Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Nature of Love Explored in Plato’s Symposium Essay -- Plato Sympos

The Nature of Love Explored in Plato’s Symposium In classical Greek literature the subject of love is commonly a prominent theme. However, throughout these varied texts the subject of Love becomes a multi-faceted being. From this common occurrence in literature we can assume that this subject had a large impact on day-to-day life. One text that explores the many faces of love in everyday life is Plato’s Symposium. In this text we hear a number of views on the subject of love and what the true nature of love is. This essay will focus on a speech by Pausanius. Pausanius’s speech concentrates on the goddess Aphrodite. In particular he looks at her two forms, as a promoter of â€Å"Celestial Love† as well as â€Å"Common Love.† This idea of â€Å"Common Love† can be seen in a real life context in the tragedy â€Å"Hippolytus† by Euripides. This brings the philosophical views made by Pausanius into a real-life context. The speech by Pausanius in Plato’s Symposium divides the goddess Aphrodite into two beings, each responsible for a different aspect of love. To prove the existence of her double life he cites her creation. There are two versions of the birth of Aphrodite, one coming from Hesiod’s work, Theogony, where she is borne out of Uranus’ castrated genitals as they splash into the sea; the other is from Homer’s work, the Illiad, where she is said to be the daughter of Zeus and Dione. (Notes on Plato’s Symposium 180e) From these two vastly different creations she takes on two vastly different forms. Pausanius describes one of her forms as â€Å"Celestial† love. This type of love springs out of the Aphrodite created from Uranus’ genitals. This form is â€Å"wholly male† (Symposium 180c) which inspires men to be a... ... love described by Pausanias as â€Å"Common† love. Throughout the play love is used by Euripides as a key plot factor and in many ways sets the outcome of the play. This love was definitely based on a physical attraction between a male and a female, thus making it â€Å"Common† love. The fact that Euripides uses â€Å"Common† love lends credibility to Pausanias’ philosophical ideas. The appearance of this idea suggests that it had realistic roots. . The events that took place in the play, such as the relationship between Phaedra and Hippolytus, must have been realistic so a Greek audience would believe the story. Even though Hippolytus is a fictional play the events that take place must have their roots in realistic events. This allows us to believe that Pausanias’ philosophical ideal was in fact a real life issue that Athenians dealt with in day-to-day life.

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