The story we hear comes from Apollodorus, addressing an unnamed companion. He tells a story he once told to Glaucon and which he was told by Aristodemus. Glaucon had also heard a version of the story. What is the purpose of all these complex framing devices?
What is the distinction between lover and loved one, and how does this distinction play itself out in the different speeches?
Socrates asserts, against Agathon, that Love is a relational property. What does this mean, and what philosophical significance does it bear?
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?
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