The Critics of Poetry
Poetry has been around for many centuries and has influenced people all over the world. In prehistoric and ancient societies, poetry was used as a way to record cultural events or to explain stories. Poetry could have been used in many different styles or techniques, and because of this, there have been discussions over what form of poetry would be best appropriate based on one’s culture or society. Two perfect examples of these controversies over the function of poetry are shown in The Republic by Plato and in The Defense of Poesy by Sir Philip Sidney. These two pieces describe the critics’ opinion over what poetry should be. Even though Plato and Sidney had different, as well as some similar, views concerning the purpose and use of poetry, these views were all based on the culture and society in which they were surrounded, as well as the time period in which they lived.
Plato and Sidney were two very distinct men who each lived in completely different eras from one another. Plato was a philosopher who viewed poetry from a conservative and absolute point of view, while Sidney was more of a liberal poet who defended poetry from being banished or misused in any way. One may say that the time difference may have been a cause of their different perspectives on poetry. Plato lived in a time before Christ was born so unlike Sidney, the bible was unheard of during this era, which could have possibly changed the way he viewed poetry, since the bible reflects on poetry. Sidney lived in the Elizabethan era, which was the golden age in English history and the height of the English Renaissance, so it was during this time that the people saw the flowering of English poetry, music and literature. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, which more than likely because of it, could had made Sidney view poetry in its many different forms, and also more in depth than others in the past. The society and culture in which Plato and...
Cited: Plato. “The Republic.” Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Comp. and ed. Bernard F. Dukore.
New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1974. 12 – 31.
Sidney, Philip. “The Defense of Poesy.” Apology for Poetry. Comp. and ed. Albert S. Cook.
Boston: Ginn & Co., 1890. 168-177
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