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Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting by Brian Price

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NineMagnitude

It All Boils Down to One Thing

“A very small animal organism cannot be beautiful; for the view of it is confused, the object being seen in an almost imperceptible moment of time. Nor, again, can one of vast size be beautiful; for as the eye cannot take it all in at once, the unity and sense of the whole is lost for the spectator.”

(Poetics, Part VII)

So what exactly does Aristotle mean by “a certain magnitude?” We know that a good story must be bound by a clear start and finish. Now we need to figure out how to ensure it has the proper length in between, that it covers the proper ground, neither too sprawling nor too narrow in focus or duration.

As the above quote indicates, Aristotle thinks that things too small aren’t beautiful ...

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