Why does Plato want the artists to be kept away from the ideal state? Discuss

Why does Plato want the artists to be kept away from the ideal state? Discuss

Ans . Plato, born around 427 BC in Athens, Greece, was an influential philosopher and one of the most significant figures in Western philosophy. He was a student of Socrates, another renowned philosopher, and the teacher of Aristotle, who would later become one of history's greatest thinkers.

Plato's philosophical ideas were diverse and covered various fields, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. His philosophy aimed to explore fundamental questions about reality, knowledge, morality, and the ideal society. Plato's philosophical works are primarily written in the form of dialogues, using conversations between characters to present and discuss his ideas.

 In Plato's renowned work, "The Republic," he presents a compelling argument for the exclusion of artists from his ideal state. Plato's perspective on the role of art and artists in society is multifaceted, encompassing concerns regarding mimesis, emotional influence, the misrepresentation of virtue, and the power of persuasion. This literary analysis aims to explore these themes and shed light on why Plato advocates for the separation of artists from his utopian vision.

Mimesis Art as Imitation

Art as Imitation Plato's first argument revolves around the concept of mimesis, which refers to the imitation or representation of reality through art. Plato posits that art is a mere imitation of the physical world, lacking a direct connection to truth or the realm of ideal Forms. He contends that artists become imitators of imitations, creating a second-order representation that detaches them from genuine knowledge and understanding. Plato's concern lies in the potential distortion of truth and the dilution of the pursuit of genuine knowledge within the ideal state.

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Emotional Influence

Disrupting the Soul's Harmony Plato recognizes the powerful influence of art in evoking emotions and stirring passions within individuals. However, he views these emotional responses as potentially dangerous, as they can disrupt the harmony of the soul. Plato aspires for a balanced and rational state, where reason governs all aspects of life. He believes that the unbridled emotions aroused by art can lead to irrationality and undermine the pursuit of wisdom and virtue. To maintain a harmonious society, Plato advocates for limiting the impact of art on individuals' emotional states.

Artistic Deviation Plato contends that art has the potential to present a distorted and misleading view of virtue. Artists, driven by their creativity and imagination, may deviate from the ideal forms of justice, wisdom, and morality. Plato argues that such deviations can negatively impact the moral development of individuals, potentially leading them astray from the path of true virtue. He believes that the ideal state should prioritize the pursuit of genuine virtue and moral excellence, and art's potential to misrepresent these ideals poses a threat to the integrity of the state.

Art's Influence on Society (Power of Persuasion)

Plato recognizes the persuasive power of art and its ability to shape public opinion and influence societal values. He fears that granting artists influence within the ideal state would undermine the authority of reason and perpetuate erroneous ideas. Plato's vision of a rational society relies on the supremacy of reason as the guiding force for decision-making and governance. The persuasive abilities of artists, according to Plato, have the potential to sway public sentiment, leading to the acceptance of false beliefs and disrupting the order he seeks to establish.


Plato's exclusionary stance on artists in the ideal state is underpinned by his concerns regarding mimesis, emotional influence, the misrepresentation of virtue, and the power of persuasion. Through his philosophical arguments, Plato emphasizes the primacy of reason, truth, and moral virtue within the ideal state.

While his perspective may appear restrictive, it reflects his belief in the importance of maintaining harmony, pursuing genuine knowledge, and upholding moral excellence. Plato's vision of the ideal state seeks to protect the integrity of these principles, leading him to advocate for the separation of artists and their potentially disruptive influence.

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