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The Platonic Conception of Eros Essay

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Updated: Dec 27th, 2018

Eros is a Greek mythological term that implies love in English translation. The original conception of the term “eros” implied romantic love or intimate love between two people. Ancient Greeks considered erotic love to be some kind of manic love that involved two individuals. This resulted in the individuals in question performing extreme gestures in order for them to express their emotions.

In many of the Greek mythological stories, erotic love was expressed through the use of various symbols that were meant to denote the nature of love existing between the ‘overs’ in question. An important aspect to note when it comes to the issue of eros and the Greek interpretation of this kind of love is the contribution made by the Plato in ensuring the nature and meaning of eros in Greek mythological assertions.

According to Plato and other like- minded Greek philosophers, eros does not necessarily require physical attraction between the two individuals who were in love. Plato’s interpretation of eros takes into account various other aspects that according to Plato are more important as far as the emotional connection between the two people in question is concerned.

This, therefore, implies that unlike the position taken by most Greek mythological renditions of eros that require the presence of physical attraction and intimate connection between the two individuals in ‘love’, Plato’s conception of eros focuses more on the inner attributes of individuals who are said to be in love. Consequently, the platonic view on eros requires an attraction that transcends beyond the physical beauty but instead focuses on the inner beauty of the person as well.

In the novel Apuleius The golden ass A new translation by P.G. Walsh, there are several depictions of eros that serve to illustrate the concept of eros as explained by Plato. It is worth pointing out that the novel is not only a depiction of social history.

The novel possesses a contemporary setting. Although the novels mainly focuses on the convectional form of eros, there are situations that depict platonic eros whereby, the actions taken by the characters in the novel are a transendation of mere physical attraction between the ‘lover’ in question but instead, these actions reflect a deeper level of connection among the characters.

This makes them behave the way they do. In the story of cupid and psyche, what starts out as an erotic attraction that cupid has for psyche results in him having to engage himself in various situations that reveal his deeper level of connection with psyche. The actions go beyond simple physical attraction. This is a great illustration of the platonic connection that exists between cupid and psyche. Cupid goes against the expectations of the authority in order to rescue psyche from harm.

According to Socrates, all men are in desire for beauty. However, not all individuals possess the capacity to love. People are always guided by two major principles. One is the inherent urge for pleasure and the second is the acquired judgment. This is always in pursuit of the best. In order to make the best choices, judgment is an extremely vital ingredient.

On the other hand, outrage is the result when people follow their desires without reasoning. It is worth noting that there are various forms of desires and they result to different things. One of the desires is an inclination for beauty. When reinforced by the intense interest in bodies, it is referred to as eros.

People engaging in eros possess a great desire to change their partners into what pleases them most as opposed to what is most appropriate for their partners. There is an indication that the boy in Socrates 2nd speech chooses somebody who does not love him over a lover. This kind of madness is simple, pure, and undeserving. There are various forms of madness and the best things emerge from madness. According to Socrates, love is one of the forms of madness.

Eros is regarded as a divine and useful form of madness. Eros requires both the divine and human soul. Whenever there is an experience of eros, there is a divine beauty vision. This brings about wonderful and emotional feelings that are associated with intense reverence. Intensely handsome individuals bring about feelings that may be accompanied by chills and sweating. In the absence of the beautiful individuals, the heart experiences throbbing pain. However, the memories of the loved ones permit recovery of the soul.

A person is in love when there are mixed feelings of joy and pain. Intensely beautiful people are the sole medicine to painful feelings. Socrates values the ideas given by others as far as love art is concerned. Always, he quests for instruction from others. For instance, Diotima teaches Socrates the love art that can be referred to as Platonism. The Platonic forms theory is necessary to ensure that rather than frustrating, love satisfies.

Socrates had a conversation with Phaedrus during which Phaedrus read out the speech written by Lysias. In the speech, there is a characteristic form of romantic relationship that is experienced between a younger and older man. In Athens, the characteristic form of relationship between men, homosocial and homoerotic was extremely vital. In such a relationship, the older man had a responsibility of ensuring that the younger man developed perfect social skills and was able to make political contacts.

It is important for the younger partner to fall in love with an older partner who is interested but not totally in love. This is considered the cleverest approach. Eventually, through an appropriate use of language, there end up being love that is full of truth and knowledge. On having an encounter with a beautiful person, there are tricks used by the true lover to win the soul. However, failure to apply the tricks wisely is counterproductive.

As stated earlier, madness that has an aspect of inspiration from the gods produces one of the hugest blessings in life. The significance of divine inspiration evolves clearly in the contexts of religion, art, poetry, and love. Above all, love is the most critical area where divine inspiration is experienced. Symposium and eros possess a huge desire for pleasures.

In addition, they are associated with a bigger and heavenly function. It is worth pointing out that self- control, learning, and reason are significant components as far as eros is concerned. It is easy to note that both Socrates and Plato in the novel The Golden Age, prefer to deal with irrational elements that are extremely vital in human life. There is also an emphasis that beauty should be pursued and above other essential components, wisdom is also principal.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "The Platonic Conception of Eros." December 27, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-platonic-conception-of-eros/.


IvyPanda. (2018) 'The Platonic Conception of Eros'. 27 December.

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