Symposium by Plato

What's Love Got to Do with It? College

In Plato’s The Symposium, Plato details the events of a dinner party, a symposium for which the work derives its namesake, comprised of a group of seemingly well-educated individuals. Plato tells the story of the symposium and the dialogue of the individuals in attendance through a framed narrative, utilizing the character of Apollodorus, one of the attendees at the party, to relate the story to an unnamed companion. The party is hosted and held in honor of the tragedian Agathon, in celebration of his recent victory in a drama writing contest. In addition to Apollodorus, the party is attended by Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, Agothon, and Socrates. At Phaedrus’s suggestion, the conversation switches to the topic of Eros, the Greek god of love. Each of the individuals take a turn in making a speech in praise of Eros. Socrates, poised by Plato to be the protagonist of The Symposium by allowing him to speak last with the longest dialogue, presents an argument regarding Eros that differentiates itself from those of his peers. Socrates’s argument is unique in that he begins his argument by questioning and refuting the claims made by the previous speaker, the playwright Agathon, through a style of Socratic...

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