49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

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Sections 195a-199bChapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 195a-199b Summary: “Agathon’s Speech”

Agathon argues that none of the previous speeches have revealed “the actual nature” of Love itself, “only the gifts that humans enjoy,” and announces that he will praise both Love’s nature and gifts (31).

Agathon says that Hesiod and Parmenides were mistaken because Love is the youngest god who “never had a poet like Homer […] to demonstrate his divine sensitivity” (33). Love is young, sensitive, and fluid since he can adapt to any environment. Love is also good, acting and being “treated fairly” (34). Love is self-disciplined, courageous, wise, and a skilled poet. Love excels at creative endeavors, exemplified by the fact “that all living creatures are engendered and born by the skill of Love” (34). Apollo, Hephaestus, the Muses, Athena, and even Zeus learned their arts as pupils of Love. Love “is gracious and gentle,” seeking only the good. All should follow him, as he is clearly “without equal in attractiveness and in goodness” and “is responsible for similar qualities in others” (35).

After Agathon’s speech, Socrates laments that he has to “follow such a fine speech” (136). He says that he must not have known what a eulogy entails, since he thought it meant to praise the truthful qualities “most to your subject’s credit” (37).