ThreeMotivating Factors

Why We Tell Stories

“The instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons … [and] to learn gives the liveliest pleasure. … Thus the reason why men enjoy seeing a likeness is, that in contemplating it they find themselves learning or inferring, and saying perhaps, ‘Ah, that is he.’”

(Poetics, Part IV)

As I said, when Aristotle wrote Poetics, he surveyed the canon of dramatic works written up to that time, particularly the tragedies (many of which have since been lost to antiquity, so we have to take his word for what they were about), and set out to discern ...

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