The Old and the Beautiful Comparison Essay by scribbler

The Old and the Beautiful
A comparison and contrast of two views of love from Plato's "Symposium".
# 152301 | 1,261 words | 0 sources | 2013 | US
Published on Jan 24, 2013 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , Philosophy (Ancient Greek)

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This paper discusses Phaedrus' explanation of Love as one of the oldest of the gods in contrast to Agathon's view that the god of Love despises old age and appears to run rampant with youth. The paper highlights this contrast between Phaedrus' understanding of Love as old and even primeval and Agathon's vision of Love as a forever-young beauty, but also points out the ultimate logic and consistency behind these two descriptions and understandings of Love. The paper asserts that the clarity of each man's argument is in many ways a sign of its validity; the paper argues that the fact that each assertion of Agathon's has to be backed up with a great deal of explanation rather than flowing simply and logically from one conclusion to the next as does Phaedrus, automatically suggests that his argument is not entirely sound.

Phaedrus' Explanation of the Old God of Love
Agathon's Rebuttal: Visions of Youth, Innocence, and...Slavery?
The Old and the Beautiful: A Side-by-Side Contrast

From the Paper:

"Phaedrus traces Love's early appearance in the world of immortals--and the primordial world that man would come to inhabit--in both Hesiod and Akousileos as coming immediately after Earth, which itself came just after the apparently pre-existing Chaos (23). Armed with this evidence that Love is among the oldest of the gods, Phaedrus concludes that Love's goodness must be equal to its age, and quickly moves on to describe the good that Love contributes. Civil society is his primary focus during his description; he states that men would be loathed to be shamed in front of their lovers (Phaedrus speaks of men and the boys they love, though romantic couples more traditionally accepted in modern times make for an equally compelling argument), and that thus love helps to maintain right actions and refraining from anything that would be considered disgraceful.
"Love also inspires sacrifice, even to the point of one's own life, Phaedrus points out, citing this as the only time in which human beings will commit themselves to death in order to save another. While one could argue with the absolute nature of this statement, it is nonetheless apparent that love does inspire this sacrifice. What Phaedrus essentially identifies in Love is the granting of a specific perspective, where one is able to view one's own actions from the perspective of another--or at least form the imagined perspective of another--and in this way direct themselves towards noble actions."

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The Old and the Beautiful (2013, January 24) Retrieved December 10, 2023, from

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"The Old and the Beautiful" 24 January 2013. Web. 10 December. 2023. <>