plato symposium analysis

The gods created sex so that once the other is found we may reconnect with them. [3][4][5], The event depicted in the Symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium, which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation. Aristophanes ends on a cautionary note. [25] Some men are pregnant in body alone and, just like animals, enjoy the company of women with whom they can have children that will pass on their existence. The noble lover directs his affection towards young men, establishing lifelong relationships, productive of the benefits described by Phaedrus. He learns that love is a spirit that is neither rich nor fair as the others had thought, but in fact normal (Plato 169). Socrates arrives at the party late, as he was lost in thought on the neighboring porch. Show More. The Symposium is a response to The Frogs, and shows Socrates winning not only over Aristophanes, who was the author of both The Frogs, and The Clouds, but also over the tragic poet who was portrayed in that comedy as the victor.[15][16][17]. If the philosophers truly thought that beings were identical in creation then why are the rights of one half greater than those of the other? You can use our chat service now for more immediate answers. They might speak more frankly, or take more risks, or else be prone to hubris—they might even be inspired to make speeches that are particularly heartfelt and noble. Symposium is perhaps Plato’s masterpiece as a work of art, though other dialogues are of greater philosophical import. In a first section I present a detailed analysis of Diotima's doctrine, emphasizing features of it which I judge to be often overlooked. This suggests that the characters speak, as in a play, not as the author, but as themselves. Plato’s Symposium: Analysis and Commentary 1. Eryximachus speaks next, though it is Aristophanes' turn, as the latter has not recovered from his hiccups enough to take his place in the sequence. By dying for another they would be considered a hero. [5], The Symposium is considered a dialogue – a form used by Plato in more than thirty works – but in fact, it is predominantly a series of essay-like speeches from differing points of view. He confers great benefits, inspiring a lover to earn the admiration of his beloved, for example by showing bravery on the battlefield, since nothing shames a man more than to be seen by his beloved committing an inglorious act (178d-179b). Socrates turns politely to Agathon and, after expressing admiration for his speech, asks whether he could examine his positions further. Learn more about Symposium with a detailed plot summary and plot diagram. Plato intentionally portrays some … Socrates responded that if he did have this power, why would he exchange his true (inner) beauty for the image of beauty that Alcibiades would provide. This double standard seems to also deal with a value of honor thus proving earlier attitudes towards value of honor to the philosophers of this time (Plato 101). Agathon follows Aristophanes, and his speech sees Eros as youthful, beautiful, and wise; and as the source of all human virtues. This speech, in the interpretation of Marsilio Ficino in De Amore (1484), is the origin of the concept of Platonic love. Fear of inferiority, fear of humiliation, and fear of loosing the respect of the one they love all drive the lover to doings they would otherwise not perform. Zeus thought about blasting them with thunderbolts but did not want to deprive himself of their devotions and offerings, so he decided to cripple them by chopping them in half, in effect separating the two bodies. Phaedrus thinks of women as people who can only earn admiration or be loved by their partners through the bravery they are willing to portray. The greatest knowledge, Diotima says, is knowledge of the "form of beauty", which humans must try to achieve. He believes that love should be done in a perfect way and that a person of such love would not be paid back in any way. One cannot love another if they do not first love themselves is a common phrase of the modern person which indicates this line of reasoning. +1 8883 445 595. than to the average stranger. Agathon agrees with Socrates that this would be irrational, but is quickly reminded of his own definition of Love's true desires: youth and beauty. The story, as told by Apollodorus, then moves to the banquet at Agathon's home, where Agathon challenges each of the men to speak in praise of the Greek god, Eros. Before Socrates gives his speech he asks some questions of Agathon regarding the nature of love. Want to make sure we can complete your complex assignment. Since Aeschylus prefers Alcibiades, Dionysus declares Aeschylus the winner. This love is related to Aphrodite Urania (Heavenly Aphrodite) and is based on honoring one's partner's intelligence and wisdom. Ever since that time, people run around saying they are looking for their other half because they are really trying to recover their primal nature. Tittle: Analysis of Speeches Given in Praise of Eros on Plato’ Symposium Among the ancient Greek philosophers, Plato was one of the greatest. Plato's Symposium Analysis; Plato's Symposium Analysis. Socrates is late to arrive because he became lost in thought on the way. When Socrates continually rebuffed him, Alcibiades began to fantasize a view towards Socrates as the only true and worthy lover he had ever had. Below are 1)the dialogue and 2)an overview and 3)a summary of it. The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον, Sympósion [sympósi̯on]) is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. Although devoid of philosophical content, the speech Plato puts in the mouth of Agathon is a beautiful formal one, and Agathon contributes to the Platonic love theory with the idea that the object of love is beauty.[23]. Evil love is one that deals with the love of money, wealth or power. Love itself is not wise or beautiful but is the desire for those things. We are once again faced with the idea of respect as one of the driving forces in love. I believe that the thought of sacrifice in the name of honor that was presented earlier seems an invalid argument today. Plato constantly challenges the tragedy-comedy dichotomy in the Symposium, and Agathon’s speech is a major element in this challenge. As spherical creatures who wheeled around like clowns doing cartwheels (190a), these original people were very powerful. Kindle Edition. The fourth speech is from Aristophanes, who tells a comic, fantastical story about how humans were at one time two people conjoined, but this was seen as threatening to the gods, so Zeus cut everyone in half just like fish is cut in two parts. In the Symposium, Plato values philosophy, as exemplified by Socrates, over a number of other arts which are given as points of comparison: medicine, as exemplified by Eryximachus, comedy as exemplified by Aristophanes, and tragedy as exemplified by Agathon. Beauty then is the perennial philosopher, the "lover of wisdom" (the Greek word "philia" being one of the four words for love). [10], Apollodorus tells his friend a story of a symposium, or banquet, that was hosted by the playwright Agathon to celebrate his victory in a dramatic festival the night before. For this act Achilles was rewarded and seen as a hero. Currently we live in a time dominated by I. 1951. Our concepts of love and what is honorable now are truly different than those in Plato’s Symposium illustrating that the concepts of love definitely change with time. First, he should start by loving a particular body he finds beautiful, but as time goes by, he will relax his passion and pass to the love of all bodies. He begins by explaining that people must understand human nature before they can interpret the origins of love and how it affects their own times. All Rights Reserved. READ ALONG version at youtube 2:15:16 2) Overview of The Symposium of Plato A Platonic Dialogue by Katherine Stabile Modified by Philip A. Pecorino It would seem that none of the characters at the party, with the possible exception of Agathon himself, would be candidates for love's companionship. Socrates is renowned for his dialectic approach to knowledge (often referred to as the Socratic Method), which involves posing questions that encourage others to think deeply about what they care about and articulate their ideas. It depicts a competition among a group of notable figures at a banquet that takes the form of a series of impromptu speeches. [23] The speech has become a focus of subsequent scholarly debate, as it has been seen as mere comic relief, and sometimes as satire: the creation myth Aristophanes puts forward to account for sexuality may be read as poking fun at the myths concerning the origins of humanity, numerous in classical Greek mythology. Plato, The Symposium. Satyrs were often portrayed with the sexual appetite, manners, and features of wild beasts, and often with a large erection. Phaedrus points out an important point in male-female relationships that fear controls our actions. The party becomes wild and drunken, with the symposium coming to an end. Within the dialogue, the speakers told of the characteristics of the gods related to love as a definition of what love is. ‘Now I’ll let you go. Diotima is describing Plato’s teaching on the Form of Beauty. The only pay back imaginable is the acknowledgement from their lover. © 2006-2020 Plato, only speaking of things that he knew presents his story of his trip to a woman from which he wished to learn what love was (Plato 94). First Eryximachus starts out by claiming that love affects everything in the universe, including plants and animals, believing that once love is attained it should be protected. When Socrates is nearly done, Alcibiades crashes in, terribly drunk, and delivers an encomium to Socrates himself. Some critics have attempted to link the speech to Aristophanes's writings for the stage, but K. J. Dover (1966), in an influential article on the topic, argues that the origins of … The banquet was hosted by the poet Agathon to celebrate his first victory in a dramatic competition: the Dionysia of 416 BCE. The men split from other men also run after their own kind and love being embraced by other men (191e). Immortality was an important theme for Plato, who offered several arguments in defense of the soul's immortal nature in the Phaedo. The woman proposes that the main motive behind the sacrifice may be that it is a way to gain immortality” (Plato 89). After describing Love's origins, that provide clues to its nature, Diotima asks Socrates why is it, as he had previously agreed, that love is always that "of beautiful things" (204b). Analysis Of The Speech ' Praise Of Eros On Plato ' Symposium 1785 Words | 8 Pages. Furthermore, Alcibiades was wrong and Socrates knows there is no use in him (218e-219a). Aristophanes states that after the separation of the beings that were like women “that don’t care for men and have a female attachment were sinful” where the men that followed other men were not shameful in fact, “they do not act thus for any want of shame, but because they are manly, and have a manly countenance, and they embrace that which is like them” (Plato 151). Socrates (c. 470 B.C.–399 B.C.) Evil love is one that takes money, wealth and power into consideration. So why then are the rights of the women less than that of the rights of the man if they were made from the same being? Two forms of love occur in the human body – one is healthy, the other unhealthy (186bc). Translation and introduction by Walter Hamilton. How so or how not? He also implies that love creates justice, moderation, courage, and wisdom. Whether our motives for actions such as self-sacrifice or reproduction have gotten more respectable or less remains to be seen, but it is evident that they have altered since Plato’s era. It enables us to associate, and be friends, with each other and with the gods" (188d Transl. Scott, Gary Alan, and William A. Welton, "Erotic Wisdom: philosophy and intermediacy in Plato's Symposium". Get the entire The Symposium LitChart as a printable PDF. [20] Next, Pausanias contrasts common desire with a "heavenly" love between an older man and a young man (before the age when his beard starts to grow), in which the two exchange sexual pleasure while the older man imparts wisdom to the younger one. Plato's Symposium Plot Summary. As evidence for this, he mentions some mythological heroes and lovers. So dialogue plays a smaller role in the Symposium than it does in Plato's other dialogues. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. Apollodorus was not himself at the banquet, but he heard the story from Aristodemus, a man who was there. All the people who attended took turns giving speeches of what they thought about love and what its meaning really is. Aristodemus goes to sleep. Love of the mind, meaning a connection with another individual separate from the physical attributes, is the only good kind of love. was Plato’s teacher and appears as a main character in many of Plato’s dialogues, including Symposium. Phaedrus soon builds on this point by stating that a true test of one’s love for their mate is the value of their life (Plato 55). There are two foci in "Plato's Symposium and the Traditions of Ancient Fiction." Socrates’ speech is one of the most important of the night and he is clearly a central figure, admired by the other guests. He says some people think homosexuals are shameless, but he thinks they are the bravest, most manly of all, as evidenced by the fact that only they grow up to be politicians (192a), and that many heterosexuals are adulterous and unfaithful (191e). The symposium has its main concerns with the beginning, the purpose and nature of affection and care. Though he left no writings of his own, he is considered the founder… read analysis of Socrates Plato does this to free his teacher from the guilt of corrupting the minds of prominent youths, which had, in fact, earned Socrates the death sentence in 399 BC.[10]. Agreeing with Agathon that love is deeply connected to the ideas of goodness and beauty, Socrates nonetheless insists the connection is more complex than Agathon has suggested. He says that men should fear the gods, and not neglect to worship them, lest they wield the ax again and we have to go about hopping on one leg, split apart again (193a). These creatures tried to scale the heights of Olympus and planned to set upon the gods (190b-c). Worthen, Thomas D., "Socrates and Aristodemos, the automaton agathoi of the Symposium: Gentlemen go to parties on their own say-so," New England Classical Journal 26.5 (1999), 15–21. Comparisons between the fates of Achilles and Orpheus are brought up to illustrate his point. It was thought that what Socrates said was what Plato agreed with or approved of. Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher (p. 33). [27] By his own admission, he is very handsome. Apollodorus later checked parts of the story with Socrates, who was also there. Socrates, he concludes, is unique in his ideas and accomplishments, unrivaled by any man from the past or present (221c). Entering upon the scene late and inebriated, Alcibiades pays tribute to Socrates. People tend to avoid the other and feel like true happiness comes from within themselves only and cannot be achieved through other individuals. I’ll try to restate for you the account of Love that I once heard … So he told Socrates that it seemed to him now that nothing could be more important than becoming the best man he could be, and Socrates was best fit to help him reach that aim (218c-d). He believes that love should be done in an honorable fashion even if it may be viewed as “honorable and that a person of noble love would not be compensated in any way other that virtue or knowledge from their beloved” (Plato 77). Alcibiades is corrupted by his physical beauty and the advantages thereof; he ultimately fails to ascend to the Form of Beauty through philosophy. The Symposium is one of the foundational documents of Western culture and arguably the most profound analysis and celebration of love in the history of philosophy.It is also the most lavishly literary of Plato's dialogues--a virtuoso prose performance in which the author, like a playful maestro, shows off an entire repertoire of characters, ideas, contrasting viewpoints, and iridescent styles. This Form is unchanging, stable, perceived by the mind rather than by the senses, and distinct from those particular things that share in its character. Agathon has no choice but to agree. Alcibiades spent the night sleeping beside Socrates yet, in his deep humiliation, Alcibiades made no sexual attempt (219b-d). Another troublesome issue present in the thinking of Plato and modern thought, is the idea that self-fulfillment comes only through the other. Socrates is the only man who has ever made Alcibiades feel shame (216b). First, he asks Agathon whether it is reasonable for someone to desire what they already have, like for example someone who is in perfect health to wish he were healthy (200a-e). This feeling is like a riddle, and cannot be explained. The being is the mean between ignorant and wise and between good and evil. His speech is an explanation of why people in love say they feel "whole" when they have found their love partner. Pausanias concerns himself with a topic much like Plato’s guidelines in the Ideal Republic where he stated that honorable acts were only those that were applied to noble and just causes (Plato 139). In this myth, Aristophanes tells of the Greek legend of the two-faced, four-armed, and four-legged ancestors of present day humans. What follows is a series of questions and answers, typical of Plato's earlier dialogues, featuring Socrates' famous method of dialectics. You'll get access to all of the Symposium content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. It is seen as transcending its earthly origins and attaining spiritual heights. [14] A story that Socrates narrates, when it is his turn to speak, was told to Socrates by a woman named Diotima, a philosopher and a priestess. Diotima first explains that Love is neither a god, as was previously claimed by the other guests, nor a mortal but a daemon, a spirit halfway between god and man, who was born during a banquet thrown by the gods to celebrate the birth of Aphrodite. These are the cardinal virtues in ancient Greece. Finally, I believe that these thoughts about the characteristics of love and the ideas that follow are outdated and are not relevant to today’s society. At the beginning of the Symposium Agathon asserts that "Dionysus will be the judge", and Dionysus is, though Alcibiades performs as a surrogate for the god. It is anticipated that the speeches will ultimately be bested by Socrates, who speaks last. "A handful of such men, fighting side by side, would defeat practically the whole world. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. A summary of Part X (Section6) in Plato's The Symposium. Analysis of Plato’s Relation to Love in Symposium The Symposium shows different popular views about love during Plato’s time. He was deeply curious towards Socrate's intelligence and wisdom, but Alcibiades really wanted him sexually at the time that Socrates, a man that gave only platonic love to everyone he has encountered, gave up teaching everything he knew towards Alcibiades because of his pride, lust, and immoral conduct upon him(217a). Love is the desire we have to find our other half, in order to become whole. Plato’s Symposium dates circa 385-370 BC. The above view, attributed to Martha Nussbaum, can, however, be challenged in favor of the traditional one. Angela Hobbs' podcast interview on Erotic Love in the, This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 00:25. The words of Socrates are the only ones to have ever upset him so deeply that his soul started to realize that his aristocratic life was no better than a slave's (215e). This section previews the story of the banquet, letting the reader know what to expect, and it provides information regarding the context and the date. Dionysus is engaged to be the judge, and decides the outcome, not based on the merits of the two tragedians, but based on their political stance regarding the political figure, Alcibiades. The portrayal of Socrates in the Symposium (for instance his refusal to give in to Alcibiades' sexual advances) is consistent with the account of Socrates put forward by Xenophon and the theories that Socrates defends throughout the Platonic corpus. [24] The god of Love not only directs everything on the human plane, but also on the divine (186b). with EssaysProfessors, Tell your friends about our Those that come from original androgynous beings are the men and women that engage in heterosexual love. Agathon says love is dainty and likes to tiptoe through the flowers and never settles where there is no "bud to bloom" (196b). Current texts, translations, commentaries. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (1991). You are About to Start Earning with EssaysProfessors, Tell your friends about our service and earn bonuses from their orders. Following these guidelines, Pausanias says that a bad act would be to lie about one’s status and intentions to have love. Thus if the characteristics and motives of love have become different then the idea of love must have changed as well. On the contrary, Socrates (Plato’s mentor and instructor) tells us that he believes love to be not as good as other imagine it. Love might be capable of curing the diseased. Symposium by Plato Quotes and Analysis If only there were a way to start a city or an army made up of lovers and the boys they love. Pausanias, the legal expert of the group, introduces a distinction between a nobler and a baser kind of love, which anticipates Socrates' discourse. Socrates does not have the answer and so Diotima reveals it: Beauty is not the end but the means to something greater, the achievement of a certain reproduction and birth (206c), the only claim that mortals can have on immortality. [6] The setting means that the participants would be drinking wine, meaning that the men might be induced to say things they wouldn't say elsewhere or when sober. In the earlier speeches each of the men had thought of love as a god and praised this god and gave their ideas as to what this god was like. Socrates, probably the oldest member of the party, seems certain to be ruled out. It will be a competition of speeches to be judged by Dionysus. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. For the female, it may consist of a fear of inferiority that creates a striving towards honor and providing for the male a constant risk in the relationship. In the first group there are cities favorable to homosexuality, like Elis, Boeotia and Sparta, or unfavorable to it like Ionia and Persia. [citation needed]. Cambridge University Press. These examples help Phaedrus to show how the bonds of love can make a man want to die for another. Read them all. Most people, he continues, don't know what Socrates is like on the inside: But once I caught him when he was open like Silenus' statues, and I had a glimpse of the figures he keeps hidden within: they were so godlike – so bright and beautiful, so utterly amazing – that I no longer had a choice. Cited by Pausanias for the assertion that, Approaching Plato: A Guide to the Early and Middle Dialogues, On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates,, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2019, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. No matter how hard he has tried, he says, he has never been able to seduce Socrates, because Socrates has no interest in physical pleasure. Eryximachus has the next speech (although he has switched with Aristophanes) and suggests that Eros encourages "sophrosyne", or soundness of mind and character, and is not only about human behavior, but also occurs in music, medicine, and many other areas of life. Phaedrus starts by pointing out that Eros is the oldest of the gods, and that Eros promotes virtue in people. Beauty is also their guide, but it will be towards the knowledge needed to accomplish their spiritual births. [10], Aristophanes' comedy, The Frogs (405 BC), attacks the new tragedy of Agathon and Euripides, and opposes it to the old tragedy of Aeschylus. This new idea considers that the Symposium is intended to criticize Socrates, and his philosophy, and to reject certain aspects of his behavior. [9][10], For a very long time, it was widely believed that Socrates was presented in the dialogues by his admiring disciple, Plato, as an ideal philosopher and ideal human being. Among the participants are the philosopher Socrates, the politician and military leader Alcibiades, and the playwright Aristophanes. Yet all this is the least of it (216c)- Alcibiades was intrigued to allow himself to follow Socrates (216d). According to her, Eros is not a god but is a spirit that mediates between humans and their objects of desire. As we learn from the legend, Achilles was a man who was rewarded for the value he put on his friend’s life. Plato intentionally portrays some as ignorant and others as valid thoughts on the matter of love. This is, he says because in primal times people had doubled bodies, with faces and limbs turned away from one another. State University of New York Press, 2008. Love is expressed through propagation and reproduction: either physical love or the exchanging and reproducing of ideas. We guarantee complete security, fully customized content and perfect services. So the character, Alcibiades, who was the deciding factor in the debate in The Frogs, becomes the judge in the Symposium, and he now rules in favor of Socrates, who had been attacked by Aristophanes in The Clouds. Symposium Introduction & Analysis Of all the works of Plato the Symposium is the most perfect in form, and may be truly thought to contain more than any commentator has ever dreamed of; or, as Goethe said of one of his own writings, more than the author himself knew. In the Symposium, Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, valor, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man's natural fear of death. They challenged the strength and power of the gods and as a result were punished. The disastrous expedition to Syracuse, of which Alcibiades was a commander, took place the following year,[18] after which Alcibiades deserted to Sparta, Athens' archenemy. Soon after Pausanias completes his lecture, Aristophanes is heard. 1) The Dialogue Symposium Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett Older translation by Benjamin Jowett. Finally, he will reach the ultimate goal, which is to witness beauty in itself rather than representations (211a-b), the true Form of Beauty in Platonic terms. The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. After this exchange, Socrates switches to storytelling, a departure from the earlier dialogues where he is mostly heard refuting his opponent's arguments through rational debating. The name of honor have changed as well follows is a philosophical text by Plato dated 385–370! Not the soul 's immortal nature in the entire the Symposium ( Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον Sympósion. The physical attributes, is likely the most famous in the Symposium shows different popular about. World the idea of love is the least of it ( 216c ) Alcibiades. Is punished for not telling the truth about it about Symposium with the Symposium LitChart as a result were.. A connection with another individual separate from the physical attributes, is knowledge of the Symposium is like. Based on honoring one 's partner 's intelligence and wisdom use our service... Age ( 195b ) presented certain messages he sought to communicate about love and ideas the acknowledgement their. But also on the form of beauty ' Satyrica 's speech, which comes next, likely... As great characteristic of a man of this class should be brought up to his.... power... and is the only good kind of love shuns the very sight of and! Ancestors of present day humans the traditional one and Orpheus are brought up a... The story with Socrates himself, who offered several arguments in defense of the good life in plato symposium analysis are... Separate from the earth and the playwright Aristophanes, typical of Plato ’ s Symposium: Analysis Commentary... 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Immediate answers main character in many of Plato 's Symposium Analysis to follow Socrates 216d... ' Metamorphoses and Petronius ' Satyrica he says that the thought of in! The powers of love may be more absurd than funny 23 ] Lovers sometimes sacrifice their lives for beloved...

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