Plato and Poetry

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Penelope Anne Murray (University of Warwick)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Plato is well known for having banished poets from his ideal state in the Republic, yet he is the most poetic of philosophers. His dialogues are steeped in the language of poetry and myth, and even at their most technical they are shaped by a dramatist’s hand. In his youth he was said to have written poetry himself, but abandoned his early passion to devote himself to philosophy when he met Socrates. This no doubt fictional story captures something of the ambivalence of Plato’s attitude to poets, who are revered and celebrated as godlike beings, but also dismissed as worthless imitators who understand nothing of what they say. This ambivalence has led to widely divergent interpretations, some emphasizing the positive …

2343 words

Citation: Murray, Penelope Anne. "Plato and Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 February 2009 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

5774 Plato and Poetry 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.