Marathon: Plato's Symposium. 8 Speeches. A Whole Lotta Love. One Night.
Wednesday, November 14 in the Sunken Lounge of the Dining Center
For our second annual Classics Marathon, ten lovers of sophia gathered for a reading of Plato's Symposium. The setting is a party held to honor the tragedian Agathon for his first victorious production. At the outset of the celebration, the participants agree to forego drink (at least for the moment) and to trade a series of speeches on the subject of love and sexual desire. The ensuing speeches are by turns bawdy, lofty, comic, and spiritually moving, and they go on until the late-night intrusion of a drunken visitor transforms the whole gathering.
George Reuter kicked off the event around 4:30 p.m. and our discussion of love and wisdom wrapped up around 7:30. Thank you to all who made the event such a rousing success!
Cast of Characters
Apollodorus: narrator of the dialogue. He heard the story of the symposium from Aristodemus.
A Friend of Apollodorus
Phaedrus: handsome companion of Socrates who suggests that guests should speak about love.
Pausanias: lover of Agathon.
Eryximachus: a rather pompous doctor, who is insistent on maintaining order at the symposium.
Aristophanes: a famous comic playwright.
Agathon: an important tragedian who is celebrating his first victory in dramatic competition; young, beautiful, and clever with words.
Socrates: the famous philosopher and protagonist in most of Plato’s dialogues; here a bit of a flirt, although unswayed by sexual advances and alcohol.
Diotima: a woman from Mantinea who taught Socrates about Love.
Alcibiades: one of the most notorious and charismatic leaders of Athens. Brilliant but amoral, he is here a friendly drunk with a strong attraction for Socrates.