Plato & Aristotle Comparison

1798 Words Nov 17th, 2008 8 Pages
Imitative Art A Comparison of the Philosophies of Plato & Aristotle And the Ultimate Beneficial Nature of the Tragic Drama By: Stephanie Cimino In the various discussions of imitative art there has been a notable disagreement between two distinguished philosophers; Plato and Aristotle. Although it was Plato who first discussed the concept of imitative art, it is my belief that Aristotle was justified in his praise and admiration of imitative art, specifically, the tragic drama. In my discussion on the two philosophers’ dissertations I will begin with the ideas of Plato and his position and requirements for imitative art and its respected uses, after which I will discuss the ideas of Aristotle to show that the tragic …show more content…
This portrayal of emotions, of the inferior part of the soul, in Plato’s beliefs, “awakens and nourishes and strengthens the feelings and impairs the reason.” (41) Plato considers this indulgence irrational and useless. The superior and rational person (the ideal statesman) would pride himself on the opposite qualities and in times of sorrow or passion would suppress urges to openly sorrow or indulge in pleasures. Summing up Plato’s philosophy, the imitative artist is a long way from the truth and can write or paint any and all things because he does not know about the subjects he creates; he denies the rational principle of the soul and overly indulges in emotion resulting in the neglect of justice and virtue, (45) and has not found a proper purpose in the ideal state. Aristotle follows Plato on several points; he agrees art is a kind of techne, that there is a measure appropriate to the creation of techne, and that the most important human arts are “imitative of human souls, bodies, and actions.” (79) This, however, is where their likeness ends. While Plato condemns the tragic drama and finds it detrimental to his ideal society, Aristotle believes that it can be an instrument of learning and an outlet for the emotions felt by all men. Aristotle finds the tragic dramas true purpose or nature as “the natural later development of a human religious activity.” (80) In the Poetics, Aristotle defends the tragic drama completely and proves that it is useful. He
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