Plato’s Symposium

Describe how Plato, Sappho, and/or Catullus conceive of love (and/or friendship). You can choose to only discuss one of the three works or compare two or three of them. You can also choose to compare their views on love with The Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, or Lysistrata. You can also choose to focus more specifically on either the lover or the beloved if you like.


Plato’s Symposium is an account of a conversation between men, including Socrates, on the greatness of Love. Most of the men participating in the conversation praise love passionately, but Socrates gives a slightly different speech on love. Contrary to what the others believe, Socrates says that Love is not a god but a spirit, which is in between a mortal and a god. Likewise, Love is in between good and bad, beauty and ugliness. Everyone loves things that are good and desires that they become his own in the present and the future. Socrates states plainly “love is wanting to possess the good forever.” He goes on to say that reproduction is truly love because through reproduction one lives forever through their children. So, in a sense reproduction would be a way of possessing the good- that is, life- forever. Parents love their children very much because it is their children that make them immortal. Other men, like Achilles, seek immortality of soul that will make their memory live on forever. They achieve this immortality of the soul through performing glorious acts instead of through reproduction.



1 thought on “Plato’s Symposium

  1. I agree in your interpretation and Socrates perception where one would live forever through their children. It brought light to how many other individuals view what their meaning of love is. I always personally thought of it in simple terms as an intimate attraction however all of these points of view make you truly wonder and question its meaning.

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