The Evolving Role of Poetry and the Poet

1760 Words8 Pages
"The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato," claimed Alfred North Whitehead in 1929's Process and Reality. Plato studied under Socrates in Athens, Greece, and showed a deep interest for politics. It wasn't until Socrates death that Plato turned from politics to philosophy. He developed Idealism in opposition to the belief of the Sophists and opened a school in Athens. The Academy was one of the first organized schools in Western Civilization it was here that Plato taught his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato's most famous work is The Republic. In it Plato describes a perfect, or ideal, state. The beginning of the work investigates the true meaning of justice. Towards the middle of the work Plato begins leading into philosophy, and Book X discusses the purpose of art in his ideal state, specifically poetry. Ion, another of Plato's works, is the beginning defense for The Republic Book X. In Ion Plato's main voice, Socrates, pokes fun at the ignorance of a rhapsode who stumbles around Socrates' questions. Plato shows an entertaining side in Ion which is dramatically different from his style in The Republic. Both of the works were written as dialogue between Socrates and another character. Plato's Socrates is simply a character that speaks Plato's mind. That is why the opinion has been offered that Ion was written as a spoof on Divine inspiration, and that had strong convictions against the belief in inspiration.

Aristotle began studying at The Academy under Plato when he was not yet twenty. He continued to study and teach philosophy argument at The Academy for twenty years before beginning his own school. Aristotle began to favor Materia...

... middle of paper ...

...ty's inspiration. In the Ion's realistic setting, an ignorant man can be possessed by a divine interpretation and speak in the tongues of gods.

Aristotle provided his reader with facts that he believed a poet should possess. The majority of which consist of diction, mechanics, plot and character structure, but the most important thing for a poet to possess in Poetics is the ability to imitate.

Plato. "Republic Book X.." The Critical Edition: Classic Text and Contemporary Trends.

Ed. David H. Richter. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/ST. Martin's, 1998. 17-29.

Plato. Ion. The Critical Edition: Classic Text and Contemporary Trends. Ed. David

H. Richter. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/ST. Martin's, 1998. 29-37.

Aristotle. Poetics. Critical Edition: Classic Text and Contemporary Trends. Ed. David

H. Richter. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/ST. Martin's, 1998.38-66.
Open Document