Symposium by Plato

Opening narrative

The story of the banquet is narrated by Apollodorus, but before the narration proper begins, it is shown that Apollodorus is telling the story to a friend of his that isn’t named, and also that the story of this banquet has been told before by others, as well as previously by Apollodorus himself. This section previews the story of the banquet, letting the reader know what to expect, and it provides information regarding the context and the date. The banquet was hosted by the poet Agathon to celebrate his first victory in a dramatic competition: the Dionysia of 416 BCE. Apollodorus was not present at the event, which occurred when he was a boy, but he heard the story from Aristodemus, who was present. Apollodorus later checked parts of the story with Socrates, who was also there. In this brief introductory passage it is shown that the narrator, Apollodorus, has a reputation for being somewhat mad, that he is a passionate follower of Socrates, and that he spends his days either listening to Socrates or else telling others of what he has learned from Socrates. The story, as told by Apollodorus, then moves to the banquet at Agathon’s home, where Agathon challenges each of the men to speak in praise of the Greek god, Eros.[10]


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