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catharsis

The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. The notion of ‘release’ through drama derives from Aristotle's Poetics. The word comes ...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Sociology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Social sciences, Sociology
Length:
55 words

... Literally ‘cleansing’ or ‘purging’, in psychoanalysis the term refers to a release of emotions that reduces underlying tensions and anxieties. Sigmund Freud initially suggested that catharsis could be accomplished through the simple re-enactment of the distressing early experiences that occasioned subsequent pathology. Later he argued that active processes of repression inhibited cathartic...

catharsis

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The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007

... 1 The purging of emotions by evoking pity or fear. 2 A psychoanalytical method incorporating free association by which repressed emotions are brought to...

catharsis

catharsis n.   Quick reference

Concise Medical Dictionary (10 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Medicine and health, Clinical Medicine
Length:
31 words

... n. 1. purging or cleansing out of the bowels by giving the patient a laxative (cathartic) to stimulate intestinal activity. 2. the release of strong pent-up emotions. See abreaction...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Nursing (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Medicine and health
Length:
33 words

...catharsis [kă- thar -sis] n. 1. purging or cleansing out of the bowels by giving the patient a laxative (cathartic) to stimulate intestinal activity. 2. the release of strong pent-up emotions. See abreaction ....

catharsis

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The Companion to Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
406 words

...in need of a cure? (2) Are pity and fear the only passions involved in tragic catharsis, or are they representative? (3) Are the emotions that are purged in the spectator, or are they located in the play's structure? (4) Is catharsis the end of tragedy, or the means by which tragedy achieves its end? (5) Is catharsis brought about by the direct witnessing of pitiful and fearful events, or by the artistic representation of such events? Although the literature on catharsis is vast, interpretations can be roughly categorized as: Moral . The view...

catharsis

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The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
71 words

... In Aristotle , the cleansing (purifying, purging) of feelings such as pity and fear by feeling them in an aesthetic context, such as the theatre. The aim of tragedy is to achieve this purification. According to the younger Freud a psychological disorder could be relieved by a process of catharsis when the original traumatic event was re-enacted, although he later held that other repressive factors might inhibit this...

catharsis

catharsis   Reference library

Ronald W. Vince

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
800 words

...and that this complex intellectual-emotional response to artistic imitation constitutes tragic catharsis. Goethe 's idea of catharsis as the artistic reconciliation of opposing elements represents an early version of an intellectual interpretation. Structural . The most controversial interpretation of catharsis treats it as a constituent element of the tragedy, as an emotional element carried forward by the plot . Gerald Else ( 1967 ) argues that catharsis consists of the purification of the initially unclean tragic act through the demonstration of the...

catharsis

catharsis   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
117 words

... . Literally ‘purgation’ or ‘purification’, whether medical or religious. Aristotle's statement that tragedy ‘produces through pity and fear a catharsis of such emotions ’ ( or ‘happenings’—the Greek can mean either) has usually been understood as indicating a purifying or release of pity and fear, in reply to Plato , who had attacked tragedy for encouraging them. For some recent interpreters, however, there is no direct reference to Plato or to the spectators' emotions, and Aristotle's primary claim is that drama clarifies or resolves the events...

catharsis

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... The effect of ‘purgation’ or ‘purification’ achieved by tragic drama, according to Aristotle’s argument in his Poetics (4th century bce ). Aristotle wrote that a tragedy should succeed ‘in arousing pity and fear in such a way as to accomplish a catharsis of such emotions’. There has been much dispute about his meaning, but Aristotle seems to be rejecting Plato’s hostile view of poetry as an unhealthy emotional stimulant. His metaphor of emotional cleansing has been read as a solution to the puzzle of audiences’ pleasure or relief in witnessing the...

catharsis

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
115 words

...catharsis A Greek word for ‘purification’ or ‘purgation’, which has long been a significant but much‐debated concept in the theory of tragedy , since Aristotle invoked it in his Poetics , where he writes that tragedy should succeed in ‘arousing pity and fear in such a way as to accomplish a catharsis of such emotions’. Aristotle here seems to be responding to Plato 's view that poetic drama improperly fed the passions by a counter‐suggestion that on the contrary it helped to cleanse and release them. The concept has been redefined by generations of critics,...

catharsis

catharsis   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
116 words

... A Greek word for ‘purification’ or ‘purgation’, which has long been a significant but much‐debated concept in the theory of tragedy , since Aristotle invoked it in his Poetics , where he writes that tragedy should succeed in ‘arousing pity and fear in such a way as to accomplish a catharsis of such emotions’. Aristotle here seems to be responding to Plato 's view that poetic drama improperly fed the passions by a counter‐suggestion that on the contrary it helped to cleanse and release them. The concept has been redefined by generations of critics,...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Media and Communication (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
140 words

... 1. In Aristotle’s conception, a cleansing of emotions experienced by the audience at the end of a tragedy. The most common interpretation of this is that audience emotions are purged through their identification with the hero and their tragic downfall. Another is that audiences are so involved in their feelings of fear or pity for the hero that they forget their own troubles. 2. A therapeutic treatment of hysteria devised by Freud and Breuer, involving the discharge of emotion by patients through the release of repressed thoughts into consciousness...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... n. A word used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle ( 384–322 bc ) to denote the purging of emotions that results from watching a staged performance of a tragedy. The key passage is as follows: ‘A tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action that is serious 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, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions’ ( Poetics ,...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010

... A Greek word from a verb meaning ‘to purify’, ‘to cleanse’, or even ‘to purge’, used in drama studies to describe a peak moment in a play when a sequence is brought to a close in such a way as to prompt laughter, tears, or some other form of affective and emotional release. The term was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics , which is generally thought to have been written in reply to Plato's hostile view of poetry and drama as something that induces hysteria in men. Borrowing the term from medicine, where it was used to describe menstruation,...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

... A Greek word from a verb meaning ‘to purify’, ‘to cleanse’, or even ‘to purge’, used in drama studies to describe a peak moment in a play when a sequence is brought to a close in such a way as to prompt laughter, tears, or some other form of affective and emotional release. The term was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics , which is generally thought to have been written in reply to Plato’s hostile view of poetry and drama as something that induces hysteria in men. Borrowing the term from medicine, where it was used to describe menstruation, Aristotle...

catharsis

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A Dictionary of Sports Studies

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Social sciences, Society and culture
Length:
102 words

... From the Greek for ‘cleansing’, a term that emerged in relation to dramatic performance that could be seen as purging built-up or suppressed emotion. Sport can also be seen as a source of cathartic expression and outpouring: competitive performance has been linked to the need to find an outlet for levels of aggression either inherent or cultivated in individuals (in sports emphasizing physical superiority, or in the verbal or physical conduct of sport fans, for instance); or in the achievement orientation that social psychologists and sociologists...

Catharsis

Catharsis   Reference library

P. Weller and L. Golden

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Literature, Literary studies - poetry and poets
Length:
1,738 words

...Aristotle’s somewhat technical conception of catharsis acquires its particular character from a ling. heritage that is part medical, part religious, and part intellectual. Out of this matrix come several possible meanings of catharsis as the key aesthetic term in the Poetics . As a medical term, catharsis finds early expression in the Hippocratic school of medicine to describe the process of purging the body of humors and impurities that are the cause of disease (Laín Entralgo). The medical view of catharsis, influentially advocated by Bernays, suggests...

CATHARSIS

CATHARSIS (GREEK)   Reference library

Barbara Cassin, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, and Elisabete Thamer

Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Philosophy, Literature, Literary reference works
Length:
3,034 words

...into a hysterical conversion. “Catharsis” is produced when under treatment the path leading to consciousness and the normal discharge of the affect [ normale Entladung des Affekts ] is opened up ( “Psychoanalyse” und “Libidotheorie” [ Psychoanalysis and Theory of the Libido ] [ 1922 ]). The “cathartic procedure,” as Breuer called it, consists in using hypnosis to treat the patient through catharsis. The narrative of the “psychic trauma” is in fact usually followed by a discharge of affect (abreaction) that constitutes “catharsis” proper (cf. ...

catharsis hypothesis

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The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007

... hypothesis 1 The suggestion that sport and play afford opportunities to discharge natural impulses, such as aggression . 2 The suggestion that pent-up emotions, anger, and frustrations can be purged by expressing one's feeling's through aggression. See also instinct theory . Compare circular effect of aggression...

catharsis

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The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. The notion of ‘release’ through drama derives from Aristotle's Poetics . The word comes from Greek katharsis , from kathairein ‘cleanse’, from katharos ...

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