Articles with keyword: catharsis

Psychodrama and Sociodrama: Aristotelian Catharsis Revisited
Dina Abd Elsalam Department of English Language and Literature Faculty of Arts University of Alexandria


Volume 3, Issue 2

 | pp.



In the 4th century B.C, Aristotle was to highlight the healing power of drama. He argued in the Poetics that drama has a therapeutic effect on the spectators, since it exposes them to a high level of emotional pressure, so much so that when the dramatic tension is resolved, the spectators eventually attain catharsis. His formulations were basically a reaction against Plato’s vehement attack on poetry. In the 20th century, Jacob L. Moreno, an Austrian-American psychiatrist, who is widely recognized as the founder of both psychodrama and sociodrama, realized the therapeutic effect of drama on his patients and was to use it as a means of treatment. Despite the fact that Aristotle and Moreno are separated by many centuries, their theories seem to converge as both stress the remedial influence of drama and its cathartic effect. Moreno, however, argued that there were differences between psychodramatic catharsis, on the one hand, and Aristotlean catharsis on the other, as the former drew on dramatic sources from the Near East. It is the aim of this paper to highlight how Aristotle and Moreno came to formulate their respective theories concerning catharsis, discussing the similarities and differences regarding their proposed catharses, and tracing Aristotlean echoes in Moreno’s theory.
Subjects:Ancient Greek Literature, Philosophy