Ethical Charges In Plato's Republic

1994 Words 8 Pages
In Plato’s Republic, the main argument is concluded after Book IX which was to prove why a just man is happier than an unjust man. Yet a tenth book is included in which another argument is made by Socrates as to what kinds of poetry about human beings would be permitted in the kallipolis they had created. The return to this topic which was previously and briefly stated in Book III, making the end of the novel feel slightly anticlimactic or confusing as to why it was included in the first place. So what point did Socrates want to establish in Book X that made it so important to include as a final chapter in the Republic? To identify this, another question must be asked first: what is the relationship between the metaphysical and ethical charges …show more content…
It shows that the greatest charge Plato has against imitative poetry is that it has the power to imitate ethical appearances, making it an “apparent evil” (613a). This kind of poetry caters to the appearance-responsive and irrational part of the soul whereas other forms of art, like paintings of realistic proportions, don’t have the same power as imitative poetry to present things as they appear, engaging that part of the soul that has such …show more content…
Out of all of the other educational studies, art is ranked at the bottom of the Line analogy (509d-511e) because it is a form of mimesis, or imitation, and is thus at a third from the truth. Imitative art has the ability to copy appearances instead of realities, making it persuasive and compelling to an audience which leads them to believe that an artist is an expert in the subjects they create. More specifically, imitative poetry copies the appearances of human excellence and affairs; however, the appearances made by poetry differ greatly from reality, deceiving the audience of the “realistic” portrayal. This has the ability to make the audience admire or perceive the hero from the poetry they read as a visual of excellence and henceforth making the author an expert in how one should live. Unfortunately, this power that poetry has only gratifies the non-rational part of the human soul, the appetitive part that experiences pleasure from feeding on honor and profit, and damages rational thought and harms the soul. Finally, it can now be seen that Plato’s inclusion of Book X is far more substantial than it initially seemed. The argument against poetry based on metaphysical theories shows that only ethically harmful poetry, the kind that reveals and compels morality through its portrayal on human affairs and

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