Significance of Feet in Plato’s Symposium Essay examples

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The Significance of Feet in Plato’s Symposium

Plato’s Symposium presents an account of the party given at the house of Agathon, where Socrates and Alcibiades are in attendance. The men at the party take turns eulogizing the god Eros. In Agathon’s eulogy, he describes Eros as a soft and tender being. When Socrates speaks, however, he makes a correction of his host’s account, by saying the soft and tender thing is the beloved, and not the lover, as Agathon would have it. When Alcibiades enters the party toward the end of the dialogue, he complains that Socrates is deceiving Agathon. Alcibiades was once the lover of Socrates, and if he knows anything about his beloved, it is that Socrates is a tough man who can drink without getting
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Alcibiades recalls: " Once, he had gotten a thought, and he stood on the same spot from dawn on, considering it; and when he made no progress, he did not let up, but stood searching" (283).

In these two instances, it is clear that Socrates is the beloved, and the two men admire his self-discipline and "uprightness." If standing still is indicative of nobility then fleeing or running away is naturally indicative of the opposite –shame and vulgarity. Alcibiades had a habit of running away because of the shame that Socrates caused him to feel. When Alcibiades speaks of other encounters with Socrates he says: "I have become a runaway to avoid him" and "I stopped my ears and took off in flight, as if from the Sirens, in order that I not sit here in idleness and grow old beside him" (279). On the surface it is clear from this passage that Alcibiades is not the most noble of men, but further significance is contained in these words with respect to Agathon’s eulogy of Eros. In his eulogy he says: "First he is the youngest of the gods…for with headlong flight he avoids old age" (256). Alcibiades likens himself to Agathon’s Eros, who, according to Socrates is not the lover, but the beloved. Alcibiades, as stated previously, is most certainly the lover of Socrates, and this is why, at the end of his speech (which is not really a eulogy to Eros, but a praise of Socrates) he warns
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