Philosophy At Its Best Essay, Research Paper
Love, is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Love means different things for different people and there are numerous types of love. In Plato’s Symposium, the reader is given outlooks the definition of love. Socrates, arguably one of the greatest minds in the world quotes a philosopher, Diotoma, and explains her view on love. Agathon, one of Socrates acquaintances, takes an opposite view on the matter. Although they do not share the same view, they both realize that love has more than one characteristic and definition.
Diotoma felt that love is a desire or a yearning for a lack of something, “a lack of beautiful and good things therefore love is neither beautiful nor good.” Love drives us to desire some. Some love stays unfulfilled, while true love seeks satisfaction that is more permanent. Diotoma goes on to say there are two ways to receive permanent satisfaction from being in love. The first way is through giving birth and according to Diotoma, this phenomenon is a way for people to become immortal. Humans procreate in order to live vicariously through their offspring. The other way is through ascent of love, which is love of someone’s outer appearance such as their body and facial structure. Thus, love desires the good and beautiful forever.
Diotoma also did not believe Love to be a god because she said that he was stuck between ignorance and wisdom. In order for Love to be a god he would have to have wisdom. Also, she went on to say that he inherited some traits from his mother and others from his father.. “He is tough and shriveled and shoeless and homeless, always lying on the dirt without a bed, sleeping at people’s door steps in roadsides under the sky, having his mother’s nature always living with Need” (48,203d). His physical appearance came from his mother and that meant that he was not beautiful.
Agathon had the opposite opinion on love. “Love is the happiest god of all, he is the most beautiful and the best.” Agathon states that Love is such a skilled poet that he can make anyone else into a poet and that Love is great at every artistic production. Agathon also considers Love wise and brave; to ve brave because Ares the god of war “has no lid on Love, but Love does on Ares —love of Aphrodite. But he who has hold is more powerful than he who is held” (35,196d). And since Love holds Ares love is braver. Love is neither the cause nor the victim of any injustice: he does no wrong to any gods or men, and in return, they do no wrong to him. Love never uses violence and no-one uses violence against him. Love also has the biggest share of moderation, the power over pleasures and passions, and no pleasure is more powerful than love. According to Agathon Love are fills us with togetherness, moves us to moderation, cares well for good men, and giver of kindness. In addition he is gracious, kind, and finally is a comrade and savior.
Diotoma and Agathon differ on many views about what Love is and what Love is like. By the end of Diotoma’s monologue, Agathon says, finally, that he agrees with Socrates and Diotoma on some of their opinions on love. Both sides made good arguments to prove their points.