Theatre And Platonic Moralism

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Theatre, Christianity and Platonic Moralism

“Plato, the moralist was concerned with the importance of art to culture, making it a means to another end” (Carlson, 236).
Plato’s philosophy of theatre promotes a Christian worldview due to its acknowledgment of the corrupt nature of imitation in lauding immorality in performance art. Plato presents the brilliant argument that theatre is only useful when actors and audiences thoughtfully engage in storytelling that celebrates morality and right living. Instead of trading our values for the purpose of art, Plato proposes that art serve as a tool for promoting morality instead of becoming a means to itself.

In The Republic, Plato asserts that “art imitates the objects and events of ordinary life. In other words, a work of art is a copy of a copy of a Form. It is even more of an illusion than is ordinary experience. On this theory, works of art are at best entertainment, and at worst a dangerous delusion” (Clowney, para. 7).

Plato brilliantly recognized that poets and playwrights yield massive amounts of power, in transforming culture and popular thinking. Unfortunately, their narratives have long celebrated protagonists whose vice and immorality dictates the plot of the narrative. Thus, Plato advocated for strict censorship in order to limit the ability for creators to impress negative values through their mediums. “Plato justified this call for censorship by asserting that man is an imitative animal and tends to become what
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