The Symposium is framed by several layers of narrative distancing. Appolodorus tells the story to his companion, but the story he tells is actually a retelling of the story he told Glaucon. This story has in turn been gleaned from Aristodemus and confirmed by Socrates. Glaucon also notes that he has heard a version of the story. Plato, the actual writer of the dialogue, is not found in this cast of characters, so there must be a further retelling by which Plato himself learns the story. All this framing serves two immediate purposes: one is to suggest the extreme importance of this dialogue, and the other is to distance the narration from the truth of the actual events. There are several layers of narrative, and in the story itself we get several different speeches. In both cases, we are given the sense that truth is not something we can be given, but something that must be sifted through, something we must work to acquire. 

Popular pages: The Symposium