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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

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.

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