By Myles F. Burnyeat
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Extra resources for Culture and Society in Plato’s Republic
To explain why, I must move on to the second stage of Plato’s discussion of poetry and try to say what I think Plato means by mimesis. STAGE 2 OF THE REFORM: MIMESIS AND THE MANNER OF PERFORMANCE The advanced industrial countries of the West have fewer occasions for community singing than traditional societies, but one that survives is Christmas: Once in Royal David’s city Stood a lowly cattle shed, Where a mother laid her baby, In a manger for his bed. Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ the little child.
Many refuse to take the statement seriously. What I think it means is that Forms such as Couch, Shuttle, and Name have a rather different status from Forms like Beauty, Justice, and the Good. I have a speculation to offer about what that status is, but this will be a digression from the main line of my argument. 63 One of the differences between Platonic and Aristotelian teleology is that Plato tends to go for the highest purpose a thing can achieve. Eyes are for astronomy, ears for harmonics (530d); both organs are given to us for the improvement of our intellectual understanding (cf.
Matthew Passion. W e also see them. W e see them moving, dancing, fighting, 266 The Tanner Lectures on Human Values dying; not motionless as in painting and sculpture. Another contrast with the St. Matthew Passion is the absence of a narrator. Tchaikovsky’s Eugène Onegin cuts out the narrator whose ironic commentary is crucial to Pushkin’s poem, and shows us Tatiana herself in the intimacy of her bedroom, writing the fateful loveletter. Afterwards we see and hear Onegin crushing her hopes. At the end we see and hear Onegin declare his love -too late.