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Edward O. Almazan Jr.

Analysis on Plato’s The Republic (Book 10)

"

...

all

poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers, and that the

knowledge of their true nature is the only antidote to them."--Plato

The above statement only shows that Plato rejects imitative

poetry and that poets should be banished, though he greatly admires

Homer, one of the greatest Greek poets. Why did he come up with

this idea?

According to him, God is the original maker of all the things

and all the ideas in this world: “…by the natural process of

creation, He is the author of those and of all other things.”

His purport was made clear through his explanation of how

God created the idea of bed and which cannot be duplicated and

that all the things which have a resemblance to that idea are all but

imitations or the first level imitation. There is also this second level

imitation which according to him is thrice removed from the truth,

Edward O. Almazan Jr. Analysis on Plato’s The Republic (Book 10) " ... all poetical imitations

the third descent from nature, an imitation of an imitation. The latter is what the imitative tribe

like the poets, painters, and other artists belong to.

“God, whether from choice or from necessity, made one bed in nature and one only; two or more

such ideal beds neither ever have been nor will be made by God”

Plato also insists that poets and all other artist creates semblance of the truth which

deceives the visual perceptive of humans who are not aware or who do not have enough

understanding of what’s true and what’s not. This is true in the following lines of Socrates:

“Then the imitator, I said, is a long way off the truth, and can do all things because he lightly

touches on a small part of them, and that part an image. For example: A painter will paint a

cobbler, carpenter, or any other artist, though he knows nothing of their arts; and, if he is a good

artist, he may deceive children or simple persons, when he shows them his picture of a carpenter

from a distance, and they will fancy that they are looking at a real carpenter.”

Persons talking about how good the tragedians and Homer are, and even the poets at their

craft were only blinded by their ignorance; they know nothing about the truth.

“And so, when we hear persons saying that the tragedians, and Homer, who is at their head,

know all the arts and all things human, virtue as well as vice, and divine things too, for that the

good poet cannot compose well unless he knows his subject, and that he who has not this

knowledge can never be a poet, we ought to consider whether here also there may not be a

similar illusion. Perhaps they may have come across imitators and been deceived by them; they

may not have remembered when they saw their works that these were but imitations thrice

removed from the truth, and could easily be made without any knowledge of the truth, because

they are appearances only and not realities?"

Furthermore, he also stated that the imitators or makers of the image know nothing of

true existence; they know appearances only and they can easily make images without knowledge

of the truth. In his statement, “the imitative art is an inferior who marries an inferior, and has

inferior offspring,” one can infer that poets belong to the lowest level of the society.

Plato also concludes that they shall be right in refusing to admit the poets into a well-

ordered State, because they awaken and nourish and strengthen the feelings and impair the

reason. This means that feelings are not good for the soul while reason, on the other hand, is the

exact opposite of it.

“As in a city when the evil are permitted to have authority and the good are put out of the

way, so in the soul of man, as we maintain, the imitative poet implants an evil constitution, for he

indulges the irrational nature which has no discernment of greater and less, but thinks the same

thing at one time great and at another small-he is a manufacturer of images and is very far

removed from the truth.”

Indeed, in Plato’s ideal society, everyone should be near to the truth.

Edward O. Almazan Jr.

Edward O. Almazan Jr. Analysis on Aristotle’s Poetics As human beings are filled with powerful emotions,

Analysis on Aristotle’s Poetics

As human beings are filled with powerful emotions,

trapped in the tangled labyrinth of life -captured by its

melodramatic inconsistencies, people try to resort to poetry

as a form of escape and a pill for sanity. According to

Aristotle, before a man could ever start writing, he has to

observe and analyze his subject and the factors that are

interconnected to his topic i.e, his surroundings, because

only then could a man put into writing his bottled ideas and

thoughts. Moreover, since literature mirrors life and known

to be the expression of man’s best thoughts, feelings, and

emotions, one does not necessarily need to follow the

conventionalized rules and standards set in writing a poem

instead, one must follow the spontaneity of feelings and emotions – letting it dictate the stroke of

the pen in writing. However, he emphasizes that in one way or another, writers imitate ideas,

style and concepts from their immediate surroundings. Since people are motivated and inspired

by events that happen in real life, he considers this as a form imitation. Furthermore, he stresses

the importance of plot as a sine quanon in writing – not only for sequencing purposes but for a

more constricted relationship of events that would transpire in the story. Also, he argues that the

plot is the soul of every story since tragedy and comedy are fused by elements of equal

importance. Just like Homer, Aeschylus and Euripides, the goal of poetry is to learn to give the

liveliest pleasure therein.

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