The Concept Of Mimesis Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

The idea of mimesis is that a certain medium is a representation of reality. The concept of mimesis extends to art, media, and other texts. Mimesis also creates a sense of false reality, as often the art appears and is can be taken as real as the real world. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the concept of mimesis is explained and through analysis of the novel and several other pieces of work can the implications and effects of mimesis be grasped.
In The Allegory of the Cave, Plato’s concept that art is a representation of reality can be seen. Even further, Plato’s concept that reality is intermittently a copy of a greater perfect reality (that is found in heaven or a similar place). The concept of mimesis is refereed through analogy, by the shadows on the wall the prisoners see. The shadows on the wall show, “men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials…” (Plato 450). The shadows of the wall are believed to be cast by the real world, and an outside source of light. The prisoners interpret the shadows as accurate representations of what occurs outside, they perceive it as reality, even though it is merely shadows on the wall. It is similar to the portrait of a pipe drawn by René Magritte that was shown in class; the text on the painting states that it is not a pipe because even though the portrait is a painting of a pipe, it is often still referred to as a pipe. In The Allegory of the Cave, the shadows on the wall are believed to be cast by the real world; however the shadows are implied to be deliberate. During the description of the setting, a statement is made about “… a raised way; and you will see , if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show puppets” (450). In this statement, it is implied that the shadows on the wall are created by an outside source, a puppet master that chooses what passes by the raised road, and essentially decides what shadows are cast on the walls. In any rate, both the shadows and the bridge with the people walking past that cast the shadow are merely representations of a true reality. In the passage, one prisoner is set outside, into the sun (as described on page 451-452) and gets to see what is going on outside. The reality the prisoner believed in, the shadows on the wall cease being accurate as he realizes it is mimicry. The idea that mimesis can often take the role of reality is seen by how the prisoners still chained to the wall accept the shadows as reality, or an acceptable substitute. This ties in to Neil Postman’s argument, that often there mimesis offers a more entertaining reality, a reality that many would rather accept. The implications or consequences of accepting mimesis as reality would be in accordance to the concept of the puppet master, as an outside group can define the mimesis. Anyone that can control the mimesis in...

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