Heavenly Love In Plato's Symposium

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The Symposium was written by Plato, a philosopher who had shaped the way people think about topics such as ethics, politics, truth, and desire. He was one of Socrates’ prominent students. He had also written many other works regarding the themes of reality, education, and knowledge so in comparison, The Symposium, which is about love, (Naugle, 2010) and since the most appreciated classical literary works at that time were epics, which revolved around military heroism and masculinity (Allan, 2014), a work discussing the theme of love seems misplaced and frivolous in comparison. But remarkably, Plato does a good job in linking love and philosophy. The Symposium starts off with a character named Apollodorus telling an anonymous companion the account…show more content…
The first type is “Heavenly Love/Aphrodite”, daughter of Uranus. He suggests that this category of love is the finest because it is directed towards the mind. According to Hesiod, Heavenly Love is motherless; since she was born from Uranus’ castrated genitals, and therefore is directed towards males only and specifically younger ones who are starting to show signs of intelligence. Also, Heavenly Love is the best because it is influential to the improvement and education of men. The other kind of Love, “Common Aphrodite” is considered bad because it is driven by physical desires towards the body rather than mind, and as a consequence, they are attracted towards both men and women. The belief of two different Aphrodites was formed due to Hesiod and Homer’s writings. While Hesiod tells that Aphrodite is motherless, Homer states that she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Both Phaedrus and Pausanias link Eros to their Greek traditions and…show more content…
His logic is that since Love is the desire of something, and one desires what they lack or they desire the continuance of what they love, then Love must lack beauty and good. Then, he tells the account of his encounter with a woman named “Diotima”. Diotima suggests that Love is neither ugly nor beautiful because there is a middle ground between everything, and that Love is neither a mortal nor a god, but a spirit that mediates between humans and gods. She then tells Socrates that at the celebration held for Aphrodite’s birth, Resource and Poverty met and created Love. Diotima also disputes against Aristophanes’ myth by saying that people would not look for their other half if it were not good since Love is the desire to have good. In addition, she tells that Love literally and metaphorically gives birth to beauty in both the body and mind, and giving birth is the closest thing to immortality. Sexual reproduction is done by a man and woman to create a human body. One the other hand, spiritual reproduction, which happens in the mind, creates wisdom and ideas that are more immortal than a child. That brings back the readers to the perception that male-male relationships are purer. Later on, she explains the Theory of Forms through the Ladder of Love. It starts with loving particular bodies, which leads to loving general bodies, then to particular minds, to
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