Real name of Plato was Aristocle that means broad shouldered.Plato was the first critic of poetry. He wrote dramatic dialogues rather than didactic volumes . In total he
wrote 36 dialogues(genuine ones). According to Plato’s Theory of Mimesis (Imitation), the arts deal with illusion and they are imitation of an imitation, hence they are twice removed from reality. Thus Plato censured poetry because it distorts
reality. Plato disapproves of poetry because it is immoral and as a philosopher he disapproves it because it is based on falsehood.
According to Plato, Philosophy is better than Poetry, because philosophers deals with ideal truth, whereas poet deals with what appears to him/illusion. According to Plato, truth of Philosophy was more important than the pleasure of Poetry.
Plato objected poetry on three grounds :
2. Philosophical and
3. Moral view point.
In his Theory of Mimesis he gave an example of a carpenter and chair. The idea of ‘chair’ first came in the mind of carpenter. He gave physical shape to his idea out of wood and created a chair. The painter imitated the chair of the carpenter in his picture of chair. Thus, painter’s chair is twice removed from reality. Hence, he believed that art is twice removed from reality.
According to Plato poets are breeders of falsehood and poetry is mother of lies. Plato distinguished between Mimesis and Digenesis, in which Mimesis is the speech of a character directly reproduced, where Digenesis is a narration of doings and sayings.
His famous work is The Republic, which had strong influence on Thomas More’s Utopia. The issue of privileging speech over writing was taken for discussion in his Phaedrus.
According to Plato, the ideal age of a poet should be less than 50 years.
In the republic Plato has introduced 7 musical modes they are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygion, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolias and Bochian.
Download pdf files of literary criticism and theory of M.R Habib.