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Plato Essay Research Paper In Greek culture

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Plato Essay, Research Paper

In Greek culture around the time of Plato, the perfect ideal person was considered.

Plato?s idea that there was a perfect world of ideas affected this pieces subject and the

subject?s action. Many works of his time period were sculptures that were meant to be

viewed from all angles, attempting to be a closer match to that of the ideal. This idea that the

ideal world was real and what matter not the physical also effect the actions depicted in

many works of this time period. Most of the works are depicting an ideal Greek person

performing a noble act not just a common act. Many of the works are also just a still image

of a figure from a single moment in time. All of the male sculptures appear in the nude

because they represent a perfect man with nothing to hide. These are some of the artistic

conventions that were influenced by Plato?s ideas. There are many different aspects of

Greek art that can be accredited to Plato for creating. Among them was the “Perfect” figure

that resented the ideal person that existed in the world of ideas. The definition of what a

perfect person was developed by Plato.

Plato believed that the physical world did not matter. It was the form in the ideal

world and this value of form and thought can be seen throughout many of the works of art.

Plato said that in the physical world we did not see the real object we only saw a shadow of

it. The art of this time period showed form and subject that were far more perfect than one

could actually exist in the real would in an attempt to represent the world of ideas. All of

these aspects together confirm that Plato has a major influence on Greek art of the time.

Throughout human existence, the subject of love has also been of great fascination to

many. Questions such as : “What is love?” and “What is the work of love?” are some of

great questions of the universe that has transcended time; yet with no absolute answers.

There is perhaps no correct answers to the phenomena of love. It exists in many strata. It is

perpetually subject to debate, for we all are experts of love in our own rights. In The

Symposium, Plato gave accounts of speeches from different speakers. Yet the focus of this

essay is on Aristophanes and Socrates. Their explanations of love and critical comments to

will be answered to these questions: What is love? How do lovers select their

beloved?s? and What is the work of love?

What is love? In his speech, Aristophanes engages in the discussion of love,

encompassing human nature as whole rather than individualistic aspects. According to a

myth, we were originally created as a single being, united with our beloved. As pairs, we

were quite powerful and chaotic, such that the god had to split us into two. Thereafter, life

became pursuit, a pursuit for the other half, a “pursuit for wholeness, to be complete.” And

thesis what Aristophanes defines as love. He believes that love is innate: ” love is born into

every human being”. He is expressing that the phenomenon of love is as natural and

inherent to us as breathing itself. Like other amenities of life, Love fulfills us. “To be

in love is to see the other individual as a special complement to one’s existence.” Socrates, on

the other hand, defines love as the desire to possess good and beautiful

entities, which he presently lacks. By a dialectical method, questioning Agathon, he

manifests that love cannot presently possess the object of affection. Even when he desires

what he has, what he really desire is “the preservation of what he now has in time to come,

so that he will have it then.” It follows then, that he wants, rather than has the good. Thus,

Love itself is not beautiful. This however, does not imply that Love is ugly or evil. Rather,

Love is in between; just as there is something between wisdom and ignorance- the

right opinion. He is in between mortal and immortal. Thus, Love is an intermediate spirit

who interprets between gods and men. Although there seems to be great disparity between

the two, Aristophanes’ and Socrates’ speeches actually merge in their paths. Is it not human

inclination to desire goodand beauty? Is it not then, that to have good and beauty is to

embrace it body and soul and never wanting to depart it? Thus, the desire to unite with the

other half is analogous, if not the same to the desire to possess good and beauty, but in a

broader scope. Aristophanes’ and Socrates’ explanations of love greatly mirror the nature of

our existence today. Love is the knot that binds two people together. Love is having

possession of freedom, which lies, perhaps, in the highest scale of goodness. The Americans

are notorious for their freedom. They have it now. And it is certain that they want to always

possess it.

How do lovers select their beloved?s? The subjects and objects in Aristophanes’

schema of love is confined solely to human beings. The question is then, “how do lovers

select their beloved?s?” According toAristophanes, they choose their original other half.

Since everybody is a matching half of a human whole lovers tend to select what is like

themselves. If a man was originally of the double sort, he will seek a woman to complete

him. If he was split from a male, he will be male-oriented; their choice depends on their

original orientation. In essence, Aristophanes believes that there is someone for everyone and

that the match will fit like that of a substrate and enzyme. In Socrates’ scala amoris, the

object of desire, the beloved, is generalized into the categories of goodness or beauty. A man

select a beloved that which ultimately brings him happiness. Thus, the lover can love men,

animals, life, wisdom, or anything which has the predominant characteristic of being good or

beautiful. However, like a religion, he must dedicate himself only to that beloved; “It’s only

when people are devoted exclusively to a special kind of love that we use these words, ‘love,’

and ‘in love’. Aristophanes’ discussion of lovers and their beloved?s is orchestrated by his

myth. However, the myth is only an analogy representing his adamant belief that human

beings are incomplete without their beloved?s. Lovers complement each other in many ways.

An idealistic person will compensate for the realist, a romantic complements a stoic,

and same for an optimist and a pessimist. Thus, lovers provide each other balance in life,

which often means one thing….. happiness! The beloved?s in Socrates’ speech are symbolic

nature of good and beauty. The lovers are those who desire possession of them. If this is so,

then every human being is a lover; everyone of us is Love. For, we all know what it is to

desire good and beauty. Nevertheless, Socrates installs boundaries and limitations when he

says that people must devote themselves exclusively to the beloved?s; only then are they ‘in

love’ and are they considered ‘lovers.’ The love Socrates speaks of is almost absolute and

unconditional. A revolutionist fighting for a cause would be considered a lover; the cause in

which he believes to be good is his beloved. Socrates, however, argues that “a lover does not

seek the half or whole.” Thus, he opposes Aristophanes’ view. However, in dissecting the

speeches, one can interpret that Aristophanes’ “other half” must represent good and beauty.

And the special love Socrates speaks off, in essence, would fulfill and complete his existence.

This may not necessarily be physical complement, but it is indeed, spiritual.

What is the work of love? The central, grandest achievement of love is unity.

Aristophanes believes that the union of lovers and their beloved?s ultimately brings about

happiness. In the myth, Aristophanes tells us that Apollo was commanded to heal the wound

after human beings were split apart and reoriented. Here, he personifies love as a healer. It is

the great work of love that mediates the union between lovers: “love calls back the halves of

our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of nature.”

Is he implying that to be incomplete is to be in the state of illness? If so, it is the union

then, that provides the cure. Aristophanes view love as a great god that endow our world

with the greatest gift: unity and therefore happiness. He believes that we must praise Love.

Love draws us towards what belongs us. For the future, Love promises the greatest hope of

all: if we treat the gods with due reverence, he will restore to us our original nature, and by

healing us, he will make us blessed and happy. When Aristophanes say to revere Love, he

may also mean to revere love the phenomenon. For, love is a serious matter. It does

mysterious wonders. Yet in the same token, it can relentlessly bring about great pain and

misery. Thus, Aristophanes is indirectly warning us when he says so, there’s a danger

that if we don’t keep order before the god, he will split us into two again.

According to Socrates, the great work of love, grander than the union of lovers, is

offspring or immortality and happiness. It is the principle of nature that mortals seek as

far as possible to live forever and be immortal. Socrates explains earlier in the speech that

love is the desire for good and beauty and that one wants to always possess them. Thus, in

the presence of a beautiful body, we naturally want to give birth, to create something

beautiful. Love is not beauty alone, but creation of beauty. By doing so, we have

immortalized the beauty that is present. Thus it is through love, the messenger, that the

divine is born. It is also through love that a vivid painting of Beauty is portrayed for us. It

goes from one beautiful body to manifold other, successively higher. Thus, via Love, we can

become immortal and know Beauty itself. But in order to do so, as stated by Aristophanes,

we must honor the rites of love. We must be true to virtue and nourish it. Socrates states that

to acquire this virtue, “human nature can find no better workmate than Love”.

Both Socrates and Aristophanes praise the work of love, however, under the

condition that love is honored. In many respect, love is omnipotent; from it we can extract

the power to pursuit virtue and immortality. It was perhaps from his knowledge of beautiful

bodies that Michaelangelo painted the most exquisite portraits of human anatomy.

Throughout their speeches, Socrates and Aristophanes speak of a recurrent theme of

love; it’s ultimate end beatitude. Though, the speeches are set in different regard and

ideologies, they are in many respect, similar. That is , to acquire or unite with good and

beauty to embrace happiness. The speech of Aristophanes indeed, foreshadows that of

Socrates’.

In Greek culture around the time of Plato, the perfect ideal person was also

considered. The piece has a great amount of detail and its weight is shifted from perfect

balance. The subject is depicted in a performing a perfect act. Plato?s idea that there was a

perfect world of ideas affected this pieces subject and the subject?s action. Many works of

this time period were sculptures that were meant to be viewed from all angles, attempting to

be a closer match to that of the ideal. This idea that the ideal world was real and what matter

not the physical also effect the actions depicted in many works of this time period. Most of

the works are depicting an ideal Greek person performing a noble act not just a mundane

common act. Many of the works are also just a still image of a figure from a single moment

in time. All of the male sculptures appear in the nude because they represent a perfect man

with nothing to hide. These are some of the artistic conventions that were influenced by

Plato?s ideas. There are many different aspects of Greek art that can be accredited to Plato

for creating. Among them was the “Perfect” figure that resented the ideal person that existed

in the world of ideas. The definition of what a perfect person was developed by Plato. Plato

believed that the physical world did not matter it was the form in the ideal world and this

value of form and thought can be seen throughout many of the works of art. Plato said that

in the physical world we did not see the real object we only saw a shadow of it. The art of

this time period showed form and subject that were far more perfect than one could actually

exist in the real would in an attempt to represent the world of ideas. All of these aspects

together confirm that Plato has a major influence on Greek art of the time.




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Plato Essay, Research Paper In Greek culture around the time of Plato, the perfect ideal person was considered. Plato?s idea that there was a perfect world of ideas affected this pieces subject and the


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