Plato's Symposium Analysis

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Plato’s Symposium was written in the fourth century B.C.E. in Ancient Greece. Written in Greek, the Symposium reports a series of eulogies to love given by men to entertain themselves and others at the court of playwright Agathon, celebrating his recent victory. While each of the eulogies is about love, Plato uses this dialog to express political ideas. He describes the reasons why change hasn’t already occurred. These barriers include tendencies away from change, lack of awareness for the need of knowledge, and the widespread obliviousness of the general populace. To solve these problems, Plato provides three principles to facilitate useful discourse. The first he offers is the idea that experts are sources of knowledge. He then explains that …show more content…
Socrates reminds the men at the symposium to analyze the logic of an argument, not the person making the argument. Socrates finishes asking Agathon a series of questions to set up a basis for his eulogy. After Socrates states his claim, Agathon agrees that he cannot refute Socrates. The text continues, “ ‘No,’ said Socrates, ‘it’s the truth you can’t refute my dear Agathon. Socrates is a pushover.’ ” Even as Agathon has just agreed with him, Socrates immediately tells Agathon that he is wrong. Doing so in Agathon’s court would have been viewed as very disrespectful, but Socrates chides Agathon anyways. Socrates shows how important it is to correct Agathon by ignoring the rules of common courtesy. Furthermore, the response is immediate. This prompt response shows how unacceptable Agathon’s agreement is. Socrates explains that truth itself cannot be refuted. He says, “my dear,” referring to Agathon. Socrates does not correct Agathon to humiliate him; instead, he tells him he is wrong out of fondness. Plato uses this dialog to persuade the reader to critically analyze ideas based on the logic they are based in, not the personal merit of the originator of the idea. Plato further stresses this point when Socrates calls himself a pushover, solidifying the claim that the origin of an idea does not affect the merits of that idea, even when the idea comes from Socrates. In the text, Socrates wants Agathon to truly believe what he has said, and knows that the best way for that to happen is if Agathon understands the logic of the idea. This exchange shows that Plato believes, in a society, it is important not to accept the words of the powerful as truth simply because of their position. Instead, he would implore the public to critically analyze any idea to which they are

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