Monday, January 10, 2011

Plato's Phaedrus

In Socrates’ Phaedrus the topic that appears quite frequently is the issue of love.

Socrates begins the dialogue between himself and Phaedrus by inquiring about Phaedrus’ whereabouts. The story within a story allows for some growth within the dialogue and the theme of Lysias “is a paradox about love”.

Socrates incourages Phadrus to at best try and retell Lysias’ tale of love. The telling does not have to be verbatim but he wants the gist of what was told to Phaedrus first hand. After some harassment Phadrus agrees to “give [him] you a summary of the points in which the lover differed from the non–lover”.

· One of the most apparent issues with being a lover is that the individual lover wastes his love on others and leaves nothing for himself. Being a lover is a selfless aspiration and one wonders if they are loved back.

· The non-lover has more control since nothing conflicts with his emotions. It is a less complicated roll.

· The divine madness was subdivided into four kinds, prophetic, initiatory, poetic, and erotic.

· Love is most often corrupt and will tarnish existing relationships. A non-lover does not have the same kind of commitment as a lover; therefore he can appreciate existing relationships.

· Their friendship seems to be somewhat competitive, especially when speech is concerned. (After Phaedrus’ initial speech concerning love, Socrates felt that the topic could be better explored.)

· Socrates brings up the valid point of desire and how that manipulates love into being irrational.

· Within Socrates second speech he ponders about love being madness. Madness is also present in poetry… “inspired madness”.

· Rhetoric also becomes an issue concerning how it can strengthen one’s speech and how politicians come into play.

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