• SparkNotes: The Symposium
  • A summary of 212c - 216c in Plato's The Symposium
  • Symposium by Plato The Speech of Aristophanes …

One text that explores the many faces of love in everyday life is Plato’s Symposium.

Plato’s Symposium 189a-193e: Aristophanes on the …

Symposium by Plato The Speech of Aristophanes ..

In Plato's Symposium, a dinner party was held with the discussion of love as the main topic.
One can articulate the same worry even remaining with theRepublic's terms. Shadows and reflections belong in thecategory of near-ignorance. Imitation works an effect worse thanignorance, not merely teaching nothing but engendering a pervertedpreference for ignorance over knowledge. Plato often observes that theignorant prefer to remain as they are (Symposium 204a), butthis turn toward ignorance is different. Why would anyone choose toknow less? The theoretical question is also a practical one. Ifmimêsis poisons the soul, why do so many people swallowit? Plato's attack on poetry saddles him with an aesthetic problem ofevil.

The Crazy And Charming Theory Of Love In Plato’s “Symposium”

In his dialogue The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soulmates
References to magic serve poorly as explanations but they bespeak theneed for explanation. Plato sees that some power must be drawingpeople to give up both knowledge and the taste for knowledge. But whatis striking about this deus ex machina that explains poetry'sattractiveness is what it does not say. In other dialoguesthe magic of poetry is attributed to one version or another of divineinspiration. Odd that the Republic makes no reference toinspiration when dialogues as different as the Apology andthe Laws mention it and the Ion and thePhaedrus spell out how it works. Odder still, Plato almostnever cites imitation and divine inspiration together (the loneexception Laws 719c), as if to say that the two areincompatible accounts of poetry. Will inspiration play a roleancillary to imitation, or do the two approaches to poetry havenothing to do with one another?

 

Platos Symposium analysis Essay - 3265 Words | Bartleby

04. Plato’s Symposium | The Ways of Love| The Ways of Love">
There is a further reason for entertaining hypotheses about whatPlato intended and believed, and not merely confining ourselves toobservations about what sorts of people his characters are and whatthey say to each other. When we undertake a serious study of Plato, andgo beyond reading just one of his works, we are inevitably confrontedwith the question of how we are to link the work we are currentlyreading with the many others that Plato composed. Admittedly, many ofhis dialogues make a fresh start in their setting and theirinterlocutors: typically, Socrates encounters a group of people many ofwhom do not appear in any other work of Plato, and so, as an author, heneeds to give his readers some indication of their character and socialcircumstances. But often Plato's characters make statements that wouldbe difficult for readers to understand unless they had already read oneor more of his other works. For example, in Phaedo (73a-b),Socrates says that one argument for the immortality of the soul derivesfrom the fact that when people are asked certain kinds of questions,and are aided with diagrams, they answer in a way that shows that theyare not learning afresh from the diagrams or from information providedin the questions, but are drawing their knowledge of the answers fromwithin themselves. That remark would be of little worth for an audiencethat had not already read Meno. Several pages later, Socratestells his interlocutors that his argument about our prior knowledge ofequality itself (the form of equality) applies no less to other forms—to the beautiful, good, just, pious and to all the other thingsthat are involved in their asking and answering of questions (75d).This reference to asking and answering questions would not be wellunderstood by a reader who had not yet encountered a series ofdialogues in which Socrates asks his interlocutors questions of theform, “What is X?” (Euthyphro: what is piety?Laches: what is courage? Charmides: What ismoderation? Hippias Major: what is beauty?). Evidently, Platois assuming that readers of Phaedo have already read severalof his other works, and will bring to bear on the current argument allof the lessons that they have learned from them. In some of hiswritings, Plato's characters refer ahead to the continuation of theirconversations on another day, or refer back to conversations they hadrecently: thus Plato signals to us that we should readTheaetetus, Sophist, and Statesmansequentially; and similarly, since the opening of Timaeusrefers us back to Republic, Plato is indicating to his readersthat they must seek some connection between these two works.


These features of the dialogues show Plato's awareness that hecannot entirely start from scratch in every work that he writes. Hewill introduce new ideas and raise fresh difficulties, but he will alsoexpect his readers to have already familiarized themselves with theconversations held by the interlocutors of other dialogues—evenwhen there is some alteration among those interlocutors. (Meno does notre-appear in Phaedo; Timaeus was not among the interlocutorsof Republic.) Why does Plato have his dominant characters(Socrates, the Eleatic visitor) reaffirm some of the same points fromone dialogue to another, and build on ideas that were made in earlierworks? If the dialogues were merely meant as provocations to thought—mere exercises for the mind—there would be no need forPlato to identify his leading characters with a consistent andever-developing doctrine. For example, Socrates continues to maintain,over a large number of dialogues, that there are such things asforms—and there is no better explanation for this continuitythan to suppose that Plato is recommending that doctrine to hisreaders. Furthermore, when Socrates is replaced as the principalinvestigator by the visitor from Elea (in Sophist andStatesman), the existence of forms continues to be taken forgranted, and the visitor criticizes any conception of reality thatexcludes such incorporeal objects as souls and forms. The Eleaticvisitor, in other words, upholds a metaphysics that is, in manyrespects, like the one that Socrates is made to defend. Again, the bestexplanation for this continuity is that Plato is using both characters—Socrates and the Eleatic visitor—as devices for thepresentation and defense of a doctrine that he embraces and wants hisreaders to embrace as well.


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Of course, there are other more speculative possible ways ofexplaining why Plato so often makes Socrates his principal speaker. Forexample, we could say that Plato was trying to undermine the reputationof the historical Socrates by writing a series of works in which afigure called “Socrates” manages to persuade a group ofnaïve and sycophantic interlocutors to accept absurd conclusionson the basis of sophistries. But anyone who has read some of Plato'sworks will quickly recognize the utter implausibility of thatalternative way of reading them. Plato could have written into hisworks clear signals to the reader that the arguments of Socrates do notwork, and that his interlocutors are foolish to accept them. But thereare many signs in such works as Meno, Phaedo,Republic, and Phaedrus that point in the oppositedirection. (And the great admiration Plato feels for Socrates is alsoevident from his Apology.) The reader is given everyencouragement to believe that the reason why Socrates is successful inpersuading his interlocutors (on those occasions when he does succeed)is that his arguments are powerful ones. The reader, in other words, isbeing encouraged by the author to accept those arguments, if not asdefinitive then at least as highly arresting and deserving of carefuland full positive consideration. When we interpret the dialogues inthis way, we cannot escape the fact that we are entering into the mindof Plato, and attributing to him, their author, a positive evaluationof the arguments that his speakers present to each other.

04. Plato's Symposium | The Ways of Love

If acting a part does lead to taking on the characteristics of thepart, then in one respect Plato has a powerful point and in anotherrespect is generating a misleading argument. The point is powerfulinasmuch as it lets Plato ban all portrayals of vicious and ignoblecharacters but not the portrayals of brave soldiers, philosophers, andother wholesome types. Moreover the basic factual premise isbelievable. Taking on someone else's traits and tics can have a morelasting effect than the Republic's critics sometimesacknowledge. Playing a coward or a sadist could well make an actormore cowardly or sadistic. Actors today comment on how a role changedthem, presumably by just this mechanism.