49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

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Sections 178b-180bChapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 178b-180b Summary: “Phaedrus’s Speech”

Phaedrus proposes that Eros is “a great and awesome god” (10) because he is a primordial god who has no parents. Phaedrus’s evidence is the characterizations of Eros by the poet Hesiod, the writer Acusilaus, and the philosopher Parmenides. Because Eros is primordial, he is responsible “for some of our greatest benefits,” one of which is “the virtuous lover” (10). Eros bestows the ability to feel shame at bad behavior and pride at good behavior, which is necessary in a community that wishes to “achieve anything great or fine” (10). Phaedrus argues a man would be more upset to have a lover discover his bad behavior than he would if it were his father or friends. Phaedrus states that a group of lovers would make the best fighting force since they would never wish to appear cowardly before one another.

Phaedrus asserts that “possession by Love” would make cowards brave (12). To support his claims, Phaedrus cites several mythical examples: Orpheus, Alcestis, and Homer’s Achilles. Because Orpheus was not willing to face death but attempted to enter Hades while still alive, he was not granted his wish and was punished by being killed by women. Alcestis was brave enough to die for the man she loved and was thus sent back to earth alive.