[1][2] It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The first distinction he makes is between the cities that clearly establish what is and what is not admitted, and those that are not so explicitly clear, like Athens. Many of the main characters take the opportunity to depart and return home. He believes that love should be done in an honorable fashion even if it may be viewed as “honorable and that a person of noble love would not be compensated in any way other that virtue or knowledge from their beloved” (Plato 77). Socrates then relates a story he was told by a wise woman called Diotima. After this exchange, Socrates switches to storytelling, a departure from the earlier dialogues where he is mostly heard refuting his opponent's arguments through rational debating. The only thing that our modern realization of love shows us is that people do change and so does their realization of love and other matters around them. If a man works with the god of Love, they will escape this fate and instead find wholeness. Eros is almost always translated as "love", and the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens. Alcibiades spent the night sleeping beside Socrates yet, in his deep humiliation, Alcibiades made no sexual attempt (219b-d). This idea is upsetting to many because of the fact that the idea of female inferiority never seemed to be a problem for philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. When they are done eating, Eryximachus takes the suggestion made by Phaedrus, that they should all make a speech in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire. When combined certain problematic themes arise that point to certain prejudices existing in society even today. Pausanias, the legal expert of the group, introduces a distinction between a nobler and a baser kind of love, which anticipates Socrates' discourse. Diotima first explains that Love is neither a god, as was previously claimed by the other guests, nor a mortal but a daemon, a spirit halfway between god and man, who was born during a banquet thrown by the gods to celebrate the birth of Aphrodite. Alcibiades is corrupted by his physical beauty and the advantages thereof; he ultimately fails to ascend to the Form of Beauty through philosophy. This speech, in the interpretation of Marsilio Ficino in De Amore (1484), is the origin of the concept of Platonic love. It also considers that Socratic philosophy may have lost touch with the actual individual as it devoted itself to abstract principles.[11]. Entering upon the scene late and inebriated, Alcibiades pays tribute to Socrates. Cambridge University Press. Alcibiades states that when he hears Socrates speak, he feels overwhelmed. In conclusion, Diotima gives Socrates a guide on how a man of this class should be brought up from a young age. Analysis Of The Speech ' Praise Of Eros On Plato ' Symposium 1785 Words | 8 Pages. We are generally more concerned with gaining the respect of those who have an actual relation to us (Father, friend, acquaintance, etc.) The gods created sex so that once the other is found we may reconnect with them. Include FREE Plagiarism Report (on demand). I just had to do whatever he told me. Eryximachus has the next speech (although he has switched with Aristophanes) and suggests that Eros encourages "sophrosyne", or soundness of mind and character, and is not only about human behavior, but also occurs in music, medicine, and many other areas of life. The dialogue's seven main characters, who deliver major speeches, are: The story of the banquet is narrated by Apollodorus, but before the narration proper begins, it is shown that Apollodorus is telling the story to a friend of his that isn't named, and also that the story of this banquet has been told before by others, as well as previously by Apollodorus himself. Among the participants are the philosopher Socrates, the politician and military leader Alcibiades, and the playwright Aristophanes. "[23] Lovers sometimes sacrifice their lives for their beloved. The males were said to have descended from the sun, the females from the earth and the androgynous couples from the moon. Cambridge: W. Heffer and Sons [1909]. The men split from other men also run after their own kind and love being embraced by other men (191e). To this he adds that evil love is that of the body and no the soul. Does Plato's Symposiumseem to validate or to undercut Foucault and/or Halperin in the matter of whether people generally have, most places and most times, understood sexuality more or less the same way? Finally, I believe that these thoughts about the characteristics of love and the ideas that follow are outdated and are not relevant to today’s society. Apollodorus was not himself at the banquet, but he heard the story from Aristodemus, a man who was there. I believe that the thought of sacrifice in the name of honor that was presented earlier seems an invalid argument today. This is true for men as well as animals that seek an appropriate place to give birth, preferring to roam in pain until they find it. Before Socrates gives his speech he asks some questions of Agathon regarding the nature of love. Agathon agrees with Socrates that this would be irrational, but is quickly reminded of his own definition of Love's true desires: youth and beauty. Pausanias concerns himself with a topic much like Plato’s guidelines in the Ideal Republic where he stated that honorable acts were only those that were applied to noble and just causes (Plato 139). His speech may be regarded as self-consciously poetic and rhetorical, composed in the way of the sophists,[23] gently mocked by Socrates. As we learn from the legend, Achilles was a man who was rewarded for the value he put on his friend’s life. Beauty is also their guide, but it will be towards the knowledge needed to accomplish their spiritual births. Arieti suggests that it should be studied more as a drama, with a focus on character and actions, and less as an exploration of philosophical ideas. 1343 Words 6 Pages. Eryximachus speaks next, though it is Aristophanes' turn, as the latter has not recovered from his hiccups enough to take his place in the sequence. Agreeing with Agathon that love is deeply connected to the ideas of goodness and beauty, Socrates nonetheless insists the connection is more complex than Agathon has suggested. The Symposium is a response to The Frogs, and shows Socrates winning not only over Aristophanes, who was the author of both The Frogs, and The Clouds, but also over the tragic poet who was portrayed in that comedy as the victor.[15][16][17]. This may have been a valid reasoning during Plato’s era because honor was seen as great characteristic of a man. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Symposium and what it means. Finding the Good Life in Symposium There are a wide range of translations of what the great life genuinely is. It depicts a competition among a group of notable figures at a banquet that takes the form of a series of impromptu speeches. Plato does this to free his teacher from the guilt of corrupting the minds of prominent youths, which had, in fact, earned Socrates the death sentence in 399 BC.[10]. Current texts, translations, commentaries. When passed into modern society, this idea creates two separate suggestions when related to the male female relationship and its stereotypes. Phaedrus soon builds on this point by stating that a true test of one’s love for their mate is the value of their life (Plato 55). Socrates (c. 470 B.C.–399 B.C.) Plato’s Symposium dates circa 385-370 BC. It is anticipated that the speeches will ultimately be bested by Socrates, who speaks last. Coherent Cookies Policy: our aim is customer satisfaction! To this he adds that evil love is that of the body and not the soul (Plato 99). According to her, Eros is not a god but is a spirit that mediates between humans and their objects of desire. But what is love and where does it come from? Many modern faiths and cultures believe that each person is originally a part of one being that is split in two and that their other half is their one true love. On the contrary, Socrates (Plato’s mentor and instructor) tells us that he believes love to be not as good as other imagine it. Being of an intermediary nature, Love is also halfway between wisdom and ignorance, knowing just enough to understand his ignorance and try to overcome it. After describing Love's origins, that provide clues to its nature, Diotima asks Socrates why is it, as he had previously agreed, that love is always that "of beautiful things" (204b). No matter how hard he has tried, he says, he has never been able to seduce Socrates, because Socrates has no interest in physical pleasure. 1951. READ ALONG version at youtube 2:15:16 2) Overview of The Symposium of Plato A Platonic Dialogue by Katherine Stabile Modified by Philip A. Pecorino Socrates goes on to question what the nature of love is. Arieti, James A. Interpreting Plato: The Dialogues As Drama. Comparisons between the fates of Achilles and Orpheus are brought up to illustrate his point. Putting the two together then, for Love to desire youth he must not have it himself, thus making him old, and for him to desire beauty, he himself must be ugly. In the earlier speeches each of the men had thought of love as a god and praised this god and gave their ideas as to what this god was like. The symposium, or ritual banquet, at Agathon ’s house is a very intentionally male space. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (1991). It will be a competition of speeches to be judged by Dionysus. One cannot love another if they do not first love themselves is a common phrase of the modern person which indicates this line of reasoning. Symposium Introduction & Analysis Of all the works of Plato the Symposium is the most perfect in form, and may be truly thought to contain more than any commentator has ever dreamed of; or, as Goethe said of one of his own writings, more than the author himself knew. Socrates then compares Alicibiades to a satyr . First is the concern with the status of both the dialogue and the novels as fiction, i.e., with the historicity of the events reported. © 2006-2020 EssaysProfessors.com. The words of Socrates are the only ones to have ever upset him so deeply that his soul started to realize that his aristocratic life was no better than a slave's (215e). 1677 Words 7 Pages. This feeling is like a riddle, and cannot be explained. The Symposium of Plato. This dialogue is one of Plato's major works, and is appreciated for both its philosophical content and its literary qualities. So why then are the rights of the women less than that of the rights of the man if they were made from the same being? These examples help Phaedrus to show how the bonds of love can make a man want to die for another. 1) The Dialogue Symposium Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett Older translation by Benjamin Jowett. Want to make sure we can complete your complex assignment. Aristodemus goes to sleep. The fact that a woman can sacrifice to die for the husband means that she loves her partner dearly. Analysis of Plato’s Relation to Love in Symposium The Symposium shows different popular views about love during Plato’s time. The noble lover directs his affection towards young men, establishing lifelong relationships, productive of the benefits described by Phaedrus. For if love affects everyone indiscriminately, then why is it that only some appear to pursue beauty throughout their lives? 5 of Cydathenaeum.6 He had been at Agathon’s Show More. Socrates is renowned for his dialectic approach to knowledge (often referred to as the Socratic Method), which involves posing questions that encourage others to think deeply about what they care about and articulate their ideas. Soon after Pausanias completes his lecture, Aristophanes is heard. He is inspired by Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to the whole city). Aristophanes then claims that when two people who were separated from each other find each other, they never again want to be separated (192c). Currently we live in a time dominated by I. In a first section I present a detailed analysis of Diotima's doctrine, emphasizing features of it which I judge to be often overlooked. State University of New York Press, 2008. In the Symposium, the dialectic exists among the speeches: in seeing how the ideas conflict from speech-to-speech, and in the effort to resolve the contradictions and see the philosophy that underlies them all. Gill). These problematic issues are represented when Plato creates a mind body relation that creates a separation of two inseparable beings. Another troublesome issue present in the thinking of Plato and modern thought, is the idea that self-fulfillment comes only through the other. How so or how not? Although devoid of philosophical content, the speech Plato puts in the mouth of Agathon is a beautiful formal one, and Agathon contributes to the Platonic love theory with the idea that the object of love is beauty.[23]. In this brief introductory passage, it is shown that the narrator, Apollodorus, has a reputation for being somewhat mad, that he is a passionate follower of Socrates, and that he spends his days either listening to Socrates or else telling others of what he has learned from Socrates. Plato's Symposium Plot Summary. The Symposium is one of the foundational documents of Western culture and arguably the most profound analysis and celebration of love in the history of philosophy.It is also the most lavishly literary of Plato's dialogues--a virtuoso prose performance in which the author, like a playful maestro, shows off an entire repertoire of characters, ideas, contrasting viewpoints, and iridescent styles. He was deeply curious towards Socrate's intelligence and wisdom, but Alcibiades really wanted him sexually at the time that Socrates, a man that gave only platonic love to everyone he has encountered, gave up teaching everything he knew towards Alcibiades because of his pride, lust, and immoral conduct upon him(217a). Yet on the opposite side of the thing we learn of Orpheus who was punished for his selfishness, because he chose his own life over the life of his beloved. Satyrs were often portrayed with the sexual appetite, manners, and features of wild beasts, and often with a large erection. Plato intentionally portrays some … He believes that love should be done in a perfect way and that a person of such love would not be paid back in any way. Love becomes destroyed when materialistic matter enters the picture. Thus if the characteristics and motives of love have become different then the idea of love must have changed as well. He distinguishes between this virtuous love, and the love of an older man for a young (immature) boy, which he says should be forbidden on the grounds that love should be based on qualities of intelligence and virtue that are not yet part of a boy's makeup and may not develop. You'll get access to all of the Symposium content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. You are About to Start Earning [25] This is, he says because in primal times people had doubled bodies, with faces and limbs turned away from one another. On one occasion he even saved Alcibiades' life and then refused to accept honors for it (219e-221c). to Philosophy 1113 Professor Dr. Sarah Woolvine March 23rd, 2015. There were three sexes: the all male, the all female, and the "androgynous," who was half male, half female. These creatures tried to scale the heights of Olympus and planned to set upon the gods (190b-c). At the beginning of the Symposium Agathon asserts that "Dionysus will be the judge", and Dionysus is, though Alcibiades performs as a surrogate for the god. Worthen, Thomas D., "Socrates and Aristodemos, the automaton agathoi of the Symposium: Gentlemen go to parties on their own say-so," New England Classical Journal 26.5 (1999), 15–21. the symposium, Plato has Apollodorus preface his account of the party with the revelation that he was not himself present at the banquet but learned everything that he is about to relate from Aristodemus, another follower of Socrates and first-hand witness to the symposium. Plato, The Symposium. Finally, he will reach the ultimate goal, which is to witness beauty in itself rather than representations (211a-b), the true Form of Beauty in Platonic terms. Wondering why everyone seems sober, Alcibiades is informed of the night's agreement (213e, c); after Socrates was ending his drunken ramblings, Alcibiades hopes that no one will believe a word Socrates was talking about, Alcibiades proposes to offer an encomium to Socrates (214c-e). First, he should start by loving a particular body he finds beautiful, but as time goes by, he will relax his passion and pass to the love of all bodies. The reader, understanding that Plato was not governed by the historical record, can read the Symposium, and ask why the author, Plato, arranged the story the way he did, and what he meant by including the various aspects of setting, composition, characters, and theme, etc. Fear of inferiority, fear of humiliation, and fear of loosing the respect of the one they love all drive the lover to doings they would otherwise not perform. At the symposium (a Greek ritual banquet that includes libations to the gods, hymns, and drinking wine), Eryximachus, a doctor, proposes that they take turns giving speeches in praise (also called eulogies) of Love, or the god Eros. In the Symposium, Plato values philosophy, as exemplified by Socrates, over a number of other arts which are given as points of comparison: medicine, as exemplified by Eryximachus, comedy as exemplified by Aristophanes, and tragedy as exemplified by Agathon. Most people, he continues, don't know what Socrates is like on the inside: But once I caught him when he was open like Silenus' statues, and I had a glimpse of the figures he keeps hidden within: they were so godlike – so bright and beautiful, so utterly amazing – that I no longer had a choice. The only pay back imaginable is the acknowledgement from their lover. He confers great benefits, inspiring a lover to earn the admiration of his beloved, for example by showing bravery on the battlefield, since nothing shames a man more than to be seen by his beloved committing an inglorious act (178d-179b). Angela Hobbs' podcast interview on Erotic Love in the, This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 00:25. Plato believed it is within that connection between two individuals that one achieves happiness. Having been born at Aphrodite's birthday party, he became her follower and servant, but through his real origins Love acquired a kind of double nature. This Form is unchanging, stable, perceived by the mind rather than by the senses, and distinct from those particular things that share in its character. Diotima is describing Plato’s teaching on the Form of Beauty.
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