Essay: Aristophanes the Comic Relief of the Symposium

Sample Essay

Eryximachus is the third man who speaks. At first it is seen that it is Aristophanes turn however he is not able to recover from his hiccups necessitating the substitution. Eryximachus instead of speaking about love in a philosophical sense decides to speak of it in a purely medicinal sense. How the aspects of love govern various parts of society. And how its principles govern the health of an individual, he also says that a knowledgeable person knows how to transform these desires by affecting the body.

This is followed by Aristophanes who is considered the comic relief of the symposium and was also the greatest comic poet of Athens. He speaks of the story of live as he sees it. He says that once people were globular spheres of three sexes. Man, woman and an androgynous mixture of the two. They decided to climb the heavens and defy Zeus, who not wanting to lose their offerings and worship decided to divide them in half. Thereafter he molded them into the men and women of today. According to Aristophanes the reason why people always say they are looking for their other half is exactly for this reason, it is because they have lost a part of themselves. He also saw homosexuals as the most courageous individuals in society, as heterosexual males and females usually have adulterous and lecherous characteristics. He ends with a warning that men should fear the Gods and should continue worshipping them or they might find themselves chopped in half again.

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