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[668a] or of untrue opinion, nor indeed should any kind of equality be so judged? The reason why the equal is equal, or the symmetrical symmetrical, is not at all because a man so opines, or is charmed thereby, but most of all because of truth, and least of all for any other reason.

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
We assert, do we not, that all music is representative and imitative?

Clinias
Of course.

Athenian
So whenever a man states that pleasure is the criterion of music, we shall decisively reject his statement; and we shall regard such music as the least important of all (if indeed any music [668b] is important) and prefer that which possesses similarity in its imitation of the beautiful.

Clinias
Very true.

Athenian
Thus those who are seeking the best singing and music must seek, as it appears, not that which is pleasant, but that which is correct; and the correctness of imitation consists, as we say, in the reproduction of the original in its own proper quantity and quality.

Clinias
Of course.

Athenian
And this is certainly true of music, as everyone would allow,—that all its productions are [668c] imitative and representative;1 that much, at least, they would all admit,—poets, audience, and actors alike, would they not?

Clinias
They would.

Athenian
Now the man who is to judge a poem2 unerringly must know in each particular case the exact nature of the poem; for if he does not know its essence,—what its intention is and what the actual original which it represents,—then he will hardly be able to decide how far it succeeds or fails in fulfilling its intention.

Clinias
Hardly, to be sure. [668d]

Athenian
And would a man who does not know what constitutes perfection be able to decide as to the goodness or badness of a poem? But I am not making myself quite clear: it might be clearer if I put it in this way—

Clinias
In what way?

Athenian
As regards objects of sight we have, of course, thousands of representations.

Clinias
Yes.

Athenian
How, then, if in this class of objects a man were to be ignorant of the nature of each of the bodies represented could he ever know whether it is perfectly executed? What I mean is this: whether it preserves the proper dimensions and the positions of each of the bodily parts, [668e] and has caught their exact number and the proper order in which one is placed next another, and their colors and shapes as well,—or whether all these things are wrought in a confused manner. Do you suppose that anyone could possibly decide these points if he were totally ignorant as to what animal was being represented?

Clinias
How could he?

Athenian
Well, suppose we should know that the object painted or moulded is a man, and know that art has endowed him with all his proper parts, colors,

1 Cp. Plat. Laws 655d, above. The music (songs and tunes) of dramatic compositions is specially alluded to.

2 Or musical composition.

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