The Influence of the ‘Honeyed Muse’ (ἡδυσμένη Μοῦσα) Over the Soul in Plato’s Republic

  • Barbara Botter
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 20)


Plato’s rejection of poetry and poetic style is notorious among scholars and is a recurrent theme in the area of Platonic studies from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. There are important reasons that justify Plato’s critique of poets and tragedians. First, Plato regards poetry as a kind of mimetic art and worries about the life-changing powers of mimesis, i.e. the skill of the imitative art to shape the minds of its listeners. Moreover, Plato deplores the morally degrading influence that epic poetry and tragedy bring about in the audience’s souls through the pleasure they afford. This paper discusses the following three points: a) the kind of pleasure epic poetry and tragedy afford; b) the peculiar psychological identification that poetry instills in the audience; c) finally, the reform of dramatic style advocated by the philosopher in order to turn poetry into a useful (ὠφελίμη) practice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Botter
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES)VitóriaBrazil

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