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Boston College
Honors Program
HONR 1101

Emily McClure Symposium Part Two Agathon: To begin, I must admit that I found the second half of Symposium to be more complex and had difficulty understanding a lot of it. That being said, I will start with the impression that I got ofAgathon. Before his speech, he bantered back and forth with Socrates for a while before Phaedrus kindly interrupts and asksAgathon to get on with his speech. This interplay between Socrates andAgathon gives me mixed signals. From my understanding and interpretation of this little exchange between them, it seems like Socrates is complimenting Agathon for his confidence in delivering his play and he is encouraging him to make a great speech.Agathon is flustered by this and rebukes Socrates’compliments. It almost seems flirtatious, but I could definitely be reading it wrong.Anyhow, the way thatAgathon is recognized by Socrates and the other characters after his speech is also noteworthy.Aristodemus says that, “whenAgathon had finished speaking, all those present applauded vigorously, as the youth had spoken in a way as suited to himself as a god” (27). Socrates even goes to the extreme of saying that he is almost speechless. I think that the approval that Agathon receives from the other characters at the dinner demonstrates Plato’s approval of him, and his speech as well. I have a similar opinion ofAgathon; I like his speech a lot because it is very poetic – especially at the end. I also feel as though his speech is more straightforward and easier to understand than a few of the other speeches, which I liked. Socrates: This speech is long and complicated, but there are parts that I picked up on that relate to our discussion that Eros is a desire for something else besides sex. Socrates attempts to answer this question. In summation, he suggests that Eros himself is not beautiful or good, but he is constantly yearning for these good things that will make one’s soul happy. He says (through his relaying of his conversation with Diotima) that “‘eros is the whole desire of good things and of being happy… and eros is of the good’s being one’s own always’” (36). The role and idea of beauty also becomes entangled in his argument. The very first speaker to mention the beautiful was Phaedrus when he said that being beautif
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