Plato Symposium – Is Socrates’s Response to Agathon Warranted?

What is the purpose of Plato’s Symposium?

A symposium in Greek, literally means a drinking party. But Plato’s Symposium takes the occasion of a drinking party first to praise Love and then to define it. It is a philosophical dialogue, in which meaning is created in the exchange of words between the participants. Each person in turn makes a speech.

How does Agathon define love symposium?

Agathon suggests that Love is the happiest of the gods because he is most beautiful and best. He is beautiful because, contrary to Phaedrus’ claim, he is the youngest of the gods. He always avoids old age, and only associates with the young.

How is Socrates viewed in the Symposium?

Instead, the figure of Socrates is used as a mouthpiece by which Plato advances his own views. Plato presents his mentor in the Symposium as a simple and hardy man, a bit of a flirt, though immune to sexual advances and alcohol alike.

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Who is Agathon in the Symposium?

Agathon (/ˈæɡəθɒn/; Ancient Greek: Ἀγάθων; c. 448 – c. 400 BC) was an Athenian tragic poet whose works have been lost. He is best known for his appearance in Plato’s Symposium, which describes the banquet given to celebrate his obtaining a prize for his first tragedy at the Lenaia in 416.

What happens in Plato’s Symposium?

It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire.

What is discussed in Plato’s Symposium?

In the Symposium, Plato values philosophy, as exemplified by Socrates, over a number of other arts which are given as points of comparison: medicine, as exemplified by Eryximachus, comedy as exemplified by Aristophanes, and tragedy as exemplified by Agathon.

What does Plato say about Love?

Plato believed that love is the motivation that leads one to try to know and contemplate beauty in itself. This happens through a gradual process that begins with an appreciation of the appearance of physical beauty and then moves on to an appreciation of spiritual beauty.

What does Symposium say about Love?

During the symposium, Phaedrus suggests that love is one of the oldest and strongest forces and that it inspires people to behave with good morals. Eryximachus picks up saying that love inspires order in not only people but in the arts and sciences as well.

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Why does Diotima claim Love is not a god what do gods have that Love does not?

Diotima points out that, in spite of himself, Socrates has denied that Love is a god altogether. They have concluded that Love is not good and beautiful because he is in need of good and beautiful things. No one would deny that a god is both happy and beautiful, and yet Love seems to be neither of these things.

What is the meaning of Agathon?


Agathon, meaning “good,” implies virtue when used to describe human beings, as does kalon (meaning “noble” or “beautiful”), the adjective most closely associated with aretē and nearly synonymous with agathon.

How old is Agathon in the Symposium?

2.1. Agathon. [31] Agathon, an Athenian, son of Tisamenes of Athens, [32] was less than thirty years old when, as we learn in Plato’s Symposium, he won the tragedy contest in 416 BCE.

Who is Pausanias symposium?

Pausanias (/pɔːˈseɪniəs/; Greek: Παυσανίας; fl. c. 420 BC) was an ancient Athenian of the deme Kerameis, who was the lover of the poet Agathon. Although Pausanias is given a significant speaking part in Plato’s Symposium, very little is known about him.

Which speaker in the symposium argues that there are two distinct kinds of Love common Love and heavenly Love?


In the time of Plato’s Symposium, the ideal concept of love is different from our modern view of love. Pausanias points out two types of love: Common Love and Heavenly Love, with Heavenly Love being the better of the two.

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What does Socrates say about Love in symposium?

Socrates goes on to point out that if good things are beautiful, then Love must also be lacking in good things, and cannot himself be good.

Why does Alcibiades Love Socrates?

Once Socrates and Alcibiades had rested themselves upon the couches, Alcibiades put it straight to Socrates, telling him that Socrates was the only lover good enough for him and that he would gratify Socrates in any way he wished if Socrates would help to make him a better person.

What is Alcibiades speech about in symposium?

From Alcibiades’ speech in the Symposium it seems clear that he actually saw what is divine in Socrates himself. Alcibiades speaks metaphorically about the statues inside of Socrates and how they seemed to him divine (theia), beautiful and amazing (Symp.

What is the problem in the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades?

Alcibiades had a particularly close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected. Plutarch and Plato describe Alcibiades as Socrates’s beloved, the former stating that Alcibiades “feared and reverenced Socrates alone, and despised the rest of his lovers“.