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595A - 597E On a retrospect of our city, says Socrates, we can now see even more clearly than before that we did right in excluding imitative Poetry. What is Imitation? Examine it in the light of the Ideas, and you will find that it is the production of images or appearances which are third in order from Reality and Truth. There are, for example, three beds: (1) that which is in Nature, made, as we may say, by God: (2) that which the carpenter manufactures: (3) that which is the product of the painter's art. The first is, and must be, one: for there cannot be two Ideas of bed. We have thus two makers in connexion with the notion of bed: (1) a Nature-maker (φυτουργός), who is God; (2) a manufacturer (δημιουργός), viz. the carpenter. There is also (3) an imitator, i.e. the painter. Imitation is therefore concerned with a product third in sequence from Nature, and the tragic poet, among other imitators, is third from Royalty and Truth.

ff. Book X falls into two divisions, the first (595 A—608 B) dealing with Poetry, the second (608 C—621 D) with Immortality and the rewards of Justice both here and hereafter. The second half of the Book forms a welcome supplement to Plato's treatment of the main thesis of the Republic (see on 608 C); but the first division is of the nature of an episode, and might have been omitted without injury to the artistic unity of the dialogue (cf. Hirmer Entst. u. Komp. d. pl. Pol. p. 623). It is in no sense, as supposed by Schleiermacher (Einleitung p. 55) and apparently also by Hirzel (der Dialog I p. 237 note), a fulfilment of the promise held out in III 392 C; nor ought we to construe ἴσως δὲ καὶ πλείω ἔτι τούτων III 394 D as a hint that the subject of Poetry is to be resumed: see note ad loc. Why then is the episode introduced at all? The chorizontists (such as Siebeck Unters. zur Phil. d. Griech. pp. 142 ff., Pfleiderer zur Lösung etc. p. 34 and Brandt zur Entwick. d. Pl. Lehre d. Seelenteilen p. 27), relying partly on the tone of the exordium, partly on ἀπολελογήσθω 607 B, assert that Plato is replying to certain comic poets (Pfleiderer), or to Antisthenes (Brandt), who had presumably fallen foul of Plato's treatment of Poetry in Books II and III. Cf. also Zeller^{4} II p. 556 note 2. But apart altogether from the question whether the Republic was issued en bloc or piecemeal, there is no actual evidence to support the presumption on which this theory rests (cf. 598 D, 607 B notes). The Platonic dialogue, like actual conversation, is at liberty to recall, modify, and expand the results of a discussion apparently finished (cf. Hirzel l.c. pp. 228—230, 236); and we have already had an incidental recurrence to the subject of Poetry in VIII 568 A—D. Granted that Plato wished to justify his exclusion of the Muses by metaphysical and psychological as well as moral and paedagogic arguments, the beginning of Book X is his best, and indeed, as Hirmer shews (l.c. p. 625), his only opportunity: see on 595 B. He may well have wished to do so: for his dethronement of the great educator of Greece (606 E) would be sure to arouse wide-spread hostility, and Plato almost seems to feel that it needs further justification even to himself (595 B note). Cf. Hirmer l.c. pp. 624—628 and see also on 598 D, 607 B.

The student will find an excellent and exhaustive account of Plato's theory of Aesthetics in Walter Gesch. d. Aesthetik im Altertum (1893) pp. 168—476. His attitude towards Poetry and Poets is very fully discussed by Reber Platon u. die Poesie (1864). Heine de rat. quae Platoni cum poet. Gr. intercedit, etc. (1880), and more recently by Finsler Platon u. die Arist. Poetik (1900) and Stählin Die Stellung d. Poesie in d. plat. Phil. (1901). Following on the path marked out by Belger in his dissertation de Arist. etiam in arte poetica Platonis discip. (1872), Finsler has succeeded in shewing that Aristotle's debt to Plato in his Theory of Poetry is far greater than is commonly supposed: and although the treatment of Poetry in Book X of the Republic must be confessed to be inadequate and unjust, Plato himself, as Walter and Stählin have recognised, furnishes us elsewhere with the materials for constructing a truer and more generous theory. See also on 598 E. It may be added that a study of the Poetics of Aristotle side by side with 595 A— 608 B will enable the student to understand both Plato and Aristotle better than if he confines himself to either alone. See also Butcher Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art^{2}, pp. 115 ff.

ἐνθυμηθεὶς περὶ ποιήσεως. II 377 B—III 403 C.

τὸ μηδαμῇ -- μιμητική. See III 394 B —398 B. Plato speaks as if he had tabooed all mimetic poetry, but it is clear from III 396 E compared with 397 D, 398 B and 401 B—402 C that he did not condemn poetic and artistic imitation as such, but would have admitted it where the model imitated was good. See also on 595 C, 607 A, 608 A infra.

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