The Symposium by Plato | A really surprising read

The Symposium

Well well well, didn’t this tiny book take me by surprise!

So many thoughts beforehand. So many hesitations. And yet…

spoiler free

Let’s just dive right in!

The Symposium

10

Synopsis (1)

(Found on Goodreads)

Plato’s retelling of the discourses between Socrates and his friends on such subjects as love and desire, truth and illusion, spiritual transcendence and the qualities of a good ruler, profoundly affected the ways in which we view human relationships, society and leadership – and shaped the whole tradition of Western philosophy.

Review

I went into this fully expecting not to understand a word of it. I mean, an ancient classic discussing philosophy? Both genres being something I’m used to.

But, on recommendation from a friend, and the fact it’s only 100 pages long, I figured what the hell and threw myself into it. And I’m so glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised!

First off, it was easy to understand. I don’t know whether that’s a translation thing or if the ancient philosophers just didn’t wrap their point in three million extra words, like some of the other classics I’ve read, but either way I’m glad for it. What seemed like a huge topic in a tiny book turned out to be much less daunting than I anticipated.

As for the actual philosophy talk, I much preferred the first half of the book over the second. The first half covers a group of people discussing what love is, whether it’s beautiful etc etc, and more importantly *cough* in my opinion *cough* they talk myths, my favourite being the myth of every person actually having 4 legs and 4 arms, only to be cut in half by Zeus to spend their lives looking for their “other half”. It was genuinely so so intriguing to see every person in this group stand up and say their bit about love. Not only did every person have some new view to consider, but everyone was open-minded and you could see their views changing as they considered each person’s viewpoint.

Not only that, but it kind of blows my mind how accepting they were about homosexuality. Mainly because I read their complete acceptance of it and thought “where the hell did that vanish to?” *sigh*

As for the second half, I still enjoying it but not quite as much as the first half. Simply because there were a lot of similes and metaphors all thrown together that proved at first to be a tad hard to follow. That being said, I still got the point of everything overall and found it to be very meaningful – if only they’d cut out on the roundabout method of explaining.

These 100 pages honestly surprised me so much. I feel like this is the sort of book I’ll come back to many times in the future – and I think I might even get the bulkier edition with more of an introduction/general information etc etc to see what more I can learn.

Who’d have thought, eh?

Rated 4.5/5 stars!

4.5 stars

Book Depository 

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Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Are there are ancient classics, or ancient myth retelling books you’d recommend?

If you haven’t read this book, do you think you will?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Ashleigh

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9 thoughts on “The Symposium by Plato | A really surprising read

  1. I took a random philosophy class during my freshman year of college and we had to read Plato’s Republic. I LOVED it, and now I want to take even more philosophy classes! Reading philosophy makes you think in a different sort of way, and it’s all really fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm! Consider me intrigued! I do love that story about the other half and I’d like to get better acquainted with Greek mythology because it’s just so interesting. I shall add this to my ever growing TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s nice to hear that the ancient philosophers got to the point in few words, as I swear A-Level philosophers use 50 million that don’t even make sense. Hope you enjoy the full edition just as much if you get to it!

    Liked by 1 person

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