Aristotle at the Movies

Aristotle’s POETICS explained the structure of “Drama” (Drama is the Greek word for Action). We are going to focus on 5 elements from the POETICS:

  • Beginning: That which nothing need precede. (You don’t need anything before this in order to fully tell your story.)
  • Middle: Forward movement of action from Beginning to End.
  • End: That which nothing need follow. (You don’t need anything after this in order to fully tell your story.)
  • Protagonist: The hero, the central character, the one who struggles or overcomes or grows in the course of the story.
  • Antagonist: The enemy, the nemesis, the character or group or force that fights against the Protagonist or that the Protagonist must overcome.


Choose a favorite movie and write one page explaining how this movie’s dramatic structure can be described using the principles of Aritotle’s POETICS. Example:


  • Beginning:
    • Marlin loses all his babies except one. This makes him fearful of the great big ocean and over protective of his remaining child, Nemo.
  • Middle:
    • Marlin faces his fears of the great big ocean and travels around the world to find and rescue Nemo.
  • End:
    • Having rescued Nemo, Marlin is now able to let his son go off to school and is no longer overly protective.
  • Protagonist:
    • Marlin the overly protective father fish
  • Antagonist:
    • The ocean and all the scary things in it