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The Art of Criticism Essay

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Plato’s republic is based, largely, on order and responsibility. The only morality in this society deals with the relative functions of the members of said society. For example: A man kills another man. Why is this a bad thing? In most societies, this would be considered bad or wrong because the societal morals dictate that one’s life is sacred and one’s body is one’s own etc etc etc. In Plato’s republic, the only reason people (namely, Plato) would be against a murder, is because, once a man has lost his life, he will no longer be able to function according to the provenance of the governing bodies. Despite the fundamental difference in moral purpose, however, morals do indeed play a prominent role in the republic. Consider the republic as a machine. There are many specialized parts to this machine, all of which have a specific role to play. Of course, as in any machine, if a given part fails to do its job, the machine loses functionality. Now take this concept of a machine and expand it to encompass the entire society. Every person is a part of the machine. No person may, therefore, do anything but their assigned tasks. Doing so disrupts the very nature of the society and brings about a decline in the “moral” fabric of the republic.
Now clearly, in the republic as in any society, the governing bodies must attempt to somehow stop the pieces of that societal machine from straying from the course of their jobs. In most societies this is done through a system of laws and punishments. In the republic, however, this is done through the censorship of art and literature. Ostensibly, if the people are not exposed to something or are unaware of something, that thing will never come up. This leads Plato to have the concept of censoring a...


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..., in fact, result in a horrendous cascade of logic leading to a degeneration of order and morality and eventually ending with a tragic loss of humanity. The reasons for this are simple. Firstly, the censorship of art is nothing more than the censorship of ideas that are both spontaneous AND inherent to the people themselves. Thus, censorship is useless. Secondly, the censorship of art removes means of expression and release and will result in the occurrence of these negative acts on a more regular basis. Thirdly, and most importantly, the children, with no foil to the good in their lives, will not know bad and thus will not have any proclivity to follow a given moral code. To them, there will be no morality, only good. Thus, the censorship of art, unto itself, will cause the negative effects mentioned above. This is why the censorship of art will ruin the republic.



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The Art of Criticism Essay - Plato’s republic is based, largely, on order and responsibility. The only morality in this society deals with the relative functions of the members of said society. For example: A man kills another man. Why is this a bad thing. In most societies, this would be considered bad or wrong because the societal morals dictate that one’s life is sacred and one’s body is one’s own etc etc etc. In Plato’s republic, the only reason people (namely, Plato) would be against a murder, is because, once a man has lost his life, he will no longer be able to function according to the provenance of the governing bodies....   [tags: Censorship] 2401 words
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