Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I think bigger reasons for the rant will appear soon enough. Couple days. Week tops.

Anyway

We're reading Plato's Symposium in Literary Critcism. I haven't read it before but, even the introduction is hilarious! And, ummm, enlightening to certain aspects of Greek culture. The homosexual relationship between an older man and a boy (while creepy to our society) was kind of utilitarian. The man (the lover) would go after these younger boys (the beloved). (That is how they are referred to in Symposium.) It was expected. If a man made a fool of himself chasing after a boy, people would say "how charming!" If he made a fool of himself in regards to anything else, well, he was being foolish! However, if a boy gave into the lover too soon, it was shameful. (So, they have to play hard to get?)

Once the relationship was established, it was basically a trade. Sex for knowledge. "The [beloved] had everything to learn from and nothing to teach the [lover]; in fact, a proper homosexual realationship was often a crucial part of the socialization of the sons of good families into adult civic life."

However, when the boy grew up, the affair ended. There were affairs that continued into adult hood, such as the relationship between Agathon and Pausanias. (Two of the men at the symposium.) These "were the exception rather than the rule."

Plato. Symposium. Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing Company, 1989.

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