Plato Vs Ramanujan Essay

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Should stories change their readers or inform them? Is there no value in false tales or does this literature serve a greater purpose? While these questions have no definitive answer, they have long been examined by writers and philosophers, both by Plato around 380 BCE and by A.K. Ramanujan in the late 20th century. In “Book X” of The Republic, Plato examines what is true and what is not, including stories and how the truthfulness is connected to the value of the stories. Similarly, in “Three Hundred Ramayanas,” A.K. Ramanujan explores the differences and similarities in some of the many tellings of the Indian tale The Ramayana, attempting to determine if one version is the original. While Ramanujan and Plato are both writers themselves, their views on written work are polar opposites. Plato argues stories should be a vessel of …show more content…
For instance, Plato believes that stories should rich in “the arts of measuring and numbering and weighing,” (35) for these facts tell the story that is closest to the truth. In saying that stories should be rich in concrete facts, Plato is revealing that he believes literature should be the messenger of the truth, bound to the truth by facts. Yet, Ramanujan seems to hold an opposite opinion and believes stories should be fluid. Ramanujan’s “Three Hundred Ramayanas” is a showcase of five different versions of The Ramayana, in which he does not discount any of the retellings. Instead, Ramanujan argues that, with these variations, the“different effects of the story are highlighted, and the whole telling alters its poetic stance” (40). Here Ramanujan suggests that the value of stories is not in passing the truth on, but the beauty of the stories, the poetry created in their telling is the real value. From this, it is clear that Plato and Ramanujan hold very different views on the purpose of literature, despite both being

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