glyph 499: art, drama, opera, novels, poetry ... the nature of tragedy according to Aristotle, change from evil to good ... a quotation found in a novel of Patrick O'Brian's, The Letter of Marque


Tragedy May End Happily, wrote Aristotle in Poetics

transitions from evil to good, from unhappiness to happiness

Martin, a character in Patrick O'Brian's novel, The Letter of Marque, quotes from Aristotle's Poetica:

The nature of tragedy's action has always required that the scope should be as full as can be without obscuring the plot, and that the number of events making a probable or necessary sequence that will change a man's state from unhappiness to happiness or from happiness to unhappiness should be the smallest possible...

Martin then observes how remarkable it is "that not only was the change from evil to good eminently possible in tragedy, but that Aristotle put it first."

The referenced passage is found on page 179 of the W.W. Norton and Company paperback edition, ISBN 0-393-30905-3.
March 7, 2010; edited/updated November 26, 2015

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