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Socrates and Love Essay

Decent Essays
In the Symposium, written by Plato, Socrates and others engage in a dialogue in the home of Agathon on love. Instead of "singing the honours" (94) of love like the other participants, Socrates uses a retelling of a discussion that he had with a woman named Diotima to tell the audience of what he perceives to be the truth of love.

He first speaks to Agathon in order to be on the same wavelength with him. Socrates asks Agathon a series of questions - which leads to Agathon being thoroughly confused and completely re-thinking his entire speech he just made. Agathon is no longer sure if Love is beautiful and good, which was his primary definition of it before.

Socrates has Agathon confirm that when one does not have the thing that
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Therefore, Love is a mixture of the blessings of Plenty and tragedy of Poverty.

Because all gods are happy and beautiful, Diotima says Love cannot really be a god. She insists that Love is a great spirit, "for all spiritual is between divine and mortal" (98). Love, as a spirit, serves like a middle man between the gods and humans on Earth.

The only way gods communicate through humans is through these spirits, Diotima insists, because these spirits have the wisdom to intercede for the gods. The gods do not love wisdom because they are already wise and the foolish do not love wisdom because they are ignorant of the fact that they are ignorant of wisdom.

Diotima tells Socrates that philosophers (lovers of wisdom) are in between the gods and the ignorant. She says Love is one of the philosophers, because he is in between wisdom and ignorance. This is because his father Plenty has wisdom but his mother does not. Diotima, who says wisdom is one of the most beautiful things, believes "Love is a love for the beautiful, so Love must necessarily be a philosopher" (99).

Also, Love must be between wisdom and ignorance. She says Socrates mistook Love to be the beloved instead of the lover and that is why he thought Love to be beautiful and good. The loved thing is perfect and beautiful.

One of the reasons she thinks there is this misconception is because we have named one
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