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Word Count: 646
One thing that Aristotle admires in Homer is his use of direct speech see especially ch 24 60a5-11 Epic is a narrative form but by allowing his characters to speak for themselves Homer makes his epic narrative approximate to drama he thus foreshadows the later development of drama which he regards as a superior form of poetry ch4 48b34- 49a6 Why The passage in praise of Homers use of direct speech gives two pointers First the poet speaking in his own voice as narrator is not what makes him an imitator This may seem to contradict Aristotles claim that all poetry - including epic - is by its very nature imitation but it is in fact perfectly consistent to say that epic and tragedy are both forms of imitations but that tragedy is more genuinely imitative Secondly Aristotle comments that all of Homers characters have character Since speech is for Aristotle an important perhaps the most important vehicle for the imitation of character ch 6 50b8-12 Homers use of direct speech opens up possibilities for the imitation of character absent in pure narrative In particular letting the characters speak for themselves makes it possible for the poet to make clear not just what happened but why it happened what attitudes and dispositions motivated the person to act like that Thus for example at the beginning of the Iliad we do not just learn that Agamemnon refused ChrysesErequest for his daughters freedom because we hear Agamemnons own words we see how that refusal is rooted in the kind of person he is Aristotle also admires Homers skill in plot construction - something which is of course central to his view of what is important in poetry though Aristotles enthusiasm for Homers use of direct speech to convey character shows that his arguments for the primacy of plot do not imply that character is unimportant There are two levels to this First Homer has avoided the
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