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Lover Vs. Non-Lover

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"The Lover vs. the Non-Lover"

In Plato's Phaedrus, a dialogue between the main protagonist Socrates and his dear friend Phaedrus, the idea of love and philosophy join together and in one are the aspects of the other. Phaedrus has been spending the morning with Lysias, and decides to refresh himself by taking a walk along the Athenian countryside, when he is met by Socrates, who professes he will not leave him until he delivers the speech that Lysias has left with him. Phaedrus does not deny Socrates, and the two decide to direct their way to a tree which they see across the distance. There, lying down amidst the pleasant countryside, they will read the speech of Lysias and Socrates will respond. In this paper, I will determine that in The Phaedrus, Socrates' second speech provides more substance and truth about love than Lysias' speech in the way that Socrates' explanation of love plays a major role in the soul's journey and development.

After Phaedrus and Socrates have settled under the nearby tree, Phaedrus begins to read Lysias' speech with much calmness in his voice. The speech begins by describing how a young man is tempted, not by the appeal of a lover but by one who professes not to be in love, otherwise known as the non-lover. Lysias continues to develop more on the thesis that puts forth the idea that it is in the self-interest of the beloved to grant favors only to a non-lover because of the characteristics that they possess. He claims the non-lover to be more understanding, more agreeable, more enduring, less suspicious, less hurtful, and less boastful. Lysias goes on to say that it is easy to look around and find a non-lover because there are much more of them. The acceptance of the non-lover is the only thing that will bring good, therefore, if the beloved were to accept the lover then only he would be at a disadvantage. Whether it be friendship or a relationship, only with the non-lover will either one of those connections last. Finally, Lysias explains that it is best to give a favor to the person who will be the best at returning the favor. Even if there is a person who may need the favor the most, Lysias claims that it is best not to give them that favor because there will be no good to come out of it. These main points in Lysias' speech hold true in what Socrates says with the exception of some differences and some ideas elaborated on.

After Phaedrus finishes reciting Lysias' speech, Socrates unleashes his own speech that overshadows Lysias' so boldly that Phaedrus is taken back from it. He boasts that he is more capable of developing a better speech along the same basic theme with the addition of his own concepts. In his second speech Socrates proposes to tell the truth about love. Socrates still agrees that one should choose the non-lover over the lover; however he proceeds to raise his own valid points that refute Lysias' opinion. Socrates first distinguishes the differences between the lover and the non-lover. He goes on to say that in every human there are two principles of a better and a worse, also known as reason and desire. These principles lead up to the overall master power of love. Socrates then discusses the conflict of the pursuit to find pleasure versus the good. Nevertheless, he retreats back to the idea that love is a god or divine presence that therefore cannot be evil. Socrates claims that love is the gift of the gods, a heaven-sent form of madness or possession. This idea of madness is one of the prevailing and central themes that Socrates focuses on in his speech. He claims that this madness will bring the greatest blessings and is one of the most necessary aspects of life. Socrates speaks of how madness leads to love and if you choose the lover over the non-lover then you will be more at a disadvantage. He goes so far as to divide his madness

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