The meaning of love is as intricate and unique as the purpose that it serves. It seems that the nature of love is found in the mind, the body and the soul. In Plato’s Symposium each member of the drinking party gives their own interpretation of love. As each speaker engages in their discourse, the concept of love is evaluated from different angles. According to Phaedrus, homoerotic love is the highest form of love and that sacrificing oneself for love will result in a multitude of rewards from the gods, while Pausanias believes that there are two forms of love: Commonly and Heavenly. As a physician, Eryximachus claims that love appears in every part of the universe, including plants and animals and that protection results from love. Before starting his speech, Aristophanes tells the group that his discussion about love may seem completely absurd, as he explains that in the beginning one body had two people who were eventually split in half by Zeus. This is meant to explain why people are constantly looking for their “other half”. Moreover Agathon, the poet the symposium is celebrating, critiques the previous speakers by stating that they failed to praise the god of love. He claims that love rejects feebleness and embraces youthfulness while also implying that love creates justice, courage and wisdom.
The last person to speak is Socrates. First, he examines Agathon’s speech through a series of questions where Agathon finds himself rejecting many of the points that he previously made. While Agathon’s speech is beautifully delivered, according to Socrates, it is incorrect because it lacks real philosophical content. In the midst of all the questions, Socrates comes to the conclusion that “Love is of something; second, that it is ...
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...unconditional love for God. Once Augustine converts, he attains the purest form of love and it is solely reserved for God.
The Symposium, The Aeneid, and Confessions help demonstrate how the nature of love can be found in several places, whether it is in the mind, the body or the soul. These texts also provide with eye-opening views of love as they adjust our understanding of what love really is. By giving us reformed spectrum of love, one is able to engage in introspective thinking and determine if the things we love are truly worthy of our sentiment.
Plato. The Symposium. Trans. Christopher Gill. New York: Penguin Books, 1999. Print.
Maro, Vergiliou, Publius (Virgil). The Aeneid. Trans. Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam Books, 1971. Print.
Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Henry Chadwick. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print.
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