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The Greek word sumposion means a drinking party (a fact shamefully ignored by the organizers of modern symposia), and the party described in Plato's Symposium is one supposedly given in the year 416 BC by the playwright Agathon to celebrate his victory in the dramatic festival of the Lenaea. He has already given one party, the previous evening; this second party is for a select group of friends, and host and guests alike are feeling a little frail. They decide to forego heavy drinking, and concentrate on conversation. The subject of their conversation is Eros, the god of sexual love.
Symposium was written around 384 BC, and many would regard it as Plato's finest dialogue, from an artistic point of view, and the most enjoyable to read or listen to. There are many reasons for this, including the keyhole glimpse it gives us of Athenian society; the role played in the dialogue by Socrates; the description of what has come to be known as Platonic love; and the characterization of the speakers.
David Shaw-Parker as Socrates
Tim Bentinck as Apollodorus/Alcibiades
Andrew Branch as Aristodemus
Daniel Flynn as Agathon
Gordon Griffin as Pausanias/Friend
Hayward Morse as Phaedrus
Christopher Scott as Eryximachus/Servant
Susan Sheridan as Diotima
David Timson as Aristophanes
Daniel Flynn as Presenter
This audio book was perfect. When it is Socrates' turn to speak, he makes reference to a conversation he had with a woman. The audio production actually brings in a female narrator (who is just as effective as the main narrator) to take over this section. So you really get a "feel" for the ideas being conveyed as the Greeks at the time would have been considering them. Ad a side note, it is amazing how open this culture was to homosexuality. Judging from this classic of western philosophy it was the norm in 5th/6th century Athens.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This production does a great job on throwing some life into Greek Philosophy. You'll be able put personalities with recognizable greek names, and the discussion is definately easier to follow with the full cast. But this is still pretty heavy stuff. If you're hoping for Greek Philosophy ala "Xena: Warrior Princess ", you're in the wrong selection.
You'll be listening in as these highbrow Athenias philosphers open a few bottles of wine and debate the pros and cons of Eros, the god of Love. (Remember that these intellectuals considered heterosexual love a cheap imitation of the more noble homosexual love - this is one of the few points they seem to agree on). The program revolves around philosophy, there's not any plot or action. But the dramatization helps you understand which opinions are coming from doctors, warriors, actors, etc. - thus making each perspective easier to follow. The fact that this debate took place because everyone had hangovers leaves you gaping at what regular debates had to be like back then!
10 of 13 people found this review helpful
A delightful reading of what is probably Plato's most popular dialogue. Worth it just to hear Aristophanes' famous, witty description of spheroid, hermaphroditic humans before Zeus split us into two genders. Note that if you are a raging homophobe, you had better pass on this classic (and on much of Western Civilization).
4 of 7 people found this review helpful
Discovering the meaning of love? I call this a good investment. Diotima for the win.
Beautifully narrated by the cast and one of the best books by Plato, Socrates is just amazing with his reasoning and the way he makes an argument is just indisputably awesome.
There is not a single thing I didn't like about this book! Everything about it was 100% perfect!
The full voice cast really immersed you in what was happening. You could truly believe that each voice was fluent in that archaic and beautiful way of speaking. I found myself wishing more than once wishing I could participate in the conversation.
The ideas taught about the nature of love, immortality and continuation are quite brilliant as one could expect of Plato's writings. But one thing that truly captivated me was learning more about Socrates the man. Socrates has become iconic of philosophy and genius but who was he? I felt this book shined a great deal of light on that.
This book should be required listening in schools! And everyone should listen to it. Get this now if you're looking for a great course in philosophy.
This book is a very important part of every serious philosophers library. I did not get the full benefit until I came back to it a few years later trying to answer a question about love.
Would you listen to Symposium again? Why?
Probably. If you listen at 2x, it sounds like monty python.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
I hate greek Philosophy, but was going to a forum on this particular topic. The listen was so much better then to slog through the text.
Have you listened to any of Full Cast’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not listened to a full cast before. That being said, this one was terrific.
I am trying to read a collection of books at the moment which given I have a History Degree people seem to feel I should have read. I apporch this book from having taken a couple of second university courses in Greek rule of Egypt and Rome history.
If you are fimilar to with the content then let me say the reader is good and the pace light.
For those like me who don't know about the content then it is rather different then the modern view of many things. If you have strong views on gay taken child to as lovers I suggest you skip this book. It is written from the view that gay sex is the correct and normal course for man. It is interesting to have couples viewed from a different gender normal.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Symposium?
It is all about a bevy of drunken, slave holding, homosexual pedophile philosophers that are trying to best each other in praising a fictitious Greek god that they were stupid enough to believe was real.
What was most disappointing about Plato’s story?
It was all disappointing. If this is the best he has to offer, I would hate to see what else he wrote.
Which scene was your favorite?
None. They were all bad.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It is a total waste of time and money.
Any additional comments?
I needed this book for a philosophy class or I would not have bought or read it.
1 of 10 people found this review helpful