Plato's Symposium Essay

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Plato's Symposium

What is the meaning of love? What does love feel like? How does love come about? No one can truly explain it, yet somehow it's understood. In Plato's Symposium, a dinner party was held with the discussion of love as the main topic. Everyone was required to make a speech, an ode to Love, the spirit. The philosopher, Socrates gave his speech last, claiming that his speech was merely a repetition of what a wise woman named Diotima once told him. The speech was a powerful one, but before the night was over, a drunk Alcibiades entered. He was asked to make a eulogy for Love as well, but instead, talked about the nature of Socrates. The nature of Love and the nature of Socrates turned out to be extremely similar. In
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In fact, he was a "vagrant, with tough, dry skin"(203d). Love took after his mother, Poverty, with the trait of a constant need. However, he also had characteristics gained from his father, Plenty. Love enjoyed chasing "things of beauty and value"(203d), and was filled with "courage, impetuosity, and energy"(203d). He had a desire for knowledge, and was resourceful. Magic, herbs, and words were skills at his disposal.

Socrates was not the most sensitive or attractive man. He showed up to the dinner party half way through dinner, hardly caring about his late entrance. He was very blunt when asking questions as well. Just before Agathon's speech, he asked Agathon a series of questions that almost trapped him into looking extremely foolish(194b-e). Socrates liked to chase things of beauty and value as well. He was always found socializing with attractive people, and his greatest desire was knowledge. His mind was bursting with ideas of virtue and wisdom, and it was this wisdom that showed him love.

Socrates had a mind that held "the most important and attractive kind of wisdom by far... self-discipline"(209a). His self-discipline was seen when Agathon described Socrates' attitude while under military service. When food provisions were cut, everyone seemed unable to cope, yet he never complained once. Then when there was plenty of food, he was able to make it last the longest. He could out drink anyone that challenged him, but never seemed to ever be
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