Comparison Between Aristotle and Plato on Mimesis Essay

4885 Words Feb 23rd, 2012 20 Pages
iA comparison between Aristotle and Plato on mimesis
1. Introduction
Mimesis, as a controversial concept starting from the 15th century, is among the oldest terms in literature and artistic theory, and is certainly among the most fundamental. Developing centuries, the concept of mimesis has been explored and reinterpreted by scholars in various academic fields. The word “Mimesis” developed from the root mimos, noun designating both a person who imitates and a specific genre of performance based on the limitation of stereotypical character traits. Very little is known about “mimesis” until the ancient Greek Philosopher Plato provided the first and unquestionably the most influential account of mimesis. In his wide-ranging work of the
…show more content…
Therefore, unlike being delusional and reflective, mimesis is a craft with its own internal laws and aims.

2.2.2 Conceptual focus Aristotle advocates to treat poetry “in itself”, not primarily as a reflection of something else. This is the premise established at the beginning of the Poetics. As the lines read “I propose to treat of poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each…….Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first.” Therefore the poem, for Aristotle, is much like a natural object. We can study its parts and structure, classify it according to kind and aim, and determine in individual cases whether it is good. It is an appropriate subject for philosophical inquiry, which conforms to fixed or principles and the “order of nature”.

It thus can be concluded that Aristotle’s metaphors for poetry throughout the Poetics stress the naturalness of mimesis. Whereas Plato’s most common metaphor is mirrors, shadows, optical illusions, which highlight the artificiality or unreality of art and literature. Aristotle’s metaphors emphasize their similarity to natural objects. For example, in asserting that artistic beauty depends on the order and magnitude of the parts, Aristotle draws an analogy between art and animals: ‘As, therefore, in the case of animate bodies and organisms, a certain magnitude is

Related Documents