What was Plato's definition of poetry before Aristotle's definition of poetry, and was it influenced by Aristotle?

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Plato often links poetry with rhetoric—to the degree that it is hard to separate the two in his works. However, we know that Plato's attitude toward poetry is mixed: he famously contrasts poetry with philosophy, saying that there is an old quarrel between the two. At times, such as in his Republic, he attacks poetry itself, calling it "great in the empty eloquence of fools." He structures this criticism in the shape of his worldview rather than being anti-poetry, and he later praises the poetry of Homer as the "educator of Greece."

Regarding Aristotle, it would have been all but impossible for Aristotle to influence Plato's views on almost anything, since Aristotle was Plato's student and most of Plato's works were written before or during this tutelage. Conversely, Plato's definition of poetry was certainly influenced by Socrates, his own teacher. We know about Socrates through Plato himself, and we know that Socrates believed poetry to be a type of divine madness. However, Aristotle did not make any significant difference to Plato's line of thinking, although Aristotle himself would go on to produce many great works of critical thought and philosophy.

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Because Plato was Aristotle's teacher, it is unlikely that works of Plato directly respond to Aristotle; rather, Aristotle's work was written in response to Plato. Both Aristotle and Plato shared a concern about the moral effect of poetry. For Plato, poetry was morally problematic for two reasons. On the level of content, it showed the gods behaving in an imoral fashion. Formally, it acted by means of imitation, and rather than imitating the forms, only imitated phenomena which themselves imitated forms. For Aristotle, poetry could serve a useful function by using fictional examples to train and purify the emotions.

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