Love in symposium
The Symposium starts with dialogues between Eryximachus and Phaedrus, where he proposes that the union may speak on the subject of love. In return, Socrates ignites the discussion by mentioning that the only thing he understands is “the art of love”. Aristophanes joins the discussion and expresses his views on love. According to him, there were originally three types of humans: male, female, and an androgynous. He also noted that the male was an offspring of the sun whereas the female was the offspring of the earth, and the androgen was the offspring of the moon. According to Aristophanes, the unification between a man and a woman results in an offspring whereas the unification between a man and man results in pure satisfaction with no other strings attached.
Similarly, Alcibiades states that he is basically homosexual in nature because he’s crazy about beautiful boys and it is in his nature that he pursues for their love whenever and wherever it is possible. Alcibiades was a soldier by profession and what he said followed a straight path with comparatively less intellectuality involved in it though he was able to express his mind and thoughts without any philosophical doctrines involved. He was clear and unrepentant in his views. He clearly stated his views on love by expressing himself as an ardent pursuer of beautiful young boys though he did mention that whatever it is Socrates remained his lifelong love and explicitly stated that only he, Alcibiades, could be the true love of Socrates.
Gradually, the main ideas were needed to be developed about love and Phaedrus began his speech. Phaedrus, a speaker in the Symposium, is the narrator of the explanation of his view of love. He says, “that love is a mighty god, and wonderful among gods and men, but especially wonderful in his birth”. (Plato, 2008) This mode of belief appears to him as Eryximachus urges him to speak about love because he initiated the though and he was sitting first to the left of the speakers and it was a common notion to start from the left.
His conclusion about love being the mightiest of gods came from a formulation that as there was no evidence of any existence of parents of this god it proved that this god was greater than any other gods were. Thus, he was the firs among all gods and he as the one who constructed the mode of love into existence. It was thus assumed that god of love was the most elderly of all gods. Phaedrus thus concluded that being the creation of such a great god it was obvious that love was a wonderful element and was truly greatest of all other elements.
As shown in Symposium, Phaedrus is a person who can hardly withstand drinking and is reffered to as “weak head” by Eryximachus. He is also a person who is easily motivated by oratory and tends to agree with the other easily. He also fails to motivate others to agree to his opinion often. It feels that rather than placing his views on a perfect affirmation he feels comfortable to be a part of a group. As a result, it seems very obvious that his views on love would be based on a single yet weak argument that desires much to be developed and polished.
Plato; 2008; Symposium