Free Essay

Plato

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dwilbers
Words 2565
Pages 11
Forms of Love in Plato's Symposium
Love, in classical Greek literature, is commonly considered as a prominent theme. Love, in present days, always appears in the categories of books, movies or music, etc. Interpreted differently by different people, Love turns into a multi-faceted being.

In Plato’s work Symposium, Phaedrus, Pausania, Eryximachus, Aristophane and Agathon, each of them presents a speech to either praise or definite Love. Phaedrus first points out that Love is the primordial god; Pausanias brings the theme of “virtue” into the discussion and categorizes Love into “good” one or “bad” one; Eryximachus introduces the thought of “moderation’ and thinks that Love governs such fields as medicine and music; Aristophanes draws attention to the origin and purposes of Love; Agathon enunciates that the correct way to present an eulogy is first to praise its nature and gifts. As the last speaker, and the most important one, Socrates connects his ideas with Diotima of Mantinea’s story of Love’s origin, nature and purpose. Different from the earlier five speakers who regard Love as an object and praise different sides of it, Socrates, referring to Diotima’s idea, considers Love as a pursuit of beauty gradually from “physical beauty of people in general” (Symposium, Plato, 55) to the “true beauty” (55).

The first five speeches bond with each other. Each of them mentions the opinions of the former one in order to either support or against them. However, just like the elements of a beautiful picture, they fail to show us the integration of love. Socrates’ speech does that. It contains the sides mentioned before, and uniquely views Love from a dynamic aspect.

Phaedrus
Phaedrus is the first one to give a speech to praise love. He begins his speech with the claim that Love is a primordial god, with no parents. Hence there must be some human benefits that are due to his existence. For instance, “the ability to feel shame at disgraceful behavior and pride in good behavior, because without these qualities no individual or community could achieve anything great or fine.” (11) “Possession by Love would infuse even utter cowards with courage and make them indistinguishable from those to whom bravery comes most easily.” (11) To show how powerful this bravery is, he puts it into a condition of a battalion in which lovers and their boyfriends compete in avoiding any kind of shameful act. This bravery on battlefield is because, compared to the situation that to be seen by one’s beloved committing some disgraceful acts, nothing shames them more.

There is a response to Phaedrus’ this point later in the symposium. By saying Love is “the youngest of the gods and is forever young” (33), Agathon claims that he cannot accept that Love is the most ancient god, though he agrees with a number of deal of what Phaedrus was saying. To prove his idea, Agathon argues that if Love had already been existed between Hesiod and Parmenids, they could have been living happily and in peace with each other. According to Agathon, not only Love is the youngest, but also Love keeps himself away from old age. “He is a constant companion of young men and (given the validity of the old saying that like always clings to like) he is therefore young himself.” (32) From here, readers can tell that these speeches are not independent. To some extent, they are bonded and reactive to each other.

Another benefits which Love is responsible for is the sacrifice made by lovers for their beloved. They “are prepared to sacrifice themselves—and this goes for women as well as for men.” (11) Even what they have to sacrifice are their lives: in Greek world, Pelias’ daughter Alcestis was willing to give up her life for her husband, Admetus, and men and gods were so touched by this action that they let her soul, among a very few of others, back from Hades. On the contrary, Orpheus, the second character in the example Phaedrus used in his speech, made no such sacrifice and ended in dying at the hands of women. There was another Greek character that got rewarded from those gods-- Achilles. He fought boldly to avenge the death of his beloved, Aeschylus, though he knew that this action would definitely shorten the distance to his own death. By using the example of Achilles, Phaedrus first introduced the distinction between lovers and loved ones, an idea mentioned in many of the speakers in that symposium, such as Pausanias and Agathon. He claims that gods “are more amazed and impressed by…a loved one’s affection for a lover than a lover’s for his boyfriend.” (13) In a relationship, the lover acts more actively, just like what Achilles did, and the loved one is more passive. This goes well in the relationship between either male and male or male and female.

Pausanias
As the second speaker, Pausanias first points out that there is a problem with the topic they set. Since Love is not uniform, it would be arbitrary to praise it as a whole. Thus, he brings up an idea that according to the duality of Aphrodite—Common and Celestial, there are two types of Love; one is the common love experienced by ordinary people; the other is between a male and a male, Celestial Love.

Common Love occurs when people are attracted to each other because of bodies, not intelligent, and to them, love is a way to fulfill their desires, especially sexual desires in a random way. To explain the word “random” here, Pausanias’ another point should be mentioned-- “it is in the nature of every action to be, in itself, neither right nor wrong…the outcome depends on the doing, on how each of them is done. If is done well and properly, it is right; if it is done badly, it is wrong.” (13) People who associated in Common Love satisfy their desire in whatever ways; no matter they are done properly or not. Right or wrong means the same thing to them. Thus, their behaviors are described as random here. Also, only caring about satisfying their desires is the reason of their ignorance of minds of their lovers.

Celestial Love, on the contrary, is wholly male, especially is between an old man and a younger boy. Following the idea that the action done well and properly is right, Pausainias distinguishes those affairs “with boys who are younger than the age at which intelligence begins to form”. (14) The man who involved in Celestial Love appreciates the gratification given by his boyfriend and is willing to increase his intelligence and other aspects of greatness. The boy in that relationship appreciates everything he does for the man and eager to enhance his knowledge.

The distinction between the Common Love and the Celestial Love is whether they gratify their lovers for the sake of virtue; a word appears for a few times in the next four speeches.

Eryximachus

Eryximachus develops his speech based on the two-type-love theory demonstrated by Pausanias. He promotes that Love exists in everything. According to Eryximachus, those “two kinds of Love are inherent within the body.” (20) In the domain of medicine, love reconciles extremes like cold and hot, bitter and sweet, and so on, and has them love and get along with each other. It also goes in fields like music and astronomy.

In Eryximachus’ speech, Love is capable of moderating diverges into a harmonious state. This point of view

Compared to other speeches, Eryximachus’ speech tends to be narrow, since its definition is purely medicinal.

Aristophanes
Aristophanes provides an explanation of why people in a relationship, when they find their lover, always feel “whole”. This explanation, then, supports his claim that love is really powerful.

The explanation begins with the understanding of human nature. According to Aristophanes, there were three genders: the male, the female and the “androgynous” who is half man, half woman. The primal shape is also different from that of human now. It is more round like “with their backs and sides forming a circle”. (25) Each person has four hands and four legs and two same faces on a single head. These creatures tried to measure the heights of heaven and managed to attack the gods. This action threatened Zeus and the rest of the gods. Though they cannot stand humans’ exorbitant behavior, they did not want to give up the veneration and sacrificial offering that human beings gave them. At last, Zeus decided to cut them half in order to reduce their power. Each half people missed the other half and tried to go back to its original state. Then, from that time, the half people started to do whatever it can to search for the other half. Thus, when the half human finally finds its other half, it would like to spend every minute staying with it and feels “complete”.

Love brings two people together, which fulfills human innate nature that is the willing to recover their original nature. As Aristophanes says in his speech, “Love draws our original nature back together; he tries to reintegrate us and heal the split in our nature.” (27) ‘“Love” is just the name we give to the desire for and pursuit of wholeness”’. (29)

Not only Pausanias mentions the wholly male relationship, but also does Aristophanes. Aristophanes considers the love between two males, who were split from a male gender, as an action prompted by courage, manliness and masculinity, not immorality. On the contrary, the description for the male who rejoins with a female is “an adulterer” and for the female is “an adulteress”. (28)

Aristophanes ends his speech with the claim that if men continue to oppose gods’ will, they will be cut in half again. It is Love who guides humans to find their counterparts. Hence, people should not oppose Love.

Agathon
Agathon organizes his speech by dividing it into two parts—Love’s nature and goodness. He complains that the previous speakers “were congratulating the human race on how much they thrive on gods the god contrives”. (32)

Love has plenty natures that attract people. Among them, four should be praised. As mentioned before, Agathon says Love is the youngest of gods and keeps himself away from old age. Besides being young, Love is sensitive as well. Agathon takes the fact that Love does not “even step on men’s skulls (which are not particularly soft), let alone on the ground; he lives and moves in the in gods’ and men’s dispositions and minds” (33) as evidences to prove the sensitivity existing in Love’s nature. Another nature worthy of mention is “fluid in form”. (33) Love is capable of adapting himself fully into the world and people’s minds. The differences in the speeches of this symposium efficiently provide good examples that Love stays in dissimilar forms in people’s minds. Love is young, sensitive, fluid in its form and lovely as well. Like what Agathon says, “Love doesn’t settle on a body, a mind, or anything else which has no bloom or whose bloom has faded; but a fragrant spot full of flowers—that’s where he settles and remains.”(34)

Love’s fairness is the most important goodness he owns, according to Agathon. He treats men fairly. Oppression always cannot be under the same roof with Love. Also, Love has the ability to control pleasure and desire. Thus, he is self-discipline. Agathon also implies that Love is the bravest in the world, since “Love captured Ares”. (34) What is more, Love is the symbol of wisdom. From the word “Love has only to touch a person and, however coarse he was before, he becomes a poet” (35), it could be understood that Love has a high intelligence. It is his knowledge that passes on to the person and turns him into a poet.

Socrates
As the last speaker, Socrates introduces a expert of Love, Diotima, an intelligent woman, in his speech. He repeats the question-and-answer session in a course given by Diotima, connecting lots of ideas mentioned in the previous speeches. Diotima’s course is a process of an exploration to find the truth of Love. As what they are talking about becomes deeper and deeper, they are getting close to the truth.

Socrates first agrees with Agathon about a description of Love’s nature and characteristics should be used as a start. However, at that point, Diotima has a totally different opinion that “Love wasn’t attractive or good”. (42) Also, Love was not bad or repulsive. Instead, Love “falls between these extremes”. (42) This point of view indeed shares some similarities with Eryximachus’ “moderation”, since they both mention the area between the extremes. Occupying the middle area let Love be one of those important spirits who fill the middle ground between men and gods. He contributes to connecting the universe as a whole.

Why it is always the middle place that Love presents? Parentage is a significant reason. Diotima explained that Plenty and Poverty are Love’s parents. Attributes from both parents could be seen on Love. For example, Love is constantly companioned by need, just like his mother; Love goes after “things of beauty and value” and is brave, just like his father. Thus, Diotima drew on this fact to argue against the usual notion that Love is sensitive and attractive. What’s more, Love is not the symbol of wisdom. Due to the fact that “knowledge is one of the most attractive things” (45) and Love pursuits beauty and value, based on the belief that god and ignorance people do not need knowledge, Love falls between knowledge and ignorance. Again, these claims she addressed are oppose against Agathon’s opinions that Love is sensitive and represents wisdom.

Then Diotima summed up the object of Love as “the permanent possession of goodness for oneself”. (48) In another aspect, Love’s purpose is to attain immortality. Diotima stated that humans were in love with immortality, thus they longed to procreate and let their offspring resemble the old ones in order to achieve the continuity of existence that means immortality. For procreating, in Diotima’s course, there are two ways; one is physically giving birth to ordinary children, the other is mentally giving birth to offspring. These two types of procreation represent two stage of Love. The former is for Love that stems from the attraction to the beauty of human bodies, while the later is for Love that starts from the appreciation of the mental beauty. Hence, in conclusion, according to Diotima, Love is the journey of the true beauty.

Diotima’s statements about Love contain some corrections of ideas mentioned in the previous speeches. The first five speeches demonstrate different spheres of Love. It can be taken into consideration that not only Diotimas’ speech shows the process of gaining knowledge, but also the five speeches as a whole present this process.

By writing Symposium, Plato uses six characters to convey his idea of Love, the process of learning and thinking in a philosophical way. Each of these characters has a particular mission to elaborate different spheres of Love. However, these speeches given by six characters are not totally independent. They, to some extent, are connected; some of them agree or disagree with the previous one; some of them improve the idea of the former speakers. In conclusion, according to Symposium, Love is multi-faced.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato was born around the year 428 BCE in Athens. His father died while Plato was young, and his mother remarried to Pyrilampes, in whose house Plato would grow up. Plato's birth name was Aristocles, and he gained the nickname Platon, meaning broad, because of his broad build. His family had a history in politics, and Plato was destined to a life in keeping with this history. He studied at a gymnasium owned by Dionysios, and at the palaistra of Ariston of Argos. When he was young he studied music and poetry. According to Aristotle, Plato developed the foundations of his metaphysics and epistemology by studying the doctrines of Cratylus, and the work of Pythagoras and Parmenides. When Plato met Socrates, however, he had met his definitive teacher. As Socrates' disciple, Plato adopted his philosophy and style of debate, and directed his studies toward the question of virtue and the formation of a noble character. Plato was in military service from 409 BC to 404 BC. When the Peloponnesian War ended in 404 BC he joined the Athenian oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants, one of whose leaders was his uncle Charmides. The violence of this group quickly prompted Plato to leave it. In 403 BC, when democracy was restored in Athens, he had hopes of pursuing his original goal of a political career. Socrates' execution in 399 BC had a profound effect on Plato, and was perhaps the final event that would convince him to leave Athenian politics forever. Plato left Attica along with other friends...

Words: 1136 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato was born around the year 428 BC in Athens. His father died while Plato was young, and his mother remarried to Pyrilampes, in whose house Plato would grow up. Plato's birth name was Aristocles, and he gained the nickname Platon, meaning broad, because of his broad build. His family had a history in politics, and Plato was destined to a life in keeping with this history. He studied at a gymnasium owned by Dionysios, and at the palaistra of Ariston of Argos. When he was young he studied music and poetry. After the Peloponnesian War, his mother's brother and uncle tried to persuade him to join in the oligarchical rules of Athens. Instead, Plato joined his two older brothers in becoming a student of Socrates. The trio of Plato, Socrates (his teacher) and Aristotle (his student) they laid the fundamentals of Western philosophy. Socrates has a large influence of his thinking and teachings. Plato began his philosophical career under the guidance of Socrates. When Socrates died he traveled to Egypt and Italy studied in Pythagoras and then remained as an advisor for the rulers of Syracuse. When he returned to Athens around the age of forty, Plato founded a school in Athens, in a grove sacred to the demigod Academus, called the Academy, where he tried to impart the Socratic style of teaching to his students. It was, in effect, a university of higher learning, which included physical science, astronomy, and mathematics, as well as philosophy. In addition to presiding over the......

Words: 564 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato Paper: Prompt #2 11/3/14 Why does Plato write dialogues? How does that genre fit with and promote his philosophy? Use Examined life to help promote this concept that Plato embodies. ! From what method of teaching can a learner take away a meaningful interpretation of the lesson taught? Upon determining the answer to this question, one might discern between more and less helpful ways to learn. The old Native American saying goes, “Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand”(Inspirational Quotes). This exact idea is embodied by Plato and also by some of the philosophers in The Examined Life. Plato provides examples of stories to help one wrap their brain around a concept due to their own involvement in the learning. The brilliant Plato methodically sends an equally striking and concise impression-making message to both his readers and interlocutors. Unlike Aristotle, who lays down the law of philosophy in absolute non-negotiable terms, Plato paints a sufficiently big picture for the reader in terms of philosophical conclusion through narrative dialogues and allegories in his writings. Plato does this by granting the interlocutor a paintbrush in drawing the “big picture” so that the appropriate details can be sketched in as needed and refutations are made possible in order to distinguish between what is and what is not relevant. This process gives the readers, as well as the interlocutors, a feeling of......

Words: 3836 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

Plato

...Leah Forline Professor Ndovie Essay Response 1 02/20/2014 Plato Plato, one of Socrates most valued students, is one of the first known philosophers. He followed Socrates around, wrote down his theories and added on to them. Plato was born in 437BC and died around 347BC. He came from a wealthy and powerful family. When he was about 20 years old he came under Socrates spell and decided to devote himself to Philosophy. “He was also a mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the western world.(Piyong)” “He divides reality into two: on the one hand we have ontos, idea or ideal. This is ultimate reality, permanent, eternal, spiritual. On the other hand, there’s phenomena, which is a manifestation of the ideal. Phenomena are appearances, things as they seem to us, and are associated with matter, time, and space.” (Carlson) Phenomena are illusions which decay and die. Ideals are unchanging and perfect. Ideas are available to us through thought, while phenomena are available through our senses. Plato taught us this so we can realize that some things in life are reality and some are always changing and never forever. He relates back to this theory when he talks about art. Plato believes that art is imitation. Although Plato is not the first person to believe and understand that art is imitation, he does explain why very greatly. Plato says that “art must be imitating the world as it......

Words: 1076 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Plato

...In Plato’s Apology, Socrates believes that to be good, you should strive to find out why and how things are the way they are. When his childhood friend visited an oracle and asked if anyone was wiser than Socrates, the oracle said there wasn’t. In doing this, he demonstrates that you should not just accept what you see or hear at face value, rather, you should investigate further to understand why. It does you no good to not be able to explain it. If you cannot explain it, you could say that you might not even know it at all. So he went around and talked to many politicians and craftsmen who were supposedly wise (the definition of wise used here being something along the lines of “knowing a lot of stuff”), but after speaking with them, found that they weren’t really wise at all. They just believed that they were wise. But this is a dangerous game. If you believe that you are wise without, for lack of better words, ‘making sure’, and others also believe that you are wise without making sure, neither of you ever taking the time to see if there is any evidence towards this idea, then everyone is going to think that you have all the answers and will come to you when there is a problem that needs fixing. So what happens when you think you know/guess the answer to the question or how to fix the problem? You aid the deprived person with your vast knowledge, of course. And then everyone is going around, believing things that aren’t true and living their lives by it. And......

Words: 977 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Plato

...at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, in March, 2011.) When reading the Apology and the Crito of Plato, one inevitably comes upon a seeming fundamental contradiction between the two dialogues. The Apology presents readers with a defiant Socrates who declares in his trial that, if acquitted on the condition that he never philosophize again, he would continue to practice philosophy in spite of the jury’s order to the contrary: . . . if you said to me in this regard: “Socrates, we do not believe Anytus now; we acquit you, but only on condition that you spend no more time on this investigation and do not practice philosophy, and if you are caught doing so you will die”; if, as I say, you were to acquit me on those terms, I would say to you: “Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy . . . (29c-d).1 The passage from the Apology seems to present a defiant argument for civil disobedience in the face of injustice. In the Crito, however, when given a chance to escape prison and his upcoming execution, Socrates reasons that such an action would be unjust because it would defy the laws 1Plato, Apology. Trans. G. M. A. Grabe (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2000), 32. Blanks 1  of the city. Near the end of the dialogue Plato presents Socrates as speaking for a hypothetical anthropomorphized “voice of the laws”: Is your wisdom......

Words: 1804 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Plato

...analyzes the “Apology” by Plato, one is able to analyze and contrast and most people would agree with Socrates when he claims that “…the unexamined life is not worth living…”. From a more personal standpoint I would completely agree with Socrates point of view, due to the fact most of us in society have chosen to live the “unexamined life” for centuries and as a result we live in a society where one has to live segregated from our freewill as human beings as well as a society that is restrained by rules and other types of social “walls”. He asks the jury's forgiveness if he slips into his usual conversational style. This is his first appearance in a court of law, he explains, and so he is completely unfamiliar with the language of the place. As the jurors might forgive a foreigner for speaking in his accustomed dialect, Socrates asks their patience if he, a stranger to the law courts, might speak as he normally would as well. Rather than pay attention to his style, Socrates asks the jurors to pay attention to the substance of his speech and consider whether what he says is true or not. Commentary The sharp contrast that runs throughout this first section lies between the studied, artificial--and false--speech of Socrates' accusers, and Socrates' own improvised, conversational--and true--speech. At this time in Athens, there were a great many sophists, professional teachers who would instruct the wealthy youth of the city in oratory. Throughout his works, Plato gives a......

Words: 548 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Plato

...Practical Philosophy November 2001 Plato’s theory of Love: Rationality as Passion Lydia Amir 'I … profess to understand nothing but matters of love.' Socrates in Plato’s Symposium. times, when due to their education and to political changes, women earned the right to love and to be loved as equals to men. When one dispels these misunderstandings related to the popular notion of Platonic love, one finds a great richness and depth in Plato’s theory of love. In explaining why love is so important to us and yet why it fails us so often, Plato’s view of love seems applicable to our time. It is common knowledge that a very high rate of divorce threatens our marriages. We expect a lot from the sexual passion we call love, but usually end up disappointed when the romance goes away. Yet we keep getting married, thinking that we are going to be the ones that will beat the system. If we fail, we change our partner and try again. We end up our love life as we began it, confused, afraid and as disappointed as we were hopeful. The malaise that characterises our love lives naturally finds its way to the philosophical consulting room. In this paper I shall attempt to show how Plato’s view of love can be helpful both in dispelling our confusion about love and in proposing some solutions to our suffering. A comprehensive account of Plato’s complex theory of love, an exhaustive presentation of the controversies involved in interpreting it or a thorough discussion of the problems it......

Words: 7450 - Pages: 30

Premium Essay

Plato

...individuals, whether part of the polis or a member of government. • Law according to both is constant and absolute Plato’s Rule of Men Historical Context • Understand that Plato’s opinion on democracy was largely influenced by the manner in which Socrates, his teacher, was put on trial and sentenced to death under the Athenian democracy. He thus concluded based on this experience that democracy is the most corrupt and unjust form of government. • Plato thus set out in his work, Republic to examine the meaning of justice, assess different types of government and then outlining his idea of the ideal state. He examined oligarchy, in which the poor would eventually overthrow the rich, democracy which would be set up by the victorious poor but flawed on the fact that the unquenchable desire for limitless liberty causes disorder and pits the poor against the rich who the poor perceive as plotting against the hence they seek protection. In tyranny, no outside governing power controls the tyrant’s selfish behavior. Only law to Plato can guard against tyranny-the law serves as the external authority. His thoughts on law • Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state in my view is not far off, but if the law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessing that the gods shower on a state His ideal form government • Rule of the best -He......

Words: 544 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato was a philosopher from Greece who lived from 424BC until the time of his death in 347BC. Plato belonged to an aristocratic and influential lineage. His father was Artiston, a descent of king Dorus of Athens. Plato’s mother was Peritonea from a lineage of famous lawmakers and poets in Athens. Plato was, however, raised with difficulty after his father died. As a student, Plato studied under the guidance of his teacher, Socrates. Plato played an essential role of laying the foundation for western philosophy and science. Socrates taught Plato about basic philosophy and dialectic methods of inquiry in the quest for truth. The basic learning acquired form Plato formed a basis from where Plato established his philosophies (Benjamin, 2007). During the time of Plato, there are many events that took place. Amongst them is the Peloponnesian war. The war lasted for approximately 27 years i.e. from 431BC to 404 BC. The Peloponnesian war was a war fought by Athens and Sparta. As a result of the war, the Athenian imperial system and Greek military history was changed. The powers of Athens were subdued after the war as Sparta took over as a leading state whose powers were felt all across Greece. In 399BC Plato witnessed his teacher, Socrates, being tried and executed by the authorities in Athens. Socrates was charged for corrupting the minds of youths. Socrates was despised by the authority because of his persistency in criticizing the government established......

Words: 1600 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Plato

... 2 Originally named Aristocles, “Plato was born at a time of warfare and upheaval,” (Russo, Michael) in Athens. His father, Ariston, died when Plato was a young child. But descended from a line of kings of Athens. Plato’s mother, Pericitone, remarried to Pyrilampes but came from a similar line of royalty. Plato gained the nickname Platon as a young boy from his wrestling coach. The nickname means broad because of his broad body structure. He died at the age of eighty-one. On the evening of his death he had a Thracian girl play the flute to him. Plato died in his bed and, did not drink hemlock; which he was ordered to do by to the laws of the democracy. Hemlock was a poisonous plant in which a killing potion was made from. “He decided not to drink the potion to ensure he dead was just like Socrates’.” (Schall James, Summer 1996) So, Plato’s dead was categorized as by natural cause. Although, Plato died with someone by his bedside he never had a wife or even children. “He was almost certainly gay (as many Athenians were of his day), since he wrote about the idea that love between men is superior to love between a man and woman. “ (Sanderson Beck, 2006) Many men of this time and empire had wives and male lovers so it was not considered uncommon. Plato resided in the Greek civilization; which were made up of independent states called Polis. The states were broken up between the...

Words: 1331 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato During the time of ancient Greece, circa 427 B.C. there were many great and magical tales of the man named Plato, including the story of his birth; according to legend his mother Perictione received a dream of Apollo the sun god visiting her. It is said she then became pregnant as a virgin and gave birth to her new son Aristocles, though she later gave him the nickname Plato, for his broad personality. Whether or not this story is true doesn’t really matter, for that isn’t what the great philosopher Plato is known for. As a young man he was raised as a well-educated and wealthy child, taught by many great scholars but none that he admired more than his mentor Socrates. In his life many different events and people, such as his mentor, helped to shape Plato’s Philosophical views. This contributed too much of his later work as a theorist, such as the “theory of forms”. Plato originally met his mentor as a young man; he was introduced by his uncle Charmides another student of Socrates. Supposedly Socrates had a dream of Plato as his white swan before he met him; from then on Socrates worked to teach Plato his ways. It’s easy to tell that during his time with Socrates and even after his execution, Plato had a deep admiration for his teacher. Sadly for Plato Socrates was later put in front of the court accused of three crimes, first for not obeying the correct gods, secondly for creating his own deities, and lastly but most closely related to Plato for corrupting the......

Words: 706 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Plato

...Professor Loftus HUM1020 22 April 2015 Plato The Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 B.C) is considered one of the most important figures of the Ancient world and the Western thoughts. Due to the lack of sources that clearly affirm it, Plato's early life and education is uncertain. The philosopher was born in a wealthy and politically active environment in Athens. His father, Ariston, was the descendent of kings and his mother, Perictione, had a close relationship with Solon, the famous poet and Athenian lawmaker. After Plato's father died, his mother married Pyrilampes, the leader of the democratic faction. Plato was described by Ancient sources as a bright student whose modesty distinguished him among others. His father wanted the best education possible for him, and therefore Plato most have been instructed by the best teachers of his era in grammar, music, gymnastics, and philosophy. Plato became Socrates' pupil, from whom he learned, conveyed and expanded his ideas and techniques. Plato founded his own school: The Academy, the first world's university. The Republic was his most famous work, and it constituted the idea of the perfect government. Moreover, Theory of the Forms and The Dialogues are other two of his most famous works. Plato once said: "Excellence" is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act "rightly" because we are "excellent", in fact we achieve "excellence" by acting "rightly". This phrase let the reader see an aspect of him that......

Words: 532 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Plato

...Plato • • • • • • When: 427-347 B.C. Where: Athens, Greece What: Philosophy Teacher: Socrates Student: Aristotle Major Theories to Discuss here: – The Forms: unchanging ideas or patterns of reality, which persist through all time and culture. – Dialectic: question/answer methodology used to discover error in beliefs. – Philosopher Kings filipspagnoli.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/plato3.jpg Plato’s Republic • Perhaps Plato’s best known work. • Form: dialogue • Characters: Socrates, Thrasymachus, Glaucon, Adeimantus • Topic: “What is Justice?” Note on Irony in the Dialogue • The Republic takes place in dialogue with the characters of the work. • But Plato seems to include an additional and unnamed character, namely, the reader of the work. The reader is quietly listening in on the dialogue, not unlike another individual (namely, the sophist Thrasymachus, who is also quietly listening in on the dialogue.) • Socratic wisdom is knowing that one does not know. Socrates often tells us that he does not have knowledge. He simply tests what others say when they say they have knowledge. • So when Socrates explains that he doesn’t really know anything about Justice, there’s a sense in which he’s telling us, the readers, that we don’t either, and that maybe we should listen in and even participate in the dialogue. • This same technique is used in other works by other authors. For example, when Sherlock Holmes......

Words: 3071 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Platos Apology

...yet critical thinking text that I have ever read. Plato describes Socrates, the accused atheist and corrupter of youth in ancient Athens, as a true beacon of ethics and morality. The method that Plato uses to depict Socrates on trial gives us a look back on how the trial of a man who encourages one of sound mind to ask questions even to those who are deemed wise in the eyes of others. Despite facing odds that are stacked highly against him, and this being his first time in court “For I am more than seventy years of age, and this is the first time that I have ever appeared in a court of law, and I am quite a stranger to the ways of the place; and therefore I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger”(Plato). Socrates is able to achieve what he feels is the most imperative knowledge of morality for all present in the court to understand. When we, the readers, are first presented to Socrates we find him near the end of his trial where he is allowed to speak to the court. The sure genius of Socrates is revealed to us in his first words of dialogue. Using his brilliance of moral logic and ethical thinking he warns those present in the court of the mendacity of the accusations, “How you have felt, O men of Athens, at hearing the speeches of my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that their persuasive words almost made me forget who I was - such was the effect of them; and yet they have hardly spoken a word of truth.”(Plato) By not only shooting down the lies of his......

Words: 1228 - Pages: 5