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The Rhetoric of Plato'S RepublicDemocracy and the Philosophical Problem of Persuasion$
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James L. Kastely

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226278629

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226278766.001.0001

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The Rhetorical Office of Poetry

The Rhetorical Office of Poetry

(p.185) Chapter Ten The Rhetorical Office of Poetry
The Rhetoric of Plato'S Republic

James L. Kastely

University of Chicago Press

Socrates’s return to the discussion of poetry now allows him to address the issue not as a technical one of control of the curriculum. Rather, this discussion focuses on the practice of mimesis and its function in the rhetorical operation poetry. Book 10 is, in effect, an argument for the Republic as a revised form of the epic, one that is appropriate to a democracy. Equally, it is instruction in how to read the dialogue rhetorically so that it does not become simply the argument for a new ideology. In effect, Socrates’s discussion provides the antidote necessary to read poetry in a way that does not inadvertently injure the reader. Finally, in his myth of Er, he appropriates the Homeric hero, Odysseus, and makes him the epic hero of a new narrative that values justice for its own sake.

Keywords:   mimesis, epic, rhetorical operation of poetry, antidote, myth of Er, Odysseus

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