Symposium by Plato

Love and the Importance of the Speeches

Plato's Symposium is not only a discourse on the subject of love, it is a tribute to Socrates and his way of life, and the entire course of the discussion is guided by the ultimate objective of presenting Socrates as the representation of love itself. Though this is done slowly and indirectly through a series of steps, Plato eventually makes clear his admiration of Socrates' way of life. This can then be compared not only to Socrates' method of convincing the others that his view of love is correct, but also to the process of the ascent of love. All the speeches are instrumental in the presentation of Socrates: the first few, though superficial and trivial in content, are important for the process of which they are a part; Diotima's speech is important because it establishes the basis for Socrates' representation of love; and lastly, Alcibiades' speech serves to complete the comparison.

The text begins as a series of speeches mainly about the benefits of love, but soon shifts to discussion on what exactly love is. All of the interlocutors express their thoughts on love in turn, and each attempts to do this in a manner that is flattering to himself and to his lifestyle. Drawing from personal beliefs and...

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