49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

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Sections 172a-178aChapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 172a-178a Summary

The dialogue opens in the middle of a conversation between Apollodorus and his unnamed friends. Apollodorus is recounting a conversation he had with his friend Glaucon who wanted to know about a symposium that took place at Agathon’s house, not realizing that the event took place many years earlier. Apollodorus explains that he himself was not present but heard the story from his friend Aristodemus, who was at the symposium, as he was one of Socrates’s “greatest lovers” at the time (3). Apollodorus offered to tell Glaucon the story while they walked to Athens as he heard it from Aristodemus. Apollodorus becomes briefly sidetracked in a minor quarrel with one of his friends, who reiterates his desire to hear the speeches described. Apollodorus then begins to tell the story of the symposium from Aristodemus’s perspective.

Aristodemus encounters Socrates one evening “smartened up” to attend a symposium at the home of the tragedian Agathon, whose play won first place at a festival the previous day (5). Aristodemus was not invited, but Socrates encourages him to come along, citing Homer as a precedent. They set off together, but Socrates becomes distracted by his thoughts, and Aristodemus goes on ahead of him.