Mimesis (meaning imitation) is the representation of the real world in art and literature. In ancient
Greece, mimesis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art with correspondence to the
physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and the good.
Diegesis, which means narration, is a style of fiction storytelling that presents an interior view of a
world in which details about the world itself and the experiences of its characters are revealed
explicitly through narrative. In such a narrative, the story is told or recounted, as opposed to shown or
enacted, and there is a presumed detachment from the story of both the speaker and the audience.
Plato and Aristotle both contrasted these two terms. Mimesis shows, rather than tells, by means of
directly represented action that is enacted. Diegesis, however, is the telling of the story by a narrator;
the author narrates action indirectly and describes what is in the characters' minds and
Catharsis is the purification and purgation of emotions—particularly pity and fear—through art or any
extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. As a term used to in dramatic
criticism, Catharsis describes the effect of tragedy upon an audience to cleanse it from negative
emotions. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy
on the mind of a spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body.
Aristotle holds that it is through "simulated representation," or mimesis, that we respond to the acting
on the stage which is conveying to us what the characters feel, so that we may empathize with them in
this way through the mimetic form of dramatic roleplay. It is the task of the dramatist to produce the
tragic enactment in order to accomplish this empathy by means of what is taking place on stage.
Aristotle considered it important that there be a certain distance between the work of art on the one
hand and life on the other; we draw knowledge and consolation from tragedies only because they do
not happen to us. Without this distance, tragedy could not give rise to catharsis. However, it is equally
important that the text causes the audience to identify with the characters and the events in the text,
and unless this identification occurs, it does not touch us as an audience. In short, catharsis can only be
achieved if we see something that is both recognizable and distant.
The term Logos, which describes a principle of order and knowledge, represents one of the central
concepts in classical Greek culture. Logos has the dual meaning of "counting" and "speaking," and thus
from its beginning it had the sense of a linguistic order or metrical word and was associated very much
with verbally expressed ratio relations. Starting with Heraclitus in the sixth century BC, the term
increasingly began to be associated with the world as a grand rational and intelligible order, what the
Greeks called cosmos. Many of us are familiar with the Latin-rooted term quintessence; in classical
cosmology there were four essences—earth, air, fire, and water—and the quintessence, or what the
Greeks called logos, was the cosmic principle in which the totality of the universe cohered. In short, it
is the glue that holds the cosmos together.
The Tao is the Chinese word for this principle of order and knowledge that governs the universe. C.S. Lewis
defined the Tao as the doctrine of objective values.
Dramatic Criticism (also called Drama Criticism) is a division of literary criticism; it is the act of
writing or speaking about the written drama with only minor concern for how the play is performed.
Dramas or plays as long as they stay in the print form remain a part of literature. A criticism of a written
play has a different character from that of a theatre performance.
Performance criticism (also called Theatre Criticism) is a genre of arts criticism; it is the act of
writing or speaking about the performing arts such as a play or opera as an event performed live
onstage. This form of criticism is a deep analytical discourse of the production against the backdrop of
the theatre arts as a whole. The social and political bearings that have relevance to the play are
highlighted, so also the cultural import. Hence, the discussion becomes a highly theoretical objective
discourse on the historical significance of the production. Criticism thus is an academic dissertation that
is usually lengthy and may take a considerable time to write. The piece may be published even after the
regular staging of the play has been suspended or stopped, or a subsequent production of a different
play has been started by the group. Technicalities of the different aspects of the production are
discussed in detail together with exhaustive analysis of the rationalities of their execution. Criticism thus
is an anatomical scrutiny of the production. The play is not discussed in detail as such, as it is job of the
The theatre revieww is a short essay for the ordinary uninitiated readers who get to know about the
play being performed, about the group staging the play, and its director and other actors. A review is a
subjective discourse hinting on the cultural and artistic significance of the production. The storyline is
discussed as it is believed to be the mainstay of the production. The discussion reflects an instant
reaction of viewing the performance. An overall clinical analysis of each department of the production,
like that of acting, stage craft, lighting designs and its implementation, background scoring, dress and
costume designing, make-up etc., and even the script that had been prepared for the staging, is made by
the reviewer. A review is published during the period when the play is 'on', that is, when the play is
being regularly staged. This requires a speedy writing of the piece. Thus, a review lacks any deep
analytical discourse or investigative studies of the different aspects. It never gives any conclusive verdict
about the production, as such.
In a literary work, verisimilitude is likeness to the truth, such as the resemblance of a fictitious work to
a real event, even if it is a far-fetched one. Verisimilitude ensures that even a fantasy must be rooted in
reality, which means that events should be plausible to the extent that readers consider them credible
enough to be able to relate them somehow to their experiences of real life.
The theory of verisimilitude comes from a Platonic and Aristotelian dramatic theory called "mimesis."
According to this theory, a work of art should convince the audience by imitating and representing
nature and having a basis in reality. The playwright, conforming to the above-mentioned theory, had to
draw themes from sources well-known to the common people of his time, and maintain the unities of
action, place, and time. He also had to bring a realistic union between the style and the
Formalism is a school of literary criticism and literary theory having mainly to do with structural
purposes of a particular text. It is the study of a text without taking into account any outside
influence. Formalism rejects or sometimes simply "brackets" (i.e., ignores for the purpose of analysis)
notions of culture or societal influence, authorship, and content, and instead focuses on modes, genres,
discourse, and forms.
Formalism rose to prominence in the early twentieth century as a reaction against Romanticist theories
of literature, which centered on the artist and individual creative genius, and instead placed the text
itself back into the spotlight to show how the text was indebted to forms and other works that had
preceded it. Two schools of formalist literary criticism developed, Russian formalism, and soon after
Anglo-American New Criticism. Formalism was the dominant mode of academic literary study in the US
at least from the end of the Second World War through the 1970s.