Alcibiades

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Alcibiades

In Plato’s Symposium, multiple accounts of love (eros) are told with many different interpretations to the idea of love itself. Most significantly, the reader sees Plato rejecting the romanticism of sexual love, valuing above all else an asexual and all-consuming passion for wisdom and beauty. Mainly, he determines that the philosopher’s search for wisdom is the most valuable of all pursuits. In the Symposium, he values philosophy, as he shows with the voice of Socrates, over a number of other arts which are prearranged as points of comparison. For example, medicine, as shown by Eryximachus (who is a doctor and guest at the symposium), comedy, as shown by Aristophanes (an ancient comic poet and guest), and tragedy, as shown by Agathon (who invited everyone to partake in this symposium as he is celebrating his first victory in the dramatic festival). Socrates seems to be the last person to really give an account of eros in this story, as well as discussing the most important account of love that was given to him by Diotima. This account slowly puts together the puzzle-piece-like tellings of everyone at this symposium, leading to one final truth about love: that what one must try to do is ascend from loving particular kinds of beauty, as everyone described, to loving Beauty itself. Now, Socrates’ rendition of Diotima’s account seems to end the symposium. But this is not the case as Alcibiades shows up, making a less than sober appearance to the group. Alcibiades shows up seemingly after a resolution has been found in regards to the discussion of love and what love really is. The usual reader may find this as almost distracting, and independent of the rest of the story. However, even from the beginning of this story, there are a couple clues as to the importance of Alcibiades, such as when Apollodorus narrates near the start of the Symposium and…...

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