During a lively dinner party, 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 to love and personal relationships.
Aristophanes, the comic poet, tells a haunting myth about our long-lost unity as couples; since then, each of us has been looking for our other half. Socrates radically rethinks the nature of love, and delivers a massive challenge to ancient and modern romanticism. Finally, the glamorous Alcibiades appears, drunk and supported by a courtesan, to tell us why he tried to seduce Socrates and why he failed.
Full of drama, humour and sharply drawn characters, 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.