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Plato and Aristotle Life and Views on Poetics

By janevillena Jul 03, 2013 772 Words
PLATO
1. Plato's parents were Ariston and Perictone, his older brothers were Adeimantus and Glaucon, and his younger sister was Potone. He came from a family that had long played an important part in Athenian politics. He was born from an aristoctratic and wealthy family. 2. Plato wrote mostly in the form of dialogue. His dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion and mathematics. Plato absorbed the learning of his times, - Philolaus, Timaeus, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and then his master, Socrates, which entitles him to stand as the representative of philosophy. 3. Plato returned to Athens and founded his Academy. The Academy was named after Academos, who owned the land where the school was located. The Academy was an institution devoted to research and instruction in philosophy and the sciences. He presided over it from 387 BC until his death in 347 BC. His reasons for setting up the Academy were connected with his earlier schemes into politics. He hoped to train young men who would become statesmen. 4. One of Plato’s most ardent reasons for opposing poetry is that it incites and plays upon people’s emotions. He also attacks emotional poetry for its uselessness in society. He also objected on the ground that poetry does not cultivate good habits among children. 5. “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” –Plato 6. Plato’s The Republic is less a dialogue than a long discussion of justice and what it means to the individual and to the city-state by Socrates, the main character. There are three elements to

the soul: the rational, the less rational, and the impulsive irrational; so there are three classes in the state: the rulers, the guardians, and the workers. The rulers are not a family of rulers but are made up of those who have emerged from the population as a whole as the most gifted intellectually. The guardians serve the society by keeping order and by handling the practical matters of government, including fighting wars, while the workers perform the labor necessary to keep the whole running smoothly. Thus the most rational elements of the city-state guide it and see that all in it are given an education equal to their abilities. The Republic ends with the great myth of Er, in which the wanderings of the soul through births and rebirths are retold. One may be freed from the cycle after a time through lives of greater and greater spiritual and intellectual purity.

ARISTOTLE
1. Aristotle’s line of ancestry is mostly composed of distinguished physicians. His parents were Nicomachus, a physician and Phaestis, a woman of aristocratic descent; he had two siblings, Arimneste and Arimnestus. His father, Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. 2. Aristotle established his own school in a gymnasium known as the Lyceum. He built a extensive library and gathered around him a group of brilliant research students, called “peripatetics” from the name of the cloister in which they walked and held their discussions. The Lyceum was not a private club like the Academy; many of the lectures there were open to the general public and were given free of charge. His motive for founding the Lyceum is still unclear today, however part of the reason may be the obvious possibility that both during his years at the Academy and during his years away his philosophical interests had changed to the point where they were incompatible with the interests of the community in the Academy. He enjoyed the Academy and how it was ran, however he did not feel that he was free enough to influence the direction of philosophical activity. 3. Unlike Plato, Aristotle does not see instruction as the basic function of poetry. He agrees with Plato that poetry appeals to emotions, but he does not accept the contention of Plato that poetry is harmful to society. He believes that poetry has a beneficial effect on society contradicting Plato’s belief that poetry is useless in the society. 4. “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” –Aristotle

5. ‘On The Sublime’, is an essay which examines the work of more than 50 ancient writers under the lens of the sublime, which Longinus defines as man’s ability, through feeling and words, to reach beyond the realm of the human condition into greater mystery. It was written as an epistolary piece to “dear Terentianus,” Longinus focuses on figurative language as a vehicle for such flight, and argues that it is not just the writer who is transported by sublimity, but the reader as well.

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