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[605a] that is alien to them.” “By all means.” “And is it not obvious that the nature of the mimetic poet is not related to this better part of the soul and his cunning is not framed1 to please it, if he is to win favor with the multitude, but is devoted to the fretful and complicated type of character because it is easy to imitate?” “It is obvious.” “This consideration, then, makes it right for us to proceed to lay hold of him and set him down as the counterpart2 of the painter; for he resembles him in that his creations are inferior in respect of reality; and the fact that his appeal is to the inferior part of the soul [605b] and not to the best part is another point of resemblance. And so we may at last say that we should be justified in not admitting him into a well-ordered state, because he stimulates and fosters this element in the soul, and by strengthening it tends to destroy the rational part, just as when in a state3 one puts bad men in power and turns the city over to them and ruins the better sort. Precisely in the same manner we shall say that the mimetic poet sets up in each individual soul a vicious constitution by fashioning phantoms far removed from reality, and by currying favor with the senseless element [605c] that cannot distinguish the greater from the less, but calls the same thing now one, now the other.” “By all means.”

“But we have not yet brought our chief accusation against it. Its power to corrupt, with rare exceptions, even the better sort is surely the chief cause for alarm.” “How could it be otherwise, if it really does that?” “ Listen and reflect. I think you know that the very best of us, when we hear Homer4 or some other of the makers of tragedy [605d] imitating one of the heroes who is in grief,5 and is delivering a long tirade in his lamentations or chanting and beating his breast, feel pleasure,6 and abandon ourselves and accompany the representation with sympathy and eagerness,7 and we praise as an excellent poet the one who most strongly affects us in this way.” “I do know it, of course.” “But when in our own lives some affliction comes to us, you are also aware that we plume ourselves upon the opposite, on our ability to remain calm and endure, [605e] in the belief that this is the conduct of a man, and what we were praising in the theatre that of a woman.8” “I do note that.” “Do you think, then,” said I, “that this praise is rightfully bestowed when, contemplating a character that we would not accept but would be ashamed of in ourselves, we do not abominate it but take pleasure and approve?” “No, by Zeus,” he said, “it does not seem reasonable.”

1 For πέπηγεν cf. 530 D.

2 ἀντίστροφον is used as in Aristot.Rhet. 1354 a 1.

3 Cf. p. 412, note d.

4 Cf. p. 420, note a, on 595 B-C.

5 For ἐν πένθει cf. Soph.El. 290, 846, Herod. i. 46.

6 Cf. Phileb. 48 A.

7 See the description in Ion 535 E, and Laws 800 D.

8 This is qualified in 387 E-388 A by οὐδὲ ταύταις σπουδαίαις. Cf. also 398 E.

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