Symposium by Plato

“The Origin of Eros”: The Foundation of Platonic Love and Affection in Plato’s “Symposium” College

Plato’s “Symposium” is an essential piece of philosophical literature that concerns itself with the genesis, purpose and nature of love, or eros. Love is examined in a sequence of speeches by men attending a symposium, or drinking party. A symposia, or drinking party in ancient Greece, was an occasion for passing the cup, reciting poetry, singing songs, telling jokes and performing pantomimes. These were generally masculine affairs filled with wine and song, with no female presence. In the case of the “Symposium,” Plato uses the symposia as a literary device that allows him to explore the power and nature of the erotic and how it relates to issues of ethics, epistemology and ontology. Plato explores eros and the nature of love through a series of speeches, each delivered by an important figure of the time in ancient Greece. Each speech represents a rhetorical performance on the part of their speakers. The speeches also reflect the character, profession, and values of their speakers. Employing these speeches, Plato explores how love shapes our moral character, informs our ethics, raises questions of being, and drives the philosophical enterprise as a whole.

The first essential sentiments shared...

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