Karky's Reviews > The Symposium

The Symposium by Plato
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's review
Sep 23, 2010

really liked it
Read in September, 2010

There are many things that are admirable about this work that Plato may not have meant to touch upon, but then again maybe he did. Like the fact that it contains the ONLY passage from Classical Athens that recognizes the existence of homosexuality amongst females. There's more than one view in here that defies convention, and I can appreciate such diversity.

Anyway, most of the first half is just Plato setting things up for Socrates' turn in which he dissects his fellows' eulogies, so there's a good reason for them not to be very sound. All the more fun for Socrates to tear them apart! More than once Socrates used syllogism to make the interlocutor's point invalid. However, reading it was sort of like a math equation in which the work doesn't quite match up with the answer. The logic between point A and B was a bit slippery in places.

Also, there's not enough distinction made between desire and love, though the fault may lie in the language of the day. Socrates made Love seem to be a selfish thing, even turning self-sacrifice into a means of achieving immortality by being posthumously admired for their courage. And yet Socrates' own actions (in Alcibiades' speech) contradicts this when he was "keener than the generals" that Alcibiades should receive a prize for bravery in battle despite the fact A wanted S to have it for saving his life.

At one point he makes the argument that the objective of Love is to keep good and beautiful things forever. However, as we know today, if you love something then you must let it go. It's Desire that tempts us to do otherwise.
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