Plato’s Republic: The Relationship between Imitation in Art and in Actual Conduct
Plato’s doctrine of mimesis in the Republic is very contradictory. Mimesis, translated as “imitation,” is the process by which a poet, artist, or imitator assumes chosen features of an original to a work (mimema) in such a way that the work has an effect through its maker’s art that the original would have by its nature. Plato says that mimesis is imitation of the natural world. Thus, this paper discusses Plato’s views on imitation in art and in real human activities and attempts to find the relationship between the two forms of imitation. This examines found one major similarity that both are imitating something. There are several differences but only four are explored in this paper: (1) The deception concerning the identity of the speaker (2) The bad moral qualities of the people (3) Platonic account of the ideal state (4) The danger of imitation of a wise person.
Keywords: Actual Conduct, Guardians, Imitation, Mimesis, Poets, Gods, Heroes
Doctoral Student, School of Interdisciplinary Arts, Ohio University