Implications Of Plato's Censorship Of Poetry In The Republic

1914 Words8 Pages
In the Republic, Plato proposes the complete censorship of imitative poetry from his ideal city, arguing that it corrupts individuals’ souls and therefore has a negative effect on society, resulting in injustice within the city. Although seemingly trivial at first, when considered within its proper context, the censorship of imitative poetry from the city would result in severe consequences. Throughout this essay I will discuss the political and psychological implications of its censorship, and will also refute Plato’s argument, showing how it lacks soundness: notably, through a criticism of his epistemology. Regarding the political implications of the censorship of poetry, I will draw from the ideas of Karl Popper, who argued Plato to be one of the most influential philosophers on the emergence of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century, laying the foundations for their very existence (K. Popper, 1945). I will also show how poets themselves have an important political role within cities, in that they enable the general population to hold the state accountable for their actions. To discuss the psychological implications of poetry’s censorship, I will compare the contrasting views of Plato and Aristotle regarding its effect on the soul, whereby Aristotle claims that poetry actually has beneficial, cathartic effects. Following these criticisms, it will become apparent that Plato’s proposed ban of imitative poetry is indefensible.
Firstly, to fully understand Plato’s proposal

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