Thursday, February 10, 2011

Intro the Theory

     Gorgias, in his Encomium of Helen, states that "a man, woman, speech, deed, city or action that is worthy of praise should be honored with acclaim, but the unworthy should be branded with blame." (p 38) He explains the four possible reasons for Helen's departure to Troy: she could have been persuaded by the gods, by force, by love or by speech. He argues that if Helen was indeed persuaded by the gods, then those who blamed her for her crime should blame themselves for the will of the god's cannot be overcome by that of a mortal. Gorgias explains that by nature the strong rule the weak and the gods are the strongest of all beings, therefore they rule over the weak mortals that reside on Earth and Helen should be absolved from her reputation. If, however, it was by force that she left for Troy, then the aggressor should be blamed. If it was by love, then she would again be absolved of her crime because love is a god, and how could any weak mortal reject him? If it was by speech, Gorgias explains that he could clear her name from blame because "speech is a powerful master and achieve the most divine feats with the smallest and least evident body." (p 39)

     According to Plato, everything was imitation. As we saw in the video of Plato's Cave, the images that the prisoners saw was all imitation. They were shown shadows, replicas, of the real thing. This led me to think that, what, throughout all that we've learned, is real and what is fake? Because, whatever is fake, is an imitation of the true thing itself. Have all the things that we have been taught been real? The true things in and of themselves? Then again, what constitutes as real? To each person, something, anything, can be taken and applied to their personal beliefs and ideals to make it real. Give everyone in a classroom one idea, and see how many different forms of that idea are created. This does not mean that the idea is an imitation of the real one because it is not re-stating the exact idea, but turning it around so that it becomes real, genuine, in it's new form. Perhaps, what those prisoners saw in the cave were imitations. What if they were shown the real thing, but not given a name for it? What if, if they were released out into the world and they were to see those same images for themselves, in actuality, would they not give those images a name of their choosing? Each prisoner could give the same image a different name, but the basis that the object they see is the same thing does not change. So who is to stay what is real and what is fake, what is genuine or imitation?

Word Count: 473

Works Cited
Gorgias of Leontini. “Encomium of Helen.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
W.W. Norton & Company; Second Edition. New York, 2001. Pages 38-41 Print.

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