Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' The Symposium '

1025 Words Feb 13th, 2015 null Page
An Analysis of Beauty in Plato’s Symposium
The Symposium is Plato’s account of six speeches on the meaning of love. The setting of a symposium is quite telling of Greek culture at that time for it was a culture that failed to emphasize the virtue of self-control. For the Greeks a symposium was a night filled with heavy drinking, sexual indulgence, and other sorts of vulgar entertainment. Such a setting threatens to undermine the validity of an entire work. If, upon examination, Plato’s Symposium contains insights more profound then an account of mere vulgar actions, then one must determine what the purpose of these vulgar references are.
It is necessary that one acknowledge and critique the immorality which is referenced in the Symposium in order to then address the thesis of the work. The Homeric ideals present in Greek society did not address moderation or self-control over bodily desires in the way that a Christian mindset does. However, Plato himself never endorses this lack of self-control, in fact, the dialogue begins with the rejection of the usual overindulgence that correlates with a typical symposium: “none of us seems particularly eager to overindulge…inebriation is harmful to everyone…at that point they agreed not to get drunk that evening; they decided to drink only as much as pleased them” (176D). The refusal of intoxication in the introductory dialogue is crucial to the work. Drunkenness may be the defining feature of any symposium, a refusal of which defies…

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