previous next
[397a] “the other kind speaker, the more debased he is the less will he shrink from imitating anything and everything. He will think nothing unworthy of himself, so that he will attempt, seriously and in the presence of many,1 to imitate all things, including those we just now mentioned—claps of thunder, and the noise of wind and hail and axles and pulleys, and the notes of trumpets and flutes and pan-pipes, and the sounds of all instruments, and the cries of dogs, sheep, and birds; and so his style will depend wholly on imitation [397b] in voice and gesture, or will contain but a little of pure narration.” “That too follows of necessity,” he said. “These, then,” said I, “were the two types of diction of which I was aking.” “There are those two,” he replied. “Now does not one of the two involve slight variations,2 and if we assign a suitable pitch and rhythm to the diction, is not the result that the right speaker speaks almost on the same note and in one cadence—for the changes are slight— [397c] and similarly in a rhythm of nearly the same kind?” “Quite so.” “But what of the other type? Does it not require the opposite, every kind of pitch and all rhythms, if it too is to have appropriate expression, since it involves manifold forms of variation?” “Emphatically so.” “And do all poets and speakers hit upon one type or the other of diction or some blend which they combine of both?” [397d] “They must,” he said. “What, then,” said I, are we to do? Shall we admit all of these into the city, or one of the unmixed types, or the mixed type?” “If my vote prevails,” he said, “the unmixed imitator of the good.” “Nay, but the mixed type also is pleasing, Adeimantus, and far most pleasing to boys and their tutors and the great mob is the opposite of your choice.” “Most pleasing it is.” “But perhaps,” said I, “you would affirm it to be ill-suited [397e] to our polity, because there is no twofold or manifold man3 among us, since every man does one thing.” “It is not suited.” “And is this not the reason why such a city is the only one in which we shall find the cobbler a cobbler and not a pilot in addition to his cobbling, and the farmer a farmer and not a judge added to his farming, and the soldier a soldier and not a money-maker in addition to his soldiery, and so of all the rest?” “True,” he said.4 “If a man, then, it seems,

1 Cf. Gorgias 487 B, Euthydemus 305 B, Protagoras 323 B.

2 Besides its suggestion of change and reaction the word is technical in music for the transition from one harmony to another.

3 The reverse of the Periclean ideal. Cf. Thucydides ii. 41.

4 The famous banishment of Homer, regarded as the prototype of the tragedian. Cf. 568 A-C, 595 B, 605 C, 607 D, Laws 656 C, 817 B

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: