Plato's Speech Within The Symposium And Phaedrus

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The speeches within the Symposium and Phaedrus are aimed towards praising ‘Love’ or ‘Erôs’, this covers sexual attraction and gratification between both men and women and men and teenage boys, but the focus of the speeches here is on the latter, whether the relationship was sexual or not. The speeches of the Symposium are given as part of a competition of who can “give as good a speech in praise of Love as he is capable of giving” (Plato, 1997, pp. 462, §117c). This essay will refer to ‘Erôs’ throughout interchangeably with ‘Love’, as Erôs is the Greek God of Love, or of passionate desire. The focus of this essay will be which of the speeches within the Symposium offers the most convincing account of Erôs, with focus on the speeches of Eryximachus and Socrates and how their different conceptions of Love lead to their speeches being variably convincing. We will focus specifically on how Eryximachus’ idea of Erôs as the Good itself versus Socrates idea of Erôs as only the seeker of the Good effect their arguments integrity. We will also explore how both of these speeches are similar in their understanding of Erôs in terms of a balancing force although Eryximachus focuses on the nature of Love whereas Socrates turns to the effects of Erôs (Naugle, 2010, pp. 7-9). To arrive at the conclusion that while one personally prefer the account of Erôs given by Eryximachus, Socrates speech is more convincing due to the issues raised by equating Erôs to the Good. However, this essay

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