Plato V. Augustine Essay

1107 WordsSep 14, 20115 Pages
After reading both Plato’s Symposium and Saint Augustine’s Confessions, one can see how the latter holds certain ideas and concepts that are parallel to those found in the former. Despite the differences in time, men are hindered from their pursuit of goodness, truth, etcetera, by similar, if not entirely identical, desires. That being said, of all of the speeches found in the Symposium, Augustine would connect most deeply to that of Alcibiades. Alcibiades is depicted as a prominent Athenian statesman, a successful orator, and a well accomplished military general. On top of such admirable prestige, he is also quite physically handsome. With this knowledge in mind, he seeks to seduce Socrates into a lover-beloved relationship in which he…show more content…
“I aspired to honors, money [and] marriage”, he writes [VI.vi (9)]. By polishing his skills as an orator, Augustine manages to procure a highly revered position within society, and at one point he finds himself betrothed to a young woman. Despite his well deserved success, he remains anxious. How is it that such accomplishments con not result in happiness? Whiles speaking with his colleagues he notes, “…we had no goal other than to reach a carefree cheerfulness. That beggar was already there before us… There is no question that he [the beggar] was happy and I racked with anxiety” [VI.vi (9)]. Just as Alcibiades felt as though Socrates’ way of life was far superior to his own [Plato, Symposium, 216a], Saint Augustine was aware that the teachings of the Catholic church and a wholehearted obedience to God would lead to the peace of mind that he sought; “…there was a firm place in my heart for the faith, within the Catholic church, in your Christ, ‘our Lord and Savior’” [VII. v (7)]. He also includes a passage from Matthew 11:29 which reads, “Learn more of me… and you shall find rest for your souls” [VII. ix (14)]. Still, Saint Augustine admits, “I was attracted to the way, the savior himself, but was still reluctant to go along its narrow paths” [VIII.i (1)]. Why is this so? Of all of the secular pleasures that Saint Augustine possessed, he holds the most attachment to one in particular: the fulfillment of his sexual appetite. This is mentioned several
Open Document