Aristophanes Quotes in The Symposium
When a lover of boys, or any other type of person, meets that very person who is his other half, he is overwhelmed … with affection, concern and love … These are people who live out whole lifetimes together, but still couldn’t say what it is they want from each other. I mean, no one can think that it’s just sexual intercourse they want, and that this is the reason why they find such joy in each other’s company and attach such importance to this. It’s clear that each of them has some wish in his mind that he can’t articulate; instead, like an oracle, he half-grasps what he wants and obscurely hints at it. Imagine that Hephaestus with his tools stood over them while they were lying together and …[said], ‘I’m prepared to fuse and weld you together, so that the two of you become one.’ […] We know that no one who heard this offer would turn it down and it would become apparent that no one wanted anything else.
“The idea has been put forward,” she said, “that lovers are people who are looking for their own other halves. But my view is that love is directed neither at their half nor their whole unless, my friend, that turns out to be good. After all, people are even prepared to have their own feet or hands amputated if they think that those parts of themselves are diseased. I don’t think that each of us is attached to his own characteristics, unless you’re going to describe the good as ‘his own’ and as ‘what belongs to him,’ and the bad as ‘what does not belong to him.’ The point is that the only object of people’s love is the good — don’t you agree?”
“By Zeus, I do!” I said.
After Socrates’ speech, Aristodemus said, while the others congratulated him, Aristophanes was trying to make a point, because Socrates had referred to his speech at some stage. Suddenly, there was a loud noise of knocking at the front door, which sounded like revelers, and they heard the voice of a flute-girl.
‘Slaves, go and see who it is,’ Agathon said. ‘If it’s any of my friends, invite them in; if not, tell them the symposium’s over and we’re just now going to bed.’ Not long after, they heard the voice of Alcibiades in the courtyard; he was very drunk and was shouting loudly, asking where Agathon was and demanding to be brought to him. He was brought in, supported by the flute-girl and some of the other people in his group. He stood by the door, wearing a thick garland of ivy and violets, with masses of ribbons trailing over his head…