49 pages 1 hour read



Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 380

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Sections 185d-188e

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Sections 185d-188e Summary: “Eryximachus’s Speech”

Aristophanes is meant to give the next speech but forfeits his turn, owing to an attack of hiccups. Eryximachus agrees to go next and gives Aristophanes advice on how to get rid of his hiccups.

Eryximachus says that Pausanias is correct to differentiate between two types of Love, but Love “pervades everything that exists” and “every aspect of the lives of men and gods” (20). Building on Pausanias’s claim that it is good to gratify “good people and wrong to gratify self-indulgent people,” Eryximachus notes that doctors must distinguish between good and bad loves so as to reconcile “hostility between bodily elements” (21). The philosopher Heraclitus’s claim that “[u]nity coheres by divergence within itself,” is mistaken since “divergent things can’t be in agreement” (21), as with musical harmony and rhythm. With respect to climate, Love (both forms will be present) means good harvests and health for plants, humans, and animals. When the “brutal” Love is in control, “destruction and harm” ensue (23). Astronomy and religious ritual too are concerned with “the perpetuation for the cure of love” (23). Love that is fulfilled “in virtuous, restrained, and moral behaviour” is the most powerful and “the source of all our happiness” (23).