Plato - Introduction to literary criticism. Fundamentals...


(427-347 BC)

Plato did not leave special works on the problems of literature and aesthetics. However, he was keenly interested in these problems, and they are deeply touched in many of his works. First of all, in such works as "Ion", "Socrates Apology," "State", "Laws".

The understanding of poetry by Plato was almost diametrically opposed to its understanding among the sophists and rhetoricians. In many respects this can be explained by the fact that the great philosopher was simultaneously a poet. Perhaps no one in antiquity so subtly and deeply understood the very essence of poetry, its originality, and no one, on the other hand, was so contradictory and inconsistent in its assessments.

Plato is one of the most influential idealist philosophers. His well-known thesis that the apple can be eaten and the idea of ​​an apple can not be eaten, that is, that ideas are based on the world, and the objective world is only their reflection, is repeated in various variants by idealist philosophers up to the present time.

Poetry is a reflection of a predominantly external, objective world, and therefore, according to Plato's logic, a reflection already reflected once. This definition of the place and role of poetry somewhat belittled its significance. However, as a poet, Plato could not help but feel the secret and powerful power contained in poetry. In the Ion dialog, describes how listeners are excited while reading Homer's poems in the theater. They cry, they are filled with horror. And the reader himself is in a frenzy. This state Plato calls "obsession", interpreting it literally. Socrates (the character of the dialogue) explains to Jonah:

Tell me this, Ion. Whenever you perform the poem well and especially amaze the audience ... in your mind, then or out of yourself, so that your soul in a frenzy seems as if it is where the events are being performed.

Ion. Socrates! When I perform something pitiful, my eyes are full of tears, and when terrible and terrible - the hair becomes on end with fear, and the heart beats violently.

Socrates. We designate this as obsessed & quot ;, and it's almost the same thing: Muse keeps you. And from these first links - poets - other obsessive ones depend, one from Orpheus, the other from Musa, the majority are obsessed with Homer. "

Thus, to the poetic perception and creativity of Plato again are involved Homer's muse.

In the case of the Sophists and Rhetorians, poetic creativity is, in fact, a verbal craft, a matter of technology ( techne ). Plato is the result of divine inspiration. Poetic art can not be learned. This is the gift of the gods. Inspiration Plato understands not only as something divine, but also as a "furious" element, like "obsession", frenzy. In this state, the poet is not always able to create intelligent. And in general the "obsession" a poet can be socially dangerous. And Plato, among other things, was the creator of the theory of an ideal state, although he was at a loss to determine whether poets were necessary or not, they were doing good or harm to the state. In one case, Plato is inclined to believe that poets will only damage his ideal state. Therefore, if the poet comes to the imaginary city of the future, "the wondrous husband who can imitate anything, we will listen to him with attention, we will smear his head with incense and send it out of our city".

But the same Plato, understanding the appeal of poetry, wrote that "the whole state must ceaselessly sing fascinating songs that, as under hypnosis, will convince everyone of the correctness of their life". Of course, such songs can be created only by those poets who will not imitate anything, but the good, the right one. In connection with emphasizing the educational role of poetry, Plato believed that not all myths were allowed to read the youth, and condemned Homer for his too free portrayal of the gods. Returning once again to the idea of ​​the uselessness of the poets, Plato accused Hesiod and Homer of vagrancy and, turning to the latter, exclaimed: "Dear Homer, do you understand what you are writing about? Have you improved the life of any state? Thus, Plato's attitude to the poets, in particular to Homer, was extremely controversial.

Caring about the state, about public morality allows us to define Plato as the founder of ethical literary criticism and criticism. This trend existed at all stages of the development of literary thought, but it manifested itself particularly loudly in the twentieth century.

As for purely aesthetic views, Plato argued for the existence of objective beauty, that is, the beautiful, according to Plato, is so always for everyone. It is wonderful, he believed, that it was just, reasonable, orderly, and proceeds from the divine idea. Truth is also objective, it does not depend on the play of the mind or the intricacies of words, as the Sophists and rhetoricians believed. Objective truth Plato counterposed to the subjective "opinion" sophists.

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