Plato's Symposium

Decent Essays
Love is a dominant theme in Greek Literature. We see it in our everyday lives, in music and television, as something that can be interpreted in all kinds of ways; love is multi-sided. There exist various different ways to understand love. Plato’s Symposium uses the speeches of six characters to demonstrate the domains of love. The Symposium’s liveliness and entertainment, as well as its characterization, plays a large role in depicting the social life of powerful Athenians in ancient times and their perspective on love.
The Symposium explains the reason of love and develops its attractiveness; furthermore, it instigated the idea of Platonic love. Most importantly, we understand Plato’s dismissal of a sexual, passionate love and his admiration
…show more content…
The third speaker, Eryximachus, bases his speech on Pausanias’ theory of common and celestial love. He explains that common and celestial loves are natural within our bodies. Eryximachus tends to stray away from the larger point of view and goes down a narrower path as his definition of love solely pertains to medicinal purposes, as something to bring together polar opposites, like hot and cold, black and white, sweet and sour, and get them to love one another. He wants to consider a general perspective of love, characterizing it not only for human beings but for lifeless objects as well.
For Medicine, for example we have a conflict of disease being present in two completely contradictory bodies, but we have cure to bring in love and deal with this conflict. He mentions music as a love as well, the harmony and the rhythm, he even says natural disasters like earthquakes occur due to the disruption of the love that connects the earth’s elements. He shows us the great power of universal
…show more content…
He comes in and responds to Phaedrus’ point that rather than being an ancient god, love is “the youngest” god and is “forever young” (Symposium 195b). Youth is one out of four attractive characteristics of love that should be praised. Love is also delicate, as it does not “step on men’s skulls” nor on the ground, living in the minds of men and gods (Symposium 195e). Lastly, love can familiarize itself with the mind and the world in order to adapt when necessary.
We can observe that the speeches are not independent in The Symposium; they link and react with one another. The differences, however, in the men’s speeches can also portray the example of how love has different forms in different minds.
After explaining the nature of love, Agathon explains to us the goodness and fairness of love. We can never have love and cruelty in the same vicinity. Agathon continues by saying that love is disciplined, as it can control our desires, and also exceptionally courageous for “[capturing] Ares” (Symposium 196d). Agathon concludes by praising the wisdom and intelligence of love, as knowledge is passed on to someone after he or she falls in
Get Access