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Poets At The Symposium

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Chapter Summary

At the beginning of the symposium dramatized in Plato's Symposium, the physician Eryximachus makes a proposal to Agathon's guests. In proposing Eros as a topic for competitive speaking, Eryximachus reports the complaint of Phaedrus that poets have not yet made an encomium of Eros. The first five speakers are all represented as experts on the topic of erôs. Socrates notes that the whole occupation of the comic poet Aristo- phanes is concerned with Dionysus and Aphrodite. Socrates uses the paradoxical figure of Diotima - a childless woman who praises childbirth and male homoerotic love - to challenge the views of the first five speakers and the poetic tradition to which they appeal.

Keywords: Plato; poets; Socrates; symposium



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