ARISTOTLE on ART:
Art is defined by Aristotle as the
realization in external form of a true idea
, and is traced back to that natural love of imitation which characterizes humans, and to the pleasure which we feel in recognizing likenesses.
Art however is not limited to mere copying. It idealizes nature and completes its deficiencies: it seeks to grasp the universal type in the individual phenomenon. The distinction therefore between poetic art and history is not that the one uses meter, and the other does not.
The distinction is that while history is limited to what has actually happened, poetry depicts things in their universal character. And, therefore, "poetry is more philosophical and more elevated than history."
Such imitation may represent people either as better or as worse than people usually are, or it may neither go beyond nor fall below the average standard. Comedy is the imitation of the worse examples of humanity, understood however not in the sense of absolute badness, but only in so far as what is low and ignoble enters into what is laughable and comic.