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Plato 's Symposium : The Nature Of Love

Decent Essays
Plato’s Symposium explores the nature of love through several different telling’s of what love is by philosophers of the time. The speeches of Socrates, Alcibiades, and Aristophanes are of main focus, as their similarities and differences help the reader to decide the truth of the nature of love.
Throughout the Symposium, the accounts of love vary from speaker to speaker. The speech given by Socrates differentiates from the viewpoints of Alcibiades and Aristophanes, as well as all of the other speeches given. While Alcibiades, Aristophanes, and the other speakers in the Symposium focus on love of the individual, Socrates speech focuses on the forms, specifically the form of beauty. Socrates’ speech, or rather the retelling of the priestess Diotima’s speech, tells of a love much different from that of the other speakers. His belief is, as taught by Diotima, that love is neither good, nor bad, wise, nor ignorant, immortal, nor mortal, beautiful, nor ugly. Love itself is in-between, as one would not desire unfavorable qualities, but also as Diotima argues, one would not desire what one already has. Therefore, love cannot be beautiful, as it would no longer desire beauty if that were the case. Diotima further illustrates this point by explaining to Socrates:
[N]one of the gods loves wisdom or wants to become wise – for they are wise – and no one else who is wise already loves wisdom; on the other hand, no one who is ignorant will love wisdom either or want to become wise. For
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