Symposium. Question Concerning Eros

Question Concerning Eros.

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Which speech on Eros impressed you the most, and why?  How is Eros a ‘philosopher’ according to Socrates?  How are the Good and the Beautiful related? Write about the lover’s experience of ‘time’;  Why do you think Socrates resists Alcibiades advances?   Is it better to be a lover or the beloved, and why?  What do you think is the TECHNE of the beloved, and the lover?

3 thoughts on “Symposium. Question Concerning Eros

  1. Aristophanes and his Speech – Nicholas Hyland

    I had enjoyed Aristophanes’ speech on Eros the most, not because I had agreed with the things he had said, but because he had provided with, I believe, one of the more interesting takes on Eros. His concept on Love was like none of the others as he presented forward a creation myth explaining the origins of human nature and what had become of it. People often say that one feels ‘whole’ when they have found their Love and Aristophanes explains this phenomenon suggesting that ‘”Love” is just the name we give to the desire for and pursuit of wholeness’ (193a).

    Prior to his speech, Aristophanes had provided with comic relief, aside from this delicate subject. He suggested that he was the perfect person to get rid of his hiccups he developed, or to speak for him instead. As a result Eryxichamus replies that he’ll do both, suggesting remedies for Aristophanes and speaking for him whilst Aristophanes attempts to rid himself of them. Holding his breath, gargling, then sneezing, we could imagine Aristophanes, the jester of this event, interrupting Eryxichamus during his speech, and leading up to a great start to his.

    Returning back to the issue at hand, Aristophanes suggests that there were initially three genders. “The male gender was the sun… the female gender was the earth…[and] the combined gender was the moon” (190b). These creatures were extremely powerful and had attempted to scale the heights of heaven to set upon the gods. Their punishment was to be severe, in which Zeus weakened them in a way by splitting each human into two. It was from this that “each half missed its other half and tried to be with it” (191a). We are also reminded of our deeds in the past in an attempt to steer us away from challenging the gods once again; leaving a few wrinkles in the region of the stomach and the navel. Aristophanes explains that this is the reason for our sexual drive. Love tries to bring us back to our original state, where we humans are constantly in search for our counterparts (191d).

    After reading many of these creation myths, it was interesting not only because Aristophanes had explained the reasons for why humans are as they are in the present day, but had applied it to the concept of Love. I’m sure that although readers may not necessarily agree with the creation myth Aristophanes had presented, but certainly can relate to the idea that “human beings will never attain happiness unless we find perfect love”. In this case, happiness is referred to as the action of unification with your original nature; for it is at that point that we are the most powerful.

    Aristophanes had also explained from this creation myth his account for heterosexuals and homosexuals. The off cuts from the androgynous gender either female or males are attracted to the opposite where Aristophanes explains that “most adulterers come from this group” (191d), a rather unusual approach but nevertheless fascinating in their ideals, which aren’t completely the same today. The off cuts from the male and female genders are attracted to their own he goes on to say.

    Although I do not fully agree with almost all the things Aristophanes had said in his speech, he does provide explanation for why we are as we are, and an explanation into the homosexual realm of Love which is why this speech had particularly intrigued me.


  2. Is it better to be a lover or the beloved, and why? Stella Zhang
    Many may think that it is much easier to be the beloved one than the lover because the lover has to please the beloved one. Even though their assumption is true, the lover shows their virtue throughout the relationship.
    Phaedrus makes some of the examples about characters who sacrifice in love. One of the story is the sacrifice made by Achille for his lover. Even though he knows that killing the murderer of his lover would cause his death. He shows his bravery by revenge for his lover. According to Phaedrus, Gods sent Achille to heaven because “there is no courage Gods value more than the Courage of love”(179e-180b). Therefore, the sacrifice for the love is highly valued by Gods. The stories of people sacrificing for their lovers are praised and told constantly.


  3. Is it better to be a lover or the beloved, and why?
    by Lynn Shin

    There are lover and there are the loved. Ancient Greeks drew a clear distinction between the two. The lover is dominant, powerful. The loved is submissive. Greek society’s imposed roles leave little room for flexibility. The modern relationship dynamic is a watered-down version of this extreme. Within the roles, there is room for give and take. But by Socrates’ era’s standards, I would be the lover.

    It’s easier to be the loved, to simply have eros exerted on you. As human beings, we delight in vanity, delight in the knowledge that we are wanted. But to break down the specifics of the dominant-submissive relationship shows “there is no equality of desire. He was expected to be merely passive,” (xvi). The loved gains no gratification from the relationship, except potential favor or gifts. They are just an object of desire, eromenos, rather than a whole person. They are flaccid, lifeless.

    To be the lover is to pursue, to push, to act. They love, fully. They control the beginning, the direction, and the eventual end of the relationship. The lover must take risks and there is always the chance of rejection. But the end result is always more fulfilling for the lover because they are so much more invested in the first place.


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