Free Lysia And Socrates Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Love, Lover, Rhetoric, Speech, Socrates, Desire, Literature, Education

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/14

Lysia’s speech is in form of an imaginary address. An older man is addressing a younger man on the subject of love whereas Socrates’ speech is in form of a story. Socrates narrates the story of a boy in quest for love and relationship but with many male suitors. All his suitors are lovers but one of the lovers claims that he is a non-lover. The idea behind both speeches focuses on the love between a younger man and an older man.
In Greek such relationships existed although not publicly recognized. Such relationships were known as pederasty where an older man would have sex with a younger man and both benefitted mutually. The elder man received pleasure whereas the younger was educated on such matters and received political connections. Their relationship however did not hinder marriages to women, as in most cases; the older man was already married.
The writers of both speeches try to convince the younger man to favour a non-lover over a lover. Lysia’s speech addresses the idea that since an older man is only after pleasure, he can get it even without love and the younger man can get the education too in the absence of the older man’s love. However Socrates starts by defining what love is so as to remove any confusion from the two parties on what is at stake. He defines love in two ways, “Love is a kind of desire. Yet men who are not in love also desire the beautiful.
According to Lysia, a lover gives favours due to his love for the boy; yet, a non-lover gives favours due to the mutual benefit they are both getting from each other. In this case, when a lover ceases loving the boy, he will feel that he had wasted his gifts on someone who no longer benefits him. The regret is caused by the fact that when the lover ceases loving the boy, his desire for the boy and the pleasure derived therein also cease.
Socrates explains that a lover is less likely to give favours to the boy as all he is interested in is the pleasure he gets from the boy. In such a situation, the older man derives pleasure in the boy’s dependency on him and since he does not want that dependency to end, he will not expose the boy to education or other political connections as expected. Therefore the state of a lover is that one of “outrageousness” one of control and pure gratification of his personal desires. “The lover thus becomes basically obsessive and controlling and whose company is entirely vile and distasteful.” As is in Lysia’s case, the lover’s love will eventually fade and the boy will be left without having gained anything but regret.
Lysia proceeds to state that “the non-lover will be able to indulge in pleasures without having to worry about their negative impact on his business or personal life.” The statement brings out love as an irrational feeling that causes one to have misplaced priorities. In this case, if the older man was in love with the boy, he would put all his attention and energy in pleasure and ignore important matters. Socrates however in his speech looked at the irrationality of love from a demeaning point, that is, if the older man is a lover, his goal will be to use the boy and not to favour him .
An older man is allowed to have as many younger men under him as he can handle. The conclusion is derived from Lysia’s statement when he says that “The lover will treat former lovers (i.e. boys) poorly when he finds a new object of desire.”  The man who is a non lover, even when he gets another boy for his gratification, he is not likely to treat the others before the new one unfavourably. However since love is irrational, once the lover gets a new object of desire, he ignores all the rest despite the fact that they used to bring him pleasure.
Socrates does not delve into the merits or demerits of non-lovers but brings out his idea from the harm a lover can cause a boy. Unlike Lysia, his focus is on the boy whereas Lysia’s main focus is on a non-lover. As per Lysia, a non-lover can be compared to a close friend or family member. A non-lover is one who possesses genuine concern and love for the boy under him and not Eros love. Socrates on the other hand equates a non lover as one who desires the beauty in something. The non-lover desires what the boy has to give, in this case, sexual pleasure hence as there is no time the boy will be unable to give this; the non-lover will not have a reason not to favour him .
The point where Lysia’ and Socrates’ speeches have some similarity is when Lysia focuses on the harm that befalls a boy who favours a lover. “The boy who is afraid of the stigma surrounding relations with an older man is better off with a non-lover, since the lover is more likely to boast about his relations.” At this point, Lysia has shifted his concern to the boy and not just the non-lover as is most of his speech. He is seen to care for the social and psychological comfort of the bay as Socrates does in his whole speech.
In both speeches, the writers look at the bigger picture which is the end result of a relationship between a lover and a boy. According to Socrates, the boy is left empty and unsatisfied as he was only being used by the lover for personal gratification and not mutual benefit. Lysia on the other hand predicts fallout between the boy and the lover as a result of jealousy. He states that a lover is more likely to be jealous which eventually leads to enmity.
Lysia states that love is mutually benefitting whereas Eros love is irrational and at the disadvantage of the younger man. He emphasizes that it is better for there to be no Eros love between the younger man and older man as this way both parties are driven by reason and sense of duty. Socrates describes Eros love as equivalent to madness. The madness is caused by a man’s inborn desire for beauty. The desire for this beauty drives one to pursue it at all costs and it leads to the detriment of the boy. Eventually, the boy is left destroyed, both body and soul. Love on the other hand; as it is the desire for what is best, it has the older man, the non-lover, considering not just what is best for himself but also for the boy .
According to Socrates argument Lysia’s speech was full of content but lacked the art of persuasion. In order for a writer or speaker to convince a crowd on what they are presenting, they should be able to apply the art of rhetoric. In order for the art of rhetoric to be evident, the speaker must be able to divide their presentation into parts that are understandable and relatable . Words should not be used ambiguously but should have definite meaning in order for the crowd to follow.
Lysia’s first error in his presentation was that he did not define what love is or what its effect what. The approach he took left the audience filling in the meaning of love for themselves hence different interpretation. The application of different interpretation causes confusion and the audience may not be able to relate or get the speaker’s main point. Socrates on the other hand was able to keep the audience in step with him as he defined love and its effects. The provision of the definition keeps the audience’s minds from wondering hence they are able to relate with what is being said.
The presentation of Lysia’s speech is from an orator and philosopher’s point of view. Whereas Socrates’ speech is from an orator’s view. The form of presentation is said to be different as in Lysia’s case, he combines knowledge, truth and presents it. His aim is not so much to convince the crowd but to give them insight. His speech gives each an opportunity to decide what they would rather prefer as they have the knowledge. On the other hand, Socrates has already formed an opinion of what is wrong and what is right and therefore presents it to the crowd with the aim of persuading them to take his line of thought. In the case of Socrates, his persuasion skills are more evident as he is convicted of what he is presenting. He does not ask the crowd to choose but tells them what they should do failure to which they are likely to cause harm to themselves.
The motivation behind both speeches, especially Socrates’ has led to quite a number of arguments especially on the area of rhetoric. From a philosophical point of view, the rhetoric is supposed to act as a guide to both the speaker and the listener. In that it considers the truth, the falsehood and the opinion of the speaker and listener. The aim of the rhetoric is to guide the souls of the listeners truthfully. That is, the listener should be able to have the truth of both sides of the argument so as to make a decision that best suits them. In this case, the rhetoric is meant to summarize and present the entire body of the argument to the listener. In the presentation of the rhetoric, there should be a systematic natural flow of ideas and points.
In practicing the art philosophical rhetoric, it has often been argued that before a speaker presents his speech he must have understood the good and bad side of what he is presenting on. With this knowledge, he is wiser than the crowd he is presenting to, therefore he should be in a position to actually guide them towards a single direction and not just give them the two sides of the story. Socrates who seemed to have greater knowledge of the effects of a boy favouring a lover did this by dissuading the boys from favouring a lover. However, Lysia who knew the bad side of a lover still did not make the point of pointing the audience towards one direction but left them to decide. That is why when speaking to Plato; Socrates finds Lysia’s speech unconvincing and not as philosophically effective as it should have been.
The two speeches emphasize the difference between a writer and a philosophical presenter. A writer is one who has knowledge and to some extent believes that the audience has part of the knowledge. Thereby, in a writer’s presentation, the aim is not to appeal but to remind the audience or educate them more on a topic. On the contrary, the philosophical presenter seeks to speak to the soul of individuals as he has understood them. That makes the philosophers lean heavily towards one side of the argument making the audience know what he prefers and what is good for them.
Lysia’s speech is said to have lacked as his presentation was made as one other than systematically. It can however be argued that in the matters of love and the heart, there is no time for philosophical rhetoric, as it is an individual’s soul and body at stake.
The arguments brought forth by both speakers all had the same aim of trying to dissuade younger men from favouring lovers over non-lovers. Both writers had reasons for arguing so. The difference that has brought up much debate is the method of presentation of ideas and use of rhetoric. That however does not make any better than the other but shows preference and convictions of the speakers. It may also be said that the speakers’ interaction with the topic of discussion influences how they present them.

Works Cited

Cavalier, Robert. Plato's Phaedrus. New York: Carnegie Mellon University, 2013. Online.

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