What is poetry 

This investigation hopes to discuss the views of the scholars on the topics of Poetry, Prose and Rhetoric. The essay references four books by the scholars. The main search is to find out what these three topics meant to the ancient philosophers and in so doing to find what poetry is and what separates it from the other two forms of writing.

 The essay will discuss the ideas though not in full detail, identifying what the scholars were trying to put across in their writings. Only source of information is the translated books on scholars, first from “Gorgias by Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett”, “The Poetics by Aristotle a Translation by S. H. Butcher”, “Ion by Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett” and “The Republic by Plato Translated by Benjamin Jowett” information as were available books of modern authors who translated what the scholars had written on the three topics. 

Plato was arguably the most influential in this whole investigation as he was set apart by his wide criticism of not only poetry, poets and orators in general but also criticizing the influence of the topics themselves. 
Aristotle was also very critical on these subjects but the difference with him was that his ideas were very clearly expressed based on the fact that he had enough information to start from as in the arguments already existent from Plato, Isocrates and Alcidamas.
Besides those referenced from Plato. No other information was available of any original works produced by Socrates. His ideas were also to affirming at most those of Plato, he even pay reference to him from time to time.

The limited space also limited the investigation from going much further. At the end the are annexed quotes of some of the most well known including authors and philosophers and my an excerpt of my own poem that relates to the opinion of what poetry stand for.

Aristotle’s Poetics
The literary criticism of Aristotle on his book The Poetics seeks to define poetry and some of its components, Aristotle stresses more than once on the idea that poetry is an imitation and from this point he develops his ideas in a way to convince the reader of why he defines poetry in such a manner. He holds to the belief that poetry seems to have emerged from two causes, being the instinct of imitation and the pleasure felt in things imitated.(12) He supports his views by arguing that as mankind is an imitator by his nature from birth, he has come to find pleasure in imitation even of the forms written, painted, in song and even in humor, such that by these ways he is able to mimic actions that have happened, might happen or are unable to happen. Aristotle refers to imitation as an instinct of our nature, and identifies the instinct of harmony and rhythm. By these poets through meter are able to build sections of rhythm. Therefore, he state that with this natural gift developed by degrees of improvement and with improvisations the birth to poetry came about(12)
To further his argument he explained how poetry diverged in two directions the serious kind that imitated noble actions, and the actions of good men. And the more playful kind that imitated the actions of meaner persons, by composing satires, while the serious poets did hymns to the gods and the praises of famous men. This was when meter was introduced therefore the measure is still called the iambic or lampooning measure. So that the older poets were distinguished as writers of heroic or of lampooning verse. He clearly distinguishes these two type of poetries as Tragedy and Comedy, and explained on how they were to be treated for the best result. He also claims that there is proof that it is not the function of the poet to relate what has happened, but what may happen. Which he also greatly supports with detail.(26) He advises the poet in constructing the plot and working using proper diction, to place the scene, as far as possible, from himself so as to gain better perspective of the poem without being destructed by his own views and emotions.(46) He asserts that the poet should work out his play, to the best of his power, with appropriate gestures also that poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. Which implies that a good performance strengthens the poem be it good or bad actions are being portrayed. (46)
Source : Aristotle. “Poetics. English.” iBooks

Plato’s Republic
The literary criticism of Plato in his book The Republic most daunting as he widely criticized from poet to the reader, but in reading of the word it is easily identifiable that some of those beliefs held in Aristotle’s The Poetics have been developed from those of Plato. He states that poetry is a narration of events, either past, present, or to come, by the writer. Be it as the speaker or speaking as someone else.(554) He affirms in the necessity of all sorts of harmonies and all sorts of rhythms, in some types of poems for the music and the style to correspond, and that in others only one style is kept and only one harmony is kept with only small differences. Therefore he affirms that the style has all sorts of changes by this point of view blaming those poets that choose to do the poetry that does not improve the audience, Plato therefore assures that such poets are not to be accepted in the City.(565) He argues that only two styles, or the mixture of the two, is what all poetry came from and every form of even every expression in words, and that poetry and mythology are at some points just imitation.(558)
For Plato poetry had to be more than just entertaining, or evoking emotion he believed that it also had to portray the goodwill ill of things he supported his beliefs by urging that the listener employ the soul’s’ health to the rougher and severer poets or story-teller, who would imitate the style of the virtuous only, and would follow those models which were prescribed when the education of the City officials began.(567) Furthermore he wanted the rejection of imitative poetry, as he believed it would ruin the soles of those who listened to it. He observed all poetical imitations as ruinous to the understanding of the hearers and its knowledge of their true nature as the only antidote to imitations themselves.(1010)
He believed imitation to tend to imitate the actions of men, be it by choice or involuntary, which meant that in the involuntary imagined, a good or bad result was ensued, therefore the performer would rejoice or sorrow accordingly.(1032) To silence those of the city who loved poetry he suggested that they may be granted permission to speak in prose and explain how the poetry was valuable to human life and how it would be useful to the City but the poets were not to be allowed to explain the poems promising kindness to the defenders of imitative poetry.(1040) The great appreciation of the fineness of the art of poetry is greatly apparent in all of Plato’s arguments.
Source : Plato. “The Republic.” iBooks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s