February 14, 2005

Artwork and poetry are important--Plato tends to disagree

Through Socrates, Plato looks down on everyone in book X of "The Republic." The painter who may paint a picture of a bed and the carpenter who builds a table. He decides that all these people are "creators of experience." They are trying to build something that relates to the forms, or ideals, inside their heads. Socrates explains to Glaucon in "The Republic" that God created one bed, and no other bed will ever come close to looking like that bed. A painter will never be able to paint it, and a carpenter will never be able to create the ideal. In Socrates eyes, a carpenter is a maker of a bed, but not the perfect bed, and a painter is not a maker of a bed at all, he is an imitator.

Socrates states that a painter could paint whatever he wishes, even if he has no true knowledge of what he is painting. The example he has given was that a painter could paint an artist or carpenter but could know nothing about what that artest or carpenter does.

To sum it all up, Plato/Socrates does not like painters--AT ALL! He believes that their work is fake and that it does not serve any purpose whatsoever.

To be honest, I do not agree with Plato too much. A painter may not know too much about what is going on, but they paint it anyway. This painter gives information on what was going on during this time period. The paintings from the earlier times reveal to us some things that could not really be desribed in text. I feel that paintings supply a ton of information for the person viewing it. Plato happened to not understand the educational value of this. The same goes for poetry.

Socrates explains how poets are imitators as well. Homer wrote about the battles (The Trojan War), but did not take any part in it. He did not help anyone fight in this battler, nor is he a hero of this battle. He is honored for doing nothing but imitating, in the eyes of Socrates.

"Passionate and fitfull temper" are easily imitated? I don't think so. It takes plenty of work to put your heart and soul into your writing; I do not feel this is imitating.

I do feel that poetry is the same as artwork. It also gives information on things that happened in the past: what events occurred, battles fought, and how society was, etc. I have read the Illiad by Homer and I have learned so much about the Trojan War, how it started, how the characters felt about the gods and so fourth. I do not agree with Socrates teachings on imitating. Yes, a painter may be making a copy of a 3-D image, but the painting says a lot (in a wat) about the person who has painted it. Yes, a poet may write about ideas or events that he or she was not involved in, but it makes readings understand what has happened from an outsiders point of view.

All of these things that Plato/Socrates are putting down, are valued and critiqued in society. The artwork and poetry must have some sort of meaning or some significance if we are giving them so much attention. Right?

Posted by Anne Stadler at February 14, 2005 11:43 PM | TrackBack
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