2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Plato & Brecht: A Concern for the Unengaged Intellect
Robert B. Tylka
Dr. Patricia Burton, Dr. Lee Orchard, and Dr. William Ashcraft, Faculty Mentors

Plato’s aesthetics have always been difficult to approach. In the dialogues, Plato appears to call for rigorous artistic censorship and criticizes the poets because they present very compelling displays of apparent insight about matters of which they know nothing. Yet, the Platonic dialogues are unrivaled dramatic achievements themselves and seem to contain all the qualities Plato condemns in poetry. Far from being merely problematic, Plato’s mimetic theory bears an enormous amount of relevance when considering the theatre of German playwright and director Bertolt Brecht. In the early twentieth-century, Brecht expressed similar concerns toward drama and created a revolutionary form of theatre. I argue that Plato too did not reject poetry entirely, but produced a unique body of dramatic literature in his own philosophical dialogues. This inquiry looks at the Platonic dialogues and Brecht’s plays to examine their similar dialectical treatment that allows both men to achieve comparable literary aspirations.

Keywords: Plato, Bertolt Brecht, Theatre, Aesthetics, Mimesis, Dialogues, Poetry

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 10-2
Location: OP 2111
Time: 8:30

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