In the essay of ‘Apology for Poetry’, Phillip Sidney has defended the accusation by Stephen Gosson. Stephen has made these allegations in the School of Abuse. Sidney has addressed the grievances of Gosson with an absolute logic and intellectual way. The utmost opposition that Gosson made is that there are other prolific skills that man can avail. He said that instead of spending his time in doing poetry, man can learn something beneficial. Gosson called poetry the mother of lies. He said that it is dangerous to morals and Plato was correct about banishing the poets from his Republic.
Sidney’s answer to the first allegation
On the other hand, Sidney answered to these allegations in the following way: Against the first charge, Sidney responded that spending time in poetry is another way to make your time useful. He emphasized to the point that like any other subject, poetry can also not teach the righteousness entirely. There is no as such knowledge that communicates you the virtue and make you move towards it.
Sidney on Poets vs other writers
About the other allegation, he said that if you compare poets with the other genre of writers, then they tell least of the lies. Whatever poet says it is under the influence of sentiments and illusions upon which which you cannot charge them with the allegation of lying. He gave examples of other professionals like historians or geometricians that they force you to believe inexact statements. Whereas, the poets only tell you something that is absolutely fictitious and based on an ideal thought that could be a possibility. They never force you to believe in it.
Sidney on “Poetry is a nurse of abuse”
Sidney replied to the accusation that ‘poetry is a nurse of abuse’ with the justification that it is the man who perceives the poetry wrongly. Whatever you misuse has adverse effects, be it technology or the arts, but it does not mean that they are not respected. It could also be the reason that maybe poet has not applied his words in a proper manner.
In the last accusation of Apology for Poetry, Gosson says that Plato was right when he wanted to expel all the poets from his Republic. Sidney clarified that Plato wanted to eject those poets who were unprincipled and it was not about the poetry. He says that if it was about Plato, then he had a belief of poetry being pleasingly stimulated. In his dialogues, he has given a delightful praise to the poetry. HE called it a sacred and “light-winged thing”. It shows his attitude towards the poetry that was not opposite, but contained an honour.
These were the defenses made by Sidney in imputations of Gosson on poetry through his essay, “Apology for Poetry”.
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