What is the meaning of Aristophanes's speech from Plato's Symposium?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aristophanes was the most famous comic poet of ancient Greece and author of The Clouds, a play about Socrates that is actually mentioned in Plato's Apology as having been brought forward as evidence against Socrates at the trial of Plato. Because Aristophanes is a comic poet, Plato makes him give a very funny speech in Symposium. He accounts in the speech for the origin of love as being due to people originally having been welded together as beings with two parts; thus for every person there is a missing half necessary to restore the person to completion as a full human. Love is the search for that completion. The sense of the Greek text, as Aristophanes' plays, includes many double entendres and slapstick and sexual humor.

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