• Pavlos Tsiampartas

Why we spend so many hours watching Netflix: Successful construction of a Tragedy.

According to Aristotle, writers of tragic poetry “should produce the pleasure which comes from pity and fear, and should do so by means of imitation.”


Definition: A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action that is and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in language with pleasurable accessories, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear; and accomplishing its catharsis of such emotions"


"It's Fear and Pity working towards Catharsis". This would be the simplest way to explain Aristotle's writings about tragedy. However, this might be an oversimplification.



Think of a main character. Why do we follow his/her journey? I'm sure it's not just because of the great cinematography, production design, great cast, etc. Firstly, It's because when the storyteller applies certain events to the character, we are afraid that something bad will happen to them, and secondly we pity them because of the choice and the way he/she chooses to deal with these events. Hence, we are trying to justify them. This justification is why we are sticking to the story until the end. An ever ending cycle of pity, fear and catharsis.


We are waiting for the moment of catharsis. Even if that takes 3 hours in the cinema or 15 seasons of episodes on TV.

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