Criticisms of Poetry in Plato's Republic
After much deliberation and many intense arguments, Socrates finally reaches a definition for justice and claims that leading a just life is worthwhile both for its consequences and for its own sake. Although these conclusions summarize the main dispute of the Republic, Socrates ventures on to clarify his reasoning for prohibiting poets in the ideal city. Socrates' resolution to forbid poetry may be viewed as extremely harsh at first, especially considering the current concerns people have with censorship. With a close analysis and better understanding of the dialogues, Socrates' rationale for his judgment becomes much clearer and assists in demonstrating the negative effects poetry would have on the ideal city. In Plato's Republic, Socrates' ability to maintain control of the ideal city is upheld by the banishment of poetry and is essential to the protection and survival of the city.
One of the key motives for Socrates' outlawing of poetry can be observed in his notion that the soul is depraved and distorted by poets. Socrates reveals that the best element of the soul is "the one that puts its trust in measurement and calculation" (Republic 603a). This statement refers to the discussion between...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 804 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5927 literature essays, 1677 sample college application essays, 230 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in