• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Most would agree that love is the greatest gift that we can ever hope to give or to receive - But how does one know what love really is, and how can one exploit the significance of love and desire to construct a happy median in life?

Extracts from this document...


Jennifer Petersen Most would agree that love is the greatest gift that we can ever hope to give or to receive. But how does one know what love really is, and how can one exploit the significance of love and desire to construct a happy median in life? The ancient Greeks asked themselves these same questions thousands of years ago, and two very central scholars took the time to share their wisdom. In the Symposium, ancient scholar and philosopher Plato speaks through his literary characters and ultimately through Socrates, revealing to the reader that as a teacher, he wants us to make an ascent of increasing generality and transcend the material, corruptible, earthly love to connect with the pure, unified, heavenly love-the love of the gods. In book one and book two of the Satires, however, poet and philosopher Horace instructs his readers on love and desire by communicating to his readers that the good human life should be filled with healthy desires and pleasures, not with extreme pleasures, and that humans must value these pleasures in moderation to live life well. In the dialogues of his Symposium, Plato enlightens his readers on the different meanings of love by writing through distinguished characters such as Eryximachus, the educated doctor, and Agathon, the entertainer and sophist. ...read more.


(Plato, 211 B). This love for a beautiful soul can be, for example, in the form of love of a teacher for a student (Martin, 2003). For the teacher to be able to create beautiful thoughts, or even to arouse beautiful thoughts in the mind of the student, shows the teacher's ability to use this Beautiful love in a virtuous and worthy manner. Diotima concludes her instruction on love by informing Plato that "the love of the gods belongs to anyone who has given birth to true virtue and nourished it, and if any human being could become immortal, it would be he" (Plato, 212 B). Horace insinuates a very different view on love and desire in his collection of Satires. Throughout book one and book two of his Satires, Horace stresses the need for a life of growth through contentment. By relying on real-life examples, Horace instructs his readers to settle all human desires so that they can step back from the stressfulness of those desires and enjoy life. In "book 1" for example, Horace describes the lifestyle of a greedy miser: "But a raging sword wouldn't make you cleave less money. Nor would winter, fire, the sea, and swords...How does it help a fearful soul like you to be cunning and hide an immense weight of gold and silver in the earth...what's the value of such a high-piled heap?" ...read more.


II. 4. 88). Horace is, in reality, is questioning Catius' motives by drawing Catius' attention to his pointless and excessive love and desire for perfection in food. In essence, Plato exemplifies to the reader the true meaning of love in its most sacred form: Beauty. In the dialogue that he presents though the use of accredited characters making speeches on the meaning of love, he builds up to his final character, Diotima, who in the end explains that love ultimately stems from Beauty, and that which an individual should really desire is God and the essence of heavenly Beauty (Martin, 2003). Horace takes on a very different view from Plato, however. He recognizes that human beings tend to want and desire what they can't have, but they also create an unhealthy imbalance among the things that they do have. Diotima would say, "Rise above these desires and transcend to higher things." Horace, in response, would argue that one could try and follow Diotima's way of life and transcend his desires, but if the point of human life is to enjoy oneself, then one should concentrate on forming a healthy balance between life's desires and live life well. Literature Cited Plato. Symposium. (Trans. Nehamas, Alexander and Paul Woodruff.) Hackett Publishing Company. Indianapolis, IN. 1989 Horace. Horace's Satires and Epistles. (Trans. Fuchs, Jacob). W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York, NY. 1977 Martin, Dr. Terence. Introduction to Philosophy Class. Saint Mary's College. Notre Dame, IN. 2003 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    An Analysis of "Give all to Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    3 star(s)

    Emerson's marriage with Ellen Tucker, and her later death formed the basis of his poem "Give all to Love". He was hurt greatly by her death and all his later writings showed her effect on him. Emerson's style was influenced by English romanticism, neoplatonism, and Hindu schools of thought.

  2. Who is the hero of 'Arms and the Man'? Give your reasons.

    Therefore, Bluntschli achieves his objective of making Sergius look as a fool because while he go with his "machine gun" Sergius will go with his "sabre". Furthermore, Bluntschli reacts in a humorous but intelligent way when is challenged with the question on an "establishment" where he outnumbers Sergius in the number of possessions he has.

  1. How does Shakespeare use love to create drama and interest in 'A Midsummer Night's ...

    Oberon's meddling causes more problems than solutions, but with Puck's help, they correct it. Near the end Oberon fixes Titania's love and she tells him: '"My Oberon what visions I have seen! Me thought I was enamour'd of an ass."' This shows love is stupid and shows regret in love.

  2. comaprrison of La Belle Dame Sans Merci and a trampwoman

    This implies he killed her because she was out of control. In the next stanza he says "and there she lulled me asleep and there I dream'd-Ah! Woe betide! The latest dream I ever dream'd on the cold hill side."

  1. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston Janie searches for true ...

    "How about playin' you some checkers? You looks hard to beat," (pg. 95) no one had ever treated Janie with the amount of respect that Tea Cake had shown. Tea Cake treated Janie like a human. Janie and Tea Cake did almost everything together; they laughed, talked, fished, hunted, and spent time with friends together.

  2. The Relationship between Nature and Love in

    (Ashton 76)." Coleridge is one of these romantic writers who saw the Harp as inspiration. "The Aeolian Harp" had material added to it by Coleridge. This was said to happen as late as 1817. What was added was "the superb passage containing an apparently Pantisocratic view of the "One Life" which binds man to nature (Holmes 113)."

  1. Literary Lessons in Love

    by limiting the number of loyal knights that he will be allowed to keep at the castle. Clearly, Lear's preoccupation with flawed self-love leads him to irreparable damage in his most meaningful relationships. In addition to Lear's love of himself, Edmond's love of material possessions contributes to the theme of defective love in this film of King Lear.

  2. How does Mishima hint through moving between visions of perfection and movements of doubt ...

    Ryuji being his new hero has not realised that he has become part of Noboru's ideal world and that if he ever betrays him and will have failed being his hero he will therefore have broken the circle..."had revealed an ineluctable circle of life-the cards had paired: Noboru and mother-mother and man- man and sea-sea and Noboru..."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work