1. Theory of Imitation
Kainat Zahra : 1825116108
Nooria Shiraz : 1825116092
Eesha Ahmad : 1825116027
Javeria Kiran : 1825116066
Farheen Qazi : 1825116032
Rimsha Javed : 1825116095
2. What is imitation?
“Imitation is defined as something copied or derived from original.”
Imitation is derived from a Greek word mimesis which connotes the
same meaning as of imitation, i.e. copying.
The relation between morality and imitation has been the bone of
contention since classical theorists to critics of modern age.
Aristotle explicated the idea of imitation in contrary to his mentor
3. Imitation according to Plato
According to Plato, our world is the copy of an ideal world, an ideal world
being an actual real world that exists somewhere unknown.
He said that poetry and art in general is a copy of the original ‘poetry and
art’ from the ideal state.
Plato coded imitation negatively and stated that it is twice removed from
His problems concerned with imitation were theological, moral and
Imitation has an unfavorable effect on young people and is even harmful
for them because it encourages short term indulgence in emotions and
represents injustice amongst the Gods in the assertion that Gods are the
ones responsible for unhappiness in humans.
4. Imitation according to Aristotle
Aristotle is very optimistic in his views of imitation and elaborates it
his book Poetics written in 335 B.C.
He says that imitation leads us towards the truth and should be learnt
by everyone. He regards it as a pleasurable activity and believes in
the creative power of the poet for its reconstruction. The poetic
imitation involves transformation of material into art.
He claimed that art deals with aesthetic truth while philosophy deals
with concrete and absolute truth.
5. Aristotle supposes that the hyperbolic representation of emotion is
beneficial in providing opportunities for the cathartic release of
unhealthy feelings in individuals.
Poetic imitation is the representation of reality in an alluring and
captivating manner which is pleasing for the audience/readers.
To Aristotle, all forms of art were modes of imitation.
Some modes mentioned in Poetics are epic poetry, tragedy, comedy,
dithyrambic poetry, flute-playing and lyre-playing. These can be
imitated in three different ways.
i. Means/ Medium
6. Mean/Medium of Imitation
“ It is the source or mean by which an artist creates something.”
For instance, a painter’s medium of imitation are forms and colors
whereas a poet’s mediums are rhythm and harmony.
Although poetry and painting differ in medium of imitation but at
the same time, both are closer to music.
Contrastingly, poetry and music have the same medium of imitation
but differ in object and manner.
According to Aristotle, music captures human ethos and presents it
in rhythm and harmony which shows the realistic imitation of
calmness and wilderness.
7. Object of Imitation
Aristotle makes use of imitation to differentiate between Tragedy
and Comedy. In the former, he describes that men are depicted as
better than they are, in the form of legends, tragic heroes etc.
This image of a better version of the men is what lives up to the
characteristic of 'greater morality hence the spectator definitively
finds catharsis by the end.
In the latter that is comedy, a man is represented by a poet in a
persona that is worse and afflicted some defect or ugliness that gives
the audience a satirical view of the world.
8. Aristotle believes that comedy functions in a similar fashion with
tragedy but in the opposite way.
In tragedy, the spectator is aggrieved over the fate of a man who
must suffer for his flaw, however touched by the possibility that he
too might possess this flaw. But in a comedy, we laugh at the hero's
flaw, comforted by the fact that it is not ours.
In truth, comedy and tragedy both have a moralizing impact on the
audience. Yet it is less prominent in comedy, since "comedies tend to
be about bad behavior and people doing ugly, immoral, or ridiculous
Aristotle acknowledges imitation as the primary object of comedy ,
describing low characters as not morally bad, but farcical, absurd but
not painful or destructive. He defended comedies' mimetic
representation of ludicrous behavior because it would encourage
audiences to avoid its imitation.
9. Manner of Imitation
Imitation can also occur in a third way, by the manner through which it is imitated.
A poet may imitate by narration- in which case he can either take another personality as
Homer does, or speak in his own person, or he may present all his characters as living
and moving before us.
This last point raises the concept of Narrative Voice in relation to screenwriting. What is
our point-of-view in relation to the subject matter as we ‘narrate’ events?
Genre + Style = Narrative Voice
So as screenwriters, we not only have to be aware of our medium [screenplay] and our
object [characters], we also have to be cognizant of our manner of imitation, the specific
voice we use to narrate the story.
Do we use voiceover narration? Do we tell the story through the perspective of one or
more characters? How do we use style to underscore the genre of our story? All of this
would seem to fall under the category of “manner of imitation.”
Aristotle’s theory of Imitation is a great landmark in the history of
literary criticism. It has been accepted all over the world as a guiding
principle. By declaring poetic Imitation a creative process Aristotle has
given Poetry a very high place in the realm of Art and literature. So
imitation not only imparts pleasure by giving perfection where the
nature lacks it also elevates morality. Imitation does not corrupt, but it
uplifts the moral sense in humans. Critics differs radically in their
concept of relation between morality and imitation, their theories varies
from uplifting views on morality to remote idealism.