49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

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Sections 199c-212cChapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 199c-212c: “Socrates’s Speech”

Sections 199c-203a Summary

Socrates applauds Agathon’s description of Love and then begins questioning him. Together, they establish that Love loves and desires things that are not in his possession since one does not desire what one already has. Since Agathon argues that gods “love things of beauty,” Socrates concludes that “Love needs and lacks beauty” (40). Socrates next asks Agathon if “anything good is also attractive,” and he agrees this is so (41). Thus, Socrates concludes that Love lacks both attractive and good qualities, which Agathon cannot refute.

After questioning Agathon, Socrates describes an “account of Love” that he learned from Diotima, a woman from Mantinea who was “an expert in love,” among other things (41). Before speaking with her, Socrates held similar views to Agathon. Diotima showed Socrates that “Love wasn’t attractive or good,” but this did not mean that Love was unattractive and bad (42). Not being attractive is different from being ugly, and not being good is different from being bad. A middle ground exists, and this is where Love lives, in the middle ground between attractive and unattractive and good and bad.

Diotima says that Love cannot be a god, since gods are good and attractive.