The Holes in the Myth

Essay by freneauCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2014

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The Holes in the Myth

Flora Reneau

In The Symposium, written by Plato, there are several speeches made, all of which focus on the concept of love. Among the men who spoke was Aristophanes. Instead of professing his opinions in the previous styles, he chose to use a myth. He used the myth of how human beings came to be the way they are and, because of the how, he describes why we love. While Aristophanes' speech had many redeeming qualities, there were several aspects that detracted from the credibility of what he had to say.

Aristophanes chose to speak about the myth about how people are the way they are. He began by informing his audience that there was, at one time, 3 genders of people. There were the males, the females, and the androgynous (who have both male and female sexual organs). His speech went on to say that the gods became displeased by the acts of aggression by these early humans and decided to cut them in half.

This is what formed the ideas of sexual orientation; the males and females who were cut in half were the people who are homosexual and the androgynous became the people who are heterosexual.

It is only after this point that Aristophanes begins to discuss the why of love. The myth continues on to explain that people search, as Aristophanes puts it, for their "other half". It is only when they find their other half that they become happier and more content and, most importantly, this is when we fall in love.

Using the myth is an excellent starting point, with a few detractors. It allowed Aristophanes to branch out from the previously used methods and make his speech more memorable. It is also a very hopeful and...