Aristotle's Poetics And Bharata's The Aṭyaś Ostra

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There are distinct differences between the theories outlined within Aristotle’s Poetics and Bharata’s The Nāṭyaśāstra which both attempt to elaborate upon the audience relationship and the phenomenon produced relating to the theatrical experience. …show more content…
In comparison to Aristotle’s catharsis, rasas evoke an emotional response from the audience; however, rasas also aim to be enlightening and aesthetically stimulating. As ancient Greek theatre was heavily focused on the use of language and story, and not so much the spectacle, to instigate catharsis, Hindi theatre relies on dance, song, and movement to create its equivalent in the form of rasa. As elucidated by Swann, "rasa embraces three phases: first the emotion portrayed in the play; next the aesthetic response in the heart of the spectator, and finally a state of beatitude in which the inner spirit of the spectator is set free” (Swann 113), therefore indicating that the audience experience of being inside one of the durable states of rasa to be very dissimilar to the sensation of catharsis. Hence, the aspect in which catharsis and rasa differ greatly is the impacts to the psyche as it is stated rasa begins as an emotion and morphs into an aesthetic response that ultimately enlightens the soul of the audience. Contrarily, catharsis does not aim to enlighten but instead expel fear and pity through empathy alone, it is therefore axiomatic that whilst both catharsis and rasa do prompt a deep emotional response within the audience …show more content…
Aristotle’s Poetics endorses catharsis as being purifying through purgation in response to fear and pity, cementing it as almost a form of therapy as it attempts to ‘balance’ the audience’s levels of fear and pity. However, juxtaposing this, the notion of as outlined within The Nāṭyaśāstra asserts rasa as being a durable state formed from bhāvas in response to aesthetical beauty that both enlightens and targets responses from the audience’s mind, body and spirit, ultimately aiming to create a sensation of spiritual transcendence. Ultimately, the audience experience of rasa is akin to catharsis of ancient Greek theatre, but at the crux, rasa exceeds these core similarities and extends into affecting not only the mind but the overall psychological, physiological and spiritual states of the audience

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