After completing the main argument of The Republic, the author goes back to the adjourned question that concerns poetry about human beings. The central theme discussed in this page is poetry. The author has some reasons why he regards the poets as dangerous and unwholesome. The author objects that a poet knowingly influences the passions of their audience. About this theme, the author retells that even though he is still comfortable with having expelled poetry from their State, he desires to expound his motives comprehensively. The author says that the images portrayed by various poets do not vividly copy the excellent part of the soul (Ladikos, 19). The rational part of the soul is stable, silent, and is not often easy to comprehend or imitate. Therefore, the poets are only imitating awful elements- the preferences that make characters easily excitable and colorful. He further states that poetry appeals to the most horrible parts of souls and stimulates feeds, and supports this base element while averting vigor from the sensible part.
The poetry corrupts even the best soul works to deceive the general public by sympathizing with those who do grief in excess and those who lust the wrong manner. It also reflects on the individuals who often laughs at the best things. The greater focus is on how it goads into, the more excellent feeling of these base emotions vicariously. In most cases, there exists no shame in indulging in the senses because we ate submitting them concerning the fictional characters and not in any issue concerning our individual lives. The enjoyment that we often feel indulging in such emotions in other lives is often moved to our own lives. Once theses part of ourselves have been, in other ways, nurtured and strengthened in this manner (Gómez,39).
The poetry contaminates even the most delicate souls; it misleads people into commiserating with those who mourn extremely, thirsts inappropriately, and fun at nasty things. Poetry even goads people into sensing these dishonorable emotions vicariously. The author presented the theme by taking a bed as an example. He recounts how there are three primary levels at which phenomena happen (Jeng, 22). Main and unique is the God’s level, who makes the bed an idea, next is the carpenter who copies God’s idea in constructing an actual bed; last is the painter or poet, whose bed copies the imitator’s. By presenting so far detached from the truth poets, corrupt souls turn them away from the most real toward the least. ‘That we flatty refused to admit any representational poetry.’ The author, this quote, is not impressed by the representational poetry because the writers think they have a comprehensive knowledge of what they write about, but definitely, they do not (Leitch, 2018). “But it looks as though this whole genre of poetry deforms its audience minds, unless they have the antidote…” Here the author clarifies how the audiences are often seduced into feeling the undesirable emotions. That a painter’s work is far removed from the truth, and poets are not experienced by virtue. Therefore poetry heartens those emotions that damage reasons are the opinions that shape his situation.
Therefore, he demonstrates his principal concern, the fortification of the unforgettable soul, by relating the story of Er. Socrates then expands his arguments through the presentation of painters to poets, “there’s another kind of craftsman too. I wonder what you think of him…He makes everything all the items which every single manufacturer makes.” By this, the author identifies the user, maker, and the imitator as three arts. He compares the poets to painters who do not have the exact knowledge or virtues, and he establishes that poets are all equipped to speak to nothing but just virtues (Gómez, 21). The results are the poetical imitations that are more misleading in content. They lack the exact knowledge and are confusing as their deliveries are just aimed in the direction of human emotion rather than the understanding.
- Ladikos, A. (2018, January). The Theology of Plato in Book X of the Laws: An Evolving Perspective. In Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy (Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 183-188).
- Jeng, I. K. (2020). WAYS OF DISCOURSE AND WAYS OF LIFE: PLATO ON THE CONFLICT BETWEEN POETRY AND PHILOSOPHY. Metaphilosophy, 51(2-3), 318-334.
- Leitch, V. B., Cain, W. E., Finke, L. A., McGowan, J., Sharpley-Whiting, T. D., & Williams, J. J. (Eds.). (2018). The Norton Anthology of theory and criticism. WW Norton & Company.
Gómez Espíndola, L. L. (2016). Plato on the political role of poetry. The Expulsion of the traditional poets and the reform of poetry. Praxis Filosófica, (43), 37-56.