Symposium by Plato
A fascinating discussion on sex, gender, and human instincts, as relevant today as ever. The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire. The host has challenged the men to deliver, each, in turn, an encomium—a speech in praise of Love (Eros). Though other participants comply with this challenge, Socrates notably refuses to participate in such an act of praise and instead takes a very different approach to the topic. The party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. This dialogue is one of Plato's major works, and is appreciated for both its philosophical content and its literary qualities.