OUR PHILOSOPHY

MIMESIS

Imitation of an action

In Greek literary theory, mimesis is an imitation of the course of events of a narrative that is performed. According to Plato, mimesis is one of two principal ways of presenting a narrative; the other is to tell the story by recounting or representing the course of events through speech. Based on this definition,dramas are examples of mimesis, with epic poems examples of narration. Aristotle (a pupil of Plato) makes use of the term “mimesis” when referring to imitation of an action.

 

Based on the definitions provided, one can consider two general applications for mimesis: the first is its application from an anthropological and psychological point of view, and the other how it can be applied in the performing arts. From the anthropological perspective, mimesis means “similarizing oneself to another”, “speaking in another’s voice”, and “acting as another does”. Both Plato and Aristotle considered mimesis as “imitation” and as a fundamental action in human life, for a child nothing more than a game, like when a child imitates the natural world of their surroundings.

The use of this term in Greek texts goes back to the pre-Platonic era; however, it was Plato and then Aristotle who first used this term in a wider and more specialized manner in their discussions about art. One of the most important instances in which these two philosophers utilized the term “imesis” is where they seek to describe an artist’s activity when creating a work of art

The use of this term in Greek texts goes back to the pre-Platonic era; however, it was Plato and then Aristotle who first used this term in a wider and more specialized manner in their discussions about art. One of the most important instances in which these two philosophers utilized the term “imesis” is where they seek to describe an artist’s activity when creating a work of art

As Stephen Halliwell, a scholar of the classical period, notes,”the Greek term mimesis carries with itself an epistemological, psychological, moral, and cultural connotation.” The most common equivalents for mimesis in English, i.e., imitation and representation, convey only part of the meaning of this Greek term, and so their utilization has had irreversible and destructive effects.


In general, what is commonly agreed upon by most scholars with regard to the prefix “mim” in pre-Platonic texts can be summarized as follows: the conceptual origin of these words, as is the case with all Greek drama, is ritual. The main concept hidden within the term “mimesis” is “conveying meaning” through behavior and movement, which found its ideal medium first through dance, and then through music and song. In addition, this concept, i.e. “conveying meaning”, is equally true for the static domain of visual arts.

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