Essay on Plato's Symposium

692 Words 3 Pages
Though not as philosophical as many of Plato's other works, The Symposium gives a greater in depth account and characterization into the social life of the intellectual circles in Ancient Greece. The eulogies from each of the philosophers at the discussion examine the origins and theories of love in its many forms. Several of the theories and themes discussed in The Symposium are repeated as well as contrasted by each of the orators. The themes of physical love and lust, and reproduction are most notably discussed and compared within each speech.

The ideas of physical love, or the lusting for body rather than mind, are discussed within the speakers and related to their own physical loves as compared to their intellectual loves.
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In Agathon's eulogy, he praises the actual god that is Love, and speaks of the virtues of Love rather than the natures. Within these virtues is moderation, and he states that "love has the biggest share of moderation. It is generally agreed that moderation is the mastery of pleasures and desires, and that no pleasure is stronger than Love...if Love masters pleasures and desires, he must be exceptionally moderate," (30.196c). This continues further on the ideas of the pleasure received purely from physical love are inferior and must be practiced in moderation. Socrates closes on the discussion of physical love and lust in his discussion. He concludes that physical love is not love at all because, "desire and love are directed at what you don't have, what isn't there, and what you need," (35.200e). Since one can never be in the possession of love, then love can not be held in the single physical act of lust and pleasure. Each orator discusses the inferiority of the purely physical acts of love and as they continue, each discussion delves further into the inadequacy of love without intellect.

As with the aspects of physical love and lust within humans, the ideas of reproduction permeate throughout The Symposium. In Aristophanes' address, he discusses the history of love in the
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