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In general, the impossible must be justified by

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In general, the impossible must be justified by  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2014, 05:00
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In general, the impossible must be justified by reference to artistic requirements, or to the higher reality, or to received opinion. With respect to the requirements of art, a probable impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improbable and yet possible. And by extrapolation, it goes without saying that the improbable impossibility makes for a not too enticing option while the probable possibility will not even be discussed here as it, by its very nature, tends towards the mundane.

The poet being an imitator, like a painter or any other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three objects – things as they were or are, in the past – be it ancient or near – and in the present – as he observes those things around him or those things that are observed by others contemporary to him; things as they are said or thought to be, be they products of philosophical discourse, a study in divinity, or the mythos of a people; or things as they ought to be as often expressed in laments for the state of affairs in a society. The vehicle of expression is language – either current terms or, it may be, rare words or metaphors. There are also many modifications of language which we concede to the poets. Add to this that the standard of correctness is not the same in poetry and politics, any more than in poetry and any other art.

Within the art of poetry itself there are two kinds of faults – those which touch its essence, and those which are of the cause of a lack of advertence. If a poet has chosen to imitate something, but has fallen short through want of capacity, the error is inherent in the poetry. But if the failure is due to a wrong choice – if he has represented a horse as throwing out both his off legs at once, or introduces technical inaccuracies in medicine, for example, or in any other art – the error is not essential to the poetry. These are the points of view from which we should consider and answer the objections raised by the critics.

As to matters which concern the poet‘s own art. If he describes the impossible, he is guilty of an error; but the error may be justified, if the end of the art be thereby attained – if, that is, the effect of this or any other part of the poem is thus rendered more striking. If, however, the end might have been as well, or better, attained without violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified, for every kind of error should, if possible, be avoided. Again, does the error touch the essentials of the poetic art, or some accident of it? For example, not to know that a hind has no horns is a less serious matter than to paint it inartistically.

Further, if it be objected that the description is not true to fact, the poet may perhaps reply – ―But the objects are as they ought to be‖: just as Sophocles said that he drew men as they ought to be; Euripides, as they are. In this way the objection may be met. If, however, the representation is of neither kind, the poet may answer – ―This is how men say the thing is.‖ This applies to tales about the gods. It may well be that these stories are not higher than fact nor yet true to fact. But anyhow, ―this is what is said.‖ Again, a description may be no better than the fact.

1. Assuming that the poet‘s artistic goals are achieved, the passage implies that which of the following would NOT be an example of a justifiable error?

A. Describing a lioness as a hunter in a metaphor for the behaviour of predatory government officials
B. Using awkward language to create an analogy between a ruler‘s hand as a symbol of authority and a city‘s capitol as a symbol of power
C. Creating anachronistic errors by mentioning inappropriate historical or contemporary events
D. Representing human characters as improbably courageous or strong
E. Comparing soldiers with ancient Greek warriors who could not be killed



2. The author brings up the ancient Greek poets Sophocles and Euripides to make a point within the passage. According to the information cited in the passage, they differ from each other in that:

A. Euripides‘ characters provide ideal models of human behaviour.
B. Sophocles portrays people as common public opinion supposed them to be.
C. the characters in Sophocles‘ work are meant to inspire improved human behaviour and actions.
D. humans are unfavourably described by Euripides in order to show detrimental behaviour to avoid.
E. one of them makes a much greater use of metaphors than the other



3. The author‘s argument that the poet is ―an imitator, like a painter or any other artist‖ suggests that the author would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?

A. Different types of creative or aesthetic talent have different means of representation.
B. Creating text and chiselling marble are similar forms of representation.
C. The visual arts are superior to the rhetorical arts.
D. The forms of imitation found in poetry are inefficient.
E. Painting is easier than writing poems



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Re: In general, the impossible must be justified by  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2014, 06:26
Thanks for sharing!

Get stucked on the last question! Hard text!
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New post 15 Aug 2015, 22:34
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Can any one explain the answer to the first question ?? Couldn't fathom the answer
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Re: In general, the impossible must be justified by  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2015, 12:11
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The errors (in poems) are justifiable if "rendered more striking" and factual errors are justified. (as mentioned in para 4).

We need an answer choice that doesn't meet both the aforementioned points. Option B (barring other options) - mentions an example of an inherent error (awkward language) not creating the striking effect.

Hope this helps.
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New post 19 Aug 2015, 05:04
Please explain why A is not the answer to Q3
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New post 19 Aug 2015, 19:31
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very tough text. could not understand even the basic point :cry:
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New post 24 Dec 2018, 22:04

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions


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New post 24 Dec 2018, 22:42
nikhilbhan wrote:
Please explain why A is not the answer to Q3


Even I got this one wrong.but now I see why B is coreect. Here is an explanation.

He believes that poet being an imitator must do 3 things:
1) immitate things as they were or are
2) things as they are or thought to be
3) how things are ought to be.

And in the end he says that the vehicle of expression is language.

So all in all, if some one is chisseling marble of a text or someone is writing the same text. They apparently are using the same expression of language and not immitating or expressing using any of the above mentioned criteria.

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New post 25 Dec 2018, 13:11
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Brutal passage. 6 mins 20 sec and got two out of three.

Main point & Summary: The author is talking about what is sought after ( the probable impossibility) in the first part. The next few paragraphs talk about how poets are similar to artists in the fact that they imitate what they see. And also talks a bunch of other things about where can poets go wrong - either the poetic realm or in the realm of the facts of what they present in poetry. The author believes that poetic mistakes ( not being consistent or using the wrong verbiage) are more serious than making factual mistakes. This is followed up by what a few greek painters did and believed.

The main point could be what faults are acceptable in practical poetry. Debatable - I am not certain of this

Justifiable error is linked to the main point
1. Assuming that the poet‘s artistic goals are achieved, the passage implies that which of the following would NOT be an example of a justifiable error?

A. Describing a lioness as a hunter in a metaphor for the behaviour of predatory government officials WRONG. This is factual error and is justifiable
B. Using awkward language to create an analogy between a ruler‘s hand as a symbol of authority and a city‘s capitol as a symbol of power CORRECT> Why used awkward langauge when better words could have been used. This is a mistake that could have been avoided and hence is the error which the peot cannot justify
C. Creating anachronistic errors by mentioning inappropriate historical or contemporary events WRONG. TRAP Choice - but since historical facts are wrong this is not a "poetic" mistake as per our main point
D. Representing human characters as improbably courageous or strong Nah
E. Comparing soldiers with ancient Greek warriors who could not be killed Nah - perfectly poetic thing to do

DETAIL question - be careful of the verbiage and look out for synonyms of words used in the passage
2. The author brings up the ancient Greek poets Sophocles and Euripides to make a point within the passage. According to the information cited in the passage, they differ from each other in that:

A. Euripides‘ characters provide ideal models of human behaviour. Opposite is true
B. Sophocles portrays people as common public opinion supposed them to be. HOLD - what does "supposed them to be" imply? He did intend to show humas as they ought to be
C. the characters in Sophocles‘ work are meant to inspire improved human behaviour and actions. Hold!! - If the characters are shown as they ought to be surely they would inspire CORRECT
D. humans are unfavourably described by Euripides in order to show detrimental behaviour to avoid. BS option - not mentioned in the passage
E. one of them makes a much greater use of metaphors than the other Nah - cannot be concluded from given info

So.. B vs. C.

B is weakened by the usage of COMMON PUBLIC OPINION and hence is the TRAP question.

Similarity - easiest of the lot
3. The author‘s argument that the poet is ―an imitator, like a painter or any other artist‖ suggests that the author would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements?

A. Different types of creative or aesthetic talent have different means of representation. Real world trap - not implied by the author
B. Creating text and chiselling marble are similar forms of representation. CORRECT - chiselling marble is an art and it is carried out by a sculptor - who is an artist - this info is necessary
C. The visual arts are superior to the rhetorical arts. BS Option - cannot be inferred
D. The forms of imitation found in poetry are inefficient. BS Option again
E. Painting is easier than writing poems BS option- cannot be inferred

Best,
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New post 28 Dec 2018, 10:56
12:28mins
got 2 right.
the first one couldn't figure out the answer as it dealt with applying knowledge of all the passage.
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