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September 30, 2014

The Third Agon of Plato's _Symposium_: Agathon and Socrates

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Caption: Contradicting Socrates

Plato (c. 348–47 B.C.E.) Symposium. 360 B.C.E. Greek. Philosophic text.


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Posted by lhobbs at September 30, 2014 01:22 PM

Readers' Comments:

Rebecca Messano
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature
October 13, 2014

Question #9: What might happen to us (again), according to Aristophanes, if we continue to upset or dishonor the gods?

Answer: In Aristophanes’ speech, being known as a comic, he presents a satirical attack on Socrates. He also uses myths to relate everything to what he is saying. One myth that he uses that relates to this question is the one about people wanting so badly to be together, that they refused to leave each other’s sides, therefore, they did everything together, including die. Aristophanes says that if we keep upsetting or dishonoring the gods, then “there is a danger that we shall be split up again” but if we are good to the gods and listen to them, then “we shall find our own true loves,” and he says that that is uncommon in our time today.

Posted by: Rebecca Messano at October 13, 2014 01:14 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 October 2014


Question:
“One of Diotima’s examples of reproduction in mind also recalls the type of love- relationship praised by Pausanias, in which the lover is attracted by a boyfriend who combines psychical and mental beauty” (Introduction: Plato’s Symposium, page xxxi, par 1, Christopher Gill translation).


What is Socrates’ intention by giving Diotima a voice in which she redefines the speech of Pausanias?


Answer:
Socrates gives a voice to Diotima to show that not only men are capable of higher philosophical thought. Diotima taught Socrates the ways of philosophy during a time when only men were allowed an education, for her to have the presence of mind to teach and take on a disciple is praiseworthy.


Socrates also wanted to show that there is more than one way of interpreting the speech of Pausanias. Diotima says that the literal sense of interpreting Pausanias speech is that the lover aims only making the boyfriend “better” and not only at “sexual gratification” (Symposium xxxi). What she also says, though, is that there is an “ethical improvement” to be made to his speech (xxxi). The lover can “immortalize” themselves through the mental stimulation of the beloved and therefore can father a legacy through the relationship (xxxi). Any form of higher thinking, art, or philosophy produced by the lover from the beloved is a way to immortalize himself.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 21, 2014 07:43 PM

Question: In the symposium, rather than walking in the hard parts of humans and gods, on the ground or in the skull, where does Agathon suggest the god of love (settles) makes his home? How does he go about finding his next home?
During Agathon’s speech, he suggests that the god of love makes his home and settle in our minds and character, “[…] makes his home in the character and the minds of the gods and humans” (Plato, pg. 29). He then says that love does not settle in all minds but he looks for someone with a much tougher mind to move onto, “[…] whenever he finds one with a tough character he moves on, and whenever he finds one with a soft character he settles down” (Plato, pg. 29).

Posted by: irma sera at October 22, 2014 01:56 AM

Ahmed Almoailu, Antonella Aviles, Thomas Watson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG210CL- CA02
October 22, 2014


Question: How did Agathon talk about Eros being “Just”?
When love does anything, he doesn’t use force, since everyone consents to all loves orders; and whatever is agreed by mutual consent, that is what “laws, the sovereign of the city” define as just” (The Symposium, 30). He think that it is the most important thing about love because it does no justice and does not favor gods or humans.

Posted by: Ahmed Almoailu at October 22, 2014 03:22 PM

Emily Finck
Martin Terassi
Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014


Question:
How does Agathon attribute happiness to Eros?


Answer:
Agathon attributes the virtue of happiness to Eros by creating a dichotomy in which one aspect of happiness is privileged over the other. Agathon justifies this dichotomy by stating, “Love is the happiest because he is the most beautiful and best” (Symposium 29). Implying that happiness, youthfulness, beauty, and love are virtues of Eros. Thus, the opposite virtues, sadness, old age, ugliness, and hatred are lesser and cannot be attributed to Eros because he is young and lovely.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 22, 2014 03:41 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014


Question: Pages 30-31
“So it seems to me, Phaedrus, that Love himself is supreme in beauty and excellence and is responsible for similar qualities in others” (Speech of Agathon, Plato’s Symposium, pages 30-31, par 6, Chorister Gill Translation).


Sticking with the dichotomies of Eros according to Agathon, discussed in class, what are some other dichotomies Agathon assigns to Eros? Which ones are on the privileged end, which are not?


Answer:
Agathon, from Plato’s Symposium, characterizes Eros by using many dichotomies; all of which state the same points about all things associated with love are privileged. For example, love is “soft, sensitive, just, brave, and consensual” (30). Agathon is attributing these virtues to Eros because he believes that he is the “embodiment” of Eros, and therefore must be more privileged. He feels this way because he is a beloved and thus far has been treated “like” Eros by his lover and the others, or not privileged. The not privileged attributes given to Eros by Agathon are “rough, tough, unjust, elderly, and ugly” (Symposium 30-31). Thus, love/Eros has to be all these characteristics of the privileged dichotomy because he only inspires such characteristics in those around him.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 22, 2014 04:22 PM

Irma Sera
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
23 October 2014

Question:
Throughout the entire discussion there has only been men speaking at this Symposium. Considering the positions that women played during the symposium, why does Plato decide to introduce Diotima (a woman) during this argument. What does Diotima suggest that love is and what does she say love do?

Answer:
Plato introduces Diotima as a woman because she IS a WOMAN and her experience with love is clearly different from the men at the symposium. Unlike the men in attendance, she understands the needs and desires of both men and woman, which makes her neutral on the subject. The fact that Diotima is introduced as a woman period throws the whole symposium off. “By ancient Greek standards, it is surprising to find a woman adopting a position of authoritative wisdom (Plato, xxix).” Diotima suggest rather than what Agathon stated, love is neither good nor beautiful because he is in need of good and beautiful things; instead, Love is a spirit that sits between things. “On the same basis, Love is neither a god (assumed to be beautiful and god) nor a mortal but an intermediate or intermediary between these two, a spirit.”

Posted by: irma sera at October 23, 2014 02:32 AM

Gabriela Navarro, Irma Sera & Matt Wells
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
23 October 2014


QUESTION:
What reasoning does Agathon give that love is brave?

ANSWER:
Agathon suggest that Love conquers all pleasures and desires, "[…] that no pleasure is stronger than love." And because love captured Ares, the god of war, who is suppose to be tough and hardcore, then he is the bravest of all the gods. "Whoever masters the one who is bravest of the others must be the bravest of them all."

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 23, 2014 11:01 PM

Gabriela Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
22 October 2014

"Although the value of distinctive female activities was sometimes recognized, Greek conceptions of 'virtue' and 'happiness' centered on these high-status male activities" (plato xxv).

QUESTION:
Explain what the Greeks mean by "virtue" and "happiness."

ANSWER:
Virtue is a settled disposition to act in a certain way; justice, for instance, is the settled disposition to act, moreover, so that each one receives their due.

Human excellence is the emotional basis for carrying out the activities of a human life well; to that extent human excellence is happiness.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 24, 2014 12:53 PM

Gabriela Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014

"if someone could see beauty itself, absolute, pure, unmixed, not clutterd up with human flesh and colours and a great mass of mortal rubbish [...]" (plato 49).

QUESTION:
Why Socrates should view beautiful things correctly?

ANSWER:
Socrates will then be ready to be with another forever by the simple sight of him. The "gaze on beauty itself" (plato 49), would be much more than any of pervious luxuries that were once thought of as beauty.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 24, 2014 01:32 PM

Brianna L Broughton, Sharonda Byrd
Anthony Colello, Ashjan Alrshid
Dr. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love & Desire in Literature
Speech of Agathon

Virtue of Sensitivity

Eros must be sensitive because he is dealing with sensitive people. His sensitivity allows him to enter the minds of men and being able to allow them to love. When Eros comes across a tough individual, he will just pass them.

Posted by: Brianna Broughton at October 24, 2014 01:59 PM

Thomas Watson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014

“Despite Socrates’ negative comments about the previous speeches (198d-e), his own speech alludes to, modifies or corrects those speeches, and in this way he suggests that they have provided some access to the truth about love” (Plato xxvii).

QUESTION: How does Socrates go about his speech? How does he critique the speeches of all those who spoke at the Symposium? What does he say?

ANSWER:
Socrates made a point of emphasis that he would not compete with the others. However, he had this to say, “ I am prepared to tell the truth, if you’d like that, though in my own way, not competing with your speeches, which would make me look ridiculous” (Plato 33). So as far as negative comments go, you can make a case that it was for constructive criticism. The structure of his speech breaks down into three key components. The components being, “ his dialectical contradiction of Agathon, his report of Diotima’s theory and the ‘final mysteries’ of her theory” (Plato xxvii).

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 24, 2014 02:02 PM

Thomas Watson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014

“I think that all the previous speakers, instead of praising the god, have congratulated human beings on the good things that come to them from the god” (Plato 28).

QUESTION: What does Agathon mean? Does Agathon come off as Narcissistic?



ANSWER:

What Agathon means by this is that the speakers have devoted their speeches to aim toward the human perspective of love and how it works. However, Agathon feels the need to perform a eulogy of the god Eros. Something that the other speakers has not addressed at the Symposium, as Agathon states, “Nobody has spoken about the nature of the god himself who has given us these things” (Plato 28).



Also, Agathon does come off as a Narcissist, by attempting to one up the speakers at the Symposium by discussing a topic none of them found significant enough to speak about. To add, before he brings up the god Eros, he insults the other speakers at the Symposium. After calling people in a crowd unintelligent compared to a small group of intelligent people, he failed to realize that there was a crowd of people listening, those people being the speakers. So Socrates says, “ But I’m afraid we don’t fall into that category; after all, we were all part of that crowd” (Plato 28). Socrates then asked him the question that if he were to be wrong in front of a crowd of intelligent people he’d feel bad, and Agathon agreed. However, Socrates came back and asked him wouldn’t he feel bad in front of a crowd of people at a play? Socrates pretty much shows the reader the arrogance of Agathon.

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 24, 2014 02:39 PM

Sharonda S Byrd
B. LEE HOBBS
ENG 210CL
23 October 2014
Symposium :Third agon
“And now, my boys, I shall praise Socrates in a figure which will appear to him to be a caricature” Page 40 Platos Symposium
Question: In the text Alcibiades is praising Socrates, why is he doing this and how does he describe him?
Answer: Alchibiades who comes in drunk to the Symposium makes a speech not about love but his love for Socrates who is his lover. “. I say, that he is exactly like the busts of Silenus, which are set up in the statuaries, shops, holding pipes and flutes in their mouths; and they are made to open in the middle, and have images of gods inside them”. Alchibidaes describes Socrates as a Marsyas which is satyr, a woodland god. Marsyas are betwitching creatures that play the flute and seduce people with their music. Alchibiades is saying that his lover seduces him by the words that come from his mouth and that when he is around Socrates he cannot think straight.

Posted by: sharonda byrd at October 24, 2014 02:49 PM

Rebecca Messano Antonella Aviles
ENG 210 Love and Desire In Literature
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
October 24, 2014

Question #11:
How does Diotima feel about the commonly repeated idea that “we are same throughout our entire lives”? Why?

Answer:
In the story, Diotima says in response to Socrates, that things are “maintained in existence, not by being completely the same, as divine things are, but because everything that grows old and goes away leaves behind another new thing of the same type.” When she says this she means that although we generally do stay the same in our lives, we leave behind things that make us different than other people.

Posted by: Rebecca Messano and Antonella Aviles at October 24, 2014 02:50 PM

Shelby Rexroth and Gabby Navarro
October 24th, 2014
ENG210 CA02


15) After Socrates is finished, the participants of the symposium are left with a new definition of love. According to Socrates, what is love (so far)?

After Socrates is finished and leaves the symposium participants with a new definition of love, Socrates believes that love was the child of Poros and Penia, lack and plenty, a spirit of the between. He believed that love was one of the spirits that held the world together as a whole, a force that relayed messages and prayers between the Gods and man.

Posted by: Shelby Rexroth at October 24, 2014 02:53 PM

Thomas Watson & Brianna Broughton
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
24 October 2014

QUESTION #8: How does Socrates’s erotic teacher feel about dichotomies? Why might Socrates be telling this story to the symposium’s participants?

ANSWER:
Diotima wouldn’t agree with dichotomies because she argues that not everything must be either one thing or its opposite. For example, when she teaches Socrates of love. Socrates told her the same thing Agathon said to everyone that Eros was a good and beautiful god. However, Diotima says, “ Love was neither beautiful nor good” (Plato 37). She also says, “And must anything that isn’t wise be ignorant? Haven’t you realized that there’s something between wisdom and ignorance?” (Plato 37). From these quotes, you can see that she doesn’t agree with dichotomies.

Socrates could be telling this story as an analogy, from the ignorance that he once had that Diotima corrected, to the ignorance of the speakers that he shall correct. He rips the speakers at the beginning of his speech; much like Diotima had done to him. Then he introduces her along with her accomplishments, as well as her teachings. It was probably done to solidify her validity to the subject. He’s speaking at the Symposium as if he was teaching a lesson in class.

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 24, 2014 03:17 PM

Martin Terrasi, Ahmed Almoailu
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA07
October 24, 2014
Question: we are still in the world of dichotomies. Explain the evolution or the process of love, as first experienced by a young boy in Diotima’s model. How does it start, according to her, and how does it end (if it was done correctly)?
Answer: according to Diotima is that a child finds beauty in knowledge and the person with the knowledge is the lover the more dominate than the beloved. As a child the first person that fits this mold would be a boy’s father. He is wise and capable and becomes the desire of the young boy. “his father is and resourceful while his mother has neither quality.” (Plato 40)

Posted by: Martin Terrasi, Ahmed Almoailu at October 24, 2014 03:19 PM

Emily Finck and Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014


Question #3:
What primary logical flaw has Agathon made in his claim that Eros is beautiful? Why, according to Socrates’s locig (who is building his own thesis by synthesize the ideas or Aristophanes and Agathon), can this not be so?


Answer:
Agathon’s primary logical flaw is that he says, “love is beautiful because love has a need for beautiful things” (Symposium 360). Of course, this statement is made simply by speculation and has no actual proof. Socrates, then, proceeds to question this statement made by Agathon to the point of doubt. He asks a series of questions that cause Agathon to question his speech, by speculating that love desires what it does not have, thus love does not have beauty and therefore is ugly.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 26, 2014 08:19 PM

Anthony Colello
Ashjan Alrashid
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
24 October 2014

Question:
How does Diatoma use the concepts of pregnancy and reproduction in an androgynous way?

Answer:
Diatoma uses the concepts of pregnancy and reproduction in an androgynous way by mentioning that "all human beings are pregnant in body and in mind" (Plato,43).  She mentions that the normal birth that most will think of is childbirth. Child birth is important as it is our way of immortalizing ourselves. However, Diatoma says that this is not the only way we can view birth and reproduction. Like the paradigm shift model, we can meet other people and share things of the mind like beliefs or view points. In the case of sharing views of the mind we can create a thesis, anti-thesis, and form a new synthesis. Thus, we can give birth to new thoughts, ideas, cultures, etc. this is the way Diatoma views birth and reproduction in an androgynous way.

Posted by: Anthony Colello at October 27, 2014 02:39 PM

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