Plato on the political role of poetry. The expulsion of the traditional poets and the reform of poetry

Laura Liliana Gomez


Plato offers two criticisms of imitative poetry in the Republic. In the firstone, developed in books II and III, Plato seems to criticize poetry softly,banning only one part of imitative poetry. The second criticism, developedin book x, seems to establish a more drastic critique to imitative poetry thatprecludes the possibility of any kind of imitative poetry in the polis. Manydifferent interpretations have been proposed in order to account for thisapparent clash. I will defend Tate’s classical interpretation, according towhich no clash exists because Plato distinguishes two kinds of imitations,and he remains consistent in preserving one and banishing the other.

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