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References in classic literature ?
That such things are or are not to be said about men is a question which we cannot determine until we have discovered what justice is, and how naturally advantageous to the possessor, whether he seems to be just or not.
You are aware, I suppose, that all mythology and poetry is a narration of events, either past, present, or to come?
Or you may suppose the opposite case--that the intermediate passages are omitted, and the dialogue only left.
You have conceived my meaning perfectly; and if I mistake not, what you failed to apprehend before is now made clear to you, that poetry and mythology are, in some cases, wholly imitative-- instances of this are supplied by tragedy and comedy; there is likewise the opposite style, in which the my poet is the only speaker-- of this the dithyramb affords the best example; and the combination of both is found in epic, and in several other styles of poetry.
In saying this, I intended to imply that we must come to an understanding about the mimetic art,--whether the poets, in narrating their stories, are to be allowed by us to imitate, and if so, whether in whole or in part, and if the latter, in what parts; or should all imitation be prohibited?
Then the same person will hardly be able to play a serious part in life, and at the same time to be an imitator and imitate many other parts as well; for even when two species of imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed in both, as, for example, the writers of tragedy and comedy--did you not just now call them imitations?
Yes, I did; and you are right in thinking that the same persons cannot succeed in both.
Neither are comic and tragic actors the same; yet all these things are but imitations.
And human nature, Adeimantus, appears to have been coined into yet smaller pieces, and to be as incapable of imitating many things well, as of performing well the actions of which the imitations are copies.
If then we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind that our guardians, setting aside every other business, are to dedicate themselves wholly to the maintenance of freedom in the State, making this their craft, and engaging in no work which does not bear on this end, they ought not to practise or imitate anything else; if they imitate at all, they should imitate from youth upward only those characters which are suitable to their profession-- the courageous, temperate, holy, free, and the like; but they should not depict or be skilful at imitating any kind of illiberality or baseness, lest from imitation they should come to be what they imitate.
Neither should they be trained to imitate the action or speech of men or women who are mad or bad; for madness, like vice, is to be known but not to be practised or imitated.
How can they, he said, when they are not allowed to apply their minds to the callings of any of these?