Love Is Discussed By Socrates And His Friends Over A Drinking Party Essay

Love Is Discussed By Socrates And His Friends Over A Drinking Party Essay

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A great writer once wrote: “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they 're brought out.” Boundless things -- ideas, concepts, memories -- are all torn apart when we speak about them. They get cut up into little pieces, so that we may chew on them and digest them without choking. We end up turning these immeasurable things into literary defecation. Love, for instance, has been constant subject among writers and philosophers for eons. Everyone from E.L James to Plato has written on love and attempted to explore it with language. In Plato’s Symposium, love is discussed by Socrates and his friends over a drinking party. Raymond Carver borrows elements from Plato in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” to create a modern, ironic, Symposium.
The structure of both texts utilize a framing narrative. The stories are both told from an unreliable, detached narrator. In Symposium, the framework is a bit more complex.

“‘I wanted to ask you what 's happened at that party which Agathon, Socrates, Alcibiades and all the other guests were at, and how their speeches on love went.’ [...]
‘It really was a long time ago, then,’ he said. ‘But who told you the story? Was it Socrates himself?’
‘Oh, good heavens, no!’ I exclaimed. ‘It was the same person who told Pheonix about it. He’s called Aristodemus -- from the deme of Cydathenaum, a little fellow, never wore shoes. He’d been there at the party since he was one of the greatest lovers Socrates had at the time.’”(Plato 4)
Plato uses this frame story to freely embellish and fictionalize the account, and spea...


... middle of paper ...


...day. This paralyzing darkness Mel experiences is symbolic of how ignorant the characters are to love and how helpless they are to it.
In “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” Raymond Carver borrows structure, narrative, dialogue, and archetypes from Plato’s Symposium. Carver, however, does not simply borrow from Plato. He takes from it, twists it, and drops it into our dark, modern times. Carver 's characters can not discuss love like Plato and Socrates do. There is no spiritual side to love like Socrates (55) or Mel (137) suggest. This modern love is carnal, aggressive and a force to be reckoned with. In “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” the characters are not Plato’s classical, big-name philosophers. They are insignificant everymen, in the constant pursuit of love. Love is not personified. Love is a force of destruction for all those involved.

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