Socrates Poetry Analysis

743 Words 3 Pages
Socrates states that he is pleased because of the rule about poetry, which is the rejection of imitative poetry. He argues that he feels this way because the imitation that is poetry, damages the understanding of its readers and the only way to reverse that damage is to educate the readers of the true nature of poetical imitations. As a result of Glaucon questioning him, Socrates explains imitation using a bed as an example. He claims there is only one idea, or Form, of the bed and then the maker of the bed uses the idea to create a bed. Along with God, the maker of Forms, and the maker of the bed, there is another, known as an artist. The artist is able to create anything he desires but as appearances only. Furthermore, God, who is the maker …show more content…
Socrates then questions Ion whether he could do the same, in which he answers that he could not interpret inferior poets. This raises a debate between Socrates and Ion that one who knows the better poet would also know the inferior poets. Socrates claims that Ion is unable to interpret the inferior poetry because he has no knowledge of poetry as a whole. Instead, Ion can interpret Homer, not because of knowledge, but because of inspiration and possession. Ion has no knowledge of Homer and poetry because if one can point out flaws and excellences of one poet, they should also be able to point out the same for another, otherwise their argument is invalid. Moreover, poets are said to be interpreters of the gods, making Ion to be considered an interpreter of an interpreter. Socrates believes that these interpretations get farther from the truth of nature, which aligns with his argument supporting the banishment of imitative poetry.

I agree that Ion cannot make a judgment about one poet if he has no knowledge of other poets. If one does not have knowledge of a subject, the argument of superiority is not valid because every aspect of that subject is not known. Without a decent foundation of knowledge about poetry, is not able to make an objective judgment, which aligns with Socrates debate that Ion’s judgment is based on inspiration and possession rather than knowledge.
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Plato has beliefs that do not separate aesthetics from ethics because his concerns with poetry are purely ethical. Nehamas believes this causes a significant philosophical embarrassment because it suggests Plato does not understand the real value of art and that there is much more than just the ethical part of the art. Furthermore, Plato makes his greatest objection against poetry because the kind of person that one would be ashamed to resemble because of unethical behavior is admired in poetry. Socrates states that instant gratification is the cause of this absurd line of thinking among

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