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Ethical Criticism: Standing for Ethical Arts

Meriem Chebel
Published February 2020

Abstract

This paper deals with the importance of ethical criticism to a work of art. It focuses on analyzing both schools of ethical criticism which are autonomism and moralism. While autonomists see that art’s value relies exclusively on its form, moralists believe that there is more into art than form, for the moral content’s importance can affect the aestheticism of a work of art. Narratives, especially, strongly rely on morality in compassing a sustainable aesthetic whole because in many times a moral defect leads to an aesthetic one; if there exists a failure in communicating a sound moral value to the audience, the latter fails to see the art’s form, which is its main value. The wrong ethical response devalues the art’s aesthetics, which devalues its purpose. Thus, ethical criticism does not deny the formal values of art as much as it advocates morality in case it interferes with art’s aestheticism

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