Sunday, September 19, 2010

Question about Plato on Drama

A useful question from classfellow D.L. on Plato's demands of drama:
Plato, recall, does not say that drama can't be a part of a perfect society: rather he demands that drama (along with all other human occupations) justify itself before it can be welcomed in.
I was just reviewing my lecture notes and came up with a question. We have concluded on the question of whether or not drama can be included in a society because of its imitating properties, correct? But, within a perfect society isn't there the need to keep people happy? And it is clear that drama makes people laugh thus making them happy. How come drama can't be a part of a perfect society even though it brings joy to people?
Now, for it making people happy, this is effectively Plato's very problem with drama: that people become happy from watching something that at best is merely an imitation of reality. At worst, as Plato points out, people become happy watching something that is evil--mocks the Good, for instance, or promotes wicked behavior, or belittles noble leaders and praises ignoble pretenders.

Plato's position is that only happiness that promotes Goodness and virtue is happiness that can be accepted into the perfect society.

[PS: good to see that D.L., like all of you, is reviewing his lecture notes as our resource post advises....]

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