It is a truism that, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.“ But, it is remarkable what a human characteristic the drive for narrative is. What purpose does it serve? No matter, it’s pretty much like the opposable thumb at this point, and we’ve been telling stories since we learned how to communicate; the weirdest thing, perhaps, is that the experiences of everyone who has ever lived and died in the history of the world are both altogether unique and so similar that we can have stories to begin with; to a degree, then, we all must live the same story (that’s deep.) And the way we’ve been telling stories in the West still owes much to the work of Aristotle. We’ve shared a rundown of the evolution of narrative, its study, and how both can help you become a more successful screenwriter, so continue on to find out more.
If you’re any sort of creative writer, you’ve no doubt heard the dictum, “Show, don’t tell.” Familiar as this dictum is to the screenwriter, it was, shockingly, not coined by Syd Field. Aristotle, writing about Sophocles and his tragedies in the fourth century B.C.E., (specifically Oedipus Rex, which contained one of drama’s most famous twists, and which Aristotle considered a perfect work of drama) put it that:
Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions…
To check out the rest of The Story of Story: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Structure, originally found on nofilmschool.