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Plato’s symposium • symposium, or dinner-party, given in honor of the tragedian Agathon • About Love, homoeroticism • Apollodorus describes the speeches that the group had about love • Socrates invites Aristodemus to go along uninvited to Agathon’s house • Agathon (7) “come, here Socrates, and share my couch. It’ll do me good to get close to you-I’ll come into contact with whatever piece of wisdom occurred to you out there in the porch” • Socrates (7) “Wouldn’t it be nice if wisdom was like that, Agathon? Imagine if it could flow by contact from someone who had more of it into someone who had less of it! It would be like water flowing along wool from a fuller cup into an emptier one” • Phaedrus spoke first :” Anyone who wants to live a good life needs to be guided throughout his life by something which love imparts more effectively than family ties can, or public office, or wealth, or anything else” (11) • “this ‘something”? The ability to feel shame at disgraceful behavior and pride in good behavior, because without these qualities no individual or community could achieve anything great or fine. (11) • “he feels particularly ashamed at being caught behaving badly by his lovers” (11) • “The best conceivable organization …for a community or battalion would be for it to consist of lovers and their boyfriends, since they’d compete with one another in avoiding any kind of shameful act” (11) • “So, as I say, Love is one of the most ancient and venerated gods, and one of the most effective in helping a person, during his lifetime or after it, attain goodness and happiness” (13) • Pausanias’ speech: common people’s love (ordinary ppl) “they love women as well as boys… they are attracted to the bodies rather than the minds of the people they love…the reason they’re attracted to the most unintelligent people imaginable is that all they’re after is the satisfaction of their desires” (14) • Celestial love for men who are attracted to boys only some are motivated by “ a pure form of celestial love” (14) • “ our Athenian customs…for example, an overt affair is considered to be better than a clandestine one, especially if the affair is between people whose birth and virtue are outstanding” (16) • Society doesn’t disapprove of actions done in love • “a lover is bad if he is of the common type, who loves the body rather than the mind” (17) • “on the other hand, a lover who loves goodness of character is constant for life, because of the constancy of the object he’s been united with” (17) Eryximachus’ speech • In practicing Love, whether by means of music or medicine, one is promoting order, and may thus improve people. • Eryximachus concludes that Love is ever-present and all-powerful in our lives, as it is the cause of all self-control, happiness, and justice, and it produces good actions. Aristophane’s speech • Zeus “ What I’m going to do is split every single one of them into two halves; then they’ll be weaker” (26) • “It was their very essence that had been split into two, so each half missed its other half and tried to be with it” (27) • “and so we are human tallies, constantly searching for our counterparts” (28) • “love is just the name we give to the desire for and pursuit of wholeness” (29) • “we human beings will never attain happiness unless we find perfect love, unless we each come across the love of our lives and thereby recover our original nature.” (30) Agathon’s Speech • “love acts fairly and is treated fairly too. For oppression and love are incompatible, so love is never dealt with harshly when he’s at the receiving end, and never acts oppressively either, because everyone is happy to carry out any of Love’s comm
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