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 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.

Aristotle may not have been the first troper, but he's the first troper for whom we have evidence, and the evidence is this work, Poetics, the great-grand-daddy of all Books on Trope.

It is based on his analyses of Greek epic poems, such as Homer's works, and of Greek tragedies, a term, which at the time, did not require an unhappy ending.

Full text here.

Tropes first described (to the best of our knowledge) in Aristotle's Poetics

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