Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Philosophy and Religion

Document Type



This project interprets Aristotle’s Poetics through a morally educative approach. More specifically, expanding on past research of Poetics by individuals such as Isaiah Smithson, this project will examine the affective influence of tragedy on morally unknowing audience members of vicious character types. Through the associations between the sensory experiences incorporated in a tragedy and moral messages portrayed in the plot, the vicious character can begin a process of becoming morally knowing subjects. In others words, this experience with morally charged tragedies can teach vicious characters what is morally good. Moreover, the vicious audience members can learn how what is morally good through the observation and interaction with surrounding audience members. By experiencing the reactions of morally knowing subjects in the audience of the tragedy, the vicious character can passively habituate actions of a higher moral character. This project will also explore the ways in which the moral reexamination of Poetics can aid in the understanding of the morally educative power of contemporary artworks to illuminate the injustices of racism and homophobia.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Audrey Anton


Arts and Humanities | Contemporary Art | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology