Although he has been represented in countless works of scholarshipas contending that tragedy is for the sake of catharsis,Aristotle is in fact far more circumspect. While he does contendthat tragedy will effect or accomplish catharsis, in so speaking hedoes not use language which clearly implies that catharsis is in itselfthe function of tragedy. Although a good blender will achieve ablade speed of 36,000 rotations per minute, this is not its function;rather, it achieves this speed in service of its function, namelyblending. Similarly, then, on one approach, tragedy achievescatharsis, though not because it is its function to do so. This remains so, even if it is integral to realizing its function thattragedy achieve catharsis—as it is equally integral that it makesus of imitation (mimêsis), and does so by using wordsalong with pleasant accompaniments (namely, rhythm, harmony, and song;Poet. 1447b27).


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