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Issues in Plato's Symposium

The purpose of this research is to examine Plato's Symposium. The plan of the research will be to discuss these issues in the text: the superiority or inferiority of lover and the beloved; the intention and position of Diotima's speech in answer to positions taken by various speakers; the role of Alcibiades as interloper on the party and participant in the dialogues; the purpose of the speech in praise of Socrates; the understanding of eros that the speeches of all, including those of Socrates and Diotima, demonstrate.

Phaedrus maintains the superiority of the beloved in a love relationship, although his argument is deceptive. When he first advances his basic tribute to the fulfilling nature of Love, Phaedrus extols the benefits of a "worthy lover" (42) for the beloved, noting that the height of emotional and psychological feeling is reached by both lover and beloved, irrespective of the opinion of others outside the relationship. Indeed, the core of Phaedrus's argument is an apotheosis of the love relationship:

If then one could contrive that a state or an army should

entirely consist of lovers and loved, it would be impossible

for it to have a better organization. . . . Moreover, only

lovers will sacrifice their lives for another; this is true

of women as well as men. Ins peaking to Greeks I need no

example to support this assertion beyond that provided by

Pelias' daughter Alcestis (43).

But heroism on behalf of the beloved is for Phaedrus only the logical outcome of the fact of the beloved himself. That is why the capstone of Phaedrus's argument is that the beloved is the fundament of the relationship. The basis of love is is object; were the extraordinary beloved not so, then there would be no occasion for an expression of love: "The truth is that,

while the gods greatly honour the courage of a lover, they admire

even more and reward more ri...

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Issues in Plato's Symposium. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:43, March 18, 2019, from