What is the concept of Mimesis by Aristotle? Mimesis in Literature: definition

The most commonly accepted English equivalent of this Greek term ‘mimesis’ is imitation. In a critical or literary context, the word imitation carries a special meaning. This term was peculiar to Greek thought. The term ‘fine art’ is a later coinage Greek phrases were ‘imitative arts’ and ‘modes of imitation.’ The concept of imitation is central to Aristotelian logic even as it is the Platonic, but with an essential difference. The Platonic view(as we saw earlier) is that the world is an imperfect reflection of an ideal archetypal order. The world is a lower order of reality, and poetry, being an imitation of an imitation, is thrice removed from reality. Hence, Plato banished poets from his ideal commonwealth. Aristotle rejects Plato’s doctrine of ideas. Whereas for Plato imitation implies copying, and hence, trivial and insignificant, it is creative and dynamic for Aristotle. The artist is the maker, and his creations are imitations of human action, human character, and human representation and not just copying that he has in mind, not a representation of men as they are. The artist imitates things as they ought to be, and so, art is a free and voluntary activity of the human consciousness, free from any utilitarian motives. Arts are different from crafts. Again, imitation bears a relationship to learning and acquiring knowledge. We derive pleasure from the artistic representations of even the most repelling and disgusting of things. We see into the life of things. Imitation leads us from the particular to the universal, which is how the experience in learning takes place. It is a clarification of the particular representation which reveals to us universal laws of nature. Art is a source of insight into life. Mimesis also implies the active mode of constructing an art object according to the laws of probability and necessity (internal coherence) by which a universal form is imparted to the works. Aristotle gave a new dimension to the word ‘imitation’. It does not mean photographic reproduction. It is often said that drama holds the mirror up to nature. The image of nature we see in drama is very different from the image of ourselves that we see in a mirror. The kings we come across in history books are different from the kings we see in Shakespeare’s plays. Poetic imitation, for Aristotle, is an imitation of inner human action.