Plato's argument on literature in his mimesis theory can be found in his famous work "The Republic." In this dialogue, Plato presents his views on the nature of art and literature, particularly focusing on their ability to imitate reality.
Plato argues that literature, including poetry and drama, is a form of mimesis or imitation. He suggests that these art forms are mere copies of the physical world and are therefore twice removed from reality. According to Plato, the physical world itself is already an imperfect copy of the ideal Forms or Ideas, which exist in a higher realm of reality.
Plato is critical of literature because he believes that it appeals to the emotions and senses rather than reason and intellect. He argues that literature often portrays irrational and immoral behavior, which can have a negative influence on individuals and society. Plato is particularly concerned about the potential corrupting effects of literature on the youth.
Furthermore, Plato argues that literature is deceptive and misleading. He suggests that it can create a false sense of reality and lead people away from the pursuit of truth and knowledge. Plato believes that the ultimate goal of human life is to attain knowledge of the Forms and to strive for the highest ideals of justice, beauty, and goodness. Literature, in his view, distracts individuals from this pursuit by focusing on the transient and imperfect world of appearances.
As a result, Plato proposes a strict censorship of literature in his ideal society. He suggests that only literature that promotes virtuous behavior and upholds the ideals of the state should be allowed. Plato's mimesis theory, therefore, advocates for a highly regulated and controlled approach to literature, with the aim of shaping individuals and society towards the pursuit of truth and virtue.