The purpose of art and the place of the artist has long been debated, and by many a critic. Two of these critics are Plato and Sir Philip Sydney. Their similarities and differences will be compared and contrasted using two of their works: Plato's The Republic and Sydney's The Defense of Poesy.
It is odd that Plato banished poets, and had so many negative words towards poetry, considering his philosophy was clothed in poetry. But, it is more of a negative view upon "the abuse, not the thing (Sydney 174). There are disagreements between Plato and Sydney. A major one involves imitation. Is art's sole function to be imitative? Plato believes that " ¦poetry and mythology are, in some cases, wholly imitative (Plato 14). According to Sydney though, the poet is a maker, yet all art is based in nature. Plato and Sydney also differ on the subject of imitation in the regard that Plato believes that imitation is wrong, and Sydney believes it is good giving the example that man is made in the image of God. Man is an imitation, therefore art as imitation is pure. Sydney believes that poetry is an art of imitation, and Plato believes that imitative poetr