What Is Love

Topics: Love, Plato, Platonic love Pages: 3 (799 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Challis Maxwell
Philosophy 369
Due Monday Oct. 19th
What is Love?
According to Webster’s dictionary the word love is described as a strong, positive emotion of regard and affection. But in society today it seems as if we throw the word love around in such a loose manner it really has lost its meaning. Ranging from “I love Coach purses”, to actually telling a person “I love you” is now a common thing. Throughout this essay I’ll be taking a philosophical approach to help give a better understanding of what love is according to the speakers in the Symposium, and which conception of love I believe is most compelling.

In the Symposium, each speaker decides to compose his own eulogy of Love. It all starts on page 9 with Eryximachus stating, “It’s terrible that people have given serious attention to subjects like that, but nobody to this day has yet had the courage to sing the praises of Love as he deserves. Such a great god and so neglected!” They all agree and Phaedrus is the one to speak first. He starts is eulogy by saying that “Love was regarded by humans and gods as a great and awesome god for many reasons, especially his origin.” On page 11 he also discusses love as being something someone is willing to die for. Take for example, Pelias’ daughter Alcestis, who was the only one willing to die for her husband. “Acting out of love, she showed so much more affectionate concern than his father and mother that she made them look like strangers to their son, and relatives only in name.” Phaedrus ends his speech with “That’s why I say Love is the most ancient of the gods, the most honored, and the most effective in enabling human beings to acquire courage and happiness, both in life and death.” His statement reminds me of Romeo and Juliet and how their love enabled them to have enough courage and happiness in life and death.

Pausania’ speech was more along the lines of love coming in two forms: Heavenly Love and Common Love. He states that “Common...
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