catharsis


catharsis
/keuh thahr"sis/, n., pl. catharses /-seez/.
1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
2. Med. purgation.
3. Psychiatry.
a. psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable affects.
b. discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition.
[1795-1805; < NL < Gk kátharsis a cleansing, equiv. to kathar- (var. s. of kathaírein to cleanse, deriv. of katharós pure) + -sis -SIS]

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Purging or purification of emotions through art.

The term is derived from the Greek katharsis ("purgation," "cleansing"), a medical term used by Aristotle as a metaphor to describe the effects of dramatic tragedy on the spectator: by arousing vicarious pity and terror, tragedy directs the spectator's own anxieties outward and, through sympathetic identification with the tragic protagonist, purges them.

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      the purification or purgation of the emotions (especially pity and fear) primarily through art. In criticism, catharsis is a metaphor used by Aristotle in the Poetics to describe the effects of true tragedy on the spectator. The use is derived from the medical term katharsis (Greek: “purgation” or “purification”). Aristotle states that the purpose of tragedy is to arouse “terror and pity” and thereby effect the catharsis of these emotions. His exact meaning has been the subject of critical debate over the centuries. The German dramatist and literary critic Gotthold Lessing (Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim) (1729–81) held that catharsis converts excess emotions into virtuous dispositions. Other critics see tragedy as a moral lesson in which the fear and pity excited by the tragic hero's fate serve to warn the spectator not to similarly tempt providence. The interpretation generally accepted is that through experiencing fear vicariously in a controlled situation, the spectator's own anxieties are directed outward, and, through sympathetic identification with the tragic protagonist, his insight and outlook are enlarged. Tragedy then has a healthful and humanizing effect on the spectator or reader.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CATHARSIS — Dans sa Poétique , Aristote justifie la tragédie en lui attribuant un pouvoir de purification (katharsis ) des passions du spectateur. Assistant à un tel spectacle, l’être humain se libérerait des tensions psychiques, qui s’extériorisent sur le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Catharsis — ( gr. ) is a Greek word meaning purification , cleansing or clarification. It is derived from the infinitive gr. transliterated as kathairein to purify, purge, and adjective gr. katharos pure or clean. Dramaturgical usesThe term in drama refers… …   Wikipedia

  • catharsis — CÁTHARSIS s.n. 1. (lit.) Purificare a spiritului cu ajutorul artei prin participare intensă la fenomenul artistic. 2. (În psihanaliză) Efect terapeutic obţinut prin descărcarea unei trăiri refulate. [Scris şi: catarsis. – pr.: tar ] – Din fr.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Catharsis — Ca*thar sis, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?. See {Cathartic}.] (Med.) 1. A natural or artificial purgation of any passage, as of the mouth, bowels, etc. 2. (Psychotherapy) The process of relieving an abnormal excitement by re[ e]stablishing the association… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Catharsis — (gr.), Reinigung, bes. durch Brech u. Purgirmittel; daher so v.w. Purgiren, u. Cathartĭca,[764] ausleerende Mittel, bes. Purgirmittel; Catharticemetĭca, zugleich abführende u. Brechen erregende Mittel …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • catharsis — noun abreaction, acting out, deliverance, detersion, discharge of emotions, emotional release, outlet, purgation, purge, release, riddance, ventilation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • catharsis — (n.) 1803, from Latinized form of Gk. katharsis purging, cleansing, from kathairein to purify, purge, from katharos pure, clear of dirt, clean, spotless; open, free; clear of shame or guilt; purified, with most of the extended senses now found in …   Etymology dictionary

  • catharsis — [n] purging, purification ablution, abreaction, cleansing, expurgation, lustration, purgation, purification, release; concepts 13,165,230 Ant. dirtying …   New thesaurus

  • catharsis — ► NOUN ▪ the release of pent up emotions, for example through drama. DERIVATIVES cathartic adjective & noun. ORIGIN Greek katharsis, from kathairein cleanse …   English terms dictionary

  • catharsis — [kə thär′sis] n. [ModL < Gr katharsis, purification < kathairein, to purify < katharos, pure] 1. purgation, esp. of the bowels 2. the purifying of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, esp. by art; concept applied originally… …   English World dictionary

  • Catharsis — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Catharsis (homonymie). La catharsis ou katharsis (en grec κάθαρσις) signifie purification. La catharsis est l épuration des passions par le moyen de la représentation dramatique. Sommaire 1 Histoire du concept …   Wikipédia en Français


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