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Mimesis, Plato, and Arts

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With this concept is that the relationship between mimos and mimesis is subject to misinterpretation since actors who are into mimes are specialized (Halliwell 17). In this sense, the Greek word mimio is considered as closer to mimesis because mimio refers to imitation or representation of the “ voices of the bull” (Halliwell 17). It gained more impetus when the word mimio is associated with the term mimeisthai, which was used by Homer, to refer to the chorus of Maidens in the Hymn to Apollo who imitated the voices of all men and captivated the audience.

As mimeisthai refer to imitation of voices in chorus, Aeschylus introduced the concept of mimeisthai as imitating movements of animals in Pindar. In addition, Aeschylus, in the play Theō roi, also instigated the idea of mimeisthai as referring to an object that has taken a realistic form by rendering its appearance as lifelike. (Halliwell 18 -19)From its evolving etymology, it can be observed that since the Ancient period the word mimesis has been used within the arts – poetry, music, dance and visual arts.

In addition, the term is consistently associated with actions, both in the performing and visual arts, as imitating or mimicking others. As such, even during the Ancient period mimesis has been ‘ praised’ in view of its effectiveness in deceiving others (Halliwell 20). These observable characteristics of the term mimesis are indispensable in understanding the reason why there are different conceptions of mimesis in relation to art. The concept of mimeses has been approached from several perspectives. It is viewed as referring to imitation. It is ascribed to the dichotomy between truth and lies, and, it is considered as referring to the distinction between the interior feelings and sentiments of men and women vis-à -vis the outside world.

Finally, it connotes the supposition that it assists in identifying the gap and tension between art and nature, imagination and creativity, illusion and idealism (Halliwell 22). These perceptions have influenced and served as a guide in the understanding of mimesis in the arts.

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