Summary of the “Feast” of Plato

Summary of the “Feast” of Plato

Apollodorus and his friend

Apollodorus, at the request of a friend at a meeting with him, talks about a feast at Agathon, where Socrates, Alcibiades and others were and talked about love. It was a long time ago, Apollodorus himself was not present there, but learned about the conversations of those from Aristodem.

On that day Aristodemos met Socrates, who invited him to dinner with him to Agathon. Socrates fell behind and came to visit later. After dinner, those present sat down and in turn spoke a laudable word to the god Eroto.

Speech of Phaedrus: the most ancient origin of the Eros

Phaedrus calls Eros the oldest god, he is the source of the greatest blessings. There is no “greater good for a young man than a worthy lover, but for a lover – than

a worthy lover.” The lover is ready for any feats for the sake of his beloved, even die for him. But it is the devotion of the beloved to the one who particularly admires the gods, for which they honor the beloved with greater honor. As an example, Phaedrus leads the revenge of Achilles for killing his admirer Partokl.

After all, the one who loves the divine is loved, because he is inspired by God.

It is the powerful god of love that Eros can “give people valor and bestow bliss on them.”

Pausanias: Two Eros

There are two Eros: the vulgar and the heavenly. Eros vulgar gives love to people insignificant, heavenly love is, above all, a love for young people, to create a more intelligent and sublime than a woman. Such love is concern for moral perfection:

Low is a vulgar admirer who loves the body more than the soul… It is only necessary to blossom the body, how it “stubborn” … And who loves for high moral dignity, he remains true all his life…

It is commendable if a beloved youth takes a fan attentions and learns from that wisdom. But the feelings of both must be absolutely sincere, there is no place for gain.

Speech of Eriksimaha: Eros is diffused throughout nature

The dual nature of Eros is manifested in everything that exists. Moderate

Eros and unbridled Eros must be in harmony with each other:

After all, the healthy and sick of the beginning of the body… are different and dissimilar, but the unliker aspires to the unlike and loves it. Hence, in the healthy beginning, one Eros, the patient – the other.

It is necessary and perfect to please the moderate god and to honor him, to resort to Eros, the vulgar must be carefully, so that he does not generate intemperance. Divination and sacrifice help to establish friendly relations of people with gods.

Aristophanes’ Speech: The Eros as a Man’s Desire for Primordial Integrity

Aristophanes tells the myth of androgynes – ancient people, consisting of two halves: two modern people. Androgynes were very strong, for the decision to attack the gods Zeus cut them in half.

… when the bodies were cut in half, each half rushed to another with lust, they embraced, intertwined and, eager to be united, did not want to do anything separately.

Since then, half of the androgynous are looking for each other, wanting to merge into one. Thanks to the union of man and woman, the human race continues. When a man converges with a man, satisfaction from coition is achieved. Striving for wholeness is the desire to heal human nature.

Men, descended from the former man and whom are attracted to each other, Aristophanes calls worthy: they are by nature the most courageous.

Thus, love is the thirst for wholeness and desire for it. Before… we were something one, and now, because of our injustice, we are settled by God separately…

Speech of Agathon: perfection of Eros

Eros is the most perfect god. He – the bearer of the best qualities: beauty, courage, discretion, skill in the arts and crafts. Even the gods can consider Eros as their teacher.

Socrates modestly notes that he is in a quandary after such a beautiful speech by Agathon. He begins his speech with a dialogue with Agathon, asking questions.

The speech of Socrates: the purpose of Eros is the mastery of the good

Eros is always a love for someone or for something, the subject of this love is that which you need. If Eros needs beauty, and good is fine, then he needs good.

Socrates described Eros, as if based on the story of a single mantinian, Diotima. Eros is not beautiful, but not ugly, not kind, but not angry, so he is in the middle between all extremes. But since he is not beautiful and not kind, he can not be called a god. According to Diotimus, Eros is neither a god nor a man, he is a genius.

The appointment of geniuses is to be interpreters and mediators between people and gods, passing to the gods prayers and sacrifices of people, and to people the punishments of the gods and rewards for sacrifices.

Eros is the son of Poros and beggarly Singing, therefore he represents the middle between his parents: he is poor, but “in a fatherly way he reaches for the beautiful and perfect.” Eros is courageous, bold and strong, craves for intelligence and achieves it, he is occupied with philosophy.

Eros is a love of the beautiful. If the beautiful is good, then everyone wants it to be its lot. All people are pregnant both bodily and spiritually. The nature can only be removed from the burden in the beautiful.

Conjunction of a man and a woman is such a permission. And this business is divine, for conception and birth are the manifestations of an immortal beginning in a mortal being… then love is an aspiration to immortality.

Caring for the offspring – the desire for the eternal, in eternity you can achieve the beautiful – the good.

Then comes the drunk Alcibiades. He is offered to say his word about Erota, but he refuses: the speech of Socrates sounded before him he acknowledges logically incontestable. Then Alcibiades is asked to praise Socrates.

Speech of Alcibiades: eulogy to Socrates

Alcibiades compares Socrates’s speech with the play of the satyr Marcia on the flute, but Socrates is a satyr without tools.

When I listen to it, my heart beats much more than the raging corybans, and from my eyes tears flow from my eyes; the same, as I see it, occurs with many others.

Alcibiades admires Socrates. The young man hoped to draw on his wisdom and wanted to seduce the philosopher with his beauty, but beauty did not produce the desired effect. Alcibiades was subdued by the spirit of Socrates. In joint with the admirer of the campaigns the philosopher showed his best qualities: courage, steadfastness, endurance. He even saved the life of Alcibiades and refused a reward in his favor. Socrates has a unique individuality in comparison with all the others.

Final scene

Socrates warns Agathon from the speeches of Alcibiades: Alcibiades wants to sow discord between Agathon and the philosopher. Then Agathon is closer to Socrates. Alcibiades asks Agathon to lie down at least between him and Socrates. But the philosopher answered that if Agathon were to lie lower than Alcibiades, then he, Socrates, would not be able to give praise to his neighbor on the right, ie, to Agathon. Then there were noisy revelers, someone went home. Aristodem fell asleep, and waking up, he saw the conversing Socrates, Aristophanes and Agathon. Soon Alcibiades followed Socrates.


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Summary of the “Feast” of Plato