Diotima's Speech On Love

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Beauty or Good: What is Love? When love is present in a relationship, there is a “journey” that each lover must go on. This internal journey helps to define the intensity of the love between the lover and the loved object. In Plato’s Symposium, in Diotima’s speech, Socrates claims that “love is wanting to possess the good forever” (52). This means that for one to love, they have to essentially travel through this “journey” until they have reached a point where they do not only want the external beauty of the loved object, but the essence of it as well. Although Diotima is not attending the party depicted in the dialogue, Socrates uses her words to reveal the shortcomings in the other speeches. One of her strongest pieces of evidence is when…show more content…
Aristophanes begins his speech with a legend about how humans were two people attached, and that they conspired against the gods. To punish them, Zeus cut humans in half so that they search for their other half, Love “[was] born into every human being; it call[ed] back the halves of our nature together; it tri[ed] to make one out of two” (27). Aristophanes claims that love is finding the part that you are missing, your complementary half, and keeping them forever. On the other hand, Diotima believes that one does not want to keep the lover if the lover is not good. No matter how beautiful the loved object is, if it is not good, then it will beneficial to the lover. She states that, “…people are even willing to cut off their own arms and legs if they are diseased” (52). This can be compared to one losing a part that is dangerous to their health, like a kidney stone. They are removed because the person no longer wants them to be a part of their body because they were detrimental to the person’s health. Afterwards, they do not wish to be reunited with them. The lover only wants to keep the good half around because it is good for the lover and make him or her happy. If the other half was not healthy for the lover or a bad complement, then the lover would not want to keep the half around because it would be dangerous to their person, either physically or
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