The Symposium

by: Plato

Suggested Essay Topics

Compare and contrast the speeches of Aristophanes and Agathon. What elements of comedy can you find in Aristophanes, and what elements of tragedy can you find in Agathon?

What role does Diotima play in the dialogue? Why is she introduced?

What does one find at the end of the ascent that Diotima details when discussing the final mysteries? What is the nature of this thing?

What role does Alcibiades play in the dialogue and what is the significance of his sudden appearance near the end?

In what ways does Socrates represent the idealized version of the lover as given in Diotima's account?

Whose speech do you find the most compelling? Is the account given by Socrates/Diotima satisfactory? What weaknesses might it contain?

Why is Socrates presented as immune to the effects of alcohol and fatigue and disinterested in sex?