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Symposium by Plato - Essay Example

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Symposium by Plato

Diotima’s is a woman who has described the whole concept of love to Socrates, which he describes in his speech in Symposium. This book is the representation of the genesis, nature and purpose of love which was held by Socrates and later by Plato (Plato 179-185). This concept of love, which is illuminated in this book by Plato, is also the origin of his concept of Platonic Love. This paper is aimed to explicate the relationship of philosophy with love as has been explained in the speech of Socrates. It also presents the comparison among Socrates’ concept of love with others’ description for the idea of love in their speeches. The idea of love which Socrates presents completely differs and rejects the positions which were held and proposed by other individuals. The book is consists of several Greek concepts about the nature and purpose of love in the form of speeches by several general ancient Athenians including Socrates. Socrates begins his speech at the sixth place and starts by being skeptic about the speech of Agathon. Socrates tells that a lady named Diotima had taught him about the real idea of love before which he had similar concepts which others contain. Socrates explicates that, according to Diotima love is not any god or any mortal entity which regulates the order of human beings or things existing in the universe. Love is neither contained with any of the divine attributes like wisdom or beauty (198A-201D). Love is a desire to attain these attributes. It is the spirit which hatches by the bonding between the resource and need. Diotima describes that love is attributed to the form of beauty. Every human being is attracted towards beauty; however, this is usually and fundamentally limited to the material world. Human tends to seek beauty in objects and in other humans by which the desire and spirit of love is developed between the object of beauty and the lover. On this material level, human individual desires to reproduce the beauty in the physical sense which is the basis for human reproduction through the course of sex (200B-201-C). The love is the desire to have the object of beauty to posses its beauty, as has been stated in the book that, “Eros would be nothing else than love of beauty” (201A). This love of beauty in the material sense requires refinement to acquire the actual of love that is the desire for the form of beauty. According to Diotima, every object which is beautiful shares the form of beauty. Human beings lack in identifying and realizing the essence of that beauty and tend to possess the object itself which shares the form of beauty (202D-204B). However, the actual love is with the beauty as a form which is pure rather than the object which shares that form and manifest in this world. This realization occurs by the assistance of philosophy. The actual love for wisdom leads an individual to identify the difference between real, which is ideal love, and material love. The essence of love is to desire for the form of beauty which is the purest of all love. The desire for the pure form of beauty is the most refined desire which is the gist of love (204C-207A). By this explication of Diotima, the relationship of philosophy and love is prominently clear. A man is necessarily contained with the desire for beauty which he initially seeks in objects and other humans in this world. Objects can be possessed and kept; however, the element of beauty in other human is represented to be attained through the course of sexual reproduction. After reproducing beauty, the desire for beauty still remains in the individual which is required to be realized (207A-208B). This realization is acquired with ...Show more


Symposium is the philosophical text written by Plato, in which he has described several concepts of love which were held by ancient Athenians. …
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