Plato – Summary of the Banquet


We understand at first that it is Apollodorus who is going to tell the testimony of Aristodemus.

Apollodorus: Well then, here they are, more or less; but it is better to try to take things back to the beginning, in the order in which Aristodemus told them to me.

The Banquet – Plato


. Socrates, who has taken care of his appearance to go to Agathon’s for dinner, invites Aristodemus to accompany him for the meal. But when he arrives, he stays behind.

Follow me, he says, and let us say, modifying the proverb, that good people go to dinner at good people’s houses without being asked.

The Banquet – Plato


Agathon wants to send for Socrates, but Aristodemus tells him to leave him alone, because he is regularly coming. Indeed, Socrates appears in the middle of the dinner.

Agathon offers him to sit next to him, telling him that by touching him his wise thoughts will reach him. But Socrates returns the compliment, saying that it would be nice if wisdom could be transmitted this way, in which case he himself would be the beneficiary because he would get Agathon’s wisdom back.


all the guests agree not to drink too much.

everyone agreed not to spend the present meeting getting drunk and to drink only to his pleasure

The Banquet – Plato


They decides to make each in turn the praise of Eros.

Is it not strange (…) that no one among men has yet undertaken to celebrate Eros as he deserves?

The Banquet – Plato


Phaedrus begins by praising him, saying that “an army of lovers and loved ones” could “defeat the whole world”.


appeals to mythology to show examples of “lovers [who] alone know how to die for each other”.


after others, it is the turn of Pausanias. For him, there are several Eros.


The Eros of the poplar Aphrodite is really popular and does not know the rules; it is the love of which the vulgar men like. The love of these people is addressed, first of all, to the women as well as to the boys, to the body of those whom they love rather than to the soul, finally to the silliest that they can meet.

The Banquet – Plato

The other, on the contrary, comes from the celestial Aphrodite, who proceeds only from the male sex, to the exclusion of the female, who is the oldest and who does not know violence.

The Banquet – Plato


Love is by itself neither beautiful nor ugly: “Honestly practiced, it was beautiful, dishonestly, ugly.”


Pausanias continues his reflection and concludes in particular:

The conclusion is that it is perfectly honorable to give oneself in view of virtue.

The Banquet – Plato

It is this form of love which is the best for Pausanias, it belongs to the celestial Aphrodite, while the other forms of love belong to the popular Aphrodite.


it is the turn of Eryximachus. For Eryximachus, Eros reigns not only over humans, but also “over the bodies of all animals, over plants, in a word over all beings”

Medicine, indeed, to define it in a word, is the science of the loving movements of the body relative to replenishment and emptiness, and he who discerns in these movements good and bad love is the most skillful physician.

The Banquet – Plato

Thus medicine, like gymnastics, music, or agriculture, is governed by the god Eros.


knowledge of the influences of love on the revolutions of the stars and the seasons of the year is called astronomy.


is Aristophanes’ turn to speak.

it is the god the most friendly of the men

The Banquet – Plato

Previously there were 3 kinds of men:

  1. the male (originates from the sun)
  2. the female (originates from the earth)
  3. the androgynous species: composed of the male and the female (originating from the moon)

Each man was round in shape with four hands, four legs, two faces.


problem arises when these men decide to climb the sky to fight the gods.

The gods do not want to kill them, so as not to destroy the tributes they pay them. But they cannot tolerate so much effrontery. So they decide to weaken them, on Jupiter’s proposal: they will simply cut them in two.

If the embrace took place between a man and a woman, they would give birth to children in order to perpetuate the race, and if it took place between a male and a male, the society would separate them for a time, they would work and provide for all the needs of life.

The Banquet – Plato


When a man, whether he is inclined to boys or to women, meets the one who is his half, it is a wonder that the transports of tenderness, trust and love of which they are seized.

The Banquet – Plato


is Agathon’s turn to speak.


contrast to Phaedrus, Agathon says that Eros is the youngest of the gods. He is also the most delicate.


is just, he is the bravest, and he has temperance. He is skillful is “the glory of the gods and men, the most beautiful and best guide, that every man must follow”.


General Knowledge: love

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