This essay discusses whether or not Plato necessarily thinks that poetry as mimesis is bad or far from the truth by looking at the tripartite analysis and extending this to painting, fiction, and Plato’s life. The essay also discusses the problem of god the maker, the user, and the emotional aspects of poetry. Plato’s thoughts on mimesis should not be idealized, as The Republic is a work that Plato the user has created. The surface argument of Book X is that it condemns imitative work, but we have to be skeptical of this whole account since it is by nature an imitative work.
Section I: The Maker God
In his first analysis of mimesis in Book X, Socrates turns to three different kinds of couches and tables to illustrate a conceptual understanding on the nature of imitation. In Book III, Glaucon was bothered by the fact that Socrates’ initial city in speech has no couches or tables. In Book X, Socrates uses this example to develop the tripartite analysis. Before we even begin the inquiry of imitation, Socrates delicately uses mimesis in action. This adaptation by Socrates suggests his mimetic nature of interacting. On a psychological level, mimesis proves to be very powerful for interactions. Couches and tables appeal to Glaucon’s sense of human pride, which Socrates is trying to emphasize. The first kind of couch relates to the idea of creation: ‘‘The God, knowing this and wanting to be a real maker of a couch that really is and not a certain couchmaker of a certain couch, begot it as one by nature’’ (597d). The first in ranking, God is regarded as the ultimate producer. Socrates describes the first form of the couch as god produced: it is the most truthful essence of the couch. The second kind of couch — the carpenter produced — relates to craftsmanship. God supposedly created the idea of the couch, the carpenter produces an artificial form as an imitation of the idea. The craftsman imitates what he is given by the creator. The third and final kind of couch is the painter produced. As Glaucon states: ‘‘he would most sensibly be addressed as an imitator of that of which these others are craftsmen’’ (597e). Just as the craftsmen imitate god, the painter imitates the work of craftsmen. The craftsmen imitate the original ideas god, who then becomes a craftsman himself. The painter, in contrast, imitates the looks of the objects that the craftsmen formed. Painting is a great example of a visual demonstration of the critical character of the third generation. Imitating the craftsmen allows room for expression. Painting as an imitation of the craftsmen’s work allows different painters to portray single perspective from different perspectives. Socrates concludes: ‘‘Imitiation is surely far from the truth; and… produces everything- because it lays hold of a certain small part of each thing, and that part is itself only a phantom.’’ (598c) In terms of the three ontological levels, the carpenter-produced couch would be regarded as closer to the truth in comparison to the painter-produced couch. According to Socrates, with each generation, we add more subjective and artificial presence to the initial idea. This argument on the surface level seems to be far from Plato’s true opinions on the third generation of imitation. Plato’s entire dialogue is a work of imitation, and I presumably meant to convey some truth to the reader.
Socrates suggests that we must apply this tripartite analysis of painting by analogy to poetry. As we read Book X of The Republic, we observe Plato’s envisioning of Socrates and Glaucon. They are fictional characters in a fictional story. The first generation, where Plato the mimetic writer is the third generation, is the one who captures the truth in mimetic work, which is the reader. This would be the first generation of truth. The second generation would be human’s socializing and forming a relationship with one another. Plato and Glaucon, living and having a discourse in Athens, would be exemplary of the second generation. These individuals of historicized figures would constitute the second generation of truth with regards to life. The third generation would be the imitation of human interactions in a literary form. Plato is a third generation writer and poet. Republic, Timaeus, and all other dialogues of Plato are third generation imitations. Socrates states: ‘‘Then, isn’t this imitating concerned with something that is third from the truth? Isn’t that so?’’ (602c) The surface argument of Book X that concludes that third generation of mimesis is the farthest account from truth. This statement makes a false assumption. Socrates in The Republic is a character that is a product of the third generation that Plato created. To awaken from the false assumption of the surface argument is to recognize the power that poets have — whether it is a play by Shakespeare or an epic by Homer. Homer obviously influenced Plato’s poetic style in many ways. The same thing is applicable to painters, as the good painter can deceive the human eye. A good painter can paint a carpenter, deceive children, and fool people into thinking that it is truly a carpenter. (598c) The third generation of truth that poets and painters create deeply resonates with human beings. They have the necessary knowledge to create a reality that is similar to our reality. In some cases, it could be better illuminations of truth.
The painter creates art on a white canvas with colors and strokes. The poet, in contrast, ‘‘paints the canvas’’ of words representing real life actions. Tragedy, happiness, triumph, depression, these are all colors that the poet uses. A painting connects with us through the image, but the poet connects through the story. The reason why both are idealized and dramatized could have reasons that have nothing to do with deception. In fact, it can help us understand truth better. Stories and objects can be altered to convey a message of truth. If I am writing a fictional story about Germany in the 1930’s, I might not write about happy German households. This may not be for the purpose of deception, but it could mean that something else that era that needs to be emphasized. Creating that emphasis requires specification and some idealized demonstrations of that era. So, is the third generation of mimesis far from truth, or does it create something that is closer to the truth than what reality presents? There is not a single answer to this question, as this third generation imitation can both end up as truth or propaganda. The craftsmen of the third generation, painters and poets, have a lot of influence with their work. Each poet and painter is influenced by their predecessors. Without impressionism, cubism would not have been the same. Without Homer, Plato would not have been the same. After all, Plato’s philosophical work is mimetic, and that provokes the reader to think critically about the argument of the dialogue in its entirety.
Imitation follows the principles of copy and model. In his first account of mimesis, Socrates argues that the most truthful object is what the maker god produces. Glaucon does not object to this account and they immediately move on to the mimesis done by craftsmen. There is a devastating flaw in the account of the maker god: for the maker god to produce an idea deliberately and truthfully, there has to be an initial model that he looked at. If our universe is the model of the maker god, the universe must have been copied from another model. This would indicate that the first generation of mimesis is not actually the genesis of creation. If the maker god looked at a model, we can have the same follow up question: what was the model this model imitated? This principle of copy and model would indicate that there is another model before, and another model before that, and so on. The mimesis of the maker god becomes enigmatic when we try to make a correction at the origin story. There is an endless regress of model and copy.
This problem of mimesis creates deep uncertainties about our reality. Is there such thing as creation? Can someone have an original thought? How is the maker god a rational craftsman of our universe, and why does Plato regard him as the first generation of mimesis? This might be what Plato intended. Improvements of science and technology lead us to speculate that we will obtain control over the universe and find the truth. However, no matter how much we improve the power of our mind, there is a certain unintelligibility of nature. The problem with the maker god demonstrates this unintelligibility. Until the 20th century, time was considered as constant in the scientific community. Once Einstein discovered that time can be relative, our conception of the universe became completely different. Also, as quantum theory develops, the theories that the field of science creates are more metaphysical rather than physical. Plato’s account of mimesis strongly resonates today. There is a deep problem of nature’s mimesis that cannot be addressed by the human mind. No matter how much science improves, the question of objectivity will always be a contradiction. Maybe that is why the maker god, as Plato suggests in The Republic, gives the power of mimesis to the user.
Section II: The User
There is a need for reason to explain the flaw of god the maker. To fix this problem, the argument moves on to the user. Socrates, on the difference of the user and god the maker, states: ‘‘Therefore the maker of the same implement will have right trust concerning its beauty and its badness from being with the man who knows and from being compelled to listen to the man who knows, while the user will have knowledge’’ (601e). The user, as Socrates clarifies, is the knower of the good of something. They know the function of a certain thing and this gives them a rational and reasonable purpose. The maker of something makes their product based on the account of the user. A winemaker, for example, is not the user of wine. Their job is not to determine what constitutes a good wine, but just to craft the best wine possible under their natural circumstances. In this instance, the wine steward would be the user of wine. They do not have any emotional attachment to a single vineyard; they form their conclusion on a principled and reasonable basis. They train their mind to evaluate good and bad wine, based only on their expertise and knowledge of good and bad wine. God the maker, just like the craftsmen, does not reflect on the good of something from the perspective of the user. Someone who had no involvement in the creation, except developing an expertise on the finished product, serves a valuable purpose that can replace the pride that the maker has. Makers of a product have an idea of their product, and this idea is similar to an identity. There are many identities that are produced, thus many wines. The user is the trained person that judges these identities, and has the necessary knowledge to classify wines into good and bad ones.
The tripartite analysis of mimesis can be helpful to understand the user of the philosophy of The Republic. Instead of starting from a descending order, I will go from the third generation to the first. The third generation is the mimetic poet that carries out an imitation from relevant subjects that contribute to the philosophy. The mimetic poet that is the third generation from truth is Plato, who is the mimetic artist that was skilled enough to make the fictional world of The Republic. He is the mimetic artist that created this work based on his contemporaries in real life. Since he is the maker, we cannot assign him the role of the user, who is supposed to sort out the true philosophy of The Republic. Rather, he is the mimetic artist that gives the keys of understanding the truth to the user. The user, being the higher standard of truth, can obviously pick up Plato’s contradiction when Socrates in The Republic states that third generation of mimesis is far from the truth. Plato is also worried about the product that he is creating (the philosophy that illuminates his era). His goal is to make this philosophy accessible to public through his mimetic work.
In order for there to be a model of The Republic, there has to be a copy that inspired Plato. Where does this philosophy come from? This brings us to the second generation of truth in the tripartite analysis. The Socratic conversations, the ones that Plato formed his model from, are the second generation of truth. This is Plato’s reality that led him to produce a fictional world. Plato’s mind has no course of action in this reality, unless he is physically interacting with his contemporaries. The second generation is unexamined human opinions that were improvised and practiced together in the Ancient Greek community. Plato’s advantage over reflecting the truth of this era is by being a mimetic artist. Obviously, Glaucon, Socrates, and all Socratic figures cannot recall their philosophies and dialogues word by word. Also, conversations can lose track of its initial truth as human beings are prone to error and cannot constantly examine ‘the whole’. Plato, by being the mimetic artist, has a chance to scratch the surface and create a radical turn in philosophy on his quest for the whole. As discussed above, the third generation imitator has the opportunity to reflect a greater truth or propaganda by idealizing this Socratic reality. The wine steward, who is the user, utilizes the mind to judge qualities of wine without presuppositions. But who is the user that judges the idealized Socratic dialogues in The Republic?
This question brings us to the first generation of truth, the user. The user, in this tripartite analysis, is the reader of The Republic. The user looks at the finished product of the truth Plato tried to present in his mimetic work. The reader is the potential philosopher that seeks truth through analyzing the dialogues in their finished form. The reader has a chance to comprehensively know all the arguments and criticize the dialogues. The second generation, the Socratic conversations, are not able to comprehend the good of their conversation in its entirety. Plato, who imitates these conversations, is not focused on fixing the errors of Greek contemporaries, but positing their ideas. When Glaucon talks about the necessity of couches and tables in the best city in speech in Book III, there is a human pride that he is trying to express. He is not satisfied with a life that does not resemble what differentiates humans from animals. This human pride of Glaucon intuitively expresses philosophical idealism. In order for there to be any philosophical inquiry, we need to first posit the idea in the first place. It is not a matter of getting the initial idea right or wrong, but raising the topic for inquiry. The purpose of the Socratic conversations is to posit these ideas so the reader can start the inquiry for truth. Plato supplies the notable ideas collected in these Socratic conversations as the mimetic artist. Socrates states: ‘‘The imitative poet produces a bad regime in the soul of each private man by making phantoms that are very far removed from the truth and by gratifying the soul’s foolish part, which doesn’t distinguish big from little, but believes the same things are at one time big and at another little’’ (605b-c). It would be a major problem if Plato was trying to fool the souls of the reader. This text that Plato wrote, in the words of Socrates, is more like a test for the reader.
The user, who knows the good of this text, not only has to understand that Plato does not believe in this, but also question the purpose of this contradiction. The user does not analyze the text based on pure logical formation, but evaluates the character, context, and Plato’s writing style, before accepting and evaluating the ideas that Plato posited. Plato obviously does not think that he, as the mimetic artist, is the farthest from truth. In all of his sarcasm and contradictions, the reader’s job is to understand the good and the purpose of the contradictions. By specializing in the text, the user’s job is to perceive the true insight. Just like the way the maker god passes the torch on to the user to analyze the good of something, Plato passes the torch to the reader to analyze the good of his philosophy. Plato’s job as the mimetic artist was to successfully reflect the truth of his era. Mimetic poetry, philosophy and all of the styles that Plato used were the means to implement this purpose. The dialogues, as a result, are obviously very chaotic and require additional work to be done. There might be some truth that Plato knew subconsciously but could not communicate simply in words because there was nothing in his era that could base its description on. The analysis of the context of the dialogues could spark some insight that Plato envisioned in his mind, but could not condense it into words, or even an entire dialogue. For instance, in Book VI, when the user looks at the conclusion of the best regime being one under a philosopher king, the user does not dogmatically accept that text. By being the knower of the good of Plato’s text, the user can understand that in Plato’s mind, this was a warning of ideological tyranny. In that context, the mutual agreement between Glaucon and Socrates that the best regime is the one under a philosopher king provided a comfort, satisfaction to the characters in The Republic. All of this contributes to the greater truth that Plato was attempting to reflect upon.
Can we, however, be sure that the reader will evaluate Plato’s text with full rationality and transparency? This brings us to the problem of the user. Socrates states: ‘‘When even the best of us hear Homer or any other tragic poets imitating one of the heroes in mourning and making quite an extended speech with lamentation… we enjoy it and that we give ourselves over to following the imitation; suffering along with the hero in all seriousness, we praise as a good poet the man who most puts us in this state’’ (605d). Socrates points to a greater truth that the user might suffer under the mimetic art. The user, no matter how well trained, is a human being with flaws. The reader is not a presuppositionless and transparent entity. The reader, even if he/she is the most reputable philosopher, has emotions, desires, and fantasies. If the mimetic artist appeals to a specific desire in a reader, the reader loses control over the quest for truth. What Socrates describes here is exactly the phenomenon of falling into the trap of a good mimetic artist. The good mimetic artist is the one that can manipulate these human emotions with full control. The vulnerability of the human soul is exemplified in Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. It has been used by various political regimes as a signal of unity: the Maoist Revolution in China, Soviet Union, the abolishment of Apartheid in South Africa, and the unofficial soundtrack of the European Union are some good examples. This trend signifies that if we mechanically allow the music to consume our soul, we will be carried away by it. The appeal of the mimetic art can plague the ability to reason with a material. It is very possible that our shortcomings can allow us to be slave to our desires and phantasms. The question is how much can the rationality and mind change the mechanical cause and effect links in a human being? Socrates’ example of the good mimetic poet was Homer, but Plato is also a good mimetic poet. When we claim that the user in the first generation is the reader, the assumption is that the reader specializes in pure rationality towards Plato’s text. Is that a realistic assumption? Probably not. This is not to deny that the reader is possibly the one that arrived closest to the truth in the tripartite analysis, but there must be gaps in the comprehension of this philosophy. Just like Glaucon, the reader can also intuitively express human pride. Mind cannot fully regulate the soul. The mind and soul are interconnected, and it is not possible for the mind to have full control over the users reason. The soul must have some influence on the user. The wine steward that we discussed is the user of wine. Lets say that the wine steward, the user has a special memory of a vineyard in Argentina early in his or her life. Let us further assume the following. This memory created a positive mechanical reimbursement in his/her soul. When the wine steward goes back to that vineyard to test the wine, his soul might indirectly manipulate his new disciplined mind. It is very possible that these types of distortions are frequently encountered by in and the user. The special memory of the wine steward would be mimetic poetry that appeals to the soul in Plato’s philosophy.
Mind cannot assemble tyrannical control, even if the user is the best knower of the good of that certain thing. In his account of mimesis, Plato forces the reader to be critical of his work. His satirical and contradictory nature might be a defense mechanism against appealing to the soul. His contradictions challenge the mind to not be deceived by the soul. Socrates’ extended argument that claims that mimetic art appeals to the souls foolish part might be a further demonstration of this case. In terms of the tripartite analysis, the user still has many problems even if it is the first generation from truth. The user’s mind will always demonstrate some individual subjectivity, during the comprehension of the mimetic work, even if it is very little. The problem of god the maker is not fully solved by replacing it with the user. Even in this tripartite analysis of truth, the user, who we labeled as the reader, is closest to truth; the user will never develop a full account of truth and knowledge, just like the endless regress of god the maker.
Section III: Emotional Aspects of Poetry
We stated that the user is vulnerable to be charmed by the imitative poet. But what is it about poetry that leads to an emotional response from us? Socrates forms a psychological analysis to begin his condemnation of mimetic poetry. Socrates states: ‘‘The imitative poet isn’t naturally directed toward any such part of the soul… but rather toward the irritable and various disposition, because it is easily imitated’’ (605a). The imitative poet attracts the lowliest parts of the human soul, because it is easiest thing to persuade. Poets can only get a good reputation if they specifically apply their mimetic work to the lowest ranking of the human soul. Socrates portrays this as the formula that the third generation uses. For this reason, Socrates sets poetry in the same rank of painting in terms of the standard of truth (605a). He furthers his condemnation against poetry by analyzing how good poets can make everyone enjoy this poetic mimesis. When a good poet like Homer makes a speech with lamentation, one gives in to the imitation and suffers with all the characters. The poet that has the skill to make everyone give in to the poetry is considered the good poet (605d). Socrates gives the example of mourning to explain this contradiction: in real life, regulating emotions are the reasonable response to sorrow, but we praise the character that does the opposite in imitative poetry. According to Socrates, this imitative poetry feeds the irrational desires that go against the best part in our soul. Poetic imitation gives the necessary ground for irrational desires to rule the soul, which he believes is the greatest accusation against poetry (606d). Socrates’ condemnation of mimetic poetry in The Republic cannot be a criticism that Plato believes in.
Our first reaction is to be skeptical of this whole condemnation of poetry that Socrates gives. Although contradictory by nature, Socrates did provide some compelling arguments against mimetic poetry and formed a well-crafted psychological analysis against it. Through Socrates’ condemnation of poetry, Plato here is providing a psychological analysis of poetry and the human soul. First, we have to consider specifically Socrates’ account on why an individual enjoys characters that they would condemn in real life, and consider his full account of why this applies to all desires of the human soul. Socrates states: ‘‘What is by nature best in us… relaxes its guard over this mournful part because it sees another’s sufferings, and it isn’t shameful for it… to praise and pity him’’(606a). Being empathetic toward another person’s problems is granted to create a reaction of enjoyment or pity even in the best part of the soul. The best part has no guard against this type of poetry because it has not been trained adequately to judge whether or not allowing this feeling benefits their own soul. The reason for this is because we are meant to be empathetic in real life and it does not weaken the best part of our soul. But we approach mimetic poetry in the same manner we approach tragedy in real life, which causes a real damage to the soul. According to Socrates, we have not trained our mind well enough to avoid this psychological damage that poetry creates. For this reason, ‘‘only a certain few men are capable of calculating that the enjoyment of other people’s sufferings has a necessary effect on one’s own. For the pitying part fed strong on these examples, is not easily held down in one’s own sufferings’’ (606b). The people affected by poetic mimesis are not emotionally resilient as they used to be, since they feed the part of their soul that allows this suffering. Not many people have the virtue to realize the bad habit that poetic mimesis creates on an individual. The best part of the soul avoids this calculation because its defense mechanisms are softened through the empathy felt for the suffering character in mimetic poetry.
It is not only the pitying part of the soul that is weakened through poetry, as Socrates states: ‘‘If there are any jokes that you would be ashamed to make yourself, but that you enjoy very much hearing in comic imitation or in private… you do the same as with things that evoke pity’’ (606c). In the same manner as evoking pity, laughing allows the individual to accept thoughts that he/she would morally oppose in real life due to the enjoyment of comic imitation. If the things that the individual laugh at were broken down in argument, and presented to the individual that is affected by the imitation in real life, the individual would strongly condemn the underlying argument that caused the laughter. With both pity and comedy, the imitation is like an illusive drug to the best part of the soul. This model applies to all forms of desires and pains in the human soul (606d). Without sufficient philosophical reasoning against imitative poetry, it is quite difficult for an individual to not be charmed by the poets.
Now we will analyze the underlying argument. Since Plato is a mimetic writer, Socrates, the mimetic fictional character in The Republic, only presented the surface argument. Socrates’ criticism that poetry feeds the weakest part of the soul is obviously not an argument that Plato can fully agree with, because otherwise any reader reading that dialogue would be feeding the bad part of their soul. The Republic, of course, utilizes mimetic poetry. One can say that The Republic might appeal to emotions, but it does not have to. Poetry does not always have to deliver an emotional product that negatively impacts our soul. Socrates formed his argument on very specific assumptions, precisely that the poetic character acts in a way opposite to us and makes jokes that we would be ashamed of. This cannot be the case for all forms of mimetic poetry. Mimetic poetry is not confined to a single type of tragedy or phenomenon. It can be directed towards anything. Plato wanted to direct his mimetic poetry toward philosophy; and, hence, wrote dialogues about Socratic conversations. His ends for The Republic is to communicate philosophy, and the means is mimetic poetry. Plato’s actions directly contradict Socrates in The Republic.
So what is the purpose of this condemnation of poetry? Presenting this condemnation is to demonstrate that The Republic can indeed be wretched if it is idealized. As we discussed above, the reader can always be misled by emotional responses at the expense of reason. Reason does not have full command over the mechanical cause and effect links. Through this condemnation of poetry, this might indicate that Plato’s appeal to the soul through mimetic poetry might be taken as the message of his work. Poetry is indeed a weapon; it can be misleading and powerful. Even if a poet’s work has nothing that encourages wretchedness, it can still be interpreted in that way. If the reader wants to interpret the mimesis in a certain ideology, it is always possible, even in the least emotional of poems. The reason that Plato might have used Socrates to radically oppose poetry is to make the reader aware of the power of poetry.
Plato here is presenting a double-edged sword, while he is using poetry as a means to deliver philosophy, the reader might choose to avoid this insight and be charmed by the poetic aspect of the text. Socrates states: ‘‘Aren’t you too, my friend, charmed by it, especially when you contemplate it through the medium of Homer?’’ (607c). There must be some truth here about Plato’s opinions on poetry: it is very charming. As we discussed previously, the user demonstrates individual subjectivity, even when the poets’ purpose is to appeal to reason rather than soul, it might be true that mimetic imitation can activate the soul of the reader and link his/her endless phantasms with the product. The good poets can charm even the most reasonable of us; as Socrates states, good poetry charms all.
Besides the condemnation of poetry, the premises of Socrates’ psychological analysis on the comic part does provide some interesting insight as a psychological account; it is surprisingly detailed. Socrates’ argument that laughing is a natural response to things that would evoke pity in us or we would be ashamed to do definitely holds some truth. When I think about the jokes that I laugh at, they are usually surprising. By that, I mean that laughter comes out naturally when I hear something that I would not expect or would not dare to say. There is a reason why comedians often reflect their political era the best. Especially under tyrannical regimes, repression becomes so prevalent that the truth evolves into comedy, since everyone becomes ashamed to state the truth. There is a reason why Charlie Chaplin’s films, such as ‘Modern Times’, and ‘The Great Dictator’ that were comedy films became relevant later on. When Plato uses comedy, this might be of the same value.
Sometimes comedy can be a tool to posit ideas that would have seemed outrageous and radical. For instance, on the relationship between women and men, Aristotle states: ‘‘Out of these relationships between man and woman, master and slave, the first thing to arise is the family, and Hesiod is right when he says, ‘First house and wife and an ox for the plough’ ’’(Politics, Book I, Part II). The surface argument makes Aristotle look like he is in favor of patriarchy and sexism. However, if people looked critically at the context in which Aristotle stated this in Politics Book I, they would have discovered that this offensive line was actually mocking that very idea as a whole. The wordplay between woman, man, and ox suggests something otherwise. Aristotle uses this quote from Hesiod’s Work and Days. If people actually looked at the line that follows after Aristotle’s quote, they would have found that Hesiod is actually referring to slave women, and not the wife. Hesiod states: ‘‘a slave woman and not a wife, to follow the oxen as well’’ (Work and Days, 405–413). The idea of slavery is also problematic. However, in terms of the relationship between women and men, by using the quote, Aristotle is not being serious in his account between the genders. If anything, he is mocking the whole conception of a patriarchal society. Aristotle is commonly accused of being a sexist by this particular text, which shows that the reader often missed what Aristotle was attempting to communicate through this text. Comedy can be utilized in all forms of philosophy. It is prevalent both in Plato’s and Aristotle’s works. For this reason, we have to take his condemnation of poetry with a grain of salt. Also, Aristotle would easily be aware of how this would look like a blunder from the outside. The comedic aspect of philosophy helps illuminate greater truths.
Currently, feminism seems like the norm of philosophy, but it has very recently gained credibility. In a male dominated Ancient Athens, positing the idea of gender equality might have led to political backlash. By ironically quoting Hesiod and being playful with the idea of gender, Aristotle exemplifies how comedic aspects of philosophy can open the door for greater truths.
My objection to Plato is that I do think that human beings can intuitively perceive that they are reading something they do not fully advocate in real life. Even if Socrates’ argument were true, and the poetic mimesis led us to react to things that we would not normally do, I do no think that that this indicates that our soul becomes more wretched. In fact, if anything, it is a valuable test for an individual. In real life, we are exposed to many individuals whom we would not personally admire, but have deal with anyway. We interact with people that have the potential to appeal to the wretched part of our soul everyday. By having a strong character, we do not compromise to their appeal. If anything, poetic mimesis is a test for the individual.