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Sidney treats the poet as a creator. Discuss this idea with reference to Defence of...

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shewa55 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:39 AM via web

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Sidney treats the poet as a creator. Discuss this idea with reference to Defence of Poesie.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:23 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the key characteristics that distinguish poets from other professions such as philosophers and lawyers is that they are able to be creators and are not beholden to what has gone before. This is a distinct advantage to poets, Sidney argues, as they can invent free from the restrictions of the past. Note how he refers to the poet as a creator:

Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow, in effect, into another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the heroes, demi-gods, cyclops, chimeras, furies, and such like...

Poets, Sidney thus argues, are able to "range within the zodiac of their own wit" rather than be tied down to the various "subjections" of other professions. The importance of the "invention" of poets is therefore something that cannot be underestimated, as it allows poets to actually improve on nature through their descriptions and also to create forms that represent a complete departure from nature, such as "chimeras" and "demi-gods." Conceiving of the poet as a creator is one of the chief arguments that Sidney has for the superiority of poets and for his defence of poetry as a whole.

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