Friendship - Nicole Leung Berghof Humanities Core 1A...

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Nicole Leung Berghof Humanities Core 1A October 19, 2009 Friendship At first glance, one may only notice the element of eroticism occurring in the so-called friendship between Alcibiades and Socrates. However to take a second look at the relationship between these two “lovers”, other forms of friendship are suddenly revealed. By relating Aristotle’s ideas of perfect and imperfect friendships to the interactions between these two men in the text of Plato’s Symposium, one can finally begin to analyze the depth of Alcibiades and Socrates’ relationship. Alcibiades first made his entrance onto the scene after Socrates finished his telling of Diotima’s speech. Alcibiades was called over to the couch where he sat down between Socrates and Agathon. Alcibiades was astonished to notice Socrates to his side and complained that Socrates was sharing a couch with Agathon, the most attractive man in the room. Socrates begged for Agathon to defend him should Alcibiades fury lead to violence. Thus ensues the friendly bantering between the two men. Through all this, Alcibiades was motivated by Eryximachus to make an encomium to Socrates. Alcibiades began his speech by comparing Socrates to satyrs in appearance and his way with words. As Alcibiades became more and more drawn in by his speech, he began to explain his relationship with Socrates and the feelings they shared. Alcibiades expressed how easily Socrates’ words were able to affect him. Socrates made Alcibiades feel discontented with his way of life and worthless because his political career required him to neglect himself. In addition, Socrates was the only man able to make Alcibiades feel ashamed because of how he was unable to prove Socrates wrong. But once Socrates left, Alcibiades would return to his old ways because he craved the attention of others. And the next
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Leung 2 time Alcibiades saw Socrates, he would feel even more ashamed because he was doing nothing to change his life for the better even when he knew he should. Alcibiades constantly felt that he would be happier if Socrates was dead, but then he knew that he would also be miserable, the catch-22 of his story. “I can’t live with him, and I can’t live without him! What ca n I do about him?” (67). Alcibiades continued with describing how Socrates pretended to be attracted to beautiful young men and be ignorant, when really all of that was just a façade he was putting on to fool everyone. Deep inside, he was a wise man and cared not whether other men were “beautiful, rich, or famous” because he considered all of that unworthy. Alcibiades had felt honored then to be the subject of Socrates’ desire, and he believed that his looks would help him gain some wisdom from Socrates. Alcibiades began to plan ways where he and Socrates would
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This note was uploaded on 08/30/2011 for the course HUM CORE 1A taught by Professor Lupton during the Fall '07 term at UC Irvine.

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Friendship - Nicole Leung Berghof Humanities Core 1A...

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