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[603a] “And we were right in affirming that.” “The part of the soul, then, that opines in contradiction of measurement could not be the same with that which conforms to it.” “Why, no.” “But, further, that which puts its trust in measurement and reckoning must be the best part of the soul.” “Surely.” “Then that which opposes it must belong to the inferior elements of the soul.” “Necessarily.” “This, then, was what I wished to have agreed upon when I said that poetry, and in general the mimetic art, produces a product that is far removed from truth in the accomplishment of its task, and associates with the part in us [603b] that is remote from intelligence, and is its companion and friend1 for no sound and true purpose.2” “By all means,” said he. “Mimetic art, then, is an inferior thing cohabiting with an inferior and engendering inferior offspring.3” “It seems so.” “Does that,” said I, “hold only for vision or does it apply also to hearing and to what we call poetry?” “Presumably,” he said, “to that also.” “Let us not, then, trust solely to the plausible analogy4 from painting, but let us approach in turn [603c] that part of the mind to which mimetic poetry appeals and see whether it is the inferior or the nobly serious part.” “So we must.” “Let us, then, put the question thus: Mimetic poetry, we say, imitates human beings acting under compulsion or voluntarily,5 and as a result of their actions supposing themselves to have fared well or ill and in all this feeling either grief or joy. Did we find anything else but this?” “Nothing.” “Is a man, then, in all this [603d] of one mind with himself, or just as in the domain of sight there was faction and strife and he held within himself contrary opinions at the same time about the same things,6 so also in our actions there is division and strife7 of the man with himself? But I recall that there is no need now of our seeking agreement on this point, for in our former discussion8 we were sufficiently agreed that our soul at any one moment teems with countless such self-contradictions.” “Rightly,” he said. “Yes, rightly,” said I; “but what we then omitted9 must now, I think, [603e] be set forth.” “What is that?” he said. “When a good and reasonable man,” said I, “experiences such a stroke of fortune as the loss of a son or anything else that he holds most dear, we said, I believe, then too,10 that he will bear it more easily than the other sort.” “Assuredly.” “But now let us consider this: Will he feel no pain, or, since that is impossible, shall we say that he will in some sort be moderate11 in his grief?” “That,” he said, “is rather the truth.”

1 Cf. 604 D, Phaedr. 253 D and E.

2 Cf. Lysias ix. 4ἐπὶ μηδενὶ ὑγιεῖ and for the idiom οὐδὲν ὑγιές on 523 B, p. 153, note f.

3 Cf. 496 A, and on 489 D, p. 26, note b.

4 Cf. Phaedo 92 Dδιὰ τῶν εἰκότων.

5 Cf. 399 A-B, Laws 655 D, 814 E ff., Aristot.Poet. 1448 A 1-2ἐπεὶ δὲ μιμοῦνται οἱ μιμούμενοι πράττοντας ἀνάγκη δὲ τούτους σπουδαίους φαύλους εἶναι, ibid. 1449 b 36-37 f.

6 See What Plato Said, p. 505, on Gorg. 482 A-B.

7 Cf. 554 D, and p. 394, note e, on 586 E.

8 439 B ff.

9 Plato sometimes pretends to remedy an omission or to correct himself by an afterthought. So in Book V. 449 B-C ff., and Tim. 65 C.

10 387 D-E.

11 This suggests the doctrine of μετριοπάθεια as opposed to the Stoic ἀπάθεια. Joel ii. 161 thinks the passage a polemic against Antisthenes. Seneca, Epist. xcix. 15 seems to agree with Plato rather than with the Stoics: “inhumanitas est ista non virtus.” So Plutarch, Cons. ad Apol. 3 (102 cf.). See also ibid. 22 (112 E-F). Cf. Horace, Odes ii. 3. 1 “aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem,” and also Laws 732 C, 960 A.

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