->''A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it. A well constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at haphazard, but conform to these principles.''

Creator/{{Aristotle}} may not have been the first troper, but he's the first troper for whom we have evidence, [[WroteTheBook and the evidence is this work,]] ''Poetics'', the great-grand-daddy of all BooksOnTrope. (Incidentially, ''Poetics'' is [[AncientGrome not the Greek name but the Latin translation.]])

It is based on his analyses of Greek epic poems, such as Homer's works, and of Greek [[{{Tragedy}} tragedies]]--[[HaveAGayOldTime a term which, at the time, did not require an unhappy ending]]; nowadays we tend to call it {{Drama}}. [[note]]("Epic", similarly, didn't only mean "big-scale/large-scope"; it was basically the ancient equivalent to the Action-Adventure genre.)[[/note]] Early on in the text, he even promises an in-depth look at {{Comedy}}. Sadly, [[WhatMightHaveBeen that section's long been lost]]--though we ''do'' get a few pointers in the text we have, on his basic thoughts on the genre. Full text [[http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.1.1.html here]].

''Poetics'' is considered the most influential work of criticism ever, introducing ideas like three-act structure of beginning-middle-end as well as the dramatic unities. It defined the purpose of tragedy, the pros and cons of various kinds of plots, all of which actively shaped theatre for several centuries . As a result of the fortunes of history, Poetics had a bigger influence on French and German drama than English theatre (who largely followed the aesthetics of Roman Drama and criticism and as such routinely violated Aristotleian unities). The funny thing about this work is that while Greek tragedies are often studied through the lens of Aristotle's terminology, these tragedies were not really defined by these tropes themselves and indeed contain, as Aristotle himself notes, many UnbuiltTrope. Aristotle was merely describing and analyzing existing drama after the fact.

!!Tropes first described (to the best of our knowledge) in Aristotle's ''Poetics''
* AcceptableBreaksFromReality: Advocated the notion that a storyteller should put more effort into making their story believable without forcing them to adhere to strict realism if taking a few liberties here and there made for a better story overall.
* AntiHero: The best kind of protagonist for a tragedy, to him--he notes that a story featuring a truly "good" hero going through intense hardship would risk inspiring ''anger'' in the audience, whereas a VillainProtagonist would risk failing to inspire sympathy.
* BittersweetEnding: A major fan of this, as ideal for poets who don't want to try for [[TheReveal big reveals]] every darn time.
* CatharsisFactor[[invoked]]: Indeed, [[TropeMaker the work that defined]] ''catharsis'' [[TropeCodifier in its modern meaning.]]
* ContrivedCoincidence: He denounces "an unconvincing possibility" and prefered overtly impossible but convincing events.
* DeusExMachina: Hated it--in fact, condemns Euripides's ''Medea'' for putting the hero into a situation where this is the only means of getaway.
* DoingInTheWizard: Aristotle didn't approve; he preferred the aesthetically convincing to the merely possible.
* DownerEnding: These endings he considered middle of the road -- better than some happy endings, worse than others.
* EmotionalTorque: He was one of the first people to recognize and discuss the utility of provoking strong emotions of all sorts, not just happiness and joy.
* FatalFlaw: According to Aristotle, seeing a prosperous person fall is a good source of pathos, and that it's more pathetic to see a not-entirely-bad person suffer due to a fatal mistake than to see wholly good people suffer for reasons beyond their control.
* GreekChorus: Oddly enough, he just referred to it as the chorus. He advised using it as little as possible, because the story-teller should be telling a story, not giving commentary on it, unless, and only to the extent that, the commentary helps move the story.
* HappyEnding: Aristotle thought that the best plot for a tragedy was one in which TheReveal caused the hero to realize the harm of what he was about to do, and therefore not do it. On the other hand, he thought the worst was one where the character decided not to do an evil deed without TheReveal giving him a motive to do so.
* RandomEventsPlot: Did not approve.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Aristotle's opinion was that a story should prioritize being plausible to the audience over being actually realistic.
* TheReveal: Famously delves into the inner workings of the trope.
* RuleOfCool: His explanation for why ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' works despite its at times absurd plot points: Homer was just ''that good'' at making you not care, because it's ''awesome''.
* SpecialEffectsFailure[[invoked]]: Warned that scenes that sound awesome in epic poetry can look ridiculous when performed on a stage.
* {{Spectacle}}: Aristotle didn't approve much of making this a high priority; he held that spectacle should only help a story powerful in ''itself''--the story shouldn't rely on it.
* ThreeActStructure: Often cited as the earliest work to define it.
* TragicHero: He defined this trope extensively in his work. To Aristotle, a tragic hero was an active figure who was largely sympathetic, noble in character and standing to whom adversity falls as a result of a TragicFlaw. For Aristotle, the tragic heroes were ideally Kings and Soldiers and modernist drama disagrees with Aristotle on this point. Arthur Miller wrote that the common man could also be a tragic figure.
* TwistEnding: The ideal ending = Reversal + [[TheReveal Recognition]].
* UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist: He notes that comedies tend to portray people as worse than they are.
* WackyWaysideTribe: Defied; any part of the story that cannot be logically connected to the main action should be avoided.
* WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief: Notes that epics have a greater threshold for this than tragedy, for various reasons.