Plato 's The Symposium And The Epic Of Gilgamesh

2326 Words Dec 5th, 2016 10 Pages
Stairway to Immortality Besides being a phenomenal writer and philosopher, it seems Plato had the gift of foresight as well. At a glance, a Greek novel about love and an ancient Mesopotamian epic seem to have nothing in common. However, what is interesting to see is that not only do the two share very similar themes, but one acts as a how-to guide for the other. In both novels, Plato’s The Symposium and The Epic of Gilgamesh, the main protagonists deal with the concept of immortality. In Gilgamesh, the immortality Gilgamesh seeks to obtain is one that is fleeting and material, whereas Plato discusses the so-called “right” kind of immortality that one finds via pursuing knowledgeable love. The Symposium shows how one can become immortal by following the correct path of love and Gilgamesh serves as an example of what happens when one does not follow those rules. Because Gilgamesh directs his desires toward immortality, but not the kind Diotima describes, he fails his quest and remains miserable. Gilgamesh directs his desire not to reach the top of Diotima’s ladder, which is to become immortal by loving and spreading wisdom, and because of this, he can never become immortal. The Symposium revolves around a Greek party made up of various men throwing around their views on love, building up to height of the evening by a speech from Socrates. Socrates knows the true way to obtain love, and tells of a tale between him and his mentor, Diotima. Through Diotima, Socrates is able to…
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