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MEG-05: Literary Criticism and Theory

MEG-05: Literary Criticism and Theory

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for MEG-05 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Literary Criticism and Theory, you have come to the right place. MEG-05 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in MEG, PGDWI, PGDBLT, PGDNOV, PGDWM, PGDAML, PGDNLEG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MEG-05/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: MEG-05

Assignment Name: Literary Criticism & Theory

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Q1) Why does Plato want the artists to be kept away from the ideal state? Discuss.

Ans) Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, had a complex and controversial relationship with art and artists, which is evident in his work "The Republic." In this influential text, Plato expresses his reservations about the role of artists in his ideal state and provides several reasons for wanting to keep them away.

Imitation and Mimesis:

Plato believed that art, particularly poetry and drama, involves imitation or mimesis of the physical world. He considered this imitation to be a mere copy of reality, one step removed from the ultimate reality, which he believed could only be comprehended through philosophy.

Plato was concerned that art could deceive and mislead people by presenting a distorted version of reality. He believed that artists, by nature, engage in creating illusions rather than seeking truth.

Emotional Manipulation:

Plato was wary of the emotional power of art. He argued that art can arouse and manipulate people's emotions, often leading them to experience irrational and disruptive feelings. Plato believed that the emotional impact of art could interfere with an individual's rationality and moral judgment, potentially leading to morally questionable behaviour. He feared that art could evoke undesirable passions and incite chaos in society.

Imitation of Vice:

Plato was particularly critical of the way art could portray and glorify vice, immorality, and undesirable behaviour. He believed that artists often presented characters and situations that encouraged people to emulate harmful actions. Plato’s concern was that art could promote the imitation of negative qualities, leading to the degradation of moral values and societal decay.

Distraction from Philosophy:

Plato considered philosophy as the highest form of intellectual pursuit, which aimed at discovering the eternal truths and the ideal Forms or Ideas behind the physical world. He believed that art could divert individuals from the pursuit of philosophy by captivating their attention with sensory pleasures and superficial beauty. Plato wanted citizens of his ideal state to prioritize philosophical contemplation and the quest for wisdom over the consumption of art.

Advocating Censorship:

Plato was a proponent of censorship in the ideal state. He believed that the rulers of the state should exercise control over what was depicted in art, ensuring that it adhered to the values and principles of the state. Plato argued that art should serve the interests of the state and should be carefully regulated to prevent it from undermining the social order or promoting undesirable ideologies.

Potential for Subversion:

Plato was concerned that artists, particularly those with persuasive or charismatic abilities, could use their art as a tool for subversion. He feared that artists might challenge the authority of the state and incite rebellion or disobedience among the citizens.

Philosopher-Kings vs. Artists:

In Plato's ideal state, he envisioned philosopher-kings as the rulers, individuals who had undergone rigorous philosophical training and possessed wisdom and virtue. Plato believed that the pursuit of philosophy was the only way to attain true knowledge and virtue. Given his preference for philosopher-kings, Plato may have viewed artists as competitors for the role of shaping societal values and influencing public opinion. He believed that artists lacked the necessary wisdom and should not hold a position of authority in the state.

Q2) Examine the purpose spontaneity, emotions and personality serve in Wordsworth’s theory of poetry.

Ans) William Wordsworth, one of the key figures of the Romantic literary movement, had a profound and influential theory of poetry that emphasized the role of spontaneity, emotions, and individual personality. His ideas, articulated in the "Preface to Lyrical Ballads," revolutionized the way poetry was conceived and written in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Wordsworth placed immense importance on the role of spontaneity in poetry. He believed that true poetry should arise spontaneously from the immediate experience and emotions of the poet. In other words, poetry should be a direct and unmediated expression of the poet's thoughts and feelings.

Purpose: Spontaneity in poetry serves the purpose of capturing the raw and unadulterated essence of human experience. It allows poets to convey the vividness and authenticity of their emotions and observations. Spontaneous poetry, according to Wordsworth, is more likely to resonate with readers because it reflects universal human experiences.

Example: In Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," the spontaneous encounter with a field of daffodils triggers a rush of emotions in the poet, leading to the creation of a poem that vividly captures the beauty and emotional impact of the moment.


Wordsworth believed that poetry should evoke and convey genuine human emotions. He rejected the idea that poetry should focus solely on grand, artificial, or exaggerated sentiments. Instead, he championed the expression of common, everyday emotions.

Purpose: Emotions in Wordsworth's poetry serve the purpose of connecting with the reader on a deep and personal level. By exploring and depicting ordinary emotions, such as joy, sorrow, love, and awe, Wordsworth aimed to make poetry relatable and emotionally resonant.

Example: In "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey," Wordsworth reflects on the emotional impact of revisiting a natural landscape. He explores the emotions of nostalgia, tranquillity, and spiritual awe, making the reader empathize with his experience.


Wordsworth believed that the poet's personality, thoughts, and individual perspective should shine through in their poetry. He emphasized the importance of sincerity and authenticity in poetic expression.

Purpose: The poet's personality serves the purpose of infusing poetry with a unique and genuine voice. By allowing their individuality to come through, poets can create works that are distinct and reflective of their own experiences and worldview. This delicate touch makes poetry more relatable and compelling.

Example: In "The Prelude," Wordsworth's autobiographical epic, he extensively explores his own experiences, thoughts, and personal growth. Through this poem, readers gain insight into Wordsworth's personality and the development of his poetic sensibility.

Wordsworth's theory of poetry, which stressed spontaneity, emotions, and personality, had a profound impact on the Romantic movement and the evolution of English literature. His emphasis on the power of ordinary experiences and emotions, as well as the authenticity of the poet's voice, challenged the conventions of his time and paved the way for a more personal and introspective approach to poetry. Wordsworth's poems continue to be celebrated for their ability to connect with readers on a deeply emotional and human level, making his theory of poetry a lasting and influential contribution to literary history.

Q3. a) Write short notes on Peripetia.

Ans) Peripeteia is a term used in dramatic literature and storytelling, particularly in the realm of Greek tragedy and narrative theory. It refers to a sudden and often unexpected reversal of fortune or change in circumstances for a character.

Peripeteia is a Greek word that translates to "reversal" or "sudden change." It represents a pivotal moment in a story when a character's situation takes a dramatic and unforeseen turn. Peripeteia is a common element in classical tragedies, such as those written by ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles and Euripides. It often occurs near the climax of the play and contributes to the tragic downfall of the protagonist.

Peripeteia typically involves a twist of fate that alters the course of the story. This twist can be positive or negative, but it is usually characterized by its unexpected nature. Peripeteia has a profound impact on the characters involved. It can lead to moments of realization, revelation, or profound change in the characters' beliefs, motivations, or actions.

One famous example of peripeteia is found in Sophocles' play "Oedipus Rex." When Oedipus discovers the truth about his parentage and realizes he has fulfilled a prophecy by unwittingly marrying his mother and killing his father, it represents a moment of peripeteia that leads to his tragic downfall. Peripeteia is not limited to theatre but is also used in various forms of storytelling. It adds depth and complexity to the narrative by introducing unexpected twists that challenge characters and engage the audience.

Peripeteia is often used to create tension and suspense in a story. The audience is kept on the edge of their seats, wondering how the sudden reversal will affect the characters and the overall outcome. In literary analysis and criticism, peripeteia is examined for its significance in the narrative structure and its impact on character development and themes within the work.

Q3,. b) Write short notes on Sphota.

Ans) Sphota is a concept in Indian linguistics and philosophy, particularly associated with the Nyaya and Mimamsa schools. It represents the idea of a holistic sound or linguistic unit that conveys meaning rather than individual phonemes or letters.

According to Sphota theory, the true essence of a word or sentence is not in its individual phonetic components but in the complete sound or Sphota. This holistic sound is the carrier of meaning. Sphota theory challenges the prevalent idea that meaning arises from the combination of individual phonemes. Instead, it argues that meaning emerges from the entire auditory experience.

Sphota theory has its roots in Vedic philosophy, where the idea of cosmic sound and its connection to meaning is significant. The concept of Om (Aum) as a fundamental sound of the universe is an example of this influence. While proponents of Sphota theory argue for its holistic understanding of language, critics, including some later grammarians like Panini, have debated the idea, favouring a more phonemic approach to language.

Sphota continues to be a subject of interest for linguists and philosophers. Some modern linguists have drawn parallels between Sphota and the concept of phonological features in phonology. Sphota theory has implications for semiotics, as it suggests that meaning is not limited to the sum of linguistic parts but involves a higher-level perceptual experience.

Q3. c) Write short notes on Class ideology.

Ans) Class ideology refers to a set of beliefs, values, and attitudes that are shaped by an individual's social class or economic position in society. It plays a significant role in shaping a person's worldview, political beliefs, and social interactions. Here are key points to consider about class ideology:

Class ideology is intricately linked to social stratification, which categorizes individuals or groups into different classes based on factors like income, wealth, occupation, and social status.

People from different social classes often hold distinct beliefs about how society operates. For example, those in the upper class may emphasize the importance of meritocracy, while those in lower classes may highlight systemic inequalities. Class ideology influences views on economic policies and wealth distribution. Upper-class individuals may favour policies that protect their wealth and assets, while lower-class individuals may support policies aimed at reducing income inequality.

Class ideology can be a strong predictor of political affiliations. Working-class individuals may lean toward left-wing or progressive parties that advocate for workers' rights, while upper-class individuals may align with conservative parties that prioritize fiscal responsibility. Different classes may have varying definitions of success. For example, the upper class may view financial success as the primary indicator, while the working class may emphasize factors like job security, healthcare, and quality of life.

Beliefs about social mobility whether one can move up or down the social ladder—often shape class ideology. Some may believe in the possibility of upward mobility through hard work and education, while others may perceive social mobility as limited or even non-existent. Class ideology also extends to cultural values and tastes. Upper-class individuals may appreciate high culture and fine arts, while lower-class individuals may engage with popular culture and entertainment.

Educational attainment can reinforce class ideology. Those with access to quality education may develop perspectives and beliefs that align with their social class.

People within the same class often share a sense of solidarity and common interests. This can lead to collective action and advocacy for policies that benefit their class. Class ideology intersects with other forms of identity, such as race, gender, and ethnicity, creating complex and multifaceted worldviews.

Q3.d) Write short notes on Poetic Diction.

Ans) Poetic diction refers to the specific language, vocabulary, and style that poets use to create a heightened or artistic expression in their poems. It involves the deliberate choice of words and phrases to convey not only meaning but also emotional and sensory experiences.

Poetic diction often employs elevated or archaic language, departing from everyday speech. This can include the use of older or more formal words and syntax, adding a sense of timelessness to the poem. Poets use poetic diction to create vivid imagery and symbolism. They carefully select words that evoke sensory impressions and stimulate the reader's imagination. This enriches the reader's experience by appealing to their senses and emotions.

The choice of words in poetic diction is also influenced by their sound and rhythm. Poets pay attention to the musical quality of language, including rhyme, alliteration, and assonance, to enhance the auditory dimension of their work. While poetic diction may include ornate or elaborate language, it also values conciseness and precision. Poets aim to convey complex ideas and emotions with economy, using words that carry layers of meaning.

Poetic diction can be influenced by the cultural and historical context in which a poem is written. Certain words or phrases may hold specific cultural or symbolic significance, enriching the thematic depth of the poem. Different poets employ assorted styles of poetic diction. Some prefer a more formal and classical approach, while others embrace a modern and accessible language. The choice of poetic diction is often a reflection of the poet's unique voice and artistic intentions.

Effective poetic diction enhances the power and resonance of a poem. It allows poets to create emotional connections with readers, convey abstract concepts, and offer fresh perspectives on familiar subjects. Poetic diction has evolved over time, with different periods and movements in literature highlighting distinct styles. For example, Romantic poets may employ a different poetic diction compared to the Metaphysical poets of the 17th century.

Q4) Discuss briefly, the ideas of Marx and Engels on class relations.

Ans) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were influential thinkers who developed a comprehensive theory of class relations and their role in shaping society. Their ideas, outlined primarily in "The Communist Manifesto" and other writings, laid the foundation for modern socialist and communist thought.

Historical Materialism:

Marx and Engels' theory of class relations is rooted in historical materialism, which posits that the economic structure of a society, including the means of production and distribution, fundamentally shapes its social and political arrangements. They believed that throughout history, societies have been characterized by different modes of production, each of which creates distinct class structures.

Class Struggle:

Central to Marx and Engels' thinking is the concept of class struggle. They argued that history is marked by a series of class struggles between the ruling class (bourgeoisie) and the working class (proletariat). These struggles result from the inherent conflicts of interest between these two classes.

Bourgeoisie and Proletariat:

The bourgeoisie, according to Marx and Engels, are the capitalist class who own and control the means of production. They accumulate wealth by exploiting the labour of the proletariat. The proletariat, on the other hand, are the working class who do not own the means of production. They must sell their labour power to the bourgeoisie in exchange for wages.


Marx and Engels believed that the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat by extracting surplus value from their labour. The surplus value, in the form of profit, is appropriated by the bourgeoisie, leading to economic inequality.

Class Consciousness:

Marx and Engels argued that the proletariat, through their shared experiences of exploitation, would develop class consciousness. Class consciousness is the awareness of their common interests and the realization that they must unite to challenge the bourgeoisie.


Marx and Engels envisioned a revolutionary process in which the proletariat, driven by class consciousness, would rise and overthrow the bourgeoisie. This proletarian revolution, they believed, would lead to the establishment of a classless society where the means of production are collectively owned.

Transition to Communism:

Marx and Engels distinguished between the transitional phase of socialism and the goal of communism. In socialism, the state would temporarily hold and manage the means of production on behalf of the working class. In communism, the state would wither away, and society would be organized based on the principle of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."

Critique of Capitalism:

Marx and Engels criticized capitalism for its inherent contradictions, such as overproduction, economic crises, and the alienation of labour. They argued that capitalism's pursuit of profit led to the exploitation and suffering of the working class.

International Perspective:

Marx and Engels believed that the proletarian revolution should be international in scope. They called on workers of all countries to unite, emphasizing that the struggle against the bourgeoisie transcends national boundaries.


Marx and Engels' ideas have had a profound influence on social and political movements worldwide. Their writings have inspired socialist and communist revolutions, labour movements, and the development of Marxist theories and interpretations.

Q5) Comment on Mary Wollstonecraft’s contributions to the rights of women.

Ans) Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th-century English writer and philosopher, made significant contributions to the advancement of women's rights and gender equality. Her work, especially her groundbreaking treatise "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792), remains a foundational text in the history of feminist thought.

Advocacy for Women's Education:

Wollstonecraft argued passionately for women's education. She believed that women should have access to the same educational opportunities as men, including formal schooling. She asserted that education was essential for women to develop their full intellectual potential and participate in public life.

Equal Moral and Intellectual Capacities:

Contrary to prevailing notions of her time, Wollstonecraft contended that women possessed the same moral and intellectual capacities as men. She argued that any apparent differences between the sexes were the result of unequal education and social conditioning rather than inherent inferiority.

Critique of Gender Stereotypes:

Wollstonecraft challenged the rigid gender roles and stereotypes that constrained women in the 18th century. She decried the idea of women as delicate, passive, and ornamental beings and called for a more equitable distribution of roles and responsibilities between men and women.

Emphasis on Rationality and Reason:

Central to Wollstonecraft's philosophy was the belief in the importance of reason and rationality. She argued that women should be encouraged to develop their reasoning faculties, enabling them to make informed decisions and contribute meaningfully to society.

Marriage and Family Life:

While advocating for women's rights, Wollstonecraft also addressed the institution of marriage and family life. She believed that marriage should be based on mutual respect and affection rather than economic necessity. She argued that women should have more control over their marital choices and family planning.

Political Rights:

In "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," Wollstonecraft extended her arguments to the political sphere. She asserted that women should have the same political rights as men, including the right to vote and participate in government. She believed that political representation was essential for addressing women's concerns and interests.

Influence on Later Feminist Movements:

Mary Wollstonecraft's writings laid the groundwork for subsequent feminist movements. Her ideas and arguments inspired generations of people to continue the struggle for women's rights. Her work resonated with suffragists, feminists of the 19th and 20th centuries, and those advocating for gender equality today.

Legacy and Enduring Impact:

Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" remains a foundational text in feminist literature. It continues to be studied, discussed, and celebrated for its groundbreaking ideas on gender, education, and society.Her daughter, Mary Shelley, the author of "Frankenstein," was also a prominent writer, further contributing to the family's legacy of literary and intellectual influence.

Controversy and Opposition:

Wollstonecraft's advocacy for women's rights was met with significant opposition and controversy during her lifetime. Her ideas challenged deeply entrenched social norms, and her outspokenness on issues of gender equality and education made her a target of criticism.

Human Rights and Universal Principles:

Beyond advocating for women's rights, Wollstonecraft's work emphasized universal principles of human rights and social justice. She argued that the struggle for women's rights was part of a broader effort to create a more just and equitable society.

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