Phillip's Reviews > The Symposium

The Symposium by Plato
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Feb 28, 12


I love this dialogue. I mean it, I really love this dialogue. One of the beauties of this particular dialogue is that the characters are more developed than usual and the drama continues throughout the piece. Typically a Platonic dialogue has brief characters that do little more than set up the subject for discussion. They are only pieces of a framing device.

It makes sense that this dialogue would be an example of character development and drama incorporated into the piece, because the dialogue takes place in the home of a playwright who has just won the annual award for one of his plays.

Socrates has come to the party. Everyone is drinking. They are old friends including an officer who served with Socrates in the army when they were young. Socrates proposes that each member of the party deliver a praise to the goddess of love. The various characters do so. They are fine discussions of the attributes of love. Socrates repeats what his teacher Desdemona taught him when he was a young man.

The next morning everyone has passed out with drunkenness, but Socrates is still holding out some topic of discussion, sober, though he has drunk as much as anyone in the house.
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