Accounts of Eros in Plato's Symposium
The word love carries with it many, many different interpretations. In modern day, our views on what is appropriate love is much different from the views from the time of Socrates and Plato. To them love was eros, a direct translation of the word love.
However, the word itself wasn 't the only thing that was different about love. In
Plato 's "Symposium", there is a celebration for Agathon. He had just won a dramatic contest in Athens, Greece two nights ago. It is customary to drink much wine at these gatherings, however, every one present is too weak from the night before. (Nehamas & Woodruff, pg. xiii) So a proposition is made, by Phaedrus, to properly give praise to the god Eros, and speak on the topic of love. It was their opinion that no poet has yet been able to properly do so. (Nehamas &
Woodruff, pg. 7) There were a total of seven accounts given in praise of eros, by seven different people who are present at the party. Of these accounts, the one that made the most sense was the speech of Socrates when he quotes Diotima.
This account is practical, and shows love not as a heavenly creature, but as a mortal being, where we can interact with him. It also has answers that most of the other accounts could not even question. This is what stands the speechof
Socrates and Diotima apart from most of the others. But, there were two other speeches that were also impressive and brought about points that Socrates did not make. These accounts were given by Aristophanes and Agathon. Through these three speeches, we can get a good picture of what eros is. Starting with the most complete account: Socrates and Diotima; and moving through Aristophanes and then Agathon, this paper will show why these accounts are superior, and why
Socrates ' makes the most sense.
After Agathon 's speech, it was Socrates ' turn to present his account of eros.
But before he does, he tells Agathon that his speech was marvelous and that at one time,
Bibliography: Nehamas, A. & Woodruff, P. "Symposium", Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1989