Considered one of the greatest literary works about love in Western thought, The Symposium is set during a lively dinner party in which a series of speakers offer their views on eros, or desire. They see love as a response to beauty, a cosmic force, a motive for social action, and a means of ethical education. Through jokes and flirtation they reveal their attitudes towards love and personal relationships. Full of drama, humor, and sharply drawn characters--including the comic poet Aristophanes, the glamorous and drunk Alcibiades, and the prodigiously wise Socrates--The Symposium offers profound insights into gender roles, sex in society, and the value of sublimating our basic instincts.
Perhaps no other single work from antiquity retains such direct and immediate relevance for everyone today. (Penguin Classics)