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The Main Idea On Love In Phaedrus’ Speech And How Socrates’ Ideas Contrast With Or Challenge Phaedrus’

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Phaedrus started the speech by explaining that Love is one of the most ancient gods, bringing people goods and guidances. Phaedrus explained that, people will be more guilt or proud in front of their lovers, and they don’t want their lovers to capture the moment that they did something shameful, as a result, shame and humiliation are able to guide people to act well. He then proposed a system that a city or an army are formed by lovers, which can hold each other back form shameful works.

Here then brought out one of the idea of love by Phaedrus, love make people a better person, holding back shameful act, lovers and the love guiding each other, pushing each other to a higher level, that’s what Phaedrus want to tell us that, love can bring improvement to a mankind, by lovers themselves guiding each other.

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After that, Phaedrus brought out the idea by telling two stories to prove why only a lover would willing to die for their beloved one, which are covering his second idea of love, making people a brave man. From the stories of Alcestis and Achilles, Alcestis is the only person who was willing to die for her husband, put him in a higher place than her parents. He also mentioned the story of Achilles, who was willing to avenge Ptrolclus, his lover, by killing Hector, even though he knew that he would be killed afterward.

Phaedrus used these two stories to bring out the idea that, love will turn a person into a brave man, people will do anything regardless the hardship to protect their beloved. The stories of Alcestis and Achillies also brought out the idea of the act of sacrifice, at the end of the stories, both of them were appreciated by the god and separately brought the soul back from underworld and was sent to the Islands of the Blessed. Phaedrus compare these stories to Orpheus, who retreated and preserved one’s own life, and died at the hands of women, showed that how beautiful it is to give one’s life for his lovers, and stated the goodness of self-sacrifice in love.

Socrates brought out his ideas by quoting the dialogue with Diotma, Socrates linked love with reproduction, saying that love actually is the form of achieving immortality. In the line, Diotma exemplify this idea based on Phaedrus’s construction on the stories of Achilles and Alcestis. Unlike Phaedrus, regarded their acts as self-sacrificial ,brave, and for the good of their lover and beloved, Diotma claiming that they were dying for immortal honor, but not their lovers. Eventually, it was also for love, since the final goal of love is immortality, by Diotma’s view. The same stories talking about goodness, bravery under Phaedrus description, but the angle changed in Diotma’s hands.

Unlike Phaedrus focused on how does love bring goodness, bravery, Diotma emphasized on immortality as the ultimate object of love, and reproduction is thus the propose of love. To achieve immortality, people will pursuit beauty, and reproduce and mingle with the beauty that he chose, unlike Aristophanes’ conclusion that all lovers look for their other half, Diotma focused more on the creature, which represent immortality.

Phaedrus believed that, love can bring improvement to one person because of shame and humiliation, their acts will be guided by their lovers. However, Diotma brought out another views, the improvement of mankind is because of love itself, when people chasing beauty, they will start with physical, soul and at last philosophy, which is love’s highest expression. “Ladder of love” will bring people to a different level, through the education in love, people will improve and thus a better person will be created. Unlike Phaedrus’ views that, beauty of a person is based on the guidance of their partners, Diotma claimed that, education of love, the cultivation of two people who are chasing for beauty, the “Ladder of love” will thus bring them to see the true beauty, and thus improvement will be resulted.


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