Aristotle, Plato, & Nietzsche on figurative language and metaphors Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, and Aristotle were brilliant writers of their time that composed many works of deep intellectual thought through figurative language. Nietzsche focused on man’s ability to portray the truth through knowledge and questions our common system of judgment. Plato creates what he believes to be a just society by describing gender roles and how the public should do what is right not what they want. Aristotle focused his writing on how imitation and tragedy are the highlights of storytelling. Symbols allow us to define our world and group things together; these philosophers use figurative language and metaphors to help invoke various foci of similarities and differences.
Nietzsche uses figurative language and metaphors to further his justifications while in comparison with Plato and Aristotle through his writings, he also has conflicting views with these philosophers. Nietzsche focuses on using figurative language through specific metaphors that can easily be spotted 1 in the text. An important realization that Nietzsche makes is how metaphors form into our everyday processes. Nietzsche explicitly describes how when our nerve stimulus transfer into an image it creates our first metaphor. When that image is then copied 2 into a sound we create the next metaphor.
Nietzsche lays out the fact that in our thought process about language, we distinguish metaphors in daily objects without our realization (On Truth and Untruth, 26-27). While Nietzsche specifically 3 points out the metaphors of figurative language, Plato and Aristotle subtly use their figurative language. Nietzsche and Aristotle have similarities in their works on the topic of exposing our system of thought. Aristotle was more outright with his opinions in that he believed storytelling should be done 4 through tragedy whereas Nietzsche Plato identifies his ideal society as one that consists of men and women where women can be equal to men but by nature are just weaker. Plato uses his language to heighten the topic of gender equality where Nietzsche and Aristotle never mention gender 5. Plato suggests that men and women should be raised together to achieve the most efficient society possible. He also says, “They’ll be doing what’s best and not something contrary to either woman’s nature as compared with man’s or to the natural association of men 6 and some with one another”(Republic, 141). Plato also utilizes metaphors to further his argument by making reference to pools of water.
Plato believes that if someone is in a small pool or a giant ocean that the public must swim with them until they are rescued 7 (Republic, 127). This metaphor exemplifies that society as a whole may not be doing what they want, but they are doing what is needed to be done to achieve the end goal of a just community. Plato’s application of figurative language can similarly be observed with Nietzsche when we look at the combination of our everyday 8 processes and gender. Each day men and women work towards an education and have to implement Nietzsche’s metaphor process. Plato and Aristotle create their works based upon differing topics that do not intersect with their use of figurative language and metaphors. Aristotle bases his philosophy in Poetics off of creating good poetry and storytelling.
Aristotle utilizes his figurative language to portray to the reader his ideas of what it takes to create the model poem. To create it, Aristotle believed that it is important to create a plot because it heightens the ideals of a tragedy. Aristotle contributed plots to his tragedy because comedy does not draw people in 9. The method of the tragedy was evidently seen through Aristotle’s use of language when he employed the metaphor of uses 10 of imitation. Aristotle had the opinion that all sources of imitation sprouted from man and that man is above all other animals as the original “imitative creature”(Basic Works of Aristotle, 1457). Imitation is natural to man because of the processes of which Nietzsche speaks. Our daily thoughts and judgments that develop from a result of a process is 11 due to the imitations 12 we have created since we were a child. Society learned from their parents as they did on their own and the results created 13 extensive 14 imitation 15 over generations. These processes of imitation 16 can lead to the just society that Plato wanted for his community. The gender roles in Plato’s Republic relate back to the fact that society has become what it is today due to the imitation we learned. These three philosophers contributed ideas of figurative language and metaphors that are seen 17 throughout time in politics especially in today’s election.
With the Presidential around the corner, it is hard not to identify the political metaphors evident in our society currently. The act of mudslinging or exchanging harsh words between candidates has become frequent in the 2016 Presidential election especially between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. This metaphor exemplifies the unkind conversations that are interchanged 18 between candidates is similar to the act of throwing mud. Throwing mud is usually a gesture when youdo not like someone like children playing, that is what the candidates are doing when they are attempting to embarrass one another. The political twist on children’s play is that the candidates degrade their adult behavior to smash one another’s campaign by continuously “throwing” ill comments. Nietzsche, Aristotle, and Plato execute their figurative language with grace and dignity whereas in today’s society politicians conduct themselves in any way possible to get the job done.
All three of these philosophers contributed to society through their written works by illustrating metaphors and figurative language on behalf of politics. Although they all have distinct ways of using their language for an assortment of topics, the similarities within each help demonstrate the ways in which they utilize language as a way to communicate their ideas.