Friday, May 2, 2008
I'm too busy and brain-dead to write an actual post, but I'd like your thoughts on the following question (based, of course, on the horrifying tenth book of The Republic):
What is the purpose of art?
Okay, so I won't leave it at that. Plato says art is horrible in part because it allows us to express the worst parts of ourselves. We appreciate it when grown men cry on the stage but GOD FORBID we ever do that at home; we laugh at jokes we'd never tell; etc. Aristotle, whom I've not read yet (this summer, depending on how the Summer of Hamlet and my Milton course go), says that that catharsis is good and necessary. Why? Does art serve a function beyond emotional manipulation? Is it meant to be a lesson? (Should we then censor all art with an immoral lesson?) Is beauty in and of itself good?
I feel like I'm teaching a Comp class here, but I wanted to post something, and I'm out of ideas for a week or so.