Aristophanes Views On Love Essay Research Paper

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Aristophanes Views On Love Essay, Research Paper Aristophanes Views on Love In the Symposium, a most interesting view on love and soul mates are provided by one of the characters, Aristophanes. In the speech of Aristophanes, he says that there is basically a type of love that connects people. Aristophanes begins his description of love by telling the tale of how love began. He presents the tale of three sexes: male, female, and a combination of both. These three distinct sexes represented one s soul. These souls split in half, creating a mirror image of each one of them. Aristophanes describes love as the search for the other half of your soul in this quote: When a man s natural form was split in two, each half went round looking for its other half. They put their arms around

one another, and embraced each other, in their desire to grow together again. Aristophanes theme is the power of Eros and how not to abuse it. Aristophanes thinks that a human s love is clearly a lack a lack of one s other half- and having no meant to satisfy themselves they begin to die. Zeus, having failed to foresee this difficulty repairs the damage by inventing sexual reproduction (191 b-c). Any embracements of men with men or of women with women would of course be sterile though the participants would at least have some satiety of their union and a relief, (191 c) and therefore would be able to carry on the work of the world. Sex, therefore, is at this stage a drive, and the object is defined only as human. Sexual preferences are to emerge only as the human gains

experience, enabling them to discover what their original form had been. Aristophanes has mildly insulted the previous speakers in two ways. By claiming that one of the original forms was androgynous, he has suggested that heterosexuality is at least as natural as male homosexuality as is being a lesbian. In contrast, Empedokles in fact did hold to a theory of sorts based on fitness to the environment, the description at 191c strongly suggests that only heterosexual relationships yielding only a temporary satisfaction and relief, allowing the participants to go about their business. He does go on to suggest that those who are sections of androgynes are adulterers adulteresses (191 d-e), but this can only show the rather bizarre belief that sexual intercourse with a member of the

same sex does not constitute adultery. Heterosexual males are woman crazy and heterosexual women are man crazy. Lesbians are quickly brushes aside as lewd women. But his description of homosexual men, though portrayed in more flattering terms, seems to describe precisely the same kind of behavior he condemns in the others: they pursue the masculine, and so long as their boyhood lasts they show themselves to be slices of male by making friends with men and delighting to lie with them and to be clasped in men s embraces (191 e-192a). When mature they are boylovers who have no interest in wiving and getting children (192a-b) and who would be quite contented to live together (with their beloveds) unwedded all their days (192a-b). At this point Aristophanes reinforces that earlier

suggestion that all three forms of love are natural: Well, when one of them whether he be a boy-lover or a lover of any other sort happens on his own particular half, then the two of them are wondrously thrilled with affection and intimacy and love, and are hardly induced to leave each other s side for a single moment. These are they who continue together throughout life, though they could not even say what they would have of one another (192 b-c). Although sex is an important aspect of this relationship, the joy they take in each other s company cannot just be sex. What they would have of one another if they could is that they be joined together into a single being that so long as they live, the pair of them, being as one, may share a single life; and that when they die they may