49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Sections 189a-194eChapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 189a-194e Summary: “Aristophanes’s Speech”

Eryximachus and Aristophanes banter, and Aristophanes says he will take a different approach to that of Pausanias and Eryximachus.

Aristophanes proposes that if Love’s power really were appreciated, temples and altars would be built in his honor because he “looks out for mankind’s interests” more than any other god (24). Aristophanes notes that human nature “has changed” (25): Initially, there were three sexes: male, female, and a third that was a combination of male and female. Each was round, with four hands, ears, and legs, two identical faces on one head, and so forth. Citing Homer, Aristophanes explains that these strong, powerful, and ambitious humans challenged the gods, who held a council to decide how to deal with them.

The gods could not destroy the humans since this would eliminate their worship and offerings, but they had to put them in their place. Zeus decided to split them in half and thus weaken them. Initially, the humans missed their other halves so much that they began to die “of starvation and general apathy,” leading Zeus to introduce intercourse so that at least they would have sexual satisfaction for male-male and female-female pairings and “procreation and offspring” for male-female pairings (27).