Interpretation and misinterpretation of Aristotle's Poetics


  • Γρηγόρης Μ. Σηφάκης Aristotle University of Thessaloniki



«[A] LONG series of misunderstandings and overstatements and corrections [ ... ] form the history of the Poetics since the Renaissance" wrote Gilbert Murray in 1920, and the situation has not greatly improved ever since. This is due to the intensive study of Aristotle's Poetics itself, which began in the Renaissance and continues until today. Several misunderstandings have been established by uncritical repetition and have entered mainstream interpretation, starting with the very definition of tragedy and including the widespread assumption that Aristotle underestimates or ignores the significance of music and performance (melopoiia and opsis) of drama, although they both are included in the six qualitative elements of the composition of tragedy. Aristotle was, of course, the original historian of theatre and author of such works as Didaskaliai (Productions) and Dionysiac victories.

Author Biography

Γρηγόρης Μ. Σηφάκης, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Ομότιμος καθηγητής αρχαίας ελληνικής φιλολογίας
Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης και New York Uniνersity



How to Cite

Σηφάκης Γ. Μ. (2010). Interpretation and misinterpretation of Aristotle’s Poetics. Ariadne, 15, 61–74.