Plato's Symposium

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google calendar is awesome.

So, I've just filled in a detailed calendar with our schedule as well as that of other recitation sections. Just go into the gmail account and click on "calendar" at the very top of the page (next to "google," "gmail," "spreadsheets" and "other services"). The calendar for the next 2 months will open up and all you have to do is click on the events that pertain to your class to stay on schedule.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New musing:

There are some new thoughts up on the gmail account dealing with some questions asked in class and the depictions of Socrates that we find in the Symposium and in the Clouds.

Monday, September 18, 2006


So here's the cast. I tried to put people where they fit, and respected the decisions of those who were worried about their ability to act in front of an audience.

Socrates: Jason Zimmerman
Diotima: Tydeea Threadgill
Phaedrus: Erin Castellano
Aristophanes: Julie Henley
Pausanius: Samantha Milton
Erixymachus: Jennifer Grayson
Alcibiades: Shawn Sheffield
Aristodemus: David Makler
Agathon: Jack Eaton
Apollodorus: Sophia Yeung
Glaucon: Susan Bodack
Companion: Sara McConnell
Servant (one line): Andy Hoff
Flute girl: Aliyah Furman
Servants: Ali Gagne, Leanne Aurich, Liz Bannister
Friends of Alcibiades: Naomi Orlando, Vicki Roffe, Dante Mancini, Brittany Niehenke

Lecture thoughts:

Because we are too pressed for time to talk in depth about some of the issues presented in the lecture, from time to time I'm going to put up my thoughts connecting the productions to the lectures.

To find them, go to the gmail account. Remember, go to and put in the user name and password that I've handed out to everyone.

This week, I talk about the sophistic notion of truth and tie it to a scene in the Women of Troy.

Stay tuned for next week: Socrates in the Symposium and in the Clouds.



Here are the first round of edits for the run through tomorrow. A cast list will be posted this evening--i'm still looking through some things.

Symposium Editing

The following lines have been removed from the play (with the exception of Phaedrus’ speech which has been specifically displayed):

Pages 4-5: “So as we walked…tell me how the speeches went.”

Pages 7-12 (ending before Pausanias’ speech):
Socrates: “How splendid it would be, Agathon, if wisdom was the sort of thing that could flow from the fuller to the emptier of us when we touch each other, like water, which flows through a piece of wool from a fuller cup to an emptier one. If wisdom is really like that, I regard it as a great privilege to share your couch. I expect to be filled up from your rich supply of fine wisdom.”
Agathon: “You’re treating me with contempt. We’ll argue for our rival claims to wisom a bit later. Turn your attention to dinner first.”
Pausanias: “Well, gentlemen, what’s the most undemanding way to do our drinking? I can tell you that I’m in a really bad state from yesterday’s drinking and need a rest. I think that’s true of many of you, as you were there yesterday.”
Aristophanes: “I’m one of those who were thoroughly sodden yesterday.”
Eryximachus: “I’ve got absolutely no stamina either. It has become clear from my medical experience that drunkenness is harmful for human beings. So if I had my way I wouldn’t want to go too far in drinking and I wouldn’t advise anyone else to do so, especially when you’ve still got a hangover from the night before.”
Apollodorus: “At this, they all agreed not to make the present occasion a real drinking-session, but just to drink as much as was pleasant.”
Eryximachus: “My next proposal is that we should send away the flute-girl who’s just come in, and that we should spend the evening in conversation. I’d like to propose that each of us make the finest speech he can in praise of Love, and then pass the topic on to the one on his right. Phaedrus should start, because he is in the top position, and an inspiration for the topic.”
Socrates: Nobody will vote against you, Eryximachus. Good luck to Phaedrus as he starts off and makes his eulogy of Love!”
Apollodorus: “All the rest agreed with this and told Phaedrus to do as Socrates said. Of course, Aristodemus didn’t remember all that each speaker said and I don’t remember all he said. But I’ll tell you the speeches of the people he remembered best and that I thought most important. As I say, Aristodemus told me that Phaedrus spoke first, starting along these lines:”
Phaedrus: “The god is held in honour because he is one of the most ancient, as is proved by this fact: Love has no parents and none are ascribed to him by prose writers or poets. Because of his antiquity, he is the source of our greatest benefits. I would claim that there is no greater benefit for a young man than a good lover and none greater for a lover than a good boyfriend. Neither family bonds nor public status nor wealth nor anything else is as effective as love in implanting something which gives lifelong guidance to those who are to lead good lives. What is this? A sense of shame at acting disgracefully and pride in acting well. Without these no individual or city can achieve anything great or fine.”
“Take care of a man in love who is caught acting disgracefully because he fails to defend himself out of cowardice. I think it would cause him more pain to be seen in this situation by his boyfriend than by his father, his friends, or anyone else. If there was any mechanism for producing a city or army consisting of lovers and boyfriends, there could be nothing better; they would hold back from anything disgraceful and compete for honour in each other’s eyes. They could defeat the whole human race. When Homer speaks about a god ‘breathing might’ into some of his heroes, this is just the effect that love has on lovers.”
“Besides, it’s only lovers who are willing to die for someone else; and this is true of women as well as men. The Greeks have adequate proof of this fact in Pelias’ daughter Alcestis, who was the only one willing to die for her husband, though his father and mother were still living.”
“Gods value the commitment and courage that come from love. Orpheus didn’t have the courage to die for his love like Alcestis. They punished him for this and made him die at the hands of a woman.”
“By contrast, the honoured Achilles, the son of Thetis, and sent him off to the islands of the blessed. Although the gods certainly give special honour to the courage that comes from love, they show still greater amazement and admiration, and respond more generously, when a boyfriend shows affectionate concern toward his lover than when a lover does toward his boyfriend. A lover is more god-like than a boyfriend because he is divinely inspired.”
“That’s why I say Love is the most ancient of the gods, the most honoured, and the most effective in enabling human beings to acquire courage and happiness, both in life and death.”
Apollodorus: “Phaedrus’ speech went rather like that, according to Aristodemus. After Phaedrus, there were some others which Aristodemus couldn’t remember very well; so he missed them out and went on to report Pausanias’ speech.”
Page 12: “We all know that…of these two gods.”

Page 13-15: “There should even be…love-affairs were regarded as wholly wrong here.”

Page 17: “These two rules…the Common one.”

Page 19-20: “Medicine, as I say…with harmony and rhythm.”

Page 20-21: “The character of the seasons…right behavior and piety.”

Page 24: “Zeus took pity…other things in their life.”

Page 25: “Those who are cut…their shared natural character.”

Page 26-27: “Before this, as I say…giving us perfect happiness.”

Page 27-28: “But I would have short memory…discussion another time.”

Page 29: “I claim that…to rule among the gods.”

Page 30-31: “I’ve spoken about…through the love of beauty.”

Page 32-33: “My good friend…beautiful and impressive.”

Page 35: “Suppose that someone…agree to that, wouldn’t he?”

Page 39: “They interpret and carry…and one of them is Love.”

Page 39: “That’s a rather long story…Aphrodite is beautiful.”

Page 40: “By nature he is…wise nor the ignorant?”
Page 41: “But this answer raises…I said; ‘he’ll be happy.’”

Page 41-42: “In that case, Socrates…’I suppose that’s right,’ I said.”

Page 43: “What you say is absolutely right…I don’t understand it.”

Page 44-45: “Diotima taught me all this…so that it seems to be the same.”

Page 45-47: “But in fact…as far as you can.”

Page 49-50: “When someone goes up…being can be immortal.”

Page 52: “As he spoke…getting more drunk.”

Page 53: “Here I go then…orderly sequence.”

Page 54-55: “If it weren’t for…till I grow old.”

Page 55-59: “This is the effect…sleeping with my father or elder brother.”

Page 59-61: “It was after these events…who are in headlong flight.”

Page 61-62: “This is something I forgot…to become a good person.”

Page 62-63: “Then Agathon said…lie down beside him.”

IF anything presented is unclear or you would prefer a different format for editing (e.g. typing out the entire play minus our editing, reach me at jasonfzimmermangmailcom)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Play schedule

ok guys, the early plays are going to be REALLY early. this is due to thanksgiving and the national communication association conference in the middle-end of November. tough turkey.

Bacchae: Tuesday, Nov. 7
Trojan Women: Thurs, Nov 9
The Frogs: Tues, Nov. 14
Antigone: Tu, Nov 28
Philoctetes: Th, Nov 30
Clouds: Tu, Dec 5
Thucydides: Th, Dec 7
Symposium: Wed, Dec 13, 4-5:50 (exam period)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Some things to ponder.

Here are some pressing concerns that we want to start worrying about ASAP--so turn on your imaginations.

1) The story within a story within a story within a story. We have to handle this without going all Wayne's World...or maybe we should go Wayne's World...I dunno.

2) How to liven up and make manageable all those huge speeches.

3) What to do about the just sort of stops.

Here are the pieces of dialogue I want you to use when auditioning. Notice I haven't typed it all out. Rather, i've given you the page number and then the first and last lines of the block of text. If there are other people speaking in the selection (and there are in most because I want to see how you react to other characters speaking to you), I will read the other lines during the audition.

KEEP IN MIND, it's sort of hard to figure out what characters are what in the beginning, because this is a story about a story about a story [Apollodorus is telling his companion about the story he told Glaucon, based on a story he heard from Aristodemus--and then there's the story of Diotima in the story about the story about the story]

There are, of course, several non-speaking roles, such as the slave, the flute girl, the floozies who come in with Alciabiadies, etc...but i want everyone to audition for one of the speaking roles, and then i'll determine where you go.

(pp. 3-4) How could you think that, Glaucon?...[until]...and he confirmed Aristodemus' account.

Glaucon, the person with whom Apollodorus was speaking in his story
(3-4) Apollodorus, I've just been looking for you to get the full story of the party at Agathon's....was it Socrates himself?

The companion
(4-5) You're always the same, Apollodorus....tell me how the speeches went.

(5) ***It is only suggested in the text that Aristodemus asks Socrates where he's going. I want to treat this as a line, so people trying out for this part will begin with "Socrates! Have you actually taken a bath?! Where are you going looking so smart?"...[then continue with the text until]'ve invited me"

(6) "Aristodemus! You've come at just the right time to have dinner with us!"..."and look after us in a way that will win our compliments."

(8-9) "I want to begin by quoting the Melanippe of Euripides"..."and is also the originator of the topic."

(9-10)"The god is held in honour because he is one of the most ancient"..."Without these no individual or city can achieve anything great or fine."

(12) "I don't think our project has been specified properly, Phaedrus" ... "but we must try and distinguish between the functions of these two gods"

(26-7) "I don't want Erixymachus to think that"...."healing us and so giving us perfect happiness."

(34) "My dear Agathon, I thought you made a good start"..."does he have in his possession what he desires and loves or not?"

(37-8) "What blasphemy!" ... "but something in between these two"

(50-51) "Good evening gentlemen!" ... "Can I join you for a drink, or not?"

Thursday, September 07, 2006


by either late today (thursday) or early tomorrow i will have the snippets of dialogue for each speaking part. I want everyone to audition for a speaking part, even if you don't end up getting one.

i'll post the dialogue here and in the gmail account


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Testa's rendition of "The Symposium"

Socrates with his students

The ruins of the jail where Socrates was held


Socrates (is homely)

The eve of Socrates' death

Hey y'all!

I've gotten this blog up and running so that we have a place to put half- or fully-baked ideas, pictures, inspirations, communications, etc.

We also have a gmail account:

So, please come here early and often, and use this as a place to network with your fellow students.