Homosexuality in Symposium

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Plato’s Symposium discusses two types of love: Common Love and Heavenly Love. Common Love, also called Bodily Love, is defined as the love found between a man and a woman who share a sexual relationship. Heavenly Love, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated and preferable kind of love that exists between an older male mentor and his younger male student. In the book, Pausanias, Aristophanes and Diotima argue that young boys will gain great knowledge from their older and wiser teacher through homosexual acts. Through these speeches, Plato implies that homosexual love is the highest and most honorable love to pursuit, and through his focus on homosexual love, the author justifies the idea of Heavenly Love. Pausanias argues that the true goal of Heavenly Love is to inspire young boys to find pleasure in the more intelligent older male. The objective of this love is for the older male to “share everything with the one he loves…” (Plato 14). However, in this sense of sharing, Pausanias only means knowledge. If the younger boy surrender to the older male for his personal gain such as money or office post then this homosexual love is no longer belong to the ideal of Heavenly Love. He also disdains love for young boy because he perceives it as purely for the pleasure of the older man. Pausanias connects back to the notion of Heavenly Love is at a more sophisticate level by allude to the fact that a boy subjection to an older male in order to become more intelligent and virtuous. He argues this subjection for the sake of virtue is an honorable thing to do. Even though the younger boys might repay the older mentors with sexual gratification, the relationship is not primary based upon the bodily aspect. Instead, it is on the intellect height since at the very beginning of the relationship the younger boys establish the goal of seeking new knowledge from the older man.
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