Violence in the Arts – Plato vs. Aristotle

Topics: Aristotle, Violence, Drama Pages: 4 (1298 words) Published: December 11, 2005
Violence in The Arts – Plato vs. Aristotle

Nowadays, it is hard to turn on a television program, catch a movie or buy your younger sibling a video game without encountering a warning for extreme violence. Everyday, our lives are exposed to violence on the screen, whether it is in the latest Sopranos episode or even watching the six o'clock news. For quite a while now, people have been demanding that stricter censorship be placed on the media, especially those programs and video games that can easily be obtained by the youth, due to their feelings that this violence can influence people to "act out". However, this is not a new idea. Back in ancient Greece, the philosopher Plato believed that exposure to the emotions of the arts (especially drama) would encourage people to act out violent emotions portrayed in the drama. As documented in his work The Republic, Plato believed strongly that the perfect life was comprised of total balance and harmony in one's mindset and that any stimulated emotions would result in an imbalance. The first theorist to challenge Plato's idea was his well-known student, Aristotle. Aristotle felt that exposure to the strong emotions of the arts had a positive psychological effect on people because it gave them a chance to let out any emotional frustrations that they might have bottled up inside. I concur with the ideas of Plato, being that the media has become such an influential authority in our society, and the constant exposure to violent behavior within the media is creating numbness to it, especially within our children, who are less able to distinguish between factual and fictional. Our society, beginning with a child's parents, should become stricter with Limiting exposure to violent visual entertainment, and only allow a moderate, if any, amount of violence to be seen by impressionable children and young adults.

Drama had only recently developed in Ancient Greece when Plato began speaking against it, however it...
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