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Phaedrus

Plato

Book Overview: 

Phaedrus is the most enchanting of Plato’s Erotic dialogues (capitalised in honour of the god). The barefoot philosopher urges an eager young acquaintance – who has allowed his lover’s oratorical skills to impress him overmuch – to re-examine the text of Lysias’s speech in the light of his own exalted (and Platonic) vision of Love.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . 'partly true and tolerably credible mythus,' in which amid poetical figures, order and arrangement were not forgotten.

The soul is described in magnificent language as the self-moved and the source of motion in all other things. This is the philosophical theme or proem of the whole. But ideas must be given through something, and under the pretext that to realize the true nature of the soul would be not only tedious but impossible, we at once pass on to describe the souls of gods as well as men under the figure of two winged steeds and a charioteer. No connection is traced between the soul as the great motive power and the triple soul which is thus imaged. There is no difficulty in seeing that the charioteer represents the reason, or that the black horse is the symbol of the sensual or concupiscent element of human nature. The white horse also represents rational impulse, but the description, 'a lover of honour and modesty and temperance, and a follower of true. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

~ Plato

THE SCHOOL OF LOVE

Phaedrus is commonly paired on the one hand with Gorgias and on the other with Symposium -

[HARRY's apartment from When Harry Met Sally. HARRY is asleep on his couch. On the table next to him are a mostly-empty bottle of bourbon and a copy of Phaedrus. Enter SOCRATES.]

SOCRATES: Good evening, Harry.

HARRY: How--

SOCRATES: Don't worry, I'm not real. This is a dream.

HARRY: Uh--

SOCRATES: I see

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