Plato's Symposium

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Though not as philosophical as many of Plato's other works, The Symposium gives a greater in depth account and characterization into the social life of the intellectual circles in Ancient Greece. The eulogies from each of the philosophers at the discussion examine the origins and theories of love in its many forms. Several of the theories and themes discussed in The Symposium are repeated as well as contrasted by each of the orators. The themes of physical love and lust, and reproduction are most notably discussed and compared within each speech. The ideas of physical love, or the lusting for body rather than mind, are discussed within the speakers and related to their own physical loves as compared to their intellectual loves. Though they all have their own contrasting views as to the nature of love and it origins, it is Socrates who "tells the truth about Love," (33.199b. Despite these differences on the nature and origins, all of the orators are in general concordance on the ideas of the physical side of love. Pausanias promotes the idea of "two Loves, since there are two types of Aphrodite," (12.181d). The type of love he associates with physical lust is Common Love, "the kind of love that inferior people feel. People like this are attracted to women as much as boys, and to bodies rather than minds," (13.181b). He argues that these Common lovers are attracted to partners with very little intelligence because they seek only sexual satisfaction as opposed to intellectual satisfaction. Eryximachus continues on this duality of Love, but extend it in the form or good and bad love. Similar to Pausanias' Common Love, Eryximaachus agrees that "when this type of love is applied, it must be with caution, to ensure that th... ... middle of paper ... ...an the physical reproduction of child birth because this kind immortality will fade after generations, but a person's ideas will permeate throughout history and only in this way can humans become immortal. All of the discussions within The Symposium view reproduction as a means of attaining an immortal state. All of the eulogies and speeches within Plato's novel give great insight as to the social workings and aspects of ancient Greek intellectuals. Through The Symposium the reader learns the different aspects and natures of love as viewed by these intellects. The theories and themes within the novel are discussed and compared with the opinions and beliefs of each person present. The more notable themes in the novel are the ideas of physical love and lust, and the importance of the reproduction of ideas as they are filtered through each of the speakers.

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