodic form can be numbered, and number is the easiest of all things to remember. That is why verse, which is measured, is always more easily remembered than prose, which is not: the measures of verse can be numbered. The period must, further, not be completed until the sense is complete: it must not be capable of breaking off abruptly, as may happen with the following iambic lines of Sophocles-

"Calydon's soil is this; of Pelops' land

"(The smiling plains face us across the strait.) "

By a wrong division of the words the hearer may take the meaning to be the reverse of what it is: for instance, in the passage quoted, one might imagine that Calydon is in the Peloponnesus.

A Period may be either divided into several members or simple. The period of several members is a portion of speech (1) complete in itself, (2) divided into parts, and (3) easily delivered at a single breath-as a whole, that is; not by fresh breath being taken at the division. A member is one of the two parts of such a period. By a 'simple' period, I mean that which has only one member. The members, and the whole periods, should be neither curt nor long. A member which is too short often makes the listener stumble; he is still expecting the rhythm to go on to the limit his mind has fixed for it; and if meanwhile he is pulled back by the speaker's stopping, the shock is bound to make him, so to speak, stumble. If, on the other hand, you go on too long, you make him feel left behind, just as people who when walking pass beyond the boundary before turning back leave their companions behind So too if a period is too long you turn it into a speech, or something like a dithyrambic prelude. The result is much like the preludes that Democritus of Chios jeered at Melanippides for writing instead of antistrophic stanzas-

"He that sets traps for another man's feet

"Is like to fall into them first;

"And long-winded preludes do harm to us all,

"But the preluder catches it worst. "

Which applies likewise to long-membered orators. Periods whose members are altogether too short are not periods at all; and the result is to bring the hearer down with a crash.

The periodic style which is divided into members is of two kinds. It is either simply divided, as in 'I have often wondered at the conveners of national gatherings and the founders of athletic contests'; or it is antithetical, where, in each of the two members, one of one pair of opposites is put along with one of another pair, or the same word is used to bracket two opposites, as 'They aided both parties-not only those who stayed behind but those who accompanied them: for the latter they acquired new territory larger than that at home, and to the former they left territory at home that was large enough'. Here the contrasted words are 'staying behind' and 'accompanying', 'enough' and 'larger'. So in the example, 'Both to those who want to get property and to those who desire to enjoy it' where 'enjoyment' is contrasted with 'getting'. Again, 'it often happens in such enterprises that the wise men fail and the fools succeed'; 'they were awarded the prize of valour immediately, and won the command of the sea not long afterwards'; 'to sail through the mainland and march through the sea, by bridging the Hellespont and cutting through Athos'; 'nature gave them their country and law took it away again'; 'of them perished in misery, others were saved in disgrace'; 'Athenian citizens keep foreigners in their houses as servants, while the city of Athens allows her allies by thousands to live as the foreigner's slaves'; and 'to possess in life or to bequeath at death'. There is also what some one said about Peitholaus and Lycophron in a law-court, 'These men used to sell you when they were at home, and now they have come to you here and bought you'. All these passages have the structure described above. Such a form of speech is satisfying, because the significance of contrasted ideas is easily felt, especially when they are thus put side by side, and also because it has the effect of a logical argument; it is by putting two opposing conclusions side by side that you prove one of them false.

Such, then, is the nature of antithesis. Parisosis is making the two members of a period equal in length. Paromoeosis is making the extreme words of both members like each other. This must happen either at the beginning or at the end of each member. If at the beginning, the resemblance must always be between whole words; at the end, between final syllables or inflexions of the same word or the same word repeated. Thus, at the beginning

"agron gar elaben arlon par' autou "


"dorhetoi t epelonto pararretoi t epeessin "

At the end

"ouk wethesan auton paidion tetokenai,

"all autou aitlon lelonenai, "


"en pleiotals de opontisi kai en elachistais elpisin "

An example of inflexions of the same word is

"axios de staoenai chalkous ouk axios on chalkou; "

Of the same word repeated,

"su d' auton kai zonta eleges kakos kai nun grafeis kakos. "

Of one syllable,

"ti d' an epaoes deinon, ei andrh' eides arhgon; "

It is possible for the same sentence to have all these features together-antithesis, parison, and homoeoteleuton. (The possible beginnings of periods have been pretty fully enumerated in the Theodectea.) There are also spurious antitheses, like that of Epicharmus-

"There one time I as their guest did stay,

"And they were my hosts on another day. "

Part 10

We may now consider the above points settled, and pass on to say something about the way to devise lively and taking sayings. Their actual invention can only come through natural talent or long practice; but this treatise may indicate the way it is done. We may deal with them by enumerating the different kinds of them. We will begin by remarking that we all naturally find it agreeable to get hold of new ideas easily: words express ideas, and therefore those words are the most agreeable that enable us to get hold of new ideas. Now strange words simply puzzle us; ordinary words convey only what we know already; it is from metaphor that we can best get hold of something fresh. When the poet calls 'old age a withered stalk', he conveys a new idea, a new fact, to us by means of the general notion of bloom, which is common to both things. The similes of the poets do the same, and therefore, if they are good similes, give an effect of brilliance. The simile, as has been said before, is a metaphor, differing from it only in the way it is put; and just because it is longer it is less attractive. Besides, it does not say outright that 'this' is 'that', and therefore the hearer is less interested in the idea. We see, then, that both speech and reasoning are lively in proportion as they make us seize a new idea promptly. For this reason people are not much taken either by obvious arguments (using the word 'obvious' to mean what is plain to everybody and needs no investigation), nor by those which puzzle us when we hear them stated, but only by those which convey their information to us as soon as we hear them, provided we had not the information already; or which the mind only just fails to keep up with. These two kinds do convey to us a sort of information: but the obvious and the obscure kinds convey nothing, either at once or later on. It is these qualities, then, that, so far as the meaning of what is said is concerned, make an argument acceptable. So far as the style is concerned, it is the antithetical form that appeals to us, e.g. 'judging that the peace common to all the rest was a war upon their own private interests', where there is an antithesis between war and peace. It is also good to use metaphorical words; but the metaphors must not be far-fetched, or they will be difficult to grasp, nor obvious, or they will have no effect. The words, too, ought to set the scene before our eyes; for events ought to be seen in progress rather than in prospect. So we must aim at these three points: Antithesis, Metaphor, and Actuality.

Of the four kinds of Metaphor the most taking is the proportional kind. Thus Pericles, for instance, said that the vanishing from their country of the young men who had fallen in the war was 'as if the spring were taken out of the year'. Leptines, speaking of the Lacedaemonians, said that he would not have the Athenians let Greece 'lose one of her two eyes'. When Chares was pressing for leave to be examined upon his share in the Olynthiac war, Cephisodotus was indignant, saying that he wanted his examination to take place 'while he had his fingers upon the people's throat'. The same speaker once urged the Athenians to march to Euboea, 'with Miltiades' decree as their rations'. Iphicrates, indignant at the truce made by the Athenians with Epidaurus and the neighbouring sea-board, said that they had stripped themselves of their travelling money for the journey of war. Peitholaus called the state-galley 'the people's big stick', and Sestos 'the corn-bin of the Peiraeus'. Pericles bade his countrymen remove Aegina, 'that eyesore of the Peiraeus.' And Moerocles said he was no more a rascal than was a certain respectable citizen he named, 'whose rascality was worth over thirty per cent per annum to him, instead of a mere ten like his own'.There is also the iambic line of Anaxandrides about the way his daughters put off marrying-

"My daughters' marriage-bonds are overdue. "

Polyeuctus said of a paralytic man named Speusippus that he could not keep quiet, 'though fortune had fastened him in the pillory of disease'. Cephisodotus called warships 'painted millstones'. Diogenes the Dog called taverns 'the mess-rooms of Attica'. Aesion said that the Athenians had 'emptied' their town into Sicily: this is a graphic metaphor. 'Till all Hellas shouted aloud' may be regarded as a metaphor, and a graphic one again. Cephisodotus bade the Athenians take care not to hold too many 'parades'. Isocrates used the same word of those who 'parade at the national festivals.' Another example occurs in the Funeral Speech: 'It is fitting that Greece should cut off her hair beside the tomb of those who fell at Salamis, since her freedom and their valour are buried in the same grave.' Even if the speaker here had only said that it was right to weep when valour was being buried in their grave, it would have been a metaphor, and a graphic one; but the coupling of 'their valour' and 'her freedom' presents a kind of antithesis as well. 'The course of my words', said Iphicrates, 'lies straight through the middle of Chares' deeds': this is a proportional metaphor, and the phrase 'straight through the middle' makes it graphic. The expression 'to call in one danger to rescue us from another' is a graphic metaphor. Lycoleon said, defending Chabrias, 'They did not respect even that bronze statue of his that intercedes for him yonder'.This was a metaphor for the moment, though it would not always apply; a vivid metaphor, however; Chabrias is in danger, and his statue intercedes for him-that lifeless yet living thing which records his services to his country. 'Practising in every way littleness of mind' is metaphorical, for practising a quality implies increasing it. So is 'God kindled our reason to be a lamp within our soul', for both reason and light reveal things. So is 'we are not putting an end to our wars, but only postponing them', for both literal postponement and the making of such a peace as this apply to future action. So is such a saying as 'This treaty is a far nobler trophy than those we set up on fields of battle; they celebrate small gains and single successes; it celebrates our triumph in the war as a whole'; for both trophy and treaty are signs of victory. So is 'A country pays a heavy reckoning in being condemned by the judgement of mankind', for a reckoning is damage deservedly incurred.

Part 11

It has already been mentioned that liveliness is got by using the proportional type of metaphor and being making (ie. making your hearers see things). We have still to explain what we mean by their 'seeing things', and what must be done to effect this. By 'making them see things' I mean using expressions that represent things as in a state of activity. Thus, to say that a good man is 'four-square' is certainly a metaphor; both the good man and the square are perfect; but the metaphor does not suggest activity. On the other hand, in the expression 'with his vigour in full bloom' there is a notion of activity; and so in 'But you must roam as free as a sacred victim'; and in

"Thereas up sprang the Hellenes to their feet, "

where 'up sprang' gives us activity as well as metaphor, for it at once suggests swiftness. So with Homer's common practice of giving metaphorical life to lifeless things: all such passages are distinguished by the effect of activity they convey. Thus,

"Downward anon to the valley rebounded the boulder remorseless; and "

"The (bitter) arrow flew; "


"Flying on eagerly; and "

Stuck in the earth, still panting to feed on the flesh of the heroes; and

"And the point of the spear in its fury drove

"full through his breastbone. "

In all these examples the things have the effect of being active because they are made into living beings; shameless behaviour and fury and so on are all forms of activity. And the poet has attached these ideas to the things by means of proportional metaphors: as the stone is to Sisyphus, so is the shameless man to his victim. In his famous similes, too, he treats inanimate things in the same way:

"Curving and crested with white, host following

"host without ceasing. "

Here he represents everything as moving and living; and activity is movement.

Metaphors must be drawn, as has been said already, from things that are related to the original thing, and yet not obviously so related-just as in philosophy also an acute mind will perceive resemblances even in things far apart. Thus Archytas said that an arbitrator and an altar were the same, since the injured fly to both for refuge. Or you might say that an anchor and an overhead hook were the same, since both are in a way the same, only the one secures things from below and the other from above. And to speak of states as 'levelled' is to identify two widely different things, the equality of a physical surface and the equality of political powers.

Liveliness is specially conveyed by metaphor, and by the further power of surprising the hearer; because the hearer expected something different, his acquisition of the new idea impresses him all the more. His mind seems to say, 'Yes, to be sure; I never thought of that'. The liveliness of epigrammatic remarks is due to the meaning not being just what the words say: as in the saying of Stesichorus that 'the cicalas will chirp to themselves on the ground'. Well-constructed riddles are attractive for the same reason; a new idea is conveyed, and there is metaphorical expression. So with the 'novelties' of Theodorus. In these the thought is startling, and, as Theodorus puts it, does not fit in with the ideas you already have. They are like the burlesque words that one finds in the comic writers. The effect is produced even by jokes depending upon changes of the letters of a word; this too is a surprise. You find this in verse as well as in prose. The word which comes is not what the hearer imagined: thus

"Onward he came, and his feet were shod with his-chilblains, "

where one imagined the word would be 'sandals'. But the point should be clear the moment the words are uttered. Jokes made by altering the letters of a word consist in meaning, not just what you say, but something that gives a twist to the word used; e.g. the remark of Theodorus about Nicon the harpist Thratt' ei su ('you Thracian slavey'), where he pretends to mean Thratteis su ('you harpplayer'), and surprises us when we find he means something else. So you enjoy the point when you see it, though the remark will fall flat unless you are aware that Nicon is Thracian. Or again: Boulei auton persai. In both these cases the saying must fit the facts. This is also true of such lively remarks as the one to the effect that to the Athenians their empire (arche) of the sea was not the beginning (arche) of their troubles, since they gained by it. Or the opposite one of Isocrates, that their empire (arche) was the beginning (arche) of their troubles. Either way, the speaker says something unexpected, the soundness of which is thereupon recognized. There would be nothing clever is saying 'empire is empire'. Isocrates means more than that, and uses the word with a new meaning. So too with the former saying, which denies that arche in one sense was arche in another sense. In all these jokes, whether a word is used in a second sense or metaphorically, the joke is good if it fits the facts. For instance, Anaschetos (proper name) ouk anaschetos: where you say that what is so-and-so in one sense is not so-and-so in another; well, if the man is unpleasant, the joke fits the facts. Again, take-

"Thou must not be a stranger stranger than Thou should'st. "

Do not the words 'thou must not be', &c., amount to saying that the stranger must not always be strange? Here again is the use of one word in different senses. Of the same kind also is the much-praised verse of Anaxandrides:

"Death is most fit before you do

"Deeds that would make death fit for you. "

This amounts to saying 'it is a fit thing to die when you are not fit to die', or 'it is a fit thing to die when death is not fit for you', i.e. when death is not the fit return for what you are doing. The type of language employed-is the same in all these examples; but the more briefly and antithetically such sayings can be expressed, the more taking they are, for antithesis impresses the new idea more firmly and brevity more quickly. They should always have either some personal application or some merit of expression, if they are to be true without being commonplace-two requirements not always satisfied simultaneously. Thus 'a man should die having done no wrong' is true but dull: 'the right man should marry the right woman' is also true but dull. No, there must be both good qualities together, as in 'it is fitting to die when you are not fit for death'. The more a saying has these qualitis, the livelier it appears: if, for instance, its wording is metaphorical, metaphorical in the right way, antithetical, and balanced, and at the same time it gives an idea of activity.

Successful similes also, as has been said above, are in a sense metaphors, since they always involve two relations like the proportional metaphor. Thus: a shield, we say, is the 'drinking-bowl of Ares', and a bow is the 'chordless lyre'. This way of putting a metaphor is not 'simple', as it would be if we called the bow a lyre or the shield a drinking-bowl. There are 'simple' similes also: we may say that a flute-player is like a monkey, or that a short-sighted man's eyes are like a lamp-flame with water dropping on it, since both eyes and flame keep winking. A simile succeeds best when it is a converted metaphor, for it is possible to say that a shield is like the drinking-bowl of Ares, or that a ruin is like a house in rags, and to say that Niceratus is like a Philoctetes stung by Pratys-the simile made by Thrasyniachus when he saw Niceratus, who had been beaten by Pratys in a recitation competition, still going about unkempt and unwashed. It is in these respects that poets fail worst when they fail, and succeed best when they succeed, i.e. when they give the resemblance pat, as in

"Those legs of his curl just like parsley leaves; "


"Just like Philammon struggling with his punchball. "

These are all similes; and that similes are metaphors has been stated often already.

Proverbs, again, are metaphors from one species to another. Suppose, for instance, a man to start some undertaking in hope of gain and then to lose by it later on, 'Here we have once more the man of Carpathus and his hare', says he. For both alike went through the said experience.

It has now been explained fairly completely how liveliness is secured and why it has the effect it has. Successful hyperboles are also metaphors, e.g. the one about the man with a black eye, 'you would have thought he was a basket of mulberries'; here the 'black eye' is compared to a mulberry because of its colour, the exaggeration lying in the quantity of mulberries suggested. The phrase 'like so-and-so' may introduce a hyperbole under the form of a simile. Thus

"Just like Philammon struggling with his punchball "

is equivalent to 'you would have thought he was Philammon struggling with his punchball'; and

"Those legs of his curl just like parsley leaves "

is equivalent to 'his legs are so curly that you would have thought they were not legs but parsley leaves'. Hyperboles are for young men to use; they show vehemence of character; and this is why angry people use them more than other people.

"Not though he gave me as much as the dust

"or the sands of the sea...

"But her, the daughter of Atreus' son, I never will marry,

"Nay, not though she were fairer than Aphrodite the Golden,

"Defter of hand than Athene... "

(The Attic orators are particularly fond of this method of speech.) Consequently it does not suit an elderly speaker.

Part 12

It should be observed that each kind of rhetoric has its own appropriate style. The style of written prose is not that of spoken oratory, nor are those of political and forensic speaking the same. Both written and spoken have to be known. To know the latter is to know how to speak good Greek. To know the former means that you are not obliged, as otherwise you are, to hold your tongue when you wish to communicate something to the general public.

The written style is the more finished: the spoken better admits of dramatic delivery-like the kind of oratory that reflects character and the kind that reflects emotion. Hence actors look out for plays written in the latter style, and poets for actors competent to act in such plays. Yet poets whose plays are meant to be read are read and circulated: Chaeremon, for instance, who is as finished as a professional speech-writer; and Licymnius among the dithyrambic poets. Compared with those of others, the speeches of professional writers sound thin in actual contests. Those of the orators, on the other hand, are good to hear spoken, but look amateurish enough when they pass into the hands of a reader. This is just because they are so well suited for an actual tussle, and therefore contain many dramatic touches, which, being robbed of all dramatic rendering, fail to do their own proper work, and consequently look silly. Thus strings of unconnected words, and constant repetitions of words and phrases, are very properly condemned in written speeches: but not in spoken speeches-speakers use them freely, for they have a dramatic effect. In this repetition there must be variety of tone, paving the way, as it were, to dramatic effect; e.g. 'This is the villain among you who deceived you, who cheated you, who meant to betray you completely'. This is the sort of thing that Philemon the actor used to do in the Old Men's Madness of Anaxandrides whenever he spoke the words 'Rhadamanthus and Palamedes', and also in the prologue to the Saints whenever he pronounced the pronoun 'I'. If one does not deliver such things cleverly, it becomes a case of 'the man who swallowed a poker'. So too with strings of unconnected words, e.g.'I came to him; I met him; I besought him'. Such passages must be acted, not delivered with the same quality and pitch of voice, as though they had only one idea in them. They have the further peculiarity of suggesting that a number of separate statements have been made in the time usually occupied by one. Just as the use of conjunctions makes many statements into a single one, so the omission of conjunctions acts in the reverse way and makes a single one into many. It thus makes everything more important: e.g. 'I came to him; I talked to him; I entreated him'-what a lot of facts! the hearer thinks-'he paid no attention to anything I said'. This is the effect which Homer seeks when he writes,

"Nireus likewise from Syme (three well-fashioned ships did bring),

"Nireus, the son of Aglaia (and Charopus, bright-faced king),

"Nireus, the comeliest man (of all that to Ilium's strand). "

If many things are said about a man, his name must be mentioned many times; and therefore people think that, if his name is mentioned many times, many things have been said about him. So that Homer, by means of this illusion, has made a great deal of though he has mentioned him only in this one passage, and has preserved his memory, though he nowhere says a word about him afterwards.

Now the style of oratory addressed to public assemblies is really just like scene-painting. The bigger the throng, the more distant is the point of view: so that, in the one and the other, high finish in detail is superfluous and seems better away. The forensic style is more highly finished; still more so is the style of language addressed to a single judge, with whom there is very little room for rhetorical artifices, since he can take the whole thing in better, and judge of what is to the point and what is not; the struggle is less intense and so the judgement is undisturbed. This is why the same speakers do not distinguish themselves in all these branches at once; high finish is wanted least where dramatic delivery is wanted most, and here the speaker must have a good voice, and above all, a strong one. It is ceremonial oratory that is most literary, for it is meant to be read; and next to it forensic oratory.

To analyse style still further, and add that it must be agreeable or magnificent, is useless; for why should it have these traits any more than 'restraint', 'liberality', or any other moral excellence? Obviously agreeableness will be produced by the qualities already mentioned, if our definition of excellence of style has been correct. For what other reason should style be 'clear', and 'not mean' but 'appropriate'? If it is prolix, it is not clear; nor yet if it is curt. Plainly the middle way suits best. Again, style will be made agreeable by the elements mentioned, namely by a good blending of ordinary and unusual words, by the rhythm, and by-the persuasiveness that springs from appropriateness.

This concludes our discussion of style, both in its general aspects and in its special applications to the various branches of rhetoric. We have now to deal with Arrangement.

Part 13

A speech has two parts. You must state your case, and you must prove it. You cannot either state your case and omit to prove it, or prove it without having first stated it; since any proof must be a proof of something, and the only use of a preliminary statement is the proof that follows it. Of these two parts the first part is called the Statement of the case, the second part the Argument, just as we distinguish between Enunciation and Demonstration. The current division is absurd. For 'narration' surely is part of a forensic speech only: how in a political speech or a speech of display can there be 'narration' in the technical sense? or a reply to a forensic opponent? or an epilogue in closely-reasoned speeches? Again, introduction, comparison of conflicting arguments, and recapitulation are only found in political speeches when there is a struggle between two policies. They may occur then; so may even accusation and defence, often enough; but they form no essential part of a political speech. Even forensic speeches do not always need epilogues; not, for instance, a short speech, nor one in which the facts are easy to remember, the effect of an epilogue being always a reduction in the apparent length. It follows, then, that the only necessary parts of a speech are the Statement and the Argument. These are the essential features of a speech; and it cannot in any case have more than Introduction, Statement, Argument, and Epilogue. 'Refutation of the Opponent' is part of the arguments: so is 'Comparison' of the opponent's case with your own, for that process is a magnifying of your own case and therefore a part of the arguments, since one who does this proves something. The Introduction does nothing like this; nor does the Epilogue-it merely reminds us of what has been said already. If we make such distinctions we shall end, like Theodorus and his followers, by distinguishing 'narration' proper from 'post-narration' and 'pre-narration', and 'refutation' from 'final refutation'. But we ought only to bring in a new name if it indicates a real species with distinct specific qualities; otherwise the practice is pointless and silly, like the way Licymnius invented names in his Art of Rhetoric-'Secundation', 'Divagation', 'Ramification'.

Part 14

The Introduction is the beginning of a speech, corresponding to the prologue in poetry and the prelude in flute-music; they are all beginnings, paving the way, as it were, for what is to follow. The musical prelude resembles the introduction to speeches of display; as flute players play first some brilliant passage they know well and then fit it on to the opening notes of the piece itself, so in speeches of display the writer should proceed in the same way; he should begin with what best takes his fancy, and then strike up his theme and lead into it; which is indeed what is always done. (Take as an example the introduction to the Helen of Isocrates-there is nothing in common between the 'eristics' and Helen.) And here, even if you travel far from your subject, it is fitting, rather than that there should be sameness in the entire speech.

The usual subject for the introductions to speeches of display is some piece of praise or censure. Thus Gorgias writes in his Olympic Speech, 'You deserve widespread admiration, men of Greece', praising thus those who start,ed the festival gatherings.' Isocrates, on the other hand, censures them for awarding distinctions to fine athletes but giving no prize for intellectual ability. Or one may begin with a piece of advice, thus: 'We ought to honour good men and so I myself am praising Aristeides' or 'We ought to honour those who are unpopular but not bad men, men whose good qualities have never been noticed, like Alexander son of Priam.' Here the orator gives advice. Or we may begin as speakers do in the law-courts; that is to say, with appeals to the audience to excuse us if our speech is about something paradoxical, difficult, or hackneyed; like Choerilus in the lines-

"But now when allotment of all has been made... "

Introductions to speeches of display, then, may be composed of some piece of praise or censure, of advice to do or not to do something, or of appeals to the audience; and you must choose between making these preliminary passages connected or disconnected with the speech itself.

Introductions to forensic speeches, it must be observed, have the same value as the prologues of dramas and the introductions to epic poems; the dithyrambic prelude resembling the introduction to a speech of display, as

"For thee, and thy gilts, and thy battle-spoils.... "

In prologues, and in epic poetry, a foretaste of the theme is given, intended to inform the hearers of it in advance instead of keeping their minds in suspense. Anything vague puzzles them: so give them a grasp of the beginning, and they can hold fast to it and follow the argument. So we find-

"Sing, O goddess of song, of the Wrath...

"Tell me, O Muse, of the hero...

"Lead me to tell a new tale, how there came great warfare to Europe

"Out of the Asian land... "

The tragic poets, too, let us know the pivot of their play; if not at the outset like Euripides, at least somewhere in the preface to a speech like Sophocles-

"Polybus was my father...; "

and so in Comedy. This, then, is the most essential function and distinctive property of the introduction, to show what the aim of the speech is; and therefore no introduction ought to be employed where the subject is not long or intricate.

The other kinds of introduction employed are remedial in purpose, and may be used in any type of speech. They are concerned with the speaker, the hearer, the subject, or the speaker's opponent. Those concerned with the speaker himself or with his opponent are directed to removing or exciting prejudice. But whereas the defendant will begin by dealing with this sort of thing, the prosecutor will take quite another line and deal with such matters in the closing part of his speech. The reason for this is not far to seek. The defendant, when he is going to bring himself on the stage, must clear away any obstacles, and therefore must begin by removing any prejudice felt against him. But if you are to excite prejudice, you must do so at the close, so that the judges may more easily remember what you have said.

The appeal to the hearer aims at securing his goodwill, or at arousing his resentment, or sometimes at gaining his serious attention to the case, or even at distracting it-for gaining it is not always an advantage, and speakers will often for that reason try to make him laugh.

You may use any means you choose to make your hearer receptive; among others, giving him a good impression of your character, which always helps to secure his attention. He will be ready to attend to anything that touches himself and to anything that is important, surprising, or agreeable; and you should accordingly convey to him the impression that what you have to say is of this nature. If you wish to distract his attention, you should imply that the subject does not affect him, or is trivial or disagreeable. But observe, all this has nothing to do with the speech itself. It merely has to do with the weak-minded tendency of the hearer to listen to what is beside the point. Where this tendency is absent, no introduction wanted beyond a summary statement of your subject, to put a sort of head on the main body of your speech. Moreover, calls for attention, when required, may come equally well in any part of a speech; in fact, the beginning of it is just where there is least slackness of interest; it is therefore ridiculous to put this kind of thing at the beginning, when every one is listening with most attention. Choose therefore any point in the speech where such an appeal is needed, and then say 'Now I beg you to note this point-it concerns you quite as much as myself'; or

"I will tell you that whose like you have never yet "

heard for terror, or for wonder. This is what Prodicus called 'slipping in a bit of the fifty-drachma show-lecture for the audience whenever they began to nod'. It is plain that such introductions are addressed not to ideal hearers, but to hearers as we find them. The use of introductions to excite prejudice or to dispel misgivings is universal-

"My lord, I will not say that eagerly... "


"Why all this preface? "

Introductions are popular with those whose case is weak, or looks weak; it pays them to dwell on anything rather than the actual facts of it. That is why slaves, instead of answering the questions put to them, make indirect replies with long preambles. The means of exciting in your hearers goodwill and various other feelings of the same kind have already been described. The poet finely says May I find in Phaeacian hearts, at my coming, goodwill and compassion; and these are the two things we should aim at. In speeches of display we must make the hearer feel that the eulogy includes either himself or his family or his way of life or something or other of the kind. For it is true, as Socrates says in the Funeral Speech, that 'the difficulty is not to praise the Athenians at Athens but at Sparta'.

The introductions of political oratory will be made out of the same materials as those of the forensic kind, though the nature of political oratory makes them very rare. The subject is known already, and therefore the facts of the case need no introduction; but you may have to say something on account of yourself or to your opponents; or those present may be inclined to treat the matter either more or less seriously than you wish them to. You may accordingly have to excite or dispel some prejudice, or to make the matter under discussion seem more or less important than before: for either of which purposes you will want an introduction. You may also want one to add elegance to your remarks, feeling that otherwise they will have a casual air, like Gorgias' eulogy of the Eleans, in which, without any preliminary sparring or fencing, he begins straight off with 'Happy city of Elis!'

Part 15

In dealing with prejudice, one class of argument is that whereby you can dispel objectionable suppositions about yourself. It makes no practical difference whether such a supposition has been put into words or not, so that this distinction may be ignored. Another way is to meet any of the issues directly: to deny the alleged fact; or to say that you have done no harm, or none to him, or not as much as he says; or that you have done him no injustice, or not much; or that you have done nothing disgraceful, or nothing disgraceful enough to matter: these are the sort of questions on which the dispute hinges. Thus Iphicrates replying to Nausicrates, admitted that he had done the deed alleged, and that he had done Nausicrates harm, but not that he had done him wrong. Or you may admit the wrong, but balance it with other facts, and say that, if the deed harmed him, at any rate it was honourable; or that, if it gave him pain, at least it did him good; or something else like that. Another way is to allege that your action was due to mistake, or bad luck, or necessity as Sophocles said he was not trembling, as his traducer maintained, in order to make people think him an old man, but because he could not help it; he would rather not be eighty years old. You may balance your motive against your actual deed; saying, for instance, that you did not mean to injure him but to do so-and-so; that you did not do what you are falsely charged with doing-the damage was accidental-'I should indeed be a detestable person if I had deliberately intended this result.' Another way is open when your calumniator, or any of his connexions, is or has been subject to the same grounds for suspicion. Yet another, when others are subject to the same grounds for suspicion but are admitted to be in fact innocent of the charge: e.g. 'Must I be a profligate because I am well-groomed? Then so-and-so must be one too.' Another, if other people have been calumniated by the same man or some one else, or, without being calumniated, have been suspected, like yourself now, and yet have been proved innocent. Another way is to return calumny for calumny and say, 'It is monstrous to trust the man's statements when you cannot trust the man himself.' Another is when the question has been already decided. So with Euripides' reply to Hygiaenon, who, in the action for an exchange of properties, accused him of impiety in having written a line encouraging perjury-

"My tongue hath sworn: no oath is on my soul. "

Euripides said that his opponent himself was guilty in bringing into the law-courts cases whose decision belonged to the Dionysiac contests. 'If I have not already answered for my words there, I am ready to do so if you choose to prosecute me there.' Another method is to denounce calumny, showing what an enormity it is, and in particular that it raises false


On the Gait of Animals

By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by A. S. L. Farquharson

Part 1

We have now to consider the parts which are useful to animals for movement in place (locomotion); first, why each part is such as it is and to what end they possess them; and second, the differences between these parts both in one and the same creature, and again by comparison of the parts of creatures of different species with one another. First then let us lay down how many questions we have to consider.

The first is what are the fewest points of motion necessary to animal progression, the second why sanguineous animals have four points and not more, but bloodless animals more than four, and generally why some animals are footless, others bipeds, others quadrupeds, others polypods, and why all have an even number of feet, if they have feet at all; why in fine the points on which progression depends are even in number.

Next, why are man and bird bipeds, but fish footless; and why do man and bird, though both bipeds, have an opposite curvature of the legs. For man bends his legs convexly, a bird has his bent concavely; again, man bends his arms and legs in opposite directions, for he has his arms bent convexly, but his legs concavely. And a viviparous quadruped bends his limbs in opposite directions to a man's, and in opposite directions to one another; for he has his forelegs bent convexly, his hind legs concavely. Again, quadrupeds which are not viviparous but oviparous have a peculiar curvature of the limbs laterally away from the body. Again, why do quadrupeds move their legs criss-cross?

We have to examine the reasons for all these facts, and others cognate to them; that the facts are such is clear from our Natural History, we have now to ask reasons for the facts.

Part 2

At the beginning of the inquiry we must postulate the principles we are accustomed constantly to use for our scientific investigation of nature, that is we must take for granted principles of this universal character which appear in all Nature's work. Of these one is that Nature creates nothing without a purpose, but always the best possible in each kind of living creature by reference to its essential constitution. Accordingly if one way is better than another that is the way of Nature. Next we must take for granted the different species of dimensions which inhere in various things; of these there are three pairs of two each, superior and inferior, before and behind, to the right and to the left. Further we must assume that the originals of movements in place are thrusts and pulls. (These are the essential place-movements, it is only accidentally that what is carried by another is moved; it is not thought to move itself, but to be moved by something else.)

Part 3

After these preliminaries, we go on to the next questions in order. Now of animals which change their position some move with the whole body at once, for example jumping animals, others move one part first and then the other, for example walking (and running) animals. In both these changes the moving creature always changes its position by pressing against what lies below it. Accordingly if what is below gives way too quickly for that which is moving upon it to lean against it, or if it affords no resistance at all to what is moving, the latter can of itself effect no movement upon it. For an animal which jumps makes its jump both by leaning against its own upper part and also against what is beneath its feet; for at the joints the parts do in a sense lean upon one another, and in general that which pushes down leans upon what is pushed down. That is why athletes jump further with weights in their hands than without, and runners run faster if they swing their arms; there is in extending the arms a kind of leaning against the hands and wrists. In all cases then that which moves makes its change of position by the use of at least two parts of the body;one part so to speak squeezes, the other is squeezed; for the part that is still is squeezed as it has to carry the weight, the part that is lifted strains against that which carries the weight. It follows then that nothing without parts can move itself in this way, for it has not in it the distinction of the part which is passive and that which is active.

Part 4

Again, the boundaries by which living beings are naturally determined are six in number, superior and inferior, before and behind, right and left. Of these all living beings have a superior and an inferior part; for superior and inferior is in plants too, not only in animals. And this distinction is one of function, not merely of position relatively to our earth and the sky above our heads. The superior is that from which flows in each kind the distribution of nutriment and the process of growth; the inferior is that to which the process flows and in which it ends. One is a starting-point, the other an end, and the starting-point is the superior. And yet it might be thought that in the case of plants at least the inferior is rather the appropriate starting-point, for in them the superior and inferior are in position other than in animals. Still they are similarly situated from the point of view of function, though not in their position relatively to the universe. The roots are the superior part of a plant, for from them the nutriment is distributed to the growing members, and a plant takes it with its roots as an animal does with its mouth.

Things that are not only alive but are animals have both a front and a back, because they all have sense, and front and back are distinguished by reference to sense. The front is the part in which sense is innate, and whence each thing gets its sensations, the opposite parts are the back.

All animals which partake not only in sense, but are able of themselves to make a change of place, have a further distinction of left and right besides those already enumerated; like the former these are distinctions of function and not of position. The right is that from which change of position naturally begins, the opposite which naturally depends upon this is the left.

This distinction (of right and left) is more articulate and detailed in some than in others. For animals which make the aforesaid change (of place) by the help of organized parts (I mean feet for example, or wings or similar organs) have the left and right distinguished in greater detail, while those which are not differentiated into such parts, but make the differentiation in the body itself and so progress, like some footless animals (for example snakes and caterpillars after their kind, and besides what men call earth-worms), all these have the distinction spoken of, although it is not made so manifest to us. That the beginning of movement is on the right is indicated by the fact that all men carry burdens on the left shoulder; in this way they set free the side which initiates movement and enable the side which bears the weight to be moved. And so men hop easier on the left leg; for the nature of the right is to initiate movement, that of the left to be moved. The burden then must rest on the side which is to be moved, not on that which is going to cause movement, and if it be set on the moving side, which is the original of movement, it will either not be moved at all or with more labour. Another indication that the right is the source of movement is the way we put our feet forward; all men lead off with the left, and after standing still prefer to put the left foot forward, unless something happens to prevent it. The reason is that their movement comes from the leg they step off, not from the one put forward. Again, men guard themselves with their right. And this is the reason why the right is the same in all, for that from which motion begins is the same for all, and has its natural position in the same place, and for this reason the spiral-shaped Testaceans have their shells on the right, for they do not move in the direction of the spire, but all go forward in the direction opposite to the spire. Examples are the murex and the ceryx. As all animals then start movement from the right, and the right moves in the same direction as the whole, it is necessary for all to be alike right-handed. And man has the left limbs detached more than any other animal because he is natural in a higher degree than the other animals; now the right is naturally both better than the left and separate from it, and so in man the right is more especially the right, more dextrous that is, than in other animals. The right then being differentiated it is only reasonable that in man the left should be most movable, and most detached. In man, too, the other starting-points are found most naturally and clearly distinct, the superior part that is and the front.

Part 5

Animals which, like men and birds, have the superior part distinguished from the front are two-footed (biped). In them, of the four points of motion, two are wings in the one, hands and arms in the other. Animals which have the superior and the front parts identically situated are four-footed, many-footed, or footless (quadruped, polypod, limbless). I use the term foot for a member employed for movement in place connected with a point on the ground, for the feet appear to have got their name from the ground under our feet.

Some animals, too, have the front and back parts identically situated, for example, Cephalopods (molluscs) and spiral-shaped Testaceans, and these we have discussed elsewhere in another connexion.

Now there is in place a superior, an intermediate, and an inferior; in respect to place bipeds have their superior part corresponding to the part of the universe; quadrupeds, polypods, and footless animals to the intermediate part, and plants to the inferior. The reason is that these have no power of locomotion, and the superior part is determined relatively to the nutriment, and their nutriment is from the earth. Quadrupeds, polypods, and footless animals again have their superior part corresponding to the intermediate, because they are not erect. Bipeds have theirs corresponding to the superior part of the universe because they are erect, and of bipeds, man par excellence; for man is the most natural of bipeds. And it is reasonable for the starting points to be in these parts; for the starting-point is honourable, and the superior is more honourable than the inferior, the front than the back, and the right than the left. Or we may reverse the argument and say quite well that these parts are more honourable than their opposites just because the starting-points are in them.

Part 6

The above discussion has made it clear that the original of movement is in the parts on the right. Now every continuous whole, one part of which is moved while the other remains at rest must, in order to be able to move as a whole while one part stands still, have in the place where both parts have opposed movements some common part which connects the moving parts with one another. Further in this common part the original of the motion (and similarly of the absence of motion) of each of the parts must lie.

Clearly then if any of the opposite pairs of parts (right and left, that is, superior and inferior, before and behind) have a movement of their own, each of them has for common original of its movements the juncture of the parts in question.

Now before and behind are not distinctions relatively to that which sets up its own motion, because in nature nothing has a movement backwards, nor has a moving animal any division whereby it may make a change of position towards its front or back; but right and left, superior and inferior are so distinguished. Accordingly, all animals which progress by the use of distinct members have these members distinguished not by the differences of before and behind, but only of the remaining two pairs; the prior difference dividing these members into right and left (a difference which must appear as soon as you have division into two), and the other difference appearing of necessity where there is division into four.

Since then these two pairs, the superior and inferior and the right and left, are linked to one another by the same common original (by which I mean that which controls their movement), and further, everything which is intended to make a movement in each such part properly must have the original cause of all the said movements arranged in a certain definite position relatively to the distances from it of the originals of the movements of the individual members (and these centres of the individual parts are in pairs arranged coordinately or diagonally, and the common centre is the original from which the animal's movements of right and left, and similarly of superior and inferior, start); each animal must have this original at a point where it is equally or nearly equally related to each of the centres in the four parts described.

Part 7

It is clear then how locomotion belongs to those animals only which make their changes of place by means of two or four points in their structure, or to such animals par excellence. Moreover, since this property belongs almost peculiarly to Sanguineous animals, we see that no Sanguineous animal can progress at more points than four, and that if it is the nature of anything so to progress at four points it must of necessity be Sanguineous.

What we observe in the animal world is in agreement with the above account. For no Sanguineous animal if it be divided into more parts can live for any appreciable length of time, nor can it enjoy the power of locomotion which it possessed while it was a continuous and undivided whole. But some bloodless animals and polypods can live a long time, if divided, in each of the severed parts, and can move in the same way as before they were dismembered. Examples are what is termed the centipede and other insects that are long in shape, for even the hinder portion of all these goes on progressing in the same direction as before when they are cut in two.

The explanation of their living when thus divided is that each of them is constructed like a continuous body of many separate living beings. It is plain, too, from what was said above why they are like this. Animals constructed most naturally are made to move at two or four points, and even limbless Sanguinea are no exception. They too move by dint of four points, whereby they achieve progression. They go forward by means of two flexions. For in each of their flexions there is a right and a left, both before and behind in their flat surface, in the part towards the head a right and a left front point, and in the part towards the tail the two hinder points. They look as if they moved at two points only, where they touch before and behind, but that is only because they are narrow in breadth. Even. in them the right is the sovereign part, and there is an alternate correspondence behind, exactly as in quadrupeds. The reason of their flexions is their great length, for just as tall men walk with their spines bellied (undulated) forward, and when their right shoulder is leading in a forward direction their left hip rather inclined backwards, so that their middle becomes hollow and bellied (undulated), so we ought to conceive snakes as moving in concave curves (undulations) upon the ground. And this is evidence that they move themselves like the quadrupeds, for they make the concave in its turn convex and the convex concave. When in its turn the left of the forward parts is leading, the concavity is in its turn reversed, for the right becomes the inner. (Let the right front point be A, the left B, the right hind C, the left D.)

Among land animals this is the character of the movement of snakes, and among water animals of eels, and conger-eels and also lampreys, in fact of all that have their form snakelike. However, some marine animals of this shape have no fin, lampreys for example, but put the sea to the same use as snakes do both land and water (for snakes swim precisely as they move on the ground). Others have two fins only, for example conger-eels and eels and a kind of cestreus which breeds in the lake of Siphae. On this account too those that are accustomed to live on land, for example all the eels, move with fewer flexions in a fluid than on land, while the kind of cestreus which has two fins, by its flexion in a fluid makes up the remaining points.

Part 8

The reason why snakes are limbless is first that nature makes nothing without purpose, but always regards what is the best possible for each individual, preserving the peculiar essence of each and its intended character, and secondly the principle we laid down above that no Sanguineous creature can move itself at more than four points. Granting this it is evident that Sanguineous animals like snakes, whose length is out of proportion to the rest of their dimensions, cannot possibly have limbs; for they cannot have more than four (or they would be bloodless), and if they had two or four they would be practically stationary; so slow and unprofitable would their movement necessarily be.

But every limbed animal has necessarily an even number of such limbs. For those which only jump and so move from place to place do not need limbs for this movement at least, but those which not only jump but also need to walk, finding that movement not sufficient for their purposes, evidently either are better able to progress with even limbs or cannot otherwise progress at all every animal which has limbs must have an even us for as this kind of movement is effected by part of the body at a time, and not by the whole at once as in the movement of leaping, some of the limbs must in turn remain at rest, and others be moved, and the animal must act in each of these cases with opposite limbs, shifting the weight from the limbs that are being moved to those at rest. And so nothing can walk on three limbs or on one; in the latter case it has no support at all on which to rest the body's weight, in the former only in respect of one pair of opposites, and so it must necessarily fall in endeavouring so to move.

Polypods however, like the Centipede, can indeed make progress on an odd number of limbs, as may be seen by the experiment of wounding one of their limbs; for then the mutilation of one row of limbs is corrected by the number of limbs which remain on either side. Such mutilated creatures, however, drag the wounded limb after them with the remainder, and do not properly speaking walk. Moreover, it is plain that they, too, would make the change of place better if they had an even number, in fact if none were missing and they had the limbs which correspond to one another. In this way they could equalize their own weight, and not oscillate to one side, if they had corresponding supports instead of one section of the opposite sides being unoccupied by a limb. A walking creature advances from each of its members alternately, for in this way it recovers the same figure that it had at first.

Part 9

The fact that all animals have an even number of feet, and the reasons for the fact have been set forth. What follows will explain that if there were no point at rest flexion and straightening would be impossible. Flexion is a change from a right line to an arc or an angle, straightening a change from either of these to a right line. Now in all such changes the flexion or the straightening must be relative to one point. Moreover, without flexion there could not be walking or swimming or flying. For since limbed creatures stand and take their weight alternately on one or other of the opposite legs, if one be thrust forward the other of necessity must be bent. For the opposite limbs are naturally of equal length, and the one which is under the weight must be a kind of perpendicular at right angles to the ground.

When then one leg is advanced it becomes the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle. Its square then is equal to the square on the other side together with the square on the base. As the legs then are equal, the one at rest must bend either at the knee or, if there were any kneeless animal which walked, at some other articulation. The following experiment exhibits the fact. If a man were to walk parallel to a wall in sunshine, the line described (by the shadow of his head> would be not straight but zigzag, becoming lower as he bends, and higher when he stands and lifts himself up.

It is, indeed, possible to move oneself even if the leg be not bent, in the way in which children crawl. This was the old though erroneous account of the movement of elephants. But these kinds of movements involve a flexion in the shoulders or in the hips. Nothing at any rate could walk upright continuously and securely without flexions at the knee, but would have to move like men in the wrestling schools who crawl forward through the sand on their knees. For the upper part of the upright creature is long so that its leg has to be correspondingly long; in consequence there must be flexion. For since a stationary position is perpendicular, if that which moves cannot bend it will either fall forward as the right angle becomes acute or will not be able to progress. For if one leg is at right angles to the ground and the other is advanced, the latter will be at once equal and greater. For it will be equal to the stationary leg and also equivalent to the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle. That which goes forward therefore must bend, and while bending one, extend the other leg simultaneously, so as to incline forward and make a stride and still remain above the perpendicular; for the legs form an isosceles triangle, and the head sinks lower when it is perpendicularly above the base on which it stands.

Of limbless animals, some progress by undulations (and this happens in two ways, either they undulate on the ground, like snakes, or up and down, like caterpillars), and undulation is a flexion; others by a telescopic action, like what are called earthworms and leeches. These go forward, first one part leading and then drawing the whole of the rest of the body up to this, and so they change from place to place. It is plain too that if the two curves were not greater than the one line which subtends them undulating animals could not move themselves; when the flexure is extended they would not have moved forward at all if the flexure or arc were equal to the chord subtended; as it is, it reaches further when it is straightened out, and then this part stays still and it draws up what is left behind.

In all the changes described that which moves now extends itself in a straight line to progress, and now is hooped; it straightens itself in its leading part, and is hooped in what follows behind. Even jumping animals all make a flexion in the part of the body which is underneath, and after this fashion make their leaps. So too flying and swimming things progress, the one straightening and bending their wings to fly, the other their fins to swim. Of the latter some have four fins, others which are rather long, for example eels, have only two. These swim by substituting a flexion of the rest of their body for the (missing) pair of fins to complete the movement, as we have said before. Flat fish use two fins, and the flat of their body as a substitute for the absent pair of fins. Quite flat fish, like the Ray, produce their swimming movement with the actual fins and with the two extremes or semicircles of their body, bending and straightening themselves alternately.

Part 10

A difficulty might perhaps be raised about birds. How, it may be said, can they, either when they fly or when they walk, be said to move at four points? Now we did not say that all Sanguinea move at four points, but merely at not more than four. Moreover, they cannot as a fact fly if their legs be removed, nor walk without their wings. Even a man does not walk without moving his shoulders. Everything indeed, as we have said, makes a change of place by flexion and straightening, for all things progress by pressing upon what being beneath them up to a point gives way as it were gradually; accordingly, even if there be no flexion in another member, there must be at least in the point whence motion begins, is in feathered (flying) insects at the base of the 'scale-wing', in birds at the base of the wing, in others at the base of the corresponding member, the fins, for instance, in fish. In others, for example snakes, the flexion begins in the joints of the body.

In winged creatures the tail serves, like a ship's rudder, to keep the flying thing in its course. The tail then must like other limbs be able to bend at the point of attachment. And so flying insects, and birds (Schizoptera) whose tails are ill-adapted for the use in question, for example peacocks, and domestic cocks, and generally birds that hardly fly, cannot steer a straight course. Flying insects have absolutely no tail, and so drift along like a rudderless vessel, and beat against anything they happen upon; and this applies equally to sharded insects, like the scarab-beetle and the chafer, and to unsharded, like bees and wasps. Further, birds that are not made for flight have a tail that is of no use; for instance the purple coot and the heron and all water-fowl. These fly stretching out their feet as a substitute for a tail, and use their legs instead of a tail to direct their flight. The flight of insects is slow and frail because the character of their feathery wings is not proportionate to the bulk of their body; this is heavy, their wings small and frail, and so the flight they use is like a cargo boat attempting to make its voyage with oars; now the frailty both of the actual wings and of the outgrowths upon them contributes in a measure to the flight described. Among birds, the peacock's tail is at one time useless because of its size, at another because it is shed. But birds are in general at the opposite pole to flying insects as regards their feathers, but especially the swiftest flyers among them. (These are the birds with curved talons, for swiftness of wing is useful to their mode of life.) The rest of their bodily structure is in harmony with their peculiar movement, the small head, the slight neck, the strong and acute breastbone (acute like the prow of a clipper-built vessel, so as to be well-girt, and strong by dint of its mass of flesh), in order to be able to push away the air that beats against it, and that easily and without exhaustion. The hind-quarters, too, are light and taper again, in order to conform to the movement of the front and not by their breadth to suck the air.

Part 11

So much then for these questions. But why an animal that is to stand erect must necessarily be not only a biped, but must also have the superior parts of the body lighter, and those that lie under these heavier, is plain. Only if situated like this could it possibly carry itself easily. And so man, the only erect animal, has legs longer and stouter relatively to the upper parts of his body than any other animal with legs. What we observe in children also is evidence of this. Children cannot walk erect because they are always dwarf-like, the upper parts of their bodies being longer and stouter than the lower. With advancing years the lower increase disproportionately, until the children get their appropriate size, and then and not till then they succeed in walking erect. Birds are hunchbacked yet stand on two legs because their weight is set back, after the principle of horses fashioned in bronze with their forelegs prancing. But their being bipeds and able to stand is above all due to their having the hip-bone shaped like a thigh, and so large that it looks as if they had two thighs, one in the leg before the knee-joint, the other joining his part to the fundament. Really this is not a thigh but a hip, and if it were not so large the bird could not be a biped. As in a man or a quadruped, the thigh and the rest of the leg would be attached immediately to quite a small hip; consequently the whole body would be tilted forward. As it is, however, the hip is long and extends right along to the middle of the belly, so that the legs are attached at that point and carry as supports the whole frame. It is also evident from these considerations that a bird cannot possibly be erect in the sense in which man is. For as it holds its body now the wings are naturally useful to it, but if it were erect they would be as useless as the wings of Cupids we see in pictures. It must have been clear as soon as we spoke that the form of no human nor any similar being permits of wings; not only because it would, though Sanguineous, be moved at more than four points, but also because to have wings would be useless to it when moving naturally. And Nature makes nothing contrary to her own nature.

Part 12

We have stated above that without flexion in the legs or shoulders and hips no Sanguineous animal with feet could progress, and that flexion is impossible except some point be at rest, and that men and birds, both bipeds, bend their legs in opposite directions, and further that quadrupeds bend their in opposite directions, and each pair in the opposite way to a man's limbs. For men bend their arms backwards, their legs forwards; quadrupeds their forelegs forwards, their back legs backwards, and in like manner also birds bend theirs. The reason is that Nature's workmanship is never purposeless, as we said above, but everything for the best possible in the circumstances. Inasmuch, therefore, as all creatures which naturally have the power of changing position by the use of limbs, must have one leg stationary with the weight of the body on it, and when they move forward the leg which has the leading position must be unencumbered, and the progression continuing the weight must shift and be taken off on this leading leg, it is evidently necessary for the back leg from being bent to become straight again, while the point of movement of the leg thrust forward and its lower part remain still. And so the legs must be jointed. And it is possible for this to take place and at the same time for the animal to go forward, if the leading leg has its articulation forwards, impossible if it be backwards. For, if it be forwards, the stretching out of the leg will be while the body is going forwards, but, if the other way, while it is going backwards. And again, if the flexion were backwards, the placing of the foot would be made by two movements and those contrary to one another, one, that is, backwards and one forwards; for in the bending together of the limb the lower end of the thigh would go backwards, and the shin would move the foot forwards away from the flexion; whereas, with the flexion forwards, the progression described will be performed not with contrary motions, but with one forward motion.

Now man, being a biped and making his change of position in the natural way with his two legs, bends them forward for the reasons set forth, but his arms bend backwards reasonably enough. If they bent the opposite way they would be useless for the work of the hands, and for taking food. But quadrupeds which are also viviparous necessarily bend their front legs forwards. For these lead off first when they move, and are also in the forepart of their body. The reason that they bend forward is the same as in the case of man, for in this respect they are like mankind. And so quadrupeds as well as men bend these legs forward in the manner described. Moreover, if the flexion is like this, they are enabled to lift their feet high; if they bent them in the opposite way they would only lift them a little way from the ground, because the whole thigh and the joint from which the shin-bone springs would lie under the belly as the beast moved forward. If, however, the flexion of the hind legs were forwards the lifting of these feet would be similar to that of the forefeet (for the hind legs, too, would in this case have only a little room for their lifting inasmuch as both the thigh and the knee-joint would fall under the position of the belly); but the flexion being backwards, as in fact it is, nothing comes in the way of their progression with this mode of moving the feet. Moreover, it is necessary or at least better for their legs to bend thus when they are suckling their young, with a view to such ministrations. If the flexion were inwards it would be difficult to keep their young under them and to shelter them.

Part 13

Now there are four modes of flexion if we take the combinations in pairs. Fore and hind may bend either both backwards, as the figures marked A, or in the opposite way both forwards, as in B, or in converse ways and not in the same direction, as in C where the fore bend forwards and the hind bend backwards, or as in D, the opposite way to C, where the convexities are turned towards one another and the concavities outwards. Now no biped or quadruped bends his limbs like the figures A or B, but the quadrupeds like C, and like D only the elephant among quadrupeds and man if you consider his arms as well as his legs. For he bends his arms concavely and his legs convexly.

In man, too, the flexions of the limbs are always alternately opposite, for example the elbow bends back, but the wrist of the hand forwards, and again the shoulder forwards. In like fashion, too, in the case of the legs, the hip backwards, the knee forwards, the ankle in the opposite way backwards. And plainly the lower limbs are opposed in this respect to the upper, because the first joints are opposites, the shoulder bending forwards, the hip backwards; wherefore also the ankle bends backwards, and the wrist of the hand forwards.

Part 14

This is the way then the limbs bend, and for the reasons given. But the hind limbs move criss-cross with the fore limbs; after the off fore they move the near hind, then the near fore, and then the off hind. The reason is that (a) if they moved the forelegs together and first, the animal would be wrenched, and the progression would be a stumbling forwards with the hind parts as it were dragged after. Again, that would not be walking but jumping, and it is hard to make a continuous change of place, jumping all the time. Here is evidence of what I say; even as it is, all horses that move in this way soon begin to refuse, for example the horses in a religious procession. For these reasons the fore limbs and the hind limbs move in this separate way. Again, (b) if they moved both the right legs first the weight would be outside the supporting limbs and they would fall. If then it is necessary to move in one or other of these ways or criss-cross fashion, and neither of these two is satisfactory, they must move criss-cross; for moving in the way we have said they cannot possibly experience either of these untoward results. And this is why horses and such-like animals stand still with their legs put forward criss-cross, not with the right or the left put forward together at once. In the same fashion animals with more than four legs make their movements; if you take two consecutive pairs of legs the hind move criss-cross with the forelegs; you can see this if you watch them moving slowly. Even crabs move in this way, and they are polypods. They, too, always move criss-cross in whichever direction they are making progress. For in direction this animal has a movement all its own; it is the only animal that moves not forwards, but obliquely. Yet since forwards is a distinction relative to the line of vision, Nature has made its eyes able to conform to its limbs, for its eyes can move themselves obliquely, and therefore after a fashion crabs are no exception but in this sense move forwards.

Part 15

Birds bend their legs in the same way as quadrupeds. For their natural construction is broadly speaking nearly the same. That is, in birds the wings are a substitute for the forelegs; and so they are bent in the same way as the forelegs of a quadruped, since when they move to progress the natural beginning of change is from the wings (as in quadrupeds from the forelegs). Flight in fact is their appropriate movement. And so if the wings be cut off a bird can neither stand still nor go forwards.

Again, the bird though a biped is not erect, and has the forward parts of the body lighter than the hind, and so it is necessary (or at least preferable for the standing posture) to have the thigh so placed below the body as it actually is, I mean growing towards the back. If then it must have this situation the flexion of the leg must be backwards, as in the hind legs of quadrupeds. The reasons are the same as those given in the case of viviparous quadrupeds.

If now we survey generally birds and winged insects, and animals which swim in a watery medium, all I mean that make their progress in water by dint of organs of movement, it is not difficult to see that it is better to have the attachment of the parts in question oblique to the frame, exactly as in fact we see it to be both in birds and insects. And this same arrangement obtains also among fishes. Among birds the wings are attached obliquely; so are the fins in water animals, and the feather-like wings of insects. In this way they divide the air or water most quickly and with most force and so effect their movement. For the hinder parts in this way would follow forwards as they are carried along in the yielding medium, fish in the water, birds in the air.

Of oviparous quadrupeds all those that live in holes, like crocodiles, lizards, spotted lizards, freshwater tortoises, and turtles, have their legs attached obliquely as their whole body sprawls over the ground, and bend them obliquely. The reason is that this is useful for ease in creeping into holes, and for sitting upon their eggs and guarding them. And as they are splayed outwards they must of necessity tuck in their thighs and put them under them in order to achieve the lifting of the whole body. In view of this they cannot bend them otherwise than outwards.

Part 16

We have already stated the fact that non-sanguineous animals with limbs are polypods and none of them quadrupeds. And the reason why their legs, except the extreme pairs, were necessarily attached obliquely and had their flexions upwards, and the legs themselves were somewhat turned under (bandy-shape) and backwards is plain. In all such creatures the intermediate legs both lead and follow. If then they lay under them, they must have had their flexion both forwards and backwards; on account of leading, forwards; and on account of following, backwards. Now since they have to do both, for this reason their limbs are turned under and bent obliquely, except the two extreme pairs. (These two are more natural in their movement, the front leading and the back following.) Another reason for this kind of flexion is the number of their legs; arranged in this way they would interfere less with one another in progression and not knock together. But the reason that they are bandy is that all of them or most of them live in holes, for creatures living so cannot possibly be high above the ground.

But crabs are in nature the oddest of all polypods; they do not progress forwards except in the sense explained above, they are the only animals which have more than one pair of leading limbs. The explanation of this is the hardness of their limbs, and the fact that they use them not for swimming but for walking; they always keep on the ground. However, the flexion of the limbs of all polypods is oblique, like that of the quadrupeds which live in holes-for example lizards and crocodiles and most of the oviparous quadrupeds. And the explanation is that some of them in their breeding periods, and some all their life, live in holes.

Part 17

Now the rest have bandy legs because they are soft-skinned, but the crayfish is hard-skinned and its limbs are for swimming and not for walking (and so are not bandy). Crabs, too, have their limbs bent obliquely, but not bandy like oviparous quadrupeds and non-sanguineous polypods, because their limbs have a hard and shell-like skin, although they don't swim but live in holes; they live in fact on the ground. Moreover, their shape is like a disk, as compared with the crayfish which is elongated, and they haven't a tail like the crayfish; a tail is useful to the crayfish for swimming, but the crab is not a swimming creature. Further, it alone has its side equivalent to a hinder part, because it has many leading feet. The explanation of this is that its flexions are not forward nor its legs turned in under (bandy). We have given above the reason why its legs are not turned in under, that is the hardness and shell-like character of its integument.

For these reasons then it must lead off with more than one limb, and move obliquely; obliquely, because the flexion is oblique; and with more than one limb, because otherwise the limbs that were still would have got in the way of those that were moving.

Fishes of the flat kind swim with their heads twisted, as one-eyed men walk; they have their natural shape distorted. Web-footed birds swim with their feet; because they breath the air and have lungs they are bipeds, but because they have their home in the water they are webbed; by this arrangement their feet serve them instead of fins. They have their legs too, not like the rest of birds in the centre of their body, but rather set back. Their legs are short, and being set back are serviceable for swimming. The reason for their having short legs is that nature has added to their feet by subtracting from the length of their limbs; instead of length she gives stoutness to the legs and breadth to the feet. Broad feet are more useful than long for pushing away the water when they are swimming.

Part 18

There is reason, too, for winged creatures having feet, but fish none. The former have their home in the dry medium, and cannot remain always in mid air; they must therefore have feet. Fish on the contrary live in the wet medium, and take in water, not air. Fins are useful for swimming, but feet not. And if they had both they would be non-sanguineous. There is a broad similarity between birds and fishes in the organs of locomotion. Birds have their wings on the superior part, similarly fish have two pectoral fins; again, birds have legs on their under parts and near the wings; similarly, most fish have two fins on the under parts and near the pectorals. Birds, too, have a tail and fish a tail-fin.

Part 19

A difficulty may be suggested as to the movements of molluscs, that is, as to where that movement originates; for they have no distinction of left and right. Now observation shows them moving. We must, I think, treat all this class as mutilated, and as moving in the way in which limbed creatures do when one cuts off their legs, or as analogous with the seal and the bat. Both the latter are quadrupeds but misshapen. Now molluscs do move, but move in a manner contrary to nature. They are not moving things, but are moving if as sedentary creatures they are compared with zoophytes, and sedentary if classed with progressing animals.

As to right and left, crabs, too, show the distinction poorly, still they do show it. You can see it in the claw; the right claw is larger and stronger, as though the right and left sides were trying to get distinguished.

The structure of animals, both in their other parts, and especially in those which concern progression and any movement in place, is as we have now described. It remains, after determining these questions, to investigate the problems of Life and Death.



The next point to consider is how the mathematician differs from the physicist. Obviously physical bodies contain surfaces and volumes, lines and points, and these are the subject-matter of mathematics.

Further, is astronomy different from physics or a department of it? It seems absurd that the physicist should be supposed to know the nature of sun or moon, but not to know any of their essential attributes, particularly as the writers on physics obviously do discuss their shape also and whether the earth and the world are spherical or not.

Now the mathematician, though he too treats of these things, nevertheless does not treat of them as the limits of a physical body; nor does he consider the attributes indicated as the attributes of such bodies. That is why he separates them; for in thought they are separable from motion, and it makes no difference, nor does any falsity result, if they are separated. The holders of the theory of Forms do the same, though they are not aware of it; for they separate the objects of physics, which are less separable than those of mathematics. This becomes plain if one tries to state in each of the two cases the definitions of the things and of their attributes. "Odd" and "even," "straight" and "curved," and likewise "number," "line," and "figure," do not involve motion; not so "flesh" and "bone" and "man" - these are defined like "snub nose," not like "curved."

Similar evidence is supplied by the more physical of the branches of mathematics, such as optics, harmonics, and astronomy. These are in a way the converse of geometry. While geometry investigates physical lines but not qua physical, optics investigates mathematical lines, but qua physical, not qua mathematical.

On the Motion of Animals

By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by A. S. L. Farquharson

Part 1

Elsewhere we have investigated in detail the movement of animals after their various kinds, the differences between them, and the reasons for their particular characters (for some animals fly, some swim, some walk, others move in various other ways); there remains an investigation of the common ground of any sort of animal movement whatsoever.

Now we have already determined (when we were discussing whether eternal motion exists or not, and its definition, if it does exist) that the origin of all other motions is that which moves itself, and that the origin of this is the immovable, and that the prime mover must of necessity be immovable. And we must grasp this not only generally in theory, but also by reference to individuals in the world of sense, for with these in view we seek general theories, and with these we believe that general theories ought to harmonize. Now in the world of sense too it is plainly impossible for movement to be initiated if there is nothing at rest, and before all else in our present subject- animal life. For if one of the parts of an animal be moved, another must be at rest, and this is the purpose of their joints; animals use joints like a centre, and the whole member, in which the joint is, becomes both one and two, both straight and bent, changing potentially and actually by reason of the joint. And when it is bending and being moved one of the points in the joint is moved and one is at rest, just as if the points A and D of a diameter were at rest, and B were moved, and DAC were generated. However, in the geometrical illustration, the centre is held to be altogether indivisible (for in mathematics motion is a fiction, as the phrase goes, no mathematical entity being really moved), whereas in the case of joints the centres become now one potentially and divided actually, and now one actually and divided potentially. But still the origin of movement, qua origin, always remains at rest when the lower part of a limb is moved; for example, the elbow joint, when the forearm is moved, and the shoulder, when the whole arm; the knee when the tibia is moved, and the hip when the whole leg. Accordingly it is plain that each animal as a whole must have within itself a point at rest, whence will be the origin of that which is moved, and supporting itself upon which it will be moved both as a complete whole and in its members.

Part 2

But the point of rest in the animal is still quite ineffectual unless there be something without which is absolutely at rest and immovable. Now it is worth while to pause and consider what has been said, for it involves a speculation which extends beyond animals even to the motion and march of the universe. For just as there must be something immovable within the animal, if it is to be moved, so even more must there be without it something immovable, by supporting itself upon which that which is moved moves. For were that something always to give way (as it does for mice walking in grain or persons walking in sand) advance would be impossible, and neither would there be any walking unless the ground were to remain still, nor any flying or swimming were not the air and the sea to resist. And this which resists must needs be different from what is moved, the whole of it from the whole of that, and what is thus immovable must be no part of what is moved; otherwise there will be no movement. Evidence of this lies in the problem why it is that a man easily moves a boat from outside, if he push with a pole, putting it against the mast or some other part, but if he tried to do this when in the boat itself he would never move it, no not giant Tityus himself nor Boreas blowing from inside the ship, if he really were blowing in the way painters represent him; for they paint him sending the breath out from the boat. For whether one blew gently or so stoutly as to make a very great wind, and whether what were thrown or pushed were wind or something else, it is necessary in the first place to be supported upon one of one's own members which is at rest and so to push, and in the second place for this member, either itself, or that of which it is a part, to remain at rest, fixing itself against something external to itself. Now the man who is himself in the boat, if he pushes, fixing himself against the boat, very naturally does not move the boat, because what he pushes against should properly remain at rest. Now what he is trying to move, and what he is fixing himself against is in his case the same. If, however, he pushes or pulls from outside he does move it, for the ground is no part of the boat.

Part 3

Here we may ask the difficult question whether if something moves the whole heavens this mover must be immovable, and moreover be no part of the heavens, nor in the heavens. For either it is moved itself and moves the heavens, in which case it must touch something immovable in order to create movement, and then this is no part of that which creates movement; or if the mover is from the first immovable it will equally be no part of that which is moved. In this point at least they argue correctly who say that as the Sphere is carried round in a circle no single part remains still, for then either the whole would necessarily stand still or its continuity be torn asunder; but they argue less well in supposing that the poles have a certain force, though conceived as having no magnitude, but as merely termini or points. For besides the fact that no such things have any substantial existence it is impossible for a single movement to be initiated by what is twofold; and yet they make the poles two. From a review of these difficulties we may conclude that there is something so related to the whole of Nature, as the earth is to animals and things moved by them.

And the mythologists with their fable of Atlas setting his feet upon the earth appear to have based the fable upon intelligent grounds. They make Atlas a kind of diameter twirling the heavens about the poles. Now as the earth remains still this would be reasonable enough, but their theory involves them in the position that the earth is no part of the universe. And further the force of that which initiates movement must be made equal to the force of that which remains at rest. For there is a definite quantity of force or power by dint of which that which remains at rest does so, just as there is of force by dint of which that which initiates movement does so; and as there is a necessary proportion between opposite motions, so there is between absences of motion. Now equal forces are unaffected by one another, but are overcome by a superiority of force. And so in their theory Atlas, or whatever similar power initiates movement from within, must exert no more force than will exactly balance the stability of the earth- otherwise the earth will be moved out of her place in the centre of things. For as the pusher pushes so is the pushed pushed, and with equal force. But the prime mover moves that which is to begin with at rest, so that the power it exerts is greater, rather than equal and like to the power which produces absence of motion in that which is moved. And similarly also the power of what is moved and so moves must be greater than the power of that which is moved but does not initiate movement. Therefore the force of the earth in its immobility will have to be as great as the force of the whole heavens, and of that which moves the heavens. But if that is impossible, it follows that the heavens cannot possibly be moved by any force of this kind inside them.

Part 4

There is a further difficulty about the motions of the parts of the heavens which, as akin to what has gone before, may be considered next. For if one could overcome by force of motion the immobility of the earth he would clearly move it away from the centre. And it is plain that the power from which this force would originate will not be infinite, for the earth is not infinite and therefore its weight is not. Now there are more senses than one of the word 'impossible'. When we say it is impossible to see a sound, and when we say it is impossible to see the men in the moon, we use two senses of the word; the former is of necessity, the latter, though their nature is to be seen, cannot as a fact be seen by us. Now we suppose that the heavens are of necessity impossible to destroy and to dissolve, whereas the result of the present argument would be to do away with this necessity. For it is natural and possible for a motion to exist greater than the force by dint of which the earth is at rest, or than that by dint of which Fire and Aether are moved. If then there are superior motions, these will be dissolved in succession by one another: and if there actually are not, but might possibly be (for the earth cannot be infinite because no body can possibly be infinite), there is a possibility of the heavens being dissolved. For what is to prevent this coming to pass, unless it be impossible? And it is not impossible unless the opposite is necessary. This difficulty, however, we will discuss elsewhere.

To resume, must there be something immovable and at rest outside of what is moved, and no part of it, or not? And must this necessarily be so also in the case of the universe? Perhaps it would be thought strange were the origin of movement inside. And to those who so conceive it the word of Homer would appear to have been well spoken:

'Nay, ye would not pull Zeus, highest of all from heaven to the plain, no not even if ye toiled right hard; come, all ye gods and goddesses! Set hands to the chain'; for that which is entirely immovable cannot possibly be moved by anything. And herein lies the solution of the difficulty stated some time back, the possibility or impossibility of dissolving the system of the heavens, in that it depends from an original which is immovable.

Now in the animal world there must be not only an immovable without, but also within those things which move in place, and initiate their own movement. For one part of an animal must be moved, and another be at rest, and against this the part which is moved will support itself and be moved; for example, if it move one of its parts; for one part, as it were, supports itself against another part at rest.

But about things without life which are moved one might ask the question whether all contain in themselves both that which is at rest and that which initiates movement, and whether they also, for instance fire, earth, or any other inanimate thing, must support themselves against something outside which is at rest. Or is this impossible and must it not be looked for rather in those primary causes by which they are set in motion? For all things without life are moved by something other, and the origin of all things so moved are things which move themselves. And out of these we have spoken about animals (for they must all have in themselves that which is at rest, and without them that against which they are supported); but whether there is some higher and prime mover is not clear, and an origin of that kind involves a different discussion. Animals at any rate which move themselves are all moved supporting themselves on what is outside them, even when they inspire and expire; for there is no essential difference between casting a great and a small weight, and this is what men do when they spit and cough and when they breathe in and breathe out.

Part 5

But is it only in that which moves itself in place that there must be a point at rest, or does this hold also of that which causes its own qualitative changes, and its own growth? Now the question of original generation and decay is different; for if there is, as we hold, a primary movement, this would be the cause of generation and decay, and probably of all the secondary movements too. And as in the universe, so in the animal world this is the primary movement, when the creature attains maturity; and therefore it is the cause of growth, when the creature becomes the cause of its own growth, and the cause too of alteration. But if this is not the primary movement then the point at rest is not necessary. However, the earliest growth and alteration in the living creature arise through another and by other channels, nor can anything possibly be the cause of its own generation and decay, for the mover must exist before the moved, the begetter before the begotten, and nothing is prior to itself.

Part 6

Now whether the soul is moved or not, and how it is moved if it be moved, has been stated before in our treatise concerning it. And since all inorganic things are moved by some other thing- and the manner of the movement of the first and eternally moved, and how the first mover moves it, has been determined before in our Metaphysics, it remains to inquire how the soul moves the body, and what is the origin of movement in a living creature. For, if we except the movement of the universe, things with life are the causes of the movement of all else, that is of all that are not moved by one another by mutual impact. And so all their motions have a term or limit, inasmuch as the movements of things with life have such. For all living things both move and are moved with some object, so that this is the term of all their movement, the end, that is, in view. Now we see that the living creature is moved by intellect, imagination, purpose, wish, and appetite. And all these are reducible to mind and desire. For both imagination and sensation are on common ground with mind, since all three are faculties of judgement though differing according to distinctions stated elsewhere. Will, however, impulse, and appetite, are all three forms of desire, while purpose belongs both to intellect and to desire. Therefore the object of desire or of intellect first initiates movement, not, that is, every object of intellect, only the end in the domain of conduct. Accordingly among goods that which moves is a practical end, not the good in its whole extent. For it initiates movement only so far as something else is for its sake, or so far as it is the object of that which is for the sake of something else. And we must suppose that a seeming good may take the room of actual good, and so may the pleasant, which is itself a seeming good. From these considerations it is clear that in one regard that which is eternally moved by the eternal mover is moved in the same way as every living creature, in another regard differently, and so while it is moved eternally, the movement of living creatures has a term. Now the eternal beautiful, and the truly and primarily good (which is not at one time good, at another time not good), is too divine and precious to be relative to anything else. The prime mover then moves, itself being unmoved, whereas desire and its faculty are moved and so move. But it is not necessary for the last in the chain of things moved to move something else; wherefore it is plainly reasonable that motion in place should be the last of what happens in the region of things happening, since the living creature is moved and goes forward by reason of desire or purpose, when some alteration has been set going on the occasion of sensation or imagination.

Part 7

But how is it that thought (viz. sense, imagination, and thought proper) is sometimes followed by action, sometimes not; sometimes by movement, sometimes not? What happens seems parallel to the case of thinking and inferring about the immovable objects of science. There the end is the truth seen (for, when one conceives the two premisses, one at once conceives and comprehends the conclusion), but here the two premisses result in a conclusion which is an action- for example, one conceives that every man ought to walk, one is a man oneself: straightway one walks; or that, in this case, no man should walk, one is a man: straightway one remains at rest. And one so acts in the two cases provided that there is nothing in the one case to compel or in the other to prevent. Again, I ought to create a good, a house is good: straightway I make a house. I need a covering, a coat is a covering: I need a coat. What I need I ought to make, I need a coat: I make a coat. And the conclusion I must make a coat is an action. And the action goes back to the beginning or first step. If there is to be a coat, one must first have B, and if B then A, so one gets A to begin with. Now that the action is the conclusion is clear. But the premisses of action are of two kinds, of the good and of the possible.

And as in some cases of speculative inquiry we suppress one premise so here the mind does not stop to consider at all an obvious minor premise; for example if walking is good for man, one does not dwell upon the minor 'I am a man'. And so what we do without reflection, we do quickly. For when a man actualizes himself in relation to his object either by perceiving, or imagining or conceiving it, what he desires he does at once. For the actualizing of desire is a substitute for inquiry or reflection. I want to drink, says appetite; this is drink, says sense or imagination or mind: straightway I drink. In this way living creatures are impelled to move and to act, and desire is the last or immediate cause of movement, and desire arises after perception or after imagination and conception. And things that desire to act now create and now act under the influence of appetite or impulse or of desire or wish.

The movements of animals may be compared with those of automatic puppets, which are set going on the occasion of a tiny movement; the levers are released, and strike the twisted strings against one another; or with the toy wagon. For the child mounts on it and moves it straight forward, and then again it is moved in a circle owing to its wheels being of unequal diameter (the smaller acts like a centre on the same principle as the cylinders). Animals have parts of a similar kind, their organs, the sinewy tendons to wit and the bones; the bones are like the wooden levers in the automaton, and the iron; the tendons are like the strings, for when these are tightened or leased movement begins. However, in the automata and the toy wagon there is no change of quality, though if the inner wheels became smaller and greater by turns there would be the same circular movement set up. In an animal the same part has the power of becoming now larger and now smaller, and changing its form, as the parts increase by warmth and again contract by cold and change their quality. This change of quality is caused by imaginations and sensations and by ideas. Sensations are obviously a form of change of quality, and imagination and conception have the same effect as the objects so imagined and conceived For in a measure the form conceived be it of hot or cold or pleasant or fearful is like what the actual objects would be, and so we shudder and are frightened at a mere idea. Now all these affections involve changes of quality, and with those changes some parts of the body enlarge, others grow smaller. And it is not hard to see that a small change occurring at the centre makes great and numerous changes at the circumference, just as by shifting the rudder a hair's breadth you get a wide deviation at the prow. And further, when by reason of heat or cold or some kindred affection a change is set up in the region of the heart, even in an imperceptibly small part of the heart, it produces a vast difference in the periphery of the body,- blushing, let us say, or turning white, goose-skin and shivers and their opposites.

Part 8

But to return, the object we pursue or avoid in the field of action is, as has been explained, the original of movement, and upon the conception and imagination of this there necessarily follows a change in the temperature of the body. For what is painful we avoid, what is pleasing we pursue. We are, however, unconscious of what happens in the minute parts; still anything painful or pleasing is generally speaking accompanied by a definite change of temperature in the body. One may see this by considering the affections. Blind courage and panic fears, erotic motions, and the rest of the corporeal affections, pleasant and painful, are all accompanied by a change of temperature, some in a particular member, others in the body generally. So, memories and anticipations, using as it were the reflected images of these pleasures and pains, are now more and now less causes of the same changes of temperature. And so we see the reason of nature's handiwork in the inward parts, and in the centres of movement of the organic members; they change from solid to moist, and from moist to solid, from soft to hard and vice versa. And so when these are affected in this way, and when besides the passive and active have the constitution we have many times described, as often as it comes to pass that one is active and the other passive, and neither of them falls short of the elements of its essence, straightway one acts and the other responds. And on this account thinking that one ought to go and going are virtually simultaneous, unless there be something else to hinder action. The organic parts are suitably prepared by the affections, these again by desire, and desire by imagination. Imagination in its turn depends either upon conception or sense-perception. And the simultaneity and speed are due to the natural correspondence of the active and passive.

However, that which first moves the animal organism must be situate in a definite original. Now we have said that a joint is the beginning of one part of a limb, the end of another. And so nature employs it sometimes as one, sometimes as two. When movement arises from a joint, one of the extreme points must remain at rest, and the other be moved (for as we explained above the mover must support itself against a point at rest); accordingly, in the case of the elbow-joint, the last point of the forearm is moved but does not move anything, while, in the flexion, one point of the elbow, which lies in the whole forearm that is being moved, is moved, but there must also be a point which is unmoved, and this is our meaning when we speak of a point which is in potency one, but which becomes two in actual exercise. Now if the arm were the living animal, somewhere in its elbow-joint would be situate the original seat of the moving soul. Since, however, it is possible for a lifeless thing to be so related to the hand as the forearm is to the upper (for example, when a man moves a stick in his hand), it is evident that the soul, the original of movement, could not lie in either of the two extreme points, neither, that is, in the last point of the stick which is moved, nor in the original point which causes movement. For the stick too has an end point and an originative point by reference to the hand. Accordingly, this example shows that the moving original which derives from the soul is not in the stick and if not, then not in the hand; for a precisely similar relation obtains between the hand and the wrist, as between the wrist and the elbow. In this matter it makes no difference whether the part is a continuous part of the body or not; the stick may be looked at as a detached part of the whole. It follows then of necessity that the original cannot lie in any individual origin which is the end of another member, even though there may lie another part outside the one in question. For example, relatively to the end point of the stick the hand is the original, but the original of the hand's movement is in the wrist. And so if the true original is not in the hand, be-there is still something higher up, neither is the true original in the wrist, for once more if the elbow is at rest the whole part below it can be moved as a continuous whole.

Part 9

Now since the left and the right sides are symmetrical, and these opposites are moved simultaneously, it cannot be that the left is moved by the right remaining stationary, nor vice versa; the original must always be in what lies above both. Therefore, the original seat of the moving soul must be in that which lies in the middle, for of both extremes the middle is the limiting point; and this is similarly related to the movements from above [and below,] those that is from the head, and to the bones which spring from the spinal column, in creatures that have a spinal column.

And this is a reasonable arrangement. For the sensorium is in our opinion in the centre too; and so, if the region of the original of movement is altered in structure through sense-perception and thus changes, it carries with it the parts that depend upon it and they too are extended or contracted, and in this way the movement of the creature necessarily follows. And the middle of the body must needs be in potency one but in action more than one; for the limbs are moved simultaneously from the original seat of movement, and when one is at rest the other is moved. For example, in the line BAC, B is moved, and A is the mover. There must, however, be a point at rest if one is to move, the other to be moved. A (AE) then being one in potency must be two in action, and so be a definite spatial magnitude not a mathematical point. Again, C may be moved simultaneously with B. Both the originals then in A must move and be, and so there must be something other than them which moves but is not moved. For otherwise, when the movement begins, the extremes, i.e. the originals, in A would rest upon one another, like two men putting themselves back to back and so moving their legs. There must then be some one thing which moves both. This something is the soul, distinct from the spatial magnitude just described and yet located therein.

Part 10

Although from the point of view of the definition of movement- a definition which gives the cause- desire is the middle term or cause, and desire moves being moved, still in the material animated body there must be some material which itself moves being moved. Now that which is moved, but whose nature is not to initiate movement, is capable of being passive to an external force, while that which initiates movement must needs possess a kind of force and power. Now experience shows us that animals do both possess connatural spirit and derive power from this. (How this connatural spirit is maintained in the body is explained in other passages of our works.) And this spirit appears to stand to the soul-centre or original in a relation analogous to that between the point in a joint which moves being moved and the unmoved. Now since this centre is for some animals in the heart, in the rest in a part analogous with the heart, we further see the reason for the connatural spirit being situate where it actually is found. The question whether the spirit remains always the same or constantly changes and is renewed, like the cognate question about the rest of the parts of the body, is better postponed. At all events we see that it is well disposed to excite movement and to exert power; and the functions of movement are thrusting and pulling. Accordingly, the organ of movement must be capable of expanding and contracting; and this is precisely the characteristic of spirit. It contracts and expands naturally, and so is able to pull and to thrust from one and the same cause, exhibiting gravity compared with the fiery element, and levity by comparison with the opposites of fire. Now that which is to initiate movement without change of structure must be of the kind described, for the elementary bodies prevail over one another in a compound body by dint of disproportion; the light is overcome and kept down by the heavier, and the heavy kept up by the lighter.

We have now explained what the part is which is moved when the soul originates movement in the body, and what is the reason for this. And the animal organism must be conceived after the similitude of a well-governed commonwealth. When order is once established in it there is no more need of a separate monarch to preside over each several task. The individuals each play their assigned part as it is ordered, and one thing follows another in its accustomed order. So in animals there is the same orderliness- nature taking the place of custom- and each part naturally doing his own work as nature has composed them. There is no need then of a soul in each part, but she resides in a kind of central governing place of the body, and the remaining parts live by continuity of natural structure, and play the parts Nature would have them play.

Part 11

So much then for the voluntary movements of animal bodies, and the reasons for them. These bodies, however, display in certain members involuntary movements too, but most often non-voluntary movements. By involuntary I mean motions of the heart and of the privy member; for often upon an image arising and without express mandate of the reason these parts are moved. By non-voluntary I mean sleep and waking and respiration, and other similar organic movements. For neither imagination nor desire is properly mistress of any of these; but since the animal body must undergo natural changes of quality, and when the parts are so altered some must increase and other decrease, the body must straightway be moved and change with the changes that nature makes dependent upon one another. Now the causes of the movements are natural changes of temperature, both those coming from outside the body, and those taking place within it. So the involuntary movements which occur in spite of reason in the aforesaid parts occur when a change of quality supervenes. For conception and imagination, as we said above, produce the conditions necessary to affections, since they bring to bear the images or forms which tend to create these states. And the two parts aforesaid display this motion more conspicuously than the rest, because each is in a sense a separate vital organism, the reason being that each contains vital moisture. In the case of the heart the cause is plain, for the heart is the seat of the senses, while an indication that the generative organ too is vital is that there flows from it the seminal potency, itself a kind of organism. Again, it is a reasonable arrangement that the movements arise in the centre upon movements in the parts, and in the parts upon movements in the centre, and so reach one another. Conceive A to be the centre or starting point. The movements then arrive at the centre from each letter in the diagram we have drawn, and flow back again from the centre which is moved and changes, (for the centre is potentially multiple) the movement of B goes to B, that of C to C, the movement of both to both; but from B to C the movements flow by dint of going from B to A as to a centre, and then from A to C as from a centre.

Moreover a movement contrary to reason sometimes does and sometimes does not arise in the organs on the occasion of the same thoughts; the reason is that sometimes the matter which is passive to the impressions is there in sufficient quantity and of the right quality and sometimes not.

And so we have finished our account of the reasons for the parts of each kind of animal, of the soul, and furthere of sense-perception, of sleep, of memory, and of movement in general; it remains to speak of animal generation.


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by S. H. Butcher

Part I

I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each, to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever else falls within the same inquiry. Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first.

Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic poetry, and the music of the flute and of the lyre in most of their forms, are all in their general conception modes of imitation. They differ, however, from one another in three respects- the medium, the objects, the manner or mode of imitation, being in each case distinct.

For as there are persons who, by conscious art or mere habit, imitate and represent various objects through the medium of color and form, or again by the voice; so in the arts above mentioned, taken as a whole, the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or 'harmony,' either singly or combined.

Thus in the music of the flute and of the lyre, 'harmony' and rhythm alone are employed; also in other arts, such as that of the shepherd's pipe, which are essentially similar to these. In dancing, rhythm alone is used without 'harmony'; for even dancing imitates character, emotion, and action, by rhythmical movement.

There is another art which imitates by means of language alone, and that either in prose or verse- which verse, again, may either combine different meters or consist of but one kind- but this has hitherto been without a name. For there is no common term we could apply to the mimes of Sophron and Xenarchus and the Socratic dialogues on the one hand; and, on the other, to poetic imitations in iambic, elegiac, or any similar meter. People do, indeed, add the word 'maker' or 'poet' to the name of the meter, and speak of elegiac poets, or epic (that is, hexameter) poets, as if it were not the imitation that makes the poet, but the verse that entitles them all to the name. Even when a treatise on medicine or natural science is brought out in verse, the name of poet is by custom given to the author; and yet Homer and Empedocles have nothing in common but the meter, so that it would be right to call the one poet, the other physicist rather than poet. On the same principle, even if a writer in his poetic imitation were to combine all meters, as Chaeremon did in his Centaur, which is a medley composed of meters of all kinds, we should bring him too under the general term poet.

So much then for these distinctions.
There are, again, some arts which employ all the means above mentioned- namely, rhythm, tune, and meter. Such are Dithyrambic and Nomic poetry, and also Tragedy and Comedy; but between them originally the difference is, that in the first two cases these means are all employed in combination, in the latter, now one means is employed, now another.

Such, then, are the differences of the arts with respect to the medium of imitation

Part II

Since the objects of imitation are men in action, and these men must be either of a higher or a lower type (for moral character mainly answers to these divisions, goodness and badness being the distinguishing marks of moral differences), it follows that we must represent men either as better than in real life, or as worse, or as they are. It is the same in painting. Polygnotus depicted men as nobler than they are, Pauson as less noble, Dionysius drew them true to life.

Now it is evident that each of the modes of imitation above mentioned will exhibit these differences, and become a distinct kind in imitating objects that are thus distinct. Such diversities may be found even in dancing, flute-playing, and lyre-playing. So again in language, whether prose or verse unaccompanied by music. Homer, for example, makes men better than they are; Cleophon as they are; Hegemon the Thasian, the inventor of parodies, and Nicochares, the author of the Deiliad, worse than they are. The same thing holds good of Dithyrambs and Nomes; here too one may portray different types, as Timotheus and Philoxenus differed in representing their Cyclopes. The same distinction marks off Tragedy from Comedy; for Comedy aims at representing men as worse, Tragedy as better than in actual life.

Part III

There is still a third difference- the manner in which each of these objects may be imitated. For the medium being the same, and the objects the same, the poet may imitate by narration- in which case he can either take another personality as Homer does, or speak in his own person, unchanged- or he may present all his characters as living and moving before us.

These, then, as we said at the beginning, are the three differences which distinguish artistic imitation- the medium, the objects, and the manner. So that from one point of view, Sophocles is an imitator of the same kind as Homer- for both imitate higher types of character; from another point of view, of the same kind as Aristophanes- for both imitate persons acting and doing. Hence, some say, the name of 'drama' is given to such poems, as representing action. For the same reason the Dorians claim the invention both of Tragedy and Comedy. The claim to Comedy is put forward by the Megarians- not only by those of Greece proper, who allege that it originated under their democracy, but also by the Megarians of Sicily, for the poet Epicharmus, who is much earlier than Chionides and Magnes, belonged to that country. Tragedy too is claimed by certain Dorians of the Peloponnese. In each case they appeal to the evidence of language. The outlying villages, they say, are by them called komai, by the Athenians demoi: and they assume that comedians were so named not from komazein, 'to revel,' but because they wandered from village to village (kata komas), being excluded contemptuously from the city. They add also that the Dorian word for 'doing' is dran, and the Athenian, prattein.

This may suffice as to the number and nature of the various modes of imitation.

Part IV

Poetry in general seems to have sprung from two causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. First, the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons; and no less universal is the pleasure felt in things imitated. We have evidence of this in the facts of experience. Objects which in themselves we view with pain, we delight to contemplate when reproduced with minute fidelity: such as the forms of the most ignoble animals and of dead bodies. The cause of this again is, that to learn gives the liveliest pleasure, not only to philosophers but to men in general; whose capacity, however, of learning is more limited. Thus the reason why men enjoy seeing a likeness is, that in contemplating it they find themselves learning or inferring, and saying perhaps, 'Ah, that is he.' For if you happen not to have seen the original, the pleasure will be due not to the imitation as such, but to the execution, the coloring, or some such other cause.

Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony' and rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this natural gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry.

Poetry now diverged in two directions, according to the individual character of the writers. The graver spirits imitated noble actions, and the actions of good men. The more trivial sort imitated the actions of meaner persons, at first composing satires, as the former did hymns to the gods and the praises of famous men. A poem of the satirical kind cannot indeed be put down to any author earlier than Homer; though many such writers probably there were. But from Homer onward, instances can be cited- his own Margites, for example, and other similar compositions. The appropriate meter was also here introduced; hence the measure is still called the iambic or lampooning measure, being that in which people lampooned one another. Thus the older poets were distinguished as writers of heroic or of lampooning verse.

As, in the serious style, Homer is pre-eminent among poets, for he alone combined dramatic form with excellence of imitation so he too first laid down the main lines of comedy, by dramatizing the ludicrous instead of writing personal satire. His Margites bears the same relation to comedy that the Iliad and Odyssey do to tragedy. But when Tragedy and Comedy came to light, the two classes of poets still followed their natural bent: the lampooners became writers of Comedy, and the Epic poets were succeeded by Tragedians, since the drama was a larger and higher form of art.

Whether Tragedy has as yet perfected its proper types or not; and whether it is to be judged in itself, or in relation also to the audience- this raises another question. Be that as it may, Tragedy- as also Comedy- was at first mere improvisation. The one originated with the authors of the Dithyramb, the other with those of the phallic songs, which are still in use in many of our cities. Tragedy advanced by slow degrees; each new element that showed itself was in turn developed. Having passed through many changes, it found its natural form, and there it stopped.

Aeschylus first introduced a second actor; he diminished the importance of the Chorus, and assigned the leading part to the dialogue. Sophocles raised the number of actors to three, and added scene-painting. Moreover, it was not till late that the short plot was discarded for one of greater compass, and the grotesque diction of the earlier satyric form for the stately manner of Tragedy. The iambic measure then replaced the trochaic tetrameter, which was originally employed when the poetry was of the satyric order, and had greater with dancing. Once dialogue had come in, Nature herself discovered the appropriate measure. For the iambic is, of all measures, the most colloquial we see it in the fact that conversational speech runs into iambic lines more frequently than into any other kind of verse; rarely into hexameters, and only when we drop the colloquial intonation. The additions to the number of 'episodes' or acts, and the other accessories of which tradition tells, must be taken as already described; for to discuss them in detail would, doubtless, be a large undertaking.

Part V

Comedy is, as we have said, an imitation of characters of a lower type- not, however, in the full sense of the word bad, the ludicrous being merely a subdivision of the ugly. It consists in some defect or ugliness which is not painful or destructive. To take an obvious example, the comic mask is ugly and distorted, but does not imply pain.

The successive changes through which Tragedy passed, and the authors of these changes, are well known, whereas Comedy has had no history, because it was not at first treated seriously. It was late before the Archon granted a comic chorus to a poet; the performers were till then voluntary. Comedy had already taken definite shape when comic poets, distinctively so called, are heard of. Who furnished it with masks, or prologues, or increased the number of actors- these and other similar details remain unknown. As for the plot, it came originally from Sicily; but of Athenian writers Crates was the first who abandoning the 'iambic' or lampooning form, generalized his themes and plots.

Epic poetry agrees with Tragedy in so far as it is an imitation in verse of characters of a higher type. They differ in that Epic poetry admits but one kind of meter and is narrative in form. They differ, again, in their length: for Tragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit, whereas the Epic action has no limits of time. This, then, is a second point of difference; though at first the same freedom was admitted in Tragedy as in Epic poetry.

Of their constituent parts some are common to both, some peculiar to Tragedy: whoever, therefore knows what is good or bad Tragedy, knows also about Epic poetry. All the elements of an Epic poem are found in Tragedy, but the elements of a Tragedy are not all found in the Epic poem.

Part VI

Of the poetry which imitates in hexameter verse, and of Comedy, we will speak hereafter. Let us now discuss Tragedy, resuming its formal definition, as resulting from what has been already said.

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. By 'language embellished,' I mean language into which rhythm, 'harmony' and song enter. By 'the several kinds in separate parts,' I mean, that some parts are rendered through the medium of verse alone, others again with the aid of song.

Now as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it necessarily follows in the first place, that Spectacular equipment will be a part of Tragedy. Next, Song and Diction, for these are the media of imitation. By 'Diction' I mean the mere metrical arrangement of the words: as for 'Song,' it is a term whose sense every one understands.

Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action; and an action implies personal agents, who necessarily possess certain distinctive qualities both of character and thought; for it is by these that we qualify actions themselves, and these- thought and character- are the two natural causes from which actions spring, and on actions again all success or failure depends. Hence, the Plot is the imitation of the action- for by plot I here mean the arrangement of the incidents. By Character I mean that in virtue of which we ascribe certain qualities to the agents. Thought is required wherever a statement is proved, or, it may be, a general truth enunciated. Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality- namely, Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Song. Two of the parts constitute the medium of imitation, one the manner, and three the objects of imitation. And these complete the fist. These elements have been employed, we may say, by the poets to a man; in fact, every play contains Spectacular elements as well as Character, Plot, Diction, Song, and Thought.

But most important of all is the structure of the incidents. For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality. Now character determines men's qualities, but it is by their actions that they are happy or the reverse. Dramatic action, therefore, is not with a view to the representation of character: character comes in as subsidiary to the actions. Hence the incidents and the plot are the end of a tragedy; and the end is the chief thing of all. Again, without action there cannot be a tragedy; there may be without character. The tragedies of most of our modern poets fail in the rendering of character; and of poets in general this is often true. It is the same in painting; and here lies the difference between Zeuxis and Polygnotus. Polygnotus delineates character well; the style of Zeuxis is devoid of ethical quality. Again, if you string together a set of speeches expressive of character, and well finished in point of diction and thought, you will not produce the essential tragic effect nearly so well as with a play which, however deficient in these respects, yet has a plot and artistically constructed incidents. Besides which, the most powerful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy- Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition scenes- are parts of the plot. A further proof is, that novices in the art attain to finish of diction and precision of portraiture before they can construct the plot. It is the same with almost all the early poets.

The plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy; Character holds the second place. A similar fact is seen in painting. The most beautiful colors, laid on confusedly, will not give as much pleasure as the chalk outline of a portrait. Thus Tragedy is the imitation of an action, and of the agents mainly with a view to the action.

Third in order is Thought- that is, the faculty of saying what is possible and pertinent in given circumstances. In the case of oratory, this is the function of the political art and of the art of rhetoric: and so indeed the older poets make their characters speak the language of civic life; the poets of our time, the language of the rhetoricians. Character is that which reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoids. Speeches, therefore, which do not make this manifest, or in which the speaker does not choose or avoid anything whatever, are not expressive of character. Thought, on the other hand, is found where something is proved to be or not to be, or a general maxim is enunciated.

Fourth among the elements enumerated comes Diction; by which I mean, as has been already said, the expression of the meaning in words; and its essence is the same both in verse and prose.

Of the remaining elements Song holds the chief place among the embellishments

The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet.

Part VII

These principles being established, let us now discuss the proper structure of the Plot, since this is the first and most important thing in Tragedy.

Now, according to our definition Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; for there may be a whole that is wanting in magnitude. A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it. A well constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at haphazard, but conform to these principles.

Again, a beautiful object, whether it be a living organism or any whole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement of parts, but must also be of a certain magnitude; for beauty depends on magnitude and order. Hence a very small animal organism cannot be beautiful; for the view of it is confused, the object being seen in an almost imperceptible moment of time. Nor, again, can one of vast size be beautiful; for as the eye cannot take it all in at once, the unity and sense of the whole is lost for the spectator; as for instance if there were one a thousand miles long. As, therefore, in the case of animate bodies and organisms a certain magnitude is necessary, and a magnitude which may be easily embraced in one view; so in the plot, a certain length is necessary, and a length which can be easily embraced by the memory. The limit of length in relation to dramatic competition and sensuous presentment is no part of artistic theory. For had it been the rule for a hundred tragedies to compete together, the performance would have been regulated by the water-clock- as indeed we are told was formerly done. But the limit as fixed by the nature of the drama itself is this: the greater the length, the more beautiful will the piece be by reason of its size, provided that the whole be perspicuous. And to define the matter roughly, we may say that the proper magnitude is comprised within such limits, that the sequence of events, according to the law of probability or necessity, will admit of a change from bad fortune to good, or from good fortune to bad.


Unity of plot does not, as some persons think, consist in the unity of the hero. For infinitely various are the incidents in one man's life which cannot be reduced to unity; and so, too, there are many actions of one man out of which we cannot make one action. Hence the error, as it appears, of all poets who have composed a Heracleid, a Theseid, or other poems of the kind. They imagine that as Heracles was one man, the story of Heracles must also be a unity. But Homer, as in all else he is of surpassing merit, here too- whether from art or natural genius- seems to have happily discerned the truth. In composing the Odyssey he did not include all the adventures of Odysseus- such as his wound on Parnassus, or his feigned madness at the mustering of the host- incidents between which there was no necessary or probable connection: but he made the Odyssey, and likewise the Iliad, to center round an action that in our sense of the word is one. As therefore, in the other imitative arts, the imitation is one when the object imitated is one, so the plot, being an imitation of an action, must imitate one action and that a whole, the structural union of the parts being such that, if any one of them is displaced or removed, the whole will be disjointed and disturbed. For a thing whose presence or absence makes no visible difference, is not an organic part of the whole.

Part IX

It is, moreover, evident from what has been said, that it is not the function of the poet to relate what has happened, but what may happen- what is possible according to the law of probability or necessity. The poet and the historian differ not by writing in verse or in prose. The work of Herodotus might be put into verse, and it would still be a species of history, with meter no less than without it. The true difference is that one relates what has happened, the other what may happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular. By the universal I mean how a person of a certain type on occasion speak or act, according to the law of probability or necessity; and it is this universality at which poetry aims in the names she attaches to the personages. The particular is- for example- what Alcibiades did or suffered. In Comedy this is already apparent: for here the poet first constructs the plot on the lines of probability, and then inserts characteristic names- unlike the lampooners who write about particular individuals. But tragedians still keep to real names, the reason being that what is possible is credible: what has not happened we do not at once feel sure to be possible; but what has happened is manifestly possible: otherwise it would not have happened. Still there are even some tragedies in which there are only one or two well-known names, the rest being fictitious. In others, none are well known- as in Agathon's Antheus, where incidents and names alike are fictitious, and yet they give none the less pleasure. We must not, therefore, at all costs keep to the received legends, which are the usual subjects of Tragedy. Indeed, it would be absurd to attempt it; for even subjects that are known are known only to a few, and yet give pleasure to all. It clearly follows that the poet or 'maker' should be the maker of plots rather than of verses; since he is a poet because he imitates, and what he imitates are actions. And even if he chances to take a historical subject, he is none the less a poet; for there is no reason why some events that have actually happened should not conform to the law of the probable and possible, and in virtue of that quality in them he is their poet or maker.

Of all plots and actions the episodic are the worst. I call a plot 'episodic' in which the episodes or acts succeed one another without probable or necessary sequence. Bad poets compose such pieces by their own fault, good poets, to please the players; for, as they write show pieces for competition, they stretch the plot beyond its capacity, and are often forced to break the natural continuity.

But again, Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear or pity. Such an effect is best produced when the events come on us by surprise; and the effect is heightened when, at the same time, they follows as cause and effect. The tragic wonder will then be greater than if they happened of themselves or by accident; for even coincidences are most striking when they have an air of design. We may instance the statue of Mitys at Argos, which fell upon his murderer while he was a spectator at a festival, and killed him. Such events seem not to be due to mere chance. Plots, therefore, constructed on these principles are necessarily the best.

Part X

Plots are either Simple or Complex, for the actions in real life, of which the plots are an imitation, obviously show a similar distinction. An action which is one and continuous in the sense above defined, I call Simple, when the change of fortune takes place without Reversal of the Situation and without Recognition

A Complex action is one in which the change is accompanied by such Reversal, or by Recognition, or by both. These last should arise from the internal structure of the plot, so that what follows should be the necessary or probable result of the preceding action. It makes all the difference whether any given event is a case of propter hoc or post hoc.

Part XI

Reversal of the Situation is a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity. Thus in the Oedipus, the messenger comes to cheer Oedipus and free him from his alarms about his mother, but by revealing who he is, he produces the opposite effect. Again in the Lynceus, Lynceus is being led away to his death, and Danaus goes with him, meaning to slay him; but the outcome of the preceding incidents is that Danaus is killed and Lynceus saved.

Recognition, as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune. The best form of recognition is coincident with a Reversal of the Situation, as in the Oedipus. There are indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most trivial kind may in a sense be objects of recognition. Again, we may recognize or discover whether a person has done a thing or not. But the recognition which is most intimately connected with the plot and action is, as we have said, the recognition of persons. This recognition, combined with Reversal, will produce either pity or fear; and actions producing these effects are those which, by our definition, Tragedy represents. Moreover, it is upon such situations that the issues of good or bad fortune will depend. Recognition, then, being between persons, it may happen that one person only is recognized by the other- when the latter is already known- or it may be necessary that the recognition should be on both sides. Thus Iphigenia is revealed to Orestes by the sending of the letter; but another act of recognition is required to make Orestes known to Iphigenia.

Two parts, then, of the Plot- Reversal of the Situation and Recognition- turn upon surprises. A third part is the Scene of Suffering. The Scene of Suffering is a destructive or painful action, such as death on the stage, bodily agony, wounds, and the like.


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by S. H. Butcher

Part XII

The parts of Tragedy which must be treated as elements of the whole have been already mentioned. We now come to the quantitative parts- the separate parts into which Tragedy is divided- namely, Prologue, Episode, Exode, Choric song; this last being divided into Parode and Stasimon. These are common to all plays: peculiar to some are the songs of actors from the stage and the Commoi.

The Prologue is that entire part of a tragedy which precedes the Parode of the Chorus. The Episode is that entire part of a tragedy which is between complete choric songs. The Exode is that entire part of a tragedy which has no choric song after it. Of the Choric part the Parode is the first undivided utterance of the Chorus: the Stasimon is a Choric ode without anapaests or trochaic tetrameters: the Commos is a joint lamentation of Chorus and actors. The parts of Tragedy which must be treated as elements of the whole have been already mentioned. The quantitative parts- the separate parts into which it is divided- are here enumerated.


As the sequel to what has already been said, we must proceed to consider what the poet should aim at, and what he should avoid, in constructing his plots; and by what means the specific effect of Tragedy will be produced.

A perfect tragedy should, as we have seen, be arranged not on the simple but on the complex plan. It should, moreover, imitate actions which excite pity and fear, this being the distinctive mark of tragic imitation. It follows plainly, in the first place, that the change of fortune presented must not be the spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity: for this moves neither pity nor fear; it merely shocks us. Nor, again, that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity: for nothing can be more alien to the spirit of Tragedy; it possesses no single tragic quality; it neither satisfies the moral sense nor calls forth pity or fear. Nor, again, should the downfall of the utter villain be exhibited. A plot of this kind would, doubtless, satisfy the moral sense, but it would inspire neither pity nor fear; for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves. Such an event, therefore, will be neither pitiful nor terrible. There remains, then, the character between these two extremes- that of a man who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty. He must be one who is highly renowned and prosperous- a personage like Oedipus, Thyestes, or other illustrious men of such families.

A well-constructed plot should, therefore, be single in its issue, rather than double as some maintain. The change of fortune should be not from bad to good, but, reversely, from good to bad. It should come about as the result not of vice, but of some great error or frailty, in a character either such as we have described, or better rather than worse. The practice of the stage bears out our view. At first the poets recounted any legend that came in their way. Now, the best tragedies are founded on the story of a few houses- on the fortunes of Alcmaeon, Oedipus, Orestes, Meleager, Thyestes, Telephus, and those others who have done or suffered something terrible. A tragedy, then, to be perfect according to the rules of art should be of this construction. Hence they are in error who censure Euripides just because he follows this principle in his plays, many of which end unhappily. It is, as we have said, the right ending. The best proof is that on the stage and in dramatic competition, such plays, if well worked out, are the most tragic in effect; and Euripides, faulty though he may be in the general management of his subject, yet is felt to be the most tragic of the poets.

In the second rank comes the kind of tragedy which some place first. Like the Odyssey, it has a double thread of plot, and also an opposite catastrophe for the good and for the bad. It is accounted the best because of the weakness of the spectators; for the poet is guided in what he writes by the wishes of his audience. The pleasure, however, thence derived is not the true tragic pleasure. It is proper rather to Comedy, where those who, in the piece, are the deadliest enemies- like Orestes and Aegisthus- quit the stage as friends at the close, and no one slays or is slain.

Part XIV

Fear and pity may be aroused by spectacular means; but they may also result from the inner structure of the piece, which is the better way, and indicates a superior poet. For the plot ought to be so constructed that, even without the aid of the eye, he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror and melt to pity at what takes Place. This is the impression we should receive from hearing the story of the Oedipus. But to produce this effect by the mere spectacle is a less artistic method, and dependent on extraneous aids. Those who employ spectacular means to create a sense not of the terrible but only of the monstrous, are strangers to the purpose of Tragedy; for we must not demand of Tragedy any and every kind of pleasure, but only that which is proper to it. And since the pleasure which the poet should afford is that which comes from pity and fear through imitation, it is evident that this quality must be impressed upon the incidents.

Let us then determine what are the circumstances which strike us as terrible or pitiful.

Actions capable of this effect must happen between persons who are either friends or enemies or indifferent to one another. If an enemy kills an enemy, there is nothing to excite pity either in the act or the intention- except so far as the suffering in itself is pitiful. So again with indifferent persons. But when the tragic incident occurs between those who are near or dear to one another- if, for example, a brother kills, or intends to kill, a brother, a son his father, a mother her son, a son his mother, or any other deed of the kind is done- these are the situations to be looked for by the poet. He may not indeed destroy the framework of the received legends- the fact, for instance, that Clytemnestra was slain by Orestes and Eriphyle by Alcmaeon- but he ought to show of his own, and skilfully handle the traditional. material. Let us explain more clearly what is meant by skilful handling.

The action may be done consciously and with knowledge of the persons, in the manner of the older poets. It is thus too that Euripides makes Medea slay her children. Or, again, the deed of horror may be done, but done in ignorance, and the tie of kinship or friendship be discovered afterwards. The Oedipus of Sophocles is an example. Here, indeed, the incident is outside the drama proper; but cases occur where it falls within the action of the play: one may cite the Alcmaeon of Astydamas, or Telegonus in the Wounded Odysseus. Again, there is a third case- [to be about to act with knowledge of the persons and then not to act. The fourth case] is when some one is about to do an irreparable deed through ignorance, and makes the discovery before it is done. These are the only possible ways. For the deed must either be done or not done- and that wittingly or unwittingly. But of all these ways, to be about to act knowing the persons, and then not to act, is the worst. It is shocking without being tragic, for no disaster follows It is, therefore, never, or very rarely, found in poetry. One instance, however, is in the Antigone, where Haemon threatens to kill Creon. The next and better way is that the deed should be perpetrated. Still better, that it should be perpetrated in ignorance, and the discovery made afterwards. There is then nothing to shock us, while the discovery produces a startling effect. The last case is the best, as when in the Cresphontes Merope is about to slay her son, but, recognizing who he is, spares his life. So in the Iphigenia, the sister recognizes the brother just in time. Again in the Helle, the son recognizes the mother when on the point of giving her up. This, then, is why a few families only, as has been already observed, furnish the subjects of tragedy. It was not art, but happy chance, that led the poets in search of subjects to impress the tragic quality upon their plots. They are compelled, therefore, to have recourse to those houses whose history contains moving incidents like these.

Enough has now been said concerning the structure of the incidents, and the right kind of plot.

Part XV

In respect of Character there are four things to be aimed at. First, and most important, it must be good. Now any speech or action that manifests moral purpose of any kind will be expressive of character: the character will be good if the purpose is good. This rule is relative to each class. Even a woman may be good, and also a slave; though the woman may be said to be an inferior being, and the slave quite worthless. The second thing to aim at is propriety. There is a type of manly valor; but valor in a woman, or unscrupulous cleverness is inappropriate. Thirdly, character must be true to life: for this is a distinct thing from goodness and propriety, as here described. The fourth point is consistency: for though the subject of the imitation, who suggested the type, be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent. As an example of motiveless degradation of character, we have Menelaus in the Orestes; of character indecorous and inappropriate, the lament of Odysseus in the Scylla, and the speech of Melanippe; of inconsistency, the Iphigenia at Aulis- for Iphigenia the suppliant in no way resembles her later self.

As in the structure of the plot, so too in the portraiture of character, the poet should always aim either at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a given character should speak or act in a given way, by the rule either of necessity or of probability; just as this event should follow that by necessary or probable sequence. It is therefore evident that the unraveling of the plot, no less than the complication, must arise out of the plot itself, it must not be brought about by the Deus ex Machina- as in the Medea, or in the return of the Greeks in the Iliad. The Deus ex Machina should be employed only for events external to the drama- for antecedent or subsequent events, which lie beyond the range of human knowledge, and which require to be reported or foretold; for to the gods we ascribe the power of seeing all things. Within the action there must be nothing irrational. If the irrational cannot be excluded, it should be outside the scope of the tragedy. Such is the irrational element the Oedipus of Sophocles.

Again, since Tragedy is an imitation of persons who are above the common level, the example of good portrait painters should be followed. They, while reproducing the distinctive form of the original, make a likeness which is true to life and yet more beautiful. So too the poet, in representing men who are irascible or indolent, or have other defects of character, should preserve the type and yet ennoble it. In this way Achilles is portrayed by Agathon and Homer.

These then are rules the poet should observe. Nor should he neglect those appeals to the senses, which, though not among the essentials, are the concomitants of poetry; for here too there is much room for error. But of this enough has been said in our published treatises.

Part XVI

What Recognition is has been already explained. We will now enumerate its kinds.

First, the least artistic form, which, from poverty of wit, is most commonly employed- recognition by signs. Of these some are congenital- such as 'the spear which the earth-born race bear on their bodies,' or the stars introduced by Carcinus in his Thyestes. Others are acquired after birth; and of these some are bodily marks, as scars; some external tokens, as necklaces, or the little ark in the Tyro by which the discovery is effected. Even these admit of more or less skilful treatment. Thus in the recognition of Odysseus by his scar, the discovery is made in one way by the nurse, in another by the swineherds. The use of tokens for the express purpose of proof- and, indeed, any formal proof with or without tokens- is a less artistic mode of recognition. A better kind is that which comes about by a turn of incident, as in the Bath Scene in the Odyssey.

Next come the recognitions invented at will by the poet, and on that account wanting in art. For example, Orestes in the Iphigenia reveals the fact that he is Orestes. She, indeed, makes herself known by the letter; but he, by speaking himself, and saying what the poet, not what the plot requires. This, therefore, is nearly allied to the fault above mentioned- for Orestes might as well have brought tokens with him. Another similar instance is the 'voice of the shuttle' in the Tereus of Sophocles.

The third kind depends on memory when the sight of some object awakens a feeling: as in the Cyprians of Dicaeogenes, where the hero breaks into tears on seeing the picture; or again in the Lay of Alcinous, where Odysseus, hearing the minstrel play the lyre, recalls the past and weeps; and hence the recognition.

The fourth kind is by process of reasoning. Thus in the Choephori: 'Some one resembling me has come: no one resembles me but Orestes: therefore Orestes has come.' Such too is the discovery made by Iphigenia in the play of Polyidus the Sophist. It was a natural reflection for Orestes to make, 'So I too must die at the altar like my sister.' So, again, in the Tydeus of Theodectes, the father says, 'I came to find my son, and I lose my own life.' So too in the Phineidae: the women, on seeing the place, inferred their fate- 'Here we are doomed to die, for here we were cast forth.' Again, there is a composite kind of recognition involving false inference on the part of one of the characters, as in the Odysseus Disguised as a Messenger. A said [that no one else was able to bend the bow; ... hence B (the disguised Odysseus) imagined that A would] recognize the bow which, in fact, he had not seen; and to bring about a recognition by this means- the expectation that A would recognize the bow- is false inference.

But, of all recognitions, the best is that which arises from the incidents themselves, where the startling discovery is made by natural means. Such is that in the Oedipus of Sophocles, and in the Iphigenia; for it was natural that Iphigenia should wish to dispatch a letter. These recognitions alone dispense with the artificial aid of tokens or amulets. Next come the recognitions by process of reasoning.


In constructing the plot and working it out with the proper diction, the poet should place the scene, as far as possible, before his eyes. In this way, seeing everything with the utmost vividness, as if he were a spectator of the action, he will discover what is in keeping with it, and be most unlikely to overlook inconsistencies. The need of such a rule is shown by the fault found in Carcinus. Amphiaraus was on his way from the temple. This fact escaped the observation of one who did not see the situation. On the stage, however, the Piece failed, the audience being offended at the oversight.

Again, the poet should work out his play, to the best of his power, with appropriate gestures; for those who feel emotion are most convincing through natural sympathy with the characters they represent; and one who is agitated storms, one who is angry rages, with the most lifelike reality. Hence poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. In the one case a man can take the mould of any character; in the other, he is lifted out of his proper self.

As for the story, whether the poet takes it ready made or constructs it for himself, he should first sketch its general outline, and then fill in the episodes and amplify in detail. The general plan may be illustrated by the Iphigenia. A young girl is sacrificed; she disappears mysteriously from the eyes of those who sacrificed her; she is transported to another country, where the custom is to offer up an strangers to the goddess. To this ministry she is appointed. Some time later her own brother chances to arrive. The fact that the oracle for some reason ordered him to go there, is outside the general plan of the play. The purpose, again, of his coming is outside the action proper. However, he comes, he is seized, and, when on the point of being sacrificed, reveals who he is. The mode of recognition may be either that of Euripides or of Polyidus, in whose play he exclaims very naturally: 'So it was not my sister only, but I too, who was doomed to be sacrificed'; and by that remark he is saved.

After this, the names being once given, it remains to fill in the episodes. We must see that they are relevant to the action. In the case of Orestes, for example, there is the madness which led to his capture, and his deliverance by means of the purificatory rite. In the drama, the episodes are short, but it is these that give extension to Epic poetry. Thus the story of the Odyssey can be stated briefly. A certain man is absent from home for many years; he is jealously watched by Poseidon, and left desolate. Meanwhile his home is in a wretched plight- suitors are wasting his substance and plotting against his son. At length, tempest-tost, he himself arrives; he makes certain persons acquainted with him; he attacks the suitors with his own hand, and is himself preserved while he destroys them. This is the essence of the plot; the rest is episode.


Every tragedy falls into two parts- Complication and Unraveling or Denouement. Incidents extraneous to the action are frequently combined with a portion of the action proper, to form the Complication; the rest is the Unraveling. By the Complication I mean all that extends from the beginning of the action to the part which marks the turning-point to good or bad fortune. The Unraveling is that which extends from the beginning of the change to the end. Thus, in the Lynceus of Theodectes, the Complication consists of the incidents presupposed in the drama, the seizure of the child, and then again ... [the Unraveling] extends from the accusation of murder to

There are four kinds of Tragedy: the Complex, depending entirely on Reversal of the Situation and Recognition; the Pathetic (where the motive is passion)- such as the tragedies on Ajax and Ixion; the Ethical (where the motives are ethical)- such as the Phthiotides and the Peleus. The fourth kind is the Simple. [We here exclude the purely spectacular element], exemplified by the Phorcides, the Prometheus, and scenes laid in Hades. The poet should endeavor, if possible, to combine all poetic elements; or failing that, the greatest number and those the most important; the more so, in face of the caviling criticism of the day. For whereas there have hitherto been good poets, each in his own branch, the critics now expect one man to surpass all others in their several lines of excellence.

In speaking of a tragedy as the same or different, the best test to take is the plot. Identity exists where the Complication and Unraveling are the same. Many poets tie the knot well, but unravel it Both arts, however, should always be mastered.

Again, the poet should remember what has been often said, and not make an Epic structure into a tragedy- by an Epic structure I mean one with a multiplicity of plots- as if, for instance, you were to make a tragedy out of the entire story of the Iliad. In the Epic poem, owing to its length, each part assumes its proper magnitude. In the drama the result is far from answering to the poet's expectation. The proof is that the poets who have dramatized the whole story of the Fall of Troy, instead of selecting portions, like Euripides; or who have taken the whole tale of Niobe, and not a part of her story, like Aeschylus, either fail utterly or meet with poor success on the stage. Even Agathon has been known to fail from this one defect. In his Reversals of the Situation, however, he shows a marvelous skill in the effort to hit the popular taste- to produce a tragic effect that satisfies the moral sense. This effect is produced when the clever rogue, like Sisyphus, is outwitted, or the brave villain defeated. Such an event is probable in Agathon's sense of the word: 'is probable,' he says, 'that many things should happen contrary to probability.'

The Chorus too should be regarded as one of the actors; it should be an integral part of the whole, and share in the action, in the manner not of Euripides but of Sophocles. As for the later poets, their choral songs pertain as little to the subject of the piece as to that of any other tragedy. They are, therefore, sung as mere interludes- a practice first begun by Agathon. Yet what difference is there between introducing such choral interludes, and transferring a speech, or even a whole act, from one play to another.

Part XIX

It remains to speak of Diction and Thought, the other parts of Tragedy having been already discussed. concerning Thought, we may assume what is said in the Rhetoric, to which inquiry the subject more strictly belongs. Under Thought is included every effect which has to be produced by speech, the subdivisions being: proof and refutation; the excitation of the feelings, such as pity, fear, anger, and the like; the suggestion of importance or its opposite. Now, it is evident that the dramatic incidents must be treated from the same points of view as the dramatic speeches, when the object is to evoke the sense of pity, fear, importance, or probability. The only difference is that the incidents should speak for themselves without verbal exposition; while effects aimed at in should be produced by the speaker, and as a result of the speech. For what were the business of a speaker, if the Thought were revealed quite apart from what he says?

Next, as regards Diction. One branch of the inquiry treats of the Modes of Utterance. But this province of knowledge belongs to the art of Delivery and to the masters of that science. It includes, for instance- what is a command, a prayer, a statement, a threat, a question, an answer, and so forth. To know or not to know these things involves no serious censure upon the poet's art. For who can admit the fault imputed to Homer by Protagoras- that in the words, 'Sing, goddess, of the wrath, he gives a command under the idea that he utters a prayer? For to tell some one to do a thing or not to do it is, he says, a command. We may, therefore, pass this over as an inquiry that belongs to another art, not to poetry.

Part XX

Language in general includes the following parts: Letter, Syllable, Connecting Word, Noun, Verb, Inflection or Case, Sentence or Phrase.

A Letter is an indivisible sound, yet not every such sound, but only one which can form part of a group of sounds. For even brutes utter indivisible sounds, none of which I call a letter. The sound I mean may be either a vowel, a semivowel, or a mute. A vowel is that which without impact of tongue or lip has an audible sound. A semivowel that which with such impact has an audible sound, as S and R. A mute, that which with such impact has by itself no sound, but joined to a vowel sound becomes audible, as G and D. These are distinguished according to the form assumed by the mouth and the place where they are produced; according as they are aspirated or smooth, long or short; as they are acute, grave, or of an intermediate tone; which inquiry belongs in detail to the writers on meter.

A Syllable is a nonsignificant sound, composed of a mute and a vowel: for GR without A is a syllable, as also with A- GRA. But the investigation of these differences belongs also to metrical science.

A Connecting Word is a nonsignificant sound, which neither causes nor hinders the union of many sounds into one significant sound; it may be placed at either end or in the middle of a sentence. Or, a nonsignificant sound, which out of several sounds, each of them significant, is capable of forming one significant sound- as amphi, peri, and the like. Or, a nonsignificant sound, which marks the beginning, end, or division of a sentence; such, however, that it cannot correctly stand by itself at the beginning of a sentence- as men, etoi, de.

A Noun is a composite significant sound, not marking time, of which no part is in itself significant: for in double or compound words we do not employ the separate parts as if each were in itself significant. Thus in Theodorus, 'god-given,' the doron or 'gift' is not in itself significant.

A Verb is a composite significant sound, marking time, in which, as in the noun, no part is in itself significant. For 'man' or 'white' does not express the idea of 'when'; but 'he walks' or 'he has walked' does connote time, present or past.

Inflection belongs both to the noun and verb, and expresses either the relation 'of,' 'to,' or the like; or that of number, whether one or many, as 'man' or 'men'; or the modes or tones in actual delivery, e.g., a question or a command. 'Did he go?' and 'go' are verbal inflections of this kind.

A Sentence or Phrase is a composite significant sound, some at least of whose parts are in themselves significant; for not every such group of words consists of verbs and nouns- 'the definition of man,' for example- but it may dispense even with the verb. Still it will always have some significant part, as 'in walking,' or 'Cleon son of Cleon.' A sentence or phrase may form a unity in two ways- either as signifying one thing, or as consisting of several parts linked together. Thus the Iliad is one by the linking together of parts, the definition of man by the unity of the thing signified.


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by S. H. Butcher

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Section 3

Part XXI

Words are of two kinds, simple and double. By simple I mean those composed of nonsignificant elements, such as ge, 'earth.' By double or compound, those composed either of a significant and nonsignificant element (though within the whole word no element is significant), or of elements that are both significant. A word may likewise be triple, quadruple, or multiple in form, like so many Massilian expressions, e.g., 'Hermo-caico-xanthus [who prayed to Father Zeus].'

Every word is either current, or strange, or metaphorical, or ornamental, or newly-coined, or lengthened, or contracted, or altered.

By a current or proper word I mean one which is in general use among a people; by a strange word, one which is in use in another country. Plainly, therefore, the same word may be at once strange and current, but not in relation to the same people. The word sigynon, 'lance,' is to the Cyprians a current term but to us a strange one.

Metaphor is the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, proportion. Thus from genus to species, as: 'There lies my ship'; for lying at anchor is a species of lying. From species to genus, as: 'Verily ten thousand noble deeds hath Odysseus wrought'; for ten thousand is a species of large number, and is here used for a large number generally. From species to species, as: 'With blade of bronze drew away the life,' and 'Cleft the water with the vessel of unyielding bronze.' Here arusai, 'to draw away' is used for tamein, 'to cleave,' and tamein, again for arusai- each being a species of taking away. Analogy or proportion is when the second term is to the first as the fourth to the third. We may then use the fourth for the second, or the second for the fourth. Sometimes too we qualify the metaphor by adding the term to which the proper word is relative. Thus the cup is to Dionysus as the shield to Ares. The cup may, therefore, be called 'the shield of Dionysus,' and the shield 'the cup of Ares.' Or, again, as old age is to life, so is evening to day. Evening may therefore be called, 'the old age of the day,' and old age, 'the evening of life,' or, in the phrase of Empedocles, 'life's setting sun.' For some of the terms of the proportion there is at times no word in existence; still the metaphor may be used. For instance, to scatter seed is called sowing: but the action of the sun in scattering his rays is nameless. Still this process bears to the sun the same relation as sowing to the seed. Hence the expression of the poet 'sowing the god-created light.' There is another way in which this kind of metaphor may be employed. We may apply an alien term, and then deny of that term one of its proper attributes; as if we were to call the shield, not 'the cup of Ares,' but 'the wineless cup'.

A newly-coined word is one which has never been even in local use, but is adopted by the poet himself. Some such words there appear to be: as ernyges, 'sprouters,' for kerata, 'horns'; and areter, 'supplicator', for hiereus, 'priest.'

A word is lengthened when its own vowel is exchanged for a longer one, or when a syllable is inserted. A word is contracted when some part of it is removed. Instances of lengthening are: poleos for poleos, Peleiadeo for Peleidou; of contraction: kri, do, and ops, as in mia ginetai amphoteron ops, 'the appearance of both is one.'

An altered word is one in which part of the ordinary form is left unchanged, and part is recast: as in dexiteron kata mazon, 'on the right breast,' dexiteron is for dexion.

Nouns in themselves are either masculine, feminine, or neuter. Masculine are such as end in N, R, S, or in some letter compounded with S- these being two, PS and X. Feminine, such as end in vowels that are always long, namely E and O, and- of vowels that admit of lengthening- those in A. Thus the number of letters in which nouns masculine and feminine end is the same; for PS and X are equivalent to endings in S. No noun ends in a mute or a vowel short by nature. Three only end in I- meli, 'honey'; kommi, 'gum'; peperi, 'pepper'; five end in U. Neuter nouns end in these two latter vowels; also in N and S.


The perfection of style is to be clear without being mean. The clearest style is that which uses only current or proper words; at the same time it is mean- witness the poetry of Cleophon and of Sthenelus. That diction, on the other hand, is lofty and raised above the commonplace which employs unusual words. By unusual, I mean strange (or rare) words, metaphorical, lengthened- anything, in short, that differs from the normal idiom. Yet a style wholly composed of such words is either a riddle or a jargon; a riddle, if it consists of metaphors; a jargon, if it consists of strange (or rare) words. For the essence of a riddle is to express true facts under impossible combinations. Now this cannot be done by any arrangement of ordinary words, but by the use of metaphor it can. Such is the riddle: 'A man I saw who on another man had glued the bronze by aid of fire,' and others of the same kind. A diction that is made up of strange (or rare) terms is a jargon. A certain infusion, therefore, of these elements is necessary to style; for the strange (or rare) word, the metaphorical, the ornamental, and the other kinds above mentioned, will raise it above the commonplace and mean, while the use of proper words will make it perspicuous. But nothing contributes more to produce a cleanness of diction that is remote from commonness than the lengthening, contraction, and alteration of words. For by deviating in exceptional cases from the normal idiom, the language will gain distinction; while, at the same time, the partial conformity with usage will give perspicuity. The critics, therefore, are in error who censure these licenses of speech, and hold the author up to ridicule. Thus Eucleides, the elder, declared that it would be an easy matter to be a poet if you might lengthen syllables at will. He caricatured the practice in the very form of his diction, as in the verse:

"Epicharen eidon Marathonade badizonta,

"I saw Epichares walking to Marathon, "


"ouk an g'eramenos ton ekeinou elleboron.

"Not if you desire his hellebore. "

To employ such license at all obtrusively is, no doubt, grotesque; but in any mode of poetic diction there must be moderation. Even metaphors, strange (or rare) words, or any similar forms of speech, would produce the like effect if used without propriety and with the express purpose of being ludicrous. How great a difference is made by the appropriate use of lengthening, may be seen in Epic poetry by the insertion of ordinary forms in the verse. So, again, if we take a strange (or rare) word, a metaphor, or any similar mode of expression, and replace it by the current or proper term, the truth of our observation will be manifest. For example, Aeschylus and Euripides each composed the same iambic line. But the alteration of a single word by Euripides, who employed the rarer term instead of the ordinary one, makes one verse appear beautiful and the other trivial. Aeschylus in his Philoctetes says:

"phagedaina d'he mou sarkas esthiei podos.

"The tumor which is eating the flesh of my foot. "

Euripides substitutes thoinatai, 'feasts on,' for esthiei, 'feeds on.' Again, in the line,

"nun de m'eon oligos te kai outidanos kai aeikes,

"Yet a small man, worthless and unseemly, "

the difference will be felt if we substitute the common words,

"nun de m'eon mikros te kai asthenikos kai aeides.

"Yet a little fellow, weak and ugly. "

Or, if for the line,

"diphron aeikelion katatheis oligen te trapezan,

"Setting an unseemly couch and a meager table, "

we read,

"diphron mochtheron katatheis mikran te trapezan.

"Setting a wretched couch and a puny table. "

Or, for eiones booosin, 'the sea shores roar,' eiones krazousin, 'the sea shores screech.'

Again, Ariphrades ridiculed the tragedians for using phrases which no one would employ in ordinary speech: for example, domaton apo, 'from the house away,' instead of apo domaton, 'away from the house;' sethen, ego de nin, 'to thee, and I to him;' Achilleos peri, 'Achilles about,' instead of peri Achilleos, 'about Achilles;' and the like. It is precisely because such phrases are not part of the current idiom that they give distinction to the style. This, however, he failed to see.

It is a great matter to observe propriety in these several modes of expression, as also in compound words, strange (or rare) words, and so forth. But the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.

Of the various kinds of words, the compound are best adapted to dithyrambs, rare words to heroic poetry, metaphors to iambic. In heroic poetry, indeed, all these varieties are serviceable. But in iambic verse, which reproduces, as far as may be, familiar speech, the most appropriate words are those which are found even in prose. These are the current or proper, the metaphorical, the ornamental.

Concerning Tragedy and imitation by means of action this may suffice.


As to that poetic imitation which is narrative in form and employs a single meter, the plot manifestly ought, as in a tragedy, to be constructed on dramatic principles. It should have for its subject a single action, whole and complete, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It will thus resemble a living organism in all its unity, and produce the pleasure proper to it. It will differ in structure from historical compositions, which of necessity present not a single action, but a single period, and all that happened within that period to one person or to many, little connected together as the events may be. For as the sea-fight at Salamis and the battle with the Carthaginians in Sicily took place at the same time, but did not tend to any one result, so in the sequence of events, one thing sometimes follows another, and yet no single result is thereby produced. Such is the practice, we may say, of most poets. Here again, then, as has been already observed, the transcendent excellence of Homer is manifest. He never attempts to make the whole war of Troy the subject of his poem, though that war had a beginning and an end. It would have been too vast a theme, and not easily embraced in a single view. If, again, he had kept it within moderate limits, it must have been over-complicated by the variety of the incidents. As it is, he detaches a single portion, and admits as episodes many events from the general story of the war- such as the Catalogue of the ships and others- thus diversifying the poem. All other poets take a single hero, a single period, or an action single indeed, but with a multiplicity of parts. Thus did the author of the Cypria and of the Little Iliad. For this reason the Iliad and the Odyssey each furnish the subject of one tragedy, or, at most, of two; while the Cypria supplies materials for many, and the Little Iliad for eight- the Award of the Arms, the Philoctetes, the Neoptolemus, the Eurypylus, the Mendicant Odysseus, the Laconian Women, the Fall of Ilium, the Departure of the Fleet.


Again, Epic poetry must have as many kinds as Tragedy: it must be simple, or complex, or 'ethical,'or 'pathetic.' The parts also, with the exception of song and spectacle, are the same; for it requires Reversals of the Situation, Recognitions, and Scenes of Suffering. Moreover, the thoughts and the diction must be artistic. In all these respects Homer is our earliest and sufficient model. Indeed each of his poems has a twofold character. The Iliad is at once simple and 'pathetic,' and the Odyssey complex (for Recognition scenes run through it), and at the same time 'ethical.' Moreover, in diction and thought they are supreme.

Epic poetry differs from Tragedy in the scale on which it is constructed, and in its meter. As regards scale or length, we have already laid down an adequate limit: the beginning and the end must be capable of being brought within a single view. This condition will be satisfied by poems on a smaller scale than the old epics, and answering in length to the group of tragedies presented at a single sitting.

Epic poetry has, however, a great- a special- capacity for enlarging its dimensions, and we can see the reason. In Tragedy we cannot imitate several lines of actions carried on at one and the same time; we must confine ourselves to the action on the stage and the part taken by the players. But in Epic poetry, owing to the narrative form, many events simultaneously transacted can be presented; and these, if relevant to the subject, add mass and dignity to the poem. The Epic has here an advantage, and one that conduces to grandeur of effect, to diverting the mind of the hearer, and relieving the story with varying episodes. For sameness of incident soon produces satiety, and makes tragedies fail on the stage.

As for the meter, the heroic measure has proved its fitness by hexameter test of experience. If a narrative poem in any other meter or in many meters were now composed, it would be found incongruous. For of all measures the heroic is the stateliest and the most massive; and hence it most readily admits rare words and metaphors, which is another point in which the narrative form of imitation stands alone. On the other hand, the iambic and the trochaic tetrameter are stirring measures, the latter being akin to dancing, the former expressive of action. Still more absurd would it be to mix together different meters, as was done by Chaeremon. Hence no one has ever composed a poem on a great scale in any other than heroic verse. Nature herself, as we have said, teaches the choice of the proper measure.

Homer, admirable in all respects, has the special merit of being the only poet who rightly appreciates the part he should take himself. The poet should speak as little as possible in his own person, for it is not this that makes him an imitator. Other poets appear themselves upon the scene throughout, and imitate but little and rarely. Homer, after a few prefatory words, at once brings in a man, or woman, or other personage; none of them wanting in characteristic qualities, but each with a character of his own.

The element of the wonderful is required in Tragedy. The irrational, on which the wonderful depends for its chief effects, has wider scope in Epic poetry, because there the person acting is not seen. Thus, the pursuit of Hector would be ludicrous if placed upon the stage- the Greeks standing still and not joining in the pursuit, and Achilles waving them back. But in the Epic poem the absurdity passes unnoticed. Now the wonderful is pleasing, as may be inferred from the fact that every one tells a story with some addition of his knowing that his hearers like it. It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skilfully. The secret of it lies in a fallacy For, assuming that if one thing is or becomes, a second is or becomes, men imagine that, if the second is, the first likewise is or becomes. But this is a false inference. Hence, where the first thing is untrue, it is quite unnecessary, provided the second be true, to add that the first is or has become. For the mind, knowing the second to be true, falsely infers the truth of the first. There is an example of this in the Bath Scene of the Odyssey.

Accordingly, the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities. The tragic plot must not be composed of irrational parts. Everything irrational should, if possible, be excluded; or, at all events, it should lie outside the action of the play (as, in the Oedipus, the hero's ignorance as to the manner of Laius' death); not within the drama- as in the Electra, the messenger's account of the Pythian games; or, as in the Mysians, the man who has come from Tegea to Mysia and is still speechless. The plea that otherwise the plot would have been ruined, is ridiculous; such a plot should not in the first instance be constructed. But once the irrational has been introduced and an air of likelihood imparted to it, we must accept it in spite of the absurdity. Take even the irrational incidents in the Odyssey, where Odysseus is left upon the shore of Ithaca. How intolerable even these might have been would be apparent if an inferior poet were to treat the subject. As it is, the absurdity is veiled by the poetic charm with which the poet invests it.

The diction should be elaborated in the pauses of the action, where there is no expression of character or thought. For, conversely, character and thought are merely obscured by a diction that is over-brilliant

Part XXV

With respect to critical difficulties and their solutions, the number and nature of the sources from which they may be drawn may be thus exhibited.

The poet being an imitator, like a painter or any other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three objects- things as they were or are, things as they are said or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. The vehicle of expression is language- either current terms or, it may be, rare words or metaphors. There are also many modifications of language, which we concede to the poets. Add to this, that the standard of correctness is not the same in poetry and politics, any more than in poetry and any other art. Within the art of poetry itself there are two kinds of faults- those which touch its essence, and those which are accidental. If a poet has chosen to imitate something, [but has imitated it incorrectly] through want of capacity, the error is inherent in the poetry. But if the failure is due to a wrong choice- if he has represented a horse as throwing out both his off legs at once, or introduced technical inaccuracies in medicine, for example, or in any other art- the error is not essential to the poetry. These are the points of view from which we should consider and answer the objections raised by the critics.

First as to matters which concern the poet's own art. If he describes the impossible, he is guilty of an error; but the error may be justified, if the end of the art be thereby attained (the end being that already mentioned)- if, that is, the effect of this or any other part of the poem is thus rendered more striking. A case in point is the pursuit of Hector. if, however, the end might have been as well, or better, attained without violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified: for every kind of error should, if possible, be avoided.

Again, does the error touch the essentials of the poetic art, or some accident of it? For example, not to know that a hind has no horns is a less serious matter than to paint it inartistically.

Further, if it be objected that the description is not true to fact, the poet may perhaps reply, 'But the objects are as they ought to be'; just as Sophocles said that he drew men as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. In this way the objection may be met. If, however, the representation be of neither kind, the poet may answer, 'This is how men say the thing is.' applies to tales about the gods. It may well be that these stories are not higher than fact nor yet true to fact: they are, very possibly, what Xenophanes says of them. But anyhow, 'this is what is said.' Again, a description may be no better than the fact: 'Still, it was the fact'; as in the passage about the arms: 'Upright upon their butt-ends stood the spears.' This was the custom then, as it now is among the Illyrians.

Again, in examining whether what has been said or done by some one is poetically right or not, we must not look merely to the particular act or saying, and ask whether it is poetically good or bad. We must also consider by whom it is said or done, to whom, when, by what means, or for what end; whether, for instance, it be to secure a greater good, or avert a greater evil.

Other difficulties may be resolved by due regard to the usage of language. We may note a rare word, as in oureas men proton, 'the mules first [he killed],' where the poet perhaps employs oureas not in the sense of mules, but of sentinels. So, again, of Dolon: 'ill-favored indeed he was to look upon.' It is not meant that his body was ill-shaped but that his face was ugly; for the Cretans use the word eueides, 'well-flavored' to denote a fair face. Again, zoroteron de keraie, 'mix the drink livelier' does not mean 'mix it stronger' as for hard drinkers, but 'mix it quicker.'

Sometimes an expression is metaphorical, as 'Now all gods and men were sleeping through the night,' while at the same time the poet says: 'Often indeed as he turned his gaze to the Trojan plain, he marveled at the sound of flutes and pipes.' 'All' is here used metaphorically for 'many,' all being a species of many. So in the verse, 'alone she hath no part... , oie, 'alone' is metaphorical; for the best known may be called the only one.

Again, the solution may depend upon accent or breathing. Thus Hippias of Thasos solved the difficulties in the lines, didomen (didomen) de hoi, and to men hou (ou) kataputhetai ombro.

Or again, the question may be solved by punctuation, as in Empedocles: 'Of a sudden things became mortal that before had learnt to be immortal, and things unmixed before mixed.'

Or again, by ambiguity of meaning, as parocheken de pleo nux, where the word pleo is ambiguous.

Or by the usage of language. Thus any mixed drink is called oinos, 'wine'. Hence Ganymede is said 'to pour the wine to Zeus,' though the gods do not drink wine. So too workers in iron are called chalkeas, or 'workers in bronze.' This, however, may also be taken as a metaphor.

Again, when a word seems to involve some inconsistency of meaning, we should consider how many senses it may bear in the particular passage. For example: 'there was stayed the spear of bronze'- we should ask in how many ways we may take 'being checked there.' The true mode of interpretation is the precise opposite of what Glaucon mentions. Critics, he says, jump at certain groundless conclusions; they pass adverse judgement and then proceed to reason on it; and, assuming that the poet has said whatever they happen to think, find fault if a thing is inconsistent with their own fancy.

The question about Icarius has been treated in this fashion. The critics imagine he was a Lacedaemonian. They think it strange, therefore, that Telemachus should not have met him when he went to Lacedaemon. But the Cephallenian story may perhaps be the true one. They allege that Odysseus took a wife from among themselves, and that her father was Icadius, not Icarius. It is merely a mistake, then, that gives plausibility to the objection.

In general, the impossible must be justified by reference to artistic requirements, or to the higher reality, or to received opinion. With respect to the requirements of art, a probable impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improbable and yet possible. Again, it may be impossible that there should be men such as Zeuxis painted. 'Yes,' we say, 'but the impossible is the higher thing; for the ideal type must surpass the realty.' To justify the irrational, we appeal to what is commonly said to be. In addition to which, we urge that the irrational sometimes does not violate reason; just as 'it is probable that a thing may happen contrary to probability.'

Things that sound contradictory should be examined by the same rules as in dialectical refutation- whether the same thing is meant, in the same relation, and in the same sense. We should therefore solve the question by reference to what the poet says himself, or to what is tacitly assumed by a person of intelligence.

The element of the irrational, and, similarly, depravity of character, are justly censured when there is no inner necessity for introducing them. Such is the irrational element in the introduction of Aegeus by Euripides and the badness of Menelaus in the Orestes.

Thus, there are five sources from which critical objections are drawn. Things are censured either as impossible, or irrational, or morally hurtful, or contradictory, or contrary to artistic correctness. The answers should be sought under the twelve heads above mentioned.


The question may be raised whether the Epic or Tragic mode of imitation is the higher. If the more refined art is the higher, and the more refined in every case is that which appeals to the better sort of audience, the art which imitates anything and everything is manifestly most unrefined. The audience is supposed to be too dull to comprehend unless something of their own is thrown by the performers, who therefore indulge in restless movements. Bad flute-players twist and twirl, if they have to represent 'the quoit-throw,' or hustle the coryphaeus when they perform the Scylla. Tragedy, it is said, has this same defect. We may compare the opinion that the older actors entertained of their successors. Mynniscus used to call Callippides 'ape' on account of the extravagance of his action, and the same view was held of Pindarus. Tragic art, then, as a whole, stands to Epic in the same relation as the younger to the elder actors. So we are told that Epic poetry is addressed to a cultivated audience, who do not need gesture; Tragedy, to an inferior public. Being then unrefined, it is evidently the lower of the two.

Now, in the first place, this censure attaches not to the poetic but to the histrionic art; for gesticulation may be equally overdone in epic recitation, as by Sosistratus, or in lyrical competition, as by Mnasitheus the Opuntian. Next, all action is not to be condemned- any more than all dancing- but only that of bad performers. Such was the fault found in Callippides, as also in others of our own day, who are censured for representing degraded women. Again, Tragedy like Epic poetry produces its effect even without action; it reveals its power by mere reading. If, then, in all other respects it is superior, this fault, we say, is not inherent in it.

And superior it is, because it has an the epic elements- it may even use the epic meter- with the music and spectacular effects as important accessories; and these produce the most vivid of pleasures. Further, it has vividness of impression in reading as well as in representation. Moreover, the art attains its end within narrower limits for the concentrated effect is more pleasurable than one which is spread over a long time and so diluted. What, for example, would be the effect of the Oedipus of Sophocles, if it were cast into a form as long as the Iliad? Once more, the Epic imitation has less unity; as is shown by this, that any Epic poem will furnish subjects for several tragedies. Thus if the story adopted by the poet has a strict unity, it must either be concisely told and appear truncated; or, if it conforms to the Epic canon of length, it must seem weak and watery. [Such length implies some loss of unity,] if, I mean, the poem is constructed out of several actions, like the Iliad and the Odyssey, which have many such parts, each with a certain magnitude of its own. Yet these poems are as perfect as possible in structure; each is, in the highest degree attainable, an imitation of a single action.

If, then, tragedy is superior to epic poetry in all these respects, and, moreover, fulfills its specific function better as an art- for each art ought to produce, not any chance pleasure, but the pleasure proper to it, as already stated- it plainly follows that tragedy is the higher art, as attaining its end more perfectly.

Thus much may suffice concerning Tragic and Epic poetry in general; their several kinds and parts, with the number of each and their differences; the causes that make a poem good or bad; the objections of the critics and the answers to these objections....


By Aristotle

Written 350 B.C.E

Translated by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye

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Book I
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Part 1

When the objects of an inquiry, in any department, have principles, conditions, or elements, it is through acquaintance with these that knowledge, that is to say scientific knowledge, is attained. For we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principles, and have carried our analysis as far as its simplest elements. Plainly therefore in the science of Nature, as in other branches of study, our first task will be to try to determine what relates to its principles.

The natural way of doing this is to start from the things which are more knowable and obvious to us and proceed towards those which are clearer and more knowable by nature; for the same things are not 'knowable relatively to us' and 'knowable' without qualification. So in the present inquiry we must follow this method and advance from what is more obscure by nature, but clearer to us, towards what is more clear and more knowable by nature.

Now what is to us plain and obvious at first is rather confused masses, the elements and principles of which become known to us later by analysis. Thus we must advance from generalities to particulars; for it is a whole that is best known to sense-perception, and a generality is a kind of whole, comprehending many things within it, like parts. Much the same thing happens in the relation of the name to the formula. A name, e.g. 'round', means vaguely a sort of whole: its definition analyses this into its particular senses. Similarly a child begins by calling all men 'father', and all women 'mother', but later on distinguishes each of them.

Part 2

The principles in question must be either (a) one or (b) more than one. If (a) one, it must be either (i) motionless, as Parmenides and Melissus assert, or (ii) in motion, as the physicists hold, some declaring air to be the first principle, others water. If (b) more than one, then either (i) a finite or (ii) an infinite plurality. If (i) finite (but more than one), then either two or three or four or some other number. If (ii) infinite, then either as Democritus believed one in kind, but differing in shape or form; or different in kind and even contrary.

A similar inquiry is made by those who inquire into the number of existents: for they inquire whether the ultimate constituents of existing things are one or many, and if many, whether a finite or an infinite plurality. So they too are inquiring whether the principle or element is one or many.

Now to investigate whether Being is one and motionless is not a contribution to the science of Nature. For just as the geometer has nothing more to say to one who denies the principles of his science-this being a question for a different science or for or common to all-so a man investigating principles cannot argue with one who denies their existence. For if Being is just one, and one in the way mentioned, there is a principle no longer, since a principle must be the principle of some thing or things.

To inquire therefore whether Being is one in this sense would be like arguing against any other position maintained for the sake of argument (such as the Heraclitean thesis, or such a thesis as that Being is one man) or like refuting a merely contentious argument-a description which applies to the arguments both of Melissus and of Parmenides: their premisses are false and their conclusions do not follow. Or rather the argument of Melissus is gross and palpable and offers no difficulty at all: accept one ridiculous proposition and the rest follows-a simple enough proceeding.

We physicists, on the other hand, must take for granted that the things that exist by nature are, either all or some of them, in motion which is indeed made plain by induction. Moreover, no man of science is bound to solve every kind of difficulty that may be raised, but only as many as are drawn falsely from the principles of the science: it is not our business to refute those that do not arise in this way: just as it is the duty of the geometer to refute the squaring of the circle by means of segments, but it is not his duty to refute Antiphon's proof. At the same time the holders of the theory of which we are speaking do incidentally raise physical questions, though Nature is not their subject: so it will perhaps be as well to spend a few words on them, especially as the inquiry is not without scientific interest.

The most pertinent question with which to begin will be this: In what sense is it asserted that all things are one? For 'is' is used in many senses. Do they mean that all things 'are' substance or quantities or qualities? And, further, are all things one substance-one man, one horse, or one soul-or quality and that one and the same-white or hot or something of the kind? These are all very different doctrines and all impossible to maintain.

For if both substance and quantity and quality are, then, whether these exist independently of each other or not, Being will be many.

If on the other hand it is asserted that all things are quality or quantity, then, whether substance exists or not, an absurdity results, if the impossible can properly be called absurd. For none of the others can exist independently: substance alone is independent: for everything is predicated of substance as subject. Now Melissus says that Being is infinite. It is then a quantity. For the infinite is in the category of quantity, whereas substance or quality or affection cannot be infinite except through a concomitant attribute, that is, if at the same time they are also quantities. For to define the infinite you must use quantity in your formula, but not substance or quality. If then Being is both substance and quantity, it is two, not one: if only substance, it is not infinite and has no magnitude; for to have that it will have to be a quantity.

Again, 'one' itself, no less than 'being', is used in many senses, so we must consider in what sense the word is used when it is said that the All is one.

Now we say that (a) the continuous is one or that (b) the indivisible is one, or (c) things are said to be 'one', when their essence is one and the same, as 'liquor' and 'drink'.

If (a) their One is one in the sense of continuous, it is many, for the continuous is divisible ad infinitum.

There is, indeed, a difficulty about part and whole, perhaps not relevant to the present argument, yet deserving consideration on its own account-namely, whether the part and the whole are one or more than one, and how they can be one or many, and, if they are more than one, in what sense they are more than one. (Similarly with the parts of wholes which are not continuous.) Further, if each of the two parts is indivisibly one with the whole, the difficulty arises that they will be indivisibly one with each other also.

But to proceed: If (b) their One is one as indivisible, nothing will have quantity or quality, and so the one will not be infinite, as Melissus says-nor, indeed, limited, as Parmenides says, for though the limit is indivisible, the limited is not.

But if (c) all things are one in the sense of having the same definition, like 'raiment' and 'dress', then it turns out that they are maintaining the Heraclitean doctrine, for it will be the same thing 'to be good' and 'to be bad', and 'to be good' and 'to be not good', and so the same thing will be 'good' and 'not good', and man and horse; in fact, their view will be, not that all things are one, but that they are nothing; and that 'to be of such-and-such a quality' is the same as 'to be of such-and-such a size'.

Even the more recent of the ancient thinkers were in a pother lest the same thing should turn out in their hands both one and many. So some, like Lycophron, were led to omit 'is', others to change the mode of expression and say 'the man has been whitened' instead of 'is white', and 'walks' instead of 'is walking', for fear that if they added the word 'is' they should be making the one to be many-as if 'one' and 'being' were always used in one and the same sense. What 'is' may be many either in definition (for example 'to be white' is one thing, 'to be musical' another, yet the same thing be both, so the one is many) or by division, as the whole and its parts. On this point, indeed, they were already getting into difficulties and admitted that the one was many-as if there was any difficulty about the same thing being both one and many, provided that these are not opposites; for 'one' may mean either 'potentially one' or 'actually one'.

Part 3

If, then, we approach the thesis in this way it seems impossible for all things to be one. Further, the arguments they use to prove their position are not difficult to expose. For both of them reason contentiously-I mean both Melissus and Parmenides. [Their premisses are false and their conclusions do not follow. Or rather the argument of Melissus is gross and palpable and offers no difficulty at all: admit one ridiculous proposition and the rest follows-a simple enough proceeding.] The fallacy of Melissus is obvious. For he supposes that the assumption 'what has come into being always has a beginning' justifies the assumption 'what has not come into being has no beginning'. Then this also is absurd, that in every case there should be a beginning of the thing-not of the time and not only in the case of coming to be in the full sense but also in the case of coming to have a quality-as if change never took place suddenly. Again, does it follow that Being, if one, is motionless? Why should it not move, the whole of it within itself, as parts of it do which are unities, e.g. this water? Again, why is qualitative change impossible? But, further, Being cannot be one in form, though it may be in what it is made of. (Even some of the physicists hold it to be one in the latter way, though not in the former.) Man obviously differs from horse in form, and contraries from each other.

The same kind of argument holds good against Parmenides also, besides any that may apply specially to his view: the answer to him being that 'this is not true' and 'that does not follow'. His assumption that one is used in a single sense only is false, because it is used in several. His conclusion does not follow, because if we take only white things, and if 'white' has a single meaning, none the less what is white will be many and not one. For what is white will not be one either in the sense that it is continuous or in the sense that it must be defined in only one way. 'Whiteness' will be different from 'what has whiteness'. Nor does this mean that there is anything that can exist separately, over and above what is white. For 'whiteness' and 'that which is white' differ in definition, not in the sense that they are things which can exist apart from each other. But Parmenides had not come in sight of this distinction.

It is necessary for him, then, to assume not only that 'being' has the same meaning, of whatever it is predicated, but further that it means (1) what just is and (2) what is just one.

It must be so, for (1) an attribute is predicated of some subject, so that the subject to which 'being' is attributed will not be, as it is something different from 'being'. Something, therefore, which is not will be. Hence 'substance' will not be a predicate of anything else. For the subject cannot be a being, unless 'being' means several things, in such a way that each is something. But ex hypothesi 'being' means only one thing.

If, then, 'substance' is not attributed to anything, but other things are attributed to it, how does 'substance' mean what is rather than what is not? For suppose that 'substance' is also 'white'. Since the definition of the latter is different (for being cannot even be attributed to white, as nothing is which is not 'substance'), it follows that 'white' is not-being--and that not in the sense of a particular not-being, but in the sense that it is not at all. Hence 'substance' is not; for it is true to say that it is white, which we found to mean not-being. If to avoid this we say that even 'white' means substance, it follows that 'being' has more than one meaning.

In particular, then, Being will not have magnitude, if it is substance. For each of the two parts must he in a different sense.

(2) Substance is plainly divisible into other substances, if we consider the mere nature of a definition. For instance, if 'man' is a substance, 'animal' and 'biped' must also be substances. For if not substances, they must be attributes-and if attributes, attributes either of (a) man or of (b) some other subject. But neither is possible.

(a) An attribute is either that which may or may not belong to the subject or that in whose definition the subject of which it is an attribute is involved. Thus 'sitting' is an example of a separable attribute, while 'snubness' contains the definition of 'nose', to which we attribute snubness. Further, the definition of the whole is not contained in the definitions of the contents or elements of the definitory formula; that of 'man' for instance in 'biped', or that of 'white man' in 'white'. If then this is so, and if 'biped' is supposed to be an attribute of 'man', it must be either separable, so that 'man' might possibly not be 'biped', or the definition of 'man' must come into the definition of 'biped'-which is impossible, as the converse is the case.

(b) If, on the other hand, we suppose that 'biped' and 'animal' are attributes not of man but of something else, and are not each of them a substance, then 'man' too will be an attribute of something else. But we must assume that substance is not the attribute of anything, that the subject of which both 'biped' and 'animal' and each separately are predicated is the subject also of the complex 'biped animal'.

Are we then to say that the All is composed of indivisible substances? Some thinkers did, in point of fact, give way to both arguments. To the argument that all things are one if being means one thing, they conceded that not-being is; to that from bisection, they yielded by positing atomic magnitudes. But obviously it is not true that if being means one thing, and cannot at the same time mean the contradictory of this, there will be nothing which is not, for even if what is not cannot be without qualification, there is no reason why it should not be a particular not-being. To say that all things will be one, if there is nothing besides Being itself, is absurd. For who understands 'being itself' to be anything but a particular substance? But if this is so, there is nothing to prevent there being many beings, as has been said.

It is, then, clearly impossible for Being to be one in this sense.

Part 4

The physicists on the other hand have two modes of explanation.
The first set make the underlying body one either one of the three or something else which is denser than fire and rarer than air then generate everything else from this, and obtain multiplicity by condensation and rarefaction. Now these are contraries, which may be generalized into 'excess and defect'. (Compare Plato's 'Great and Small'-except that he make these his matter, the one his form, while the others treat the one which underlies as matter and the contraries as differentiae, i.e. forms).

The second set assert that the contrarieties are contained in the one and emerge from it by segregation, for example Anaximander and also all those who assert that 'what is' is one and many, like Empedocles and Anaxagoras; for they too produce other things from their mixture by segregation. These differ, however, from each other in that the former imagines a cycle of such changes, the latter a single series. Anaxagoras again made both his 'homceomerous' substances and his contraries infinite in multitude, whereas Empedocles posits only the so-called elements.

The theory of Anaxagoras that the principles are infinite in multitude was probably due to his acceptance of the common opinion of the physicists that nothing comes into being from not-being. For this is the reason why they use the phrase 'all things were together' and the coming into being of such and such a kind of thing is reduced to change of quality, while some spoke of combination and separation. Moreover, the fact that the contraries proceed from each other led them to the conclusion. The one, they reasoned, must have already existed in the other; for since everything that comes into being must arise either from what is or from what is not, and it is impossible for it to arise from what is not (on this point all the physicists agree), they thought that the truth of the alternative necessarily followed, namely that things come into being out of existent things, i.e. out of things already present, but imperceptible to our senses because of the smallness of their bulk. So they assert that everything has been mixed in every. thing, because they saw everything arising out of everything. But things, as they say, appear different from one another and receive different names according to the nature of the particles which are numerically predominant among the innumerable constituents of the mixture. For nothing, they say, is purely and entirely white or black or sweet, bone or flesh, but the nature of a thing is held to be that of which it contains the most.

Now (1) the infinite qua infinite is unknowable, so that what is infinite in multitude or size is unknowable in quantity, and what is infinite in variety of kind is unknowable in quality. But the principles in question are infinite both in multitude and in kind. Therefore it is impossible to know things which are composed of them; for it is when we know the nature and quantity of its components that we suppose we know a complex.

Further (2) if the parts of a whole may be of any size in the direction either of greatness or of smallness (by 'parts' I mean components into which a whole can be divided and which are actually present in it), it is necessary that the whole thing itself may be of any size. Clearly, therefore, since it is impossible for an animal or plant to be indefinitely big or small, neither can its parts be such, or the whole will be the same. But flesh, bone, and the like are the parts of animals, and the fruits are the parts of plants. Hence it is obvious that neither flesh, bone, nor any such thing can be of indefinite size in the direction either of the greater or of the less.

Again (3) according to the theory all such things are already present in one another and do not come into being but are constituents which are separated out, and a thing receives its designation from its chief constituent. Further, anything may come out of anything-water by segregation from flesh and flesh from water. Hence, since every finite body is exhausted by the repeated abstraction of a finite body, it seems obviously to follow that everything cannot subsist in everything else. For let flesh be extracted from water and again more flesh be produced from the remainder by repeating the process of separation: then, even though the quantity separated out will continually decrease, still it will not fall below a certain magnitude. If, therefore, the process comes to an end, everything will not be in everything else (for there will be no flesh in the remaining water); if on the other hand it does not, and further extraction is always possible, there will be an infinite multitude of finite equal particles in a finite quantity-which is impossible. Another proof may be added: Since every body must diminish in size when something is taken from it, and flesh is quantitatively definite in respect both of greatness and smallness, it is clear that from the minimum quantity of flesh no body can be separated out; for the flesh left would be less than the minimum of flesh.

Lastly (4) in each of his infinite bodies there would be already present infinite flesh and blood and brain- having a distinct existence, however, from one another, and no less real than the infinite bodies, and each infinite: which is contrary to reason.

The statement that complete separation never will take place is correct enough, though Anaxagoras is not fully aware of what it means. For affections are indeed inseparable. If then colours and states had entered into the mixture, and if separation took place, there would be a 'white' or a 'healthy' which was nothing but white or healthy, i.e. was not the predicate of a subject. So his 'Mind' is an absurd person aiming at the impossible, if he is supposed to wish to separate them, and it is impossible to do so, both in respect of quantity and of quality- of quantity, because there is no minimum magnitude, and of quality, because affections are inseparable.

Nor is Anaxagoras right about the coming to be of homogeneous bodies. It is true there is a sense in which clay is divided into pieces of clay, but there is another in which it is not. Water and air are, and are generated 'from' each other, but not in the way in which bricks come 'from' a house and again a house 'from' bricks; and it is better to assume a smaller and finite number of principles, as Empedocles does.

Part 5

All thinkers then agree in making the contraries principles, both those who describe the All as one and unmoved (for even Parmenides treats hot and cold as principles under the names of fire and earth) and those too who use the rare and the dense. The same is true of Democritus also, with his plenum and void, both of which exist, be says, the one as being, the other as not-being. Again he speaks of differences in position, shape, and order, and these are genera of which the species are contraries, namely, of position, above and below, before and behind; of shape, angular and angle-less, straight and round.

It is plain then that they all in one way or another identify the contraries with the principles. And with good reason. For first principles must not be derived from one another nor from anything else, while everything has to be derived from them. But these conditions are fulfilled by the primary contraries, which are not derived from anything else because they are primary, nor from each other because they are contraries.

But we must see how this can be arrived at as a reasoned result, as well as in the way just indicated.

Our first presupposition must be that in nature nothing acts on, or is acted on by, any other thing at random, nor may anything come from anything else, unless we mean that it does so in virtue of a concomitant attribute. For how could 'white' come from 'musical', unless 'musical' happened to be an attribute of the not-white or of the black? No, 'white' comes from 'not-white'-and not from any 'not-white', but from black or some intermediate colour. Similarly, 'musical' comes to be from 'not-musical', but not from any thing other than musical, but from 'unmusical' or any intermediate state there may be.

Nor again do things pass into the first chance thing; 'white' does not pass into 'musical' (except, it may be, in virtue of a concomitant attribute), but into 'not-white'-and not into any chance thing which is not white, but into black or an intermediate colour; 'musical' passes into 'not-musical'-and not into any chance thing other than musical, but into 'unmusical' or any intermediate state there may be.

The same holds of other things also: even things which are not simple but complex follow the same principle, but the opposite state has not received a name, so we fail to notice the fact. What is in tune must come from what is not in tune, and vice versa; the tuned passes into untunedness-and not into any untunedness, but into the corresponding opposite. It does not matter whether we take attunement, order, or composition for our illustration; the principle is obviously the same in all, and in fact applies equally to the production of a house, a statue, or any other complex. A house comes from certain things in a certain state of separation instead of conjunction, a statue (or any other thing that has been shaped) from shapelessness-each of these objects being partly order and partly composition.

If then this is true, everything that comes to be or passes away from, or passes into, its contrary or an intermediate state. But the intermediates are derived from the contraries-colours, for instance, from black and white. Everything, therefore, that comes to be by a natural process is either a contrary or a product of contraries.

Up to this point we have practically had most of the other writers on the subject with us, as I have said already: for all of them identify their elements, and what they call their principles, with the contraries, giving no reason indeed for the theory, but contrained as it were by the truth itself. They differ, however, from one another in that some assume contraries which are more primary, others contraries which are less so: some those more knowable in the order of explanation, others those more familiar to sense. For some make hot and cold, or again moist and dry, the conditions of becoming; while others make odd and even, or again Love and Strife; and these differ from each other in the way mentioned.

Hence their principles are in one sense the same, in another different; different certainly, as indeed most people think, but the same inasmuch as they are analogous; for all are taken from the same table of columns, some of the pairs being wider, others narrower in extent. In this way then their theories are both the same and different, some better, some worse; some, as I have said, take as their contraries what is more knowable in the order of explanation, others what is more familiar to sense. (The universal is more knowable in the order of explanation, the particular in the order of sense: for explanation has to do with the universal, sense with the particular.) 'The great and the small', for example, belong to the former class, 'the dense and the rare' to the latter.

It is clear then that our principles must be contraries.

Part 6

The next question is whether the principles are two or three or more in number.

One they cannot be, for there cannot be one contrary. Nor can they be innumerable, because, if so, Being will not be knowable: and in any one genus there is only one contrariety, and substance is one genus: also a finite number is sufficient, and a finite number, such as the principles of Empedocles, is better than an infinite multitude; for Empedocles professes to obtain from his principles all that Anaxagoras obtains from his innumerable principles. Lastly, some contraries are more primary than others, and some arise from others-for example sweet and bitter, white and black-whereas the principles must always remain principles.

This will suffice to show that the principles are neither one nor innumerable.

Granted, then, that they are a limited number, it is plausible to suppose them more than two. For it is difficult to see how either density should be of such a nature as to act in any way on rarity or rarity on density. The same is true of any other pair of contraries; for Love does not gather Strife together and make things out of it, nor does Strife make anything out of Love, but both act on a third thing different from both. Some indeed assume more than one such thing from which they construct the world of nature.

Other objections to the view that it is not necessary to assume a third principle as a substratum may be added. (1) We do not find that the contraries constitute the substance of any thing. But what is a first principle ought not to be the predicate of any subject. If it were, there would be a principle of the supposed principle: for the subject is a principle, and prior presumably to what is predicated of it. Again (2) we hold that a substance is not contrary to another substance. How then can substance be derived from what are not substances? Or how can non-substances be prior to substance?

If then we accept both the former argument and this one, we must, to preserve both, assume a third somewhat as the substratum of the contraries, such as is spoken of by those who describe the All as one nature-water or fire or what is intermediate between them. What is intermediate seems preferable; for fire, earth, air, and water are already involved with pairs of contraries. There is, therefore, much to be said for those who make the underlying substance different from these four; of the rest, the next best choice is air, as presenting sensible differences in a less degree than the others; and after air, water. All, however, agree in this, that they differentiate their One by means of the contraries, such as density and rarity and more and less, which may of course be generalized, as has already been said into excess and defect. Indeed this doctrine too (that the One and excess and defect are the principles of things) would appear to be of old standing, though in different forms; for the early thinkers made the two the active and the one the passive principle, whereas some of the more recent maintain the reverse.

To suppose then that the elements are three in number would seem, from these and similar considerations, a plausible view, as I said before. On the other hand, the view that they are more than three in number would seem to be untenable.

For the one substratum is sufficient to be acted on; but if we have four contraries, there will be two contrarieties, and we shall have to suppose an intermediate nature for each pair separately. If, on the other hand, the contrarieties, being two, can generate from each other, the second contrariety will be superfluous. Moreover, it is impossible that there should be more than one primary contrariety. For substance is a single genus of being, so that the principles can differ only as prior and posterior, not in genus; in a single genus there is always a single contrariety, all the other contrarieties in it being held to be reducible to one.

It is clear then that the number of elements is neither one nor more than two or three; but whether two or three is, as I said, a question of considerable difficulty.

Part 7

We will now give our own account, approaching the question first with reference to becoming in its widest sense: for we shall be following the natural order of inquiry if we speak first of common characteristics, and then investigate the characteristics of special cases.

We say that one thing comes to be from another thing, and one sort of thing from another sort of thing, both in the case of simple and of complex things. I mean the following. We can say (1) 'man becomes musical', (2) what is 'not-musical becomes musical', or (3), the 'not-musical man becomes a musical man'. Now what becomes in (1) and (2)-'man' and 'not musical'-I call simple, and what each becomes-'musical'-simple also. But when (3) we say the 'not-musical man becomes a musical man', both what becomes and what it becomes are complex.

As regards one of these simple 'things that become' we say not only 'this becomes so-and-so', but also 'from being this, comes to be so-and-so', as 'from being not-musical comes to be musical'; as regards the other we do not say this in all cases, as we do not say (1) 'from being a man he came to be musical' but only 'the man became musical'.

When a 'simple' thing is said to become something, in one case (1) it survives through the process, in the other (2) it does not. For man remains a man and is such even when he becomes musical, whereas what is not musical or is unmusical does not continue to exist, either simply or combined with the subject.

These distinctions drawn, one can gather from surveying the various cases of becoming in the way we are describing that, as we say, there must always be an underlying something, namely that which becomes, and that this, though always one numerically, in form at least is not one. (By that I mean that it can be described in different ways.) For 'to be man' is not the same as 'to be unmusical'. One part survives, the other does not: what is not an opposite survives (for 'man' survives), but 'not-musical' or 'unmusical' does not survive, nor does the compound of the two, namely 'unmusical man'.

We speak of 'becoming that from this' instead of 'this becoming that' more in the case of what does not survive the change-'becoming musical from unmusical', not 'from man'-but there are exceptions, as we sometimes use the latter form of expression even of what survives; we speak of 'a statue coming to be from bronze', not of the 'bronze becoming a statue'. The change, however, from an opposite which does not survive is described indifferently in both ways, 'becoming that from this' or 'this becoming that'. We say both that 'the unmusical becomes musical', and that 'from unmusical he becomes musical'. And so both forms are used of the complex, 'becoming a musical man from an unmusical man', and unmusical man becoming a musical man'.

But there are different senses of 'coming to be'. In some cases we do not use the expression 'come to be', but 'come to be so-and-so'. Only substances are said to 'come to be' in the unqualified sense.

Now in all cases other than substance it is plain that there must be some subject, namely, that which becomes. For we know that when a thing comes to be of such a quantity or quality or in such a relation, time, or place, a subject is always presupposed, since substance alone is not predicated of another subject, but everything else of substance.

But that substances too, and anything else that can be said 'to be' without qualification, come to be from some substratum, will appear on examination. For we find in every case something that underlies from which proceeds that which comes to be; for instance, animals and plants from seed.

Generally things which come to be, come to be in different ways: (1) by change of shape, as a statue; (2) by addition, as things which grow; (3) by taking away, as the Hermes from the stone; (4) by putting together, as a house; (5) by alteration, as things which 'turn' in respect of their material substance.

It is plain that these are all cases of coming to be from a substratum.

Thus, clearly, from what has been said, whatever comes to be is always complex. There is, on the one hand, (a) something which comes into existence, and again (b) something which becomes that-the latter (b) in two senses, either the subject or the opposite. By the 'opposite' I mean the 'unmusical', by the 'subject' 'man', and similarly I call the absence of shape or form or order the 'opposite', and the bronze or stone or gold the 'subject'.

Plainly then, if there are conditions and principles which constitute natural objects and from which they primarily are or have come to be-have come to be, I mean, what each is said to be in its essential nature, not what each is in respect of a concomitant attribute-plainly, I say, everything comes to be from both subject and form. For 'musical man' is composed (in a way) of 'man' and 'musical': you can analyse it into the definitions of its elements. It is clear then that what comes to be will come to be from these elements.

Now the subject is one numerically, though it is two in form. (For it is the man, the gold-the 'matter' generally-that is counted, for it is more of the nature of a 'this', and what comes to be does not come from it in virtue of a concomitant attribute; the privation, on the other hand, and the contrary are incidental in the process.) And the positive form is one-the order, the acquired art of music, or any similar predicate.

There is a sense, therefore, in which we must declare the principles to be two, and a sense in which they are three; a sense in which the contraries are the principles-say for example the musical and the unmusical, the hot and the cold, the tuned and the untuned-and a sense in which they are not, since it is impossible for the contraries to be acted on by each other. But this difficulty also is solved by the fact that the substratum is different from the contraries, for it is itself not a contrary. The principles therefore are, in a way, not more in number than the contraries, but as it were two, nor yet precisely two, since there is a difference of essential nature, but three. For 'to be man' is different from 'to be unmusical', and 'to be unformed' from 'to be bronze'.

We have now stated the number of the principles of natural objects which are subject to generation, and how the number is reached: and it is clear that there must be a substratum for the contraries, and that the contraries must be two. (Yet in another way of putting it this is not necessary, as one of the contraries will serve to effect the change by its successive absence and presence.)

The underlying nature is an object of scientific knowledge, by an analogy. For as the bronze is to the statue, the wood to the bed, or the matter and the formless before receiving form to any thing which has form, so is the underlying nature to substance, i.e. the 'this' or existent.

This then is one principle (though not one or existent in the same sense as the 'this'), and the definition was one as we agreed; then further there is its contrary, the privation. In what sense these are two, and in what sense more, has been stated above. Briefly, we explained first that only the contraries were principles, and later that a substratum was indispensable, and that the principles were three; our last statement has elucidated the difference between the contraries, the mutual relation of the principles, and the nature of the substratum. Whether the form or the substratum is the essential nature of a physical object is not yet clear. But that the principles are three, and in what sense, and the way in which each is a principle, is clear.

So much then for the question of the number and the nature of the principles.

Part 8

We will now proceed to show that the difficulty of the early thinkers, as well as our own, is solved in this way alone.

The first of those who studied science were misled in their search for truth and the nature of things by their inexperience, which as it were thrust them into another path. So they say that none of the things that are either comes to be or passes out of existence, because what comes to be must do so either from what is or from what is not, both of which are impossible. For what is cannot come to be (because it is already), and from what is not nothing could have come to be (because something must be present as a substratum). So too they exaggerated the consequence of this, and went so far as to deny even the existence of a plurality of things, maintaining that only Being itself is. Such then was their opinion, and such the reason for its adoption.

Our explanation on the other hand is that the phrases 'something comes to be from what is or from what is not', 'what is not or what is does something or has something done to it or becomes some particular thing', are to be taken (in the first way of putting our explanation) in the same sense as 'a doctor does something or has something done to him', 'is or becomes something from being a doctor.' These expressions may be taken in two senses, and so too, clearly, may 'from being', and 'being acts or is acted on'. A doctor builds a house, not qua doctor, but qua housebuilder, and turns gray, not qua doctor, but qua dark-haired. On the other hand he doctors or fails to doctor qua doctor. But we are using words most appropriately when we say that a doctor does something or undergoes something, or becomes something from being a doctor, if he does, undergoes, or becomes qua doctor. Clearly then also 'to come to be so-and-so from not-being' means 'qua not-being'.

It was through failure to make this distinction that those thinkers gave the matter up, and through this error that they went so much farther astray as to suppose that nothing else comes to be or exists apart from Being itself, thus doing away with all becoming.

We ourselves are in agreement with them in holding that nothing can be said without qualification to come from what is not. But nevertheless we maintain that a thing may 'come to be from what is not'-that is, in a qualified sense. For a thing comes to be from the privation, which in its own nature is not-being,-this not surviving as a constituent of the result. Yet this causes surprise, and it is thought impossible that something should come to be in the way described from what is not.

In the same way we maintain that nothing comes to be from being, and that being does not come to be except in a qualified sense. In that way, however, it does, just as animal might come to be from animal, and an animal of a certain kind from an animal of a certain kind. Thus, suppose a dog to come to be from a horse. The dog would then, it is true, come to be from animal (as well as from an animal of a certain kind) but not as animal, for that is already there. But if anything is to become an animal, not in a qualified sense, it will not be from animal: and if being, not from being-nor from not-being either, for it has been explained that by 'from not being' we mean from not-being qua not-being.

Note further that we do not subvert the principle that everything either is or is not.

This then is one way of solving the difficulty. Another consists in pointing out that the same things can be explained in terms of potentiality and actuality. But this has been done with greater precision elsewhere. So, as we said, the difficulties which constrain people to deny the existence of some of the things we mentioned are now solved. For it was this reason which also caused some of the earlier thinkers to turn so far aside from the road which leads to coming to be and passing away and change generally. If they had come in sight of this nature, all their ignorance would have been dispelled.

Part 9

Others, indeed, have apprehended the nature in question, but not adequately.

In the first place they allow that a thing may come to be without qualification from not being, accepting on this point the statement of Parmenides. Secondly, they think that if the substratum is one numerically, it must have also only a single potentiality-which is a very different thing.

Now we distinguish matter and privation, and hold that one of these, namely the matter, is not-being only in virtue of an attribute which it has, while the privation in its own nature is not-being; and that the matter is nearly, in a sense is, substance, while the privation in no sense is. They, on the other hand, identify their Great and Small alike with not being, and that whether they are taken together as one or separately. Their triad is therefore of quite a different kind from ours. For they got so far as to see that there must be some underlying nature, but they make it one-for even if one philosopher makes a dyad of it, which he calls Great and Small, the effect is the same, for he overlooked the other nature. For the one which persists is a joint cause, with the form, of what comes to be-a mother, as it were. But the negative part of the contrariety may often seem, if you concentrate your attention on it as an evil agent, not to exist at all.

For admitting with them that there is something divine, good, and desirable, we hold that there are two other principles, the one contrary to it, the other such as of its own nature to desire and yearn for it. But the consequence of their view is that the contrary desires its wtextinction. Yet the form cannot desire itself, for it is not defective; nor can the contrary desire it, for contraries are mutually destructive. The truth is that what desires the form is matter, as the female desires the male and the ugly the beautiful-only the ugly or the female not per se but per accidens.

The matter comes to be and ceases to be in one sense, while in another it does not. As that which contains the privation, it ceases to be in its own nature, for what ceases to be-the privation-is contained within it. But as potentiality it does not cease to be in its own nature, but is necessarily outside the sphere of becoming and ceasing to be. For if it came to be, something must have existed as a primary substratum from which it should come and which should persist in it; but this is its own special nature, so that it will be before coming to be. (For my definition of matter is just this-the primary substratum of each thing, from which it comes to be without qualification, and which persists in the result.) And if it ceases to be it will pass into that at the last, so it will have ceased to be before ceasing to be.

The accurate determination of the first principle in respect of form, whether it is one or many and what it is or what they are, is the province of the primary type of science; so these questions may stand over till then. But of the natural, i.e. perishable, forms we shall speak in the expositions which follow.

The above, then, may be taken as sufficient to establish that there are principles and what they are and how many there are. Now let us make a fresh start and proceed.