Choose any two of the speeches about love and discuss how the dynamic between the lover and the loved is acted out. One should be Aristophanes.
In ancient Greek society and in the philosophies of Love represented in The Symposium, a distinction is made between the lover and the loved. In male-female relationships, the lover is typically depicted as the more active, male figure in the relationship, whereas the loved is female and passive. While the ideal love relationship is supposed to be reciprocal in the benefits it brings to both parties, in reality many love relationships may be unbalanced or asymmetrical.
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Plato's Symposium is a dialogue that uses a comic setting of a dinner party to introduce a serious discussion of the question of love. It first should be noted that the prototypical model of love in the Platonic dialogues is homsexual rather than heterosexual. The erastes, or lover, was typically an older man and the eromenos, or beloved, was a young man, normally described as having very fine facial hair but not a full beard, i.e. an adolescent. In this relationship, the erastes was the "active" and eromenos the "passive" partner. Passive homosexuality was regarded as effeminate for an adult man. In general, this relationship was considered more masculine than heterosexual associations, because it involved social relationships with men rather than women. It involved an educational compenent, where the older erastes introduced the younger eromenos to the social and political life of the Athenian gentleman.
The interlocutors in the dialogue include the poet Agathon, the famous comic poet Aristophanes, the extremely handsome and dissolute Alcibiades who appears drunk, Phaedrus, and the physician Eryximachus. Aristophanes speech is intended primarily for comic relief, intended to make fun of various creation myths by portraying early humans as descended from duplex creaturesconsisting of pairs of people attached to each other, who became separated, and whose sexual desires are for reunion with their previously conjoined halfs. In this portrait, Plato satirizes the notion that we should understand love as purely physical.
The speech Socrates attributes to Diotima, by contrast, portarys love as primarily spiritual, and acting anagogically to lead the sould from love of external human beauty to love of the beautiful human soul and from there to love of the divine.
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