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[395a] the practice of any worthy pursuit with the imitation of many things and the quality of a mimic; since, unless I mistake, the same men cannot practise well at once even the two forms of imitation that appear most nearly akin, as the writing of tragedy and comedy1? Did you not just now call these two imitations?” “I did, and you are right in saying that the same men are not able to succeed in both, nor yet to be at once good rhapsodists2 and actors.” “True.” “But [395b] neither can the same men be actors for tragedies and comedies3—and all these are imitations, are they not?” “Yes, imitations.” “And to still smaller coinage4 than this, in my opinion, Adeimantus, proceeds the fractioning of human faculty, so as to be incapable of imitating many things or of doing the things themselves of which the imitations are likenesses.” “Most true,” he replied.

“If, then, we are to maintain our original principle, that our guardians, released from all other crafts, [395c] are to be expert craftsmen of civic liberty,5 and pursue nothing else that does not conduce to this, it would not be fitting for these to do nor yet to imitate anything else. But if they imitate they should from childhood up6 imitate what is appropriate to them7—men, that is, who are brave, sober, pious, free and all things of that kind; but things unbecoming the free man they should neither do nor be clever at imitating, nor yet any other shameful thing, lest from the imitation [395d] they imbibe the reality.8 Or have you not observed that imitations, if continued from youth far into life, settle down into habits and (second) nature9 in the body, the speech, and the thought?” “Yes, indeed,” said he. “We will not then allow our charges, whom we expect to prove good men, being men, to play the parts of women and imitate a woman young or old wrangling with her husband, defying heaven, loudly boasting, fortunate in her own conceit, or involved in misfortune [395e] and possessed by grief and lamentation—still less a woman that is sick, in love, or in labor.” “Most certainly not,” he replied. “Nor may they imitate slaves, female and male, doing the offices of slaves.” “No, not that either.” “Nor yet, as it seems, bad men who are cowards and who do the opposite of the things we just now spoke of, reviling and lampooning one another, speaking foul words in their cups or when sober

1 At the close of the SymposiumSocrates constrains Agathon and Aristophanes to admit that one who has the science (τέχνη) of writing tragedy will also be able to write comedy. There is for Plato no contradiction, since poetry is for him not a science or art, but an inspiration.

2 The rhapsode Ion is a Homeric specialist who cannot interpret other poets. Cf. Ion 533 C.

3 Cf. Classical Review, vol. xiv. (1900), pp. 201 ff.

4 Cf. Laws 846 E, Montaigne, “Nostre suffisance est detaillee a menues pieces,” Pope, Essay on Criticism, 60: “One science only will one genius fit,/ So vast is art, so narrow human wit.”

5 Cf. the fine passage in Laws 817 Bἡμεῖς ἐσμεν τραγωδίας αὐτοὶ ποιηταί, [Pindar]apudPlut. 807 Cδημιουργὸς εὐνομίας καὶ δίκης.

6 Cf. 386 A.

7 i.e., δημιουργοῖς ἐλευθερίας

8 Cf. 606 B, Laws 656 B, 669 B-C, and Burke, Sublime and Beautiful iv. 4, anticipating James, Psychology ii. pp. 449, 451, and anticipated by Shakespeare's (Cor. III. ii. 123) “By my body's action teach my mind/ A most inherent baseness.”

9 Cf. my paper on Φύσις, Μελέτη, Ἐπιστήμη, T.A.P.A. vol. xl. (1910) pp. 185 ff.

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