Since imitative artists represent men in action, and men who are necessarily either of good or bad character (for as all people differ in their moral nature according to the degree of their goodness and badness), these men should be represented either as better than we are, or worse, or as the same kind of people as ourselves (Aristotle 59).
In Plato’s Republic, the main idea in which he stresses is his powerful perspective on poets and why they should be banned from the society they live in. Plato, through his protagonist Socrates, brings forth the reasons to why he believes this to be so crucial for people to understand and therefore, the concept lies in three simplistic explanations:
1.They pretend to know everything, but they do not.
2.The things that they deal with cannot be known: they are images far removed from what is new.
3.The images that poets portray do not imitate the good parts of the soul.
In conclusion, poetry deceives us into sympathizing with those who grieve excessively, who lust inappropriately and with those who laugh at base things. Through poetry we are able to feel suppressed feelings, we are able to connect with the author and formulate the excessive language needed to self identify.
For instance, how do we know who we are and where we come from? How can we self identify ourselves and characterize ourselves if we don’t have the language (vocabulary) to do so?
This is the function of poetry in conjunction with every piece of commendable literature. It allows us to reach deep within ourselves and find a common ground with the author. However, people like Plato or his character Socrates want to sustain a civilized government and know exactly well that people cannot ever sustain a utopian- like government because knowledge is admired and always will be. There is even a mention of changing the stories of the gods and the heroes so that people are not rebellious and out of order. They know this fact better than anyone and this is why Socrates regrets banishing the poets.
Alongside Plato was a philosopher named Aristotle, who described poetry as mimetic (imitative), in that it creates a representation of objects and events in the world. It reveals universal truths and how much more universally truthful can you get in this time of day when speaking about the media and the deconstructive impact it has on regular individuals like you and I ? Check out Pinks music video called “Stupid Girls”…
The clip in Aristotle terms is mimetic because it represents a world that exists by revealing all the universal truths that embody our media and eventually demolish from ground up all moral and civilized behavior. The beginning of the clip shows a little girl who has the devil telling her to portray and imitate what she sees in the media and the angel telling her to ignore it all and to just play with her toys. The concept of good and evil that I quoted in the very beginning is all over why Socrates is banning the poets. It is very interesting to find Pink demonstrating that “we learn our earliest lessons by imitation” (Aristotle 60). Because our media plays such a massive role in our lives, imitating these real life issues and shedding light on the shallowness behind it gives the truth the attention it needs to alert people of what/ who they are mirroring and whether it is what they intended to be. Many times the only reality surveillance camera is imitation…It is what we as people are most drawn to.
[It is important to remember that just because a song is sung as opposed to only being read, its beginning is a poem which progresses into a song by inputting the right melody and rhythm. Living during the 21st century many people have a difficult time connecting the two types of art].
Murray, Penelope and Dorsch, T.S. Classical Literary Criticism. London, England, 2000Pg 59-60.