Aristotle, and W. Rhys Roberts. Rhetoric. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Book II, chapter 8.
Aristotle now asks what pity is and what incites it. “Pity may be defined as a feeling of pain caused by the sight of some evil, destructive or painful, which befalls one who does not deserve it, and which we might expect to befall ourselves or some friends of ours, and moreover to befall us soon” (Aristotle II.8, B 1385b). “In order to feel pity we must also believe in the goodness of at least some people” (Aristotle II.8, 1385b). Aristotle goes on to list numerous specific provocations, some universal, some due to chance (Aristotle II.8, 1386a). We pity those we know as well as those we hear about who are like us in some way (Aristotle II.8, 1386b).