Plato's world of ideas

Early in Scylla and Charybdis, before the Shakespeare talk begins in earnest, the battle lines between Stephen and his skeptical interlocutors are laid down by declarations of allegiance to the competing philosophical traditions inspired by Aristotle and Plato. George Russell objects to Stephen's delving into the details of Shakespeare's personal life as an empirical distraction from the noumenal truths revealed in works of art: "Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences...the eternal wisdom, Plato's world of ideas." The Theosophical waters in which Russell swims are pretty far removed from anything in the actual works of Plato, but they are fed by enough streams from that source for Stephen, an avid reader of Aquinas, to conceive of the coming debate as a battle between other-worldly Platonists and this-worldly Aristotelians.

John Hunt 2023

Roman copy of a marble portrait bust of Plato made for the Academy by Silanion ca. 370 BC, held in the Capitoline Museums, Rome.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Representation of Plato's allegory of the cave, by an unknown artist.

The Apparition, an 1876 oil and watercolor on canvas painting by Gustave Moreau showing Salome dancing before Herod with vision of John the Baptist's head, held in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Edmond Lechevallier-Chevignard's illustration of a passage in the Myth of Er in Magasin Pittoresque (1857), showing Ananke, the personification of Necessity, above the Moirai, the Fates.  Source: