Violence in the Arts – Plato vs. Aristotle Essay examples

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Violence in The Arts – Plato vs. Aristotle

Nowadays, it is hard to turn on a television program, catch a movie or buy your younger sibling a video game without encountering a warning for extreme violence. Everyday, our lives are exposed to violence on the screen, whether it is in the latest Sopranos episode or even watching the six o'clock news. For quite a while now, people have been demanding that stricter censorship be placed on the media, especially those programs and video games that can easily be obtained by the youth, due to their feelings that this violence can influence people to "act out". However, this is not a new idea. Back in ancient Greece, the philosopher Plato believed that exposure to the emotions of the arts
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These questions are similar to an old saying: which came first, the chicken or the egg? The skewed perspective portrayed by movies,

3 television, and video games can create a lack of sensitivity to emotional and/or physical harm. It may even cause them to want to emulate the kind of lifestyle they are seeing, thinking that it is a reflection of "real life". Aristotle, on the other hand, believed that the best dramas were those which an ordinary person greatly misjudges, because this allowed the ordinary people who viewed it to realize the error and make it a "moral learning experience – a moral laboratory in which we can see our inner urges acted out and learn from the tragic consequences." (Rosenstand, pg. 52) I agree somewhat with Plato's views on censorship, since you never know exactly how someone will react to viewing a violent situation and whether they will be able to use their common sense and judgment to refrain from "copying" the actions of the characters. There have been many examples of copycats who have gotten their ideas from watching a violent film, but many will still argue that the majority is simply coincidence. In the end of the thriller Scream, Billy makes an important comment to Sidney, telling her not to "blame the movies! Movies don't create psychos! Movies make psychos more creative!". However, a point that must be understood is that even though Aristotle was for the