Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Questions concerning the value of poetry have been of interest to philosophers and critics ever since Plato issued his challenge, in Book X of the Republic, to poetry's ‘champions’, to show that poetry is not, as he argued it to be, epistemically and morally a corrupting influence on individuals and society. Aristotle's Poetics is in effect in large part a response to that challenge. Where Plato argued that poetry's appeal to emotion in its audience was degrading, Aristotle argued that the capacity of tragedy to bring about the catharsis of pity and fear in the audience made it, in one way or another (unfortunately the obscurity of the notion of catharsis in the Poetics makes it very difficult to say precisely how), a force for good in the pursuit of psychological and moral health.

Keywords: poetry, value of poetry, corrupting influence, Aristotle's works, catharsis, moral health

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.