Comparing Philosophy And Poetry In Homer's The Republic

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Philosophy and poetry offer two different lenses in which one can analyze mankind. Plato is well known for drawing his stark contrast between the two in his work the Republic. The platonic Socrates is a strong advocate for the power of philosophy over poetry, especially when promoting justice among citizens in a community. Ultimately the Republic has often been regarded as “an attack on poetry,” while noting that there is definitely “a quarrel between philosophy and poetry” (Griswold). While this is the common belief, Socrates actually has the same beliefs that align with some of those that Homer presents in his epic poetry. Platonic Socrates also argues against poetry on the basis that it is tyrannical, while he asserts that philosophy is …show more content…
Homer also develops the importance of familial bonds throughout the Iliad, as he believes it promotes a vital point in Greek culture. There are several examples of the importance of philia in both works, which will be examined throughout this paper. Beyond determining that both the philosopher and poet actually agree, I will assert that Socrates’ philosophy is as tyrannical as poetry. Socrates uses the ideals of philia, which are used in the same way in Greek poetry, to garner control and enforce justice over the citizens in his ideal society. This makes his philosophy, especially since he bans poetry, the sole aspect of tyranny in this …show more content…
Socrates however argues that it is better to show the gods as just to promote justice in the cities, than it is to show them as they truly were understood to be. Griswold explains that the gods must be seen “as good and the cause of only good; as incapable of violence…for god ‘doesn’t himself change or deceive others by illusions’” (Griswold, section 2). Even though Socrates is arguing against poetry on the basis of its promotion on unjust behavior, Socrates is acting unjust to present the gods in the manner he believes to be effective. This manipulation is tyranny, which is ironically what Socrates argues

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