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In a more formal or more extended treatment of the function of suspense in the catharsis, one might reasonably expect that the critical history of the latter term should receive some preliminary consideration. So closely has it been associated with the name of Aristotle that almost the whole critical literature that has arisen around it has been largely devoted to proving what Aristotle understood the process to be to which he gave the name catharsis.<br><br>Two reasons lead me to believe, however, that the function of suspense in the catharsis can be made to stand out more clearly by refraining from any such preliminary discussion. The first of these is very evident. Not only are comparatively few of those interested in the drama desirous of tracing such critical disputations but to adopt one explicit theory as to what Aristotle regarded as the catharsis or explicitly to reject any or all would needlessly antagonize partisans of all but the accepted interpretation.<br><br>The other reason for omitting such a discussion will become apparent to the reader, for the point of departure is not the catharsis itself but the characteristics of suspense: and the sequence of argument is, first, the function of suspense in general, then the function of suspense in the drama, and finally the function of suspense in the catharsis.