"Platonic ideal"

Plato and Aristotle
Public DomainPlato and Aristotle
When capitalized and linked to the word “ideal,” Platonic refers to Plato’s theory of forms, in which every material object or creature in the world imperfectly expresses an abstract and perfect form of that object or creature.

The image at right is a detail from Raphael's "The School of Athens" and depicts Plato with Aristotle. Plato, on the left, is holding a copy of his Timaeus and pointing at the heavens, to signify his belief in The Forms.

The narrator of Unbearable Lightness theorizes that the ideal inside of, or behind the surface reality of, Franz's wife Marie-Claire is his mother. Platonic theory would say that Franz’s mother was merely another expression of the ideal of womanhood, but the narrator observes that to Franz, “His mother and the Platonic ideal of womanhood were one and the same.”