Symposium begins with Erythmachus proposes everyone in attendance give a speech on the god, Love. When it is time for Aristophanes to give his speech on Love, he incorporates myth to his theory on Love. He says that human beings first began with two heads and fours legs and arms. But the god, Zeus, was displeased with human beings and split them into two separate beings. Because of this human beings feel innately lonely and sex is a way for people to feel a sense of “unity” to hide their underlying feelings of loneliness.
This “But for the future,Love promises the greatest hope of all: if we treat the gods with due reverence, he will restore us to our original nature, and by healing us, he will make us blessed and happy”(Plato 842). In the aforementioned quote, Aristophanes suggests through divine virtue, the gods will reunite the two halves of a person and this will in turn lead to an overwhelming sense of joy and contentment. Aristophanes’s speech on Love is elaborated upon and rejected by Diotima. Diotima was Socrates’ teacher who taught him all that he needed to know concerning Love.
She rejects the idea of absolutes when it comes to Love such as wanting Beauty because Love is ugly. She states, “In fact, you see, none of the gods loves wisdom or want to become wise, for they are wise and no one else who is wise already loves wisdom; on the other hand, no one who is ignorant will love wisdom either or want to become wise” ( Plato 846). Diotima does not believe that because a person is not wise, then they must be ignorant. In the quote she says the gods and how they do not love wisdom or want to become wise because they are already wise. From this Diotima concludes that Love is betwixt beauty and ugly. From Aristophanes’ speech, he suggests that people seek out their other half. Diotima deconstructs his argument and says that a person will not pursue their other half if the other half is not good.
The true desire of Love is immortality according to Diotima. She says that in reproduction and pregnancy is a form of beauty which signifies a connection to the divine. Reproduction is a form of immortality because it can continue on infinitely and if Love truly seeks something good, she concludes that is must be immortality.