Plato's "Symposium" Analytical Essay by RightRiters

Plato's "Symposium"
A discussion of the intricate structure of Plato's "Symposium".
# 23952 | 1,865 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 15, 2003 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , Philosophy (Ancient Greek) , English (Analysis)

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This paper reviews Plato's work "Symposium", a discussion of the philosophical nature of love, which has a complex and elaborate structure, enriched with contradictions of ideas, characters and styles. It examines how the structure of the "Symposium" moves through a series of stages, beginning with the two narrators, who attempt to be like Socrates without attempting to understand philosophy. Then come the presentations of the five would-be philosophers, then Socrates' combination of argument and story-telling, then the sensual demands of Alcibiades and finally a reconciliation of all elements. It evaluates how the intricacy of the structure and the self-conscious manner of a story within a story within a story, serve to distance the reader.

From the Paper:

"Aristophanes is the famous comic dramatist; once he gets over his hiccups, he paints a picture of mankind as originally being a grotesque hermaphrodite, as well as a man-man and a woman-woman compound. Because they threatened the gods, they were divided in two, and ever since have attempted to reunite with their severed other halves. In spite of the ridiculous imagery, Aristophanes makes three serious observations: man is perfected only when he is completed, love completes him, and earthly love is only a pale shadow of ideal love.
After this match between the unintentionally comic doctor and the unintentionally serious comedian, there is another comic interlude, the banter between Socrates and Agathon. Then, they continue the debate in the third and most important agon."

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