• Symposium

  • By: Plato
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (403 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Greek word sumposion means a drinking party (a fact shamefully ignored by the organizers of modern symposia), and the party described in Plato's Symposium is one supposedly given in the year 416 BC by the playwright Agathon to celebrate his victory in the dramatic festival of the Lenaea. He has already given one party, the previous evening; this second party is for a select group of friends, and host and guests alike are feeling a little frail. They decide to forego heavy drinking, and concentrate on conversation. The subject of their conversation is Eros, the god of sexual love.

Symposium was written around 384 BC, and many would regard it as Plato's finest dialogue, from an artistic point of view, and the most enjoyable to read or listen to. There are many reasons for this, including the keyhole glimpse it gives us of Athenian society; the role played in the dialogue by Socrates; the description of what has come to be known as Platonic love; and the characterization of the speakers.

The Cast:

David Shaw-Parker as Socrates

Tim Bentinck as Apollodorus/Alcibiades

Andrew Branch as Aristodemus

Daniel Flynn as Agathon

Gordon Griffin as Pausanias/Friend

Hayward Morse as Phaedrus

Christopher Scott as Eryximachus/Servant

Susan Sheridan as Diotima

David Timson as Aristophanes

Daniel Flynn as Presenter

Public Domain (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks

What listeners say about Symposium

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I can't believe I'm giving PLATO three stars!!

I love ancient history, and I really enjoy ancient philosophy. (IMHO philosophy changed, and much for the worse, because of the French Revolution. Hobbes, Locke, Aquinas, Adam Smith and Aristotle are my homies.)

Anyway I started on this because of the recommendation of a friend, and hey... it's Plato. The guy's had a pretty good rep for longer than Alexander the Great... or Jesus. You got to give the man some respect.

Anyhow, I am about 2/3 through it, it has been tough going, and I may not finish it. Everyone is making speeches about love... and it is largely old men talking about how wonderful it is to sexually abuse young boys.

Yeah, I know it was ancient Athens and this kind of crap happened.... but it literally turns my stomach.

I'm told that I'm not yet to "the good part" where Alcibiades and Socrates speak... so perhaps I am being unfair. If I go back and finish it I will revise this review... and I'm giving it 3 stars based on the fact it supposedly gets better. If it ended where I left off it would get 1.

The performance is magnificent. The voice actors do a great job, really wonderful. I just can't enjoy long dialogues in support of pedophilia.

3 people found this helpful

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A perfect introduction to Plato

This audio book was perfect. When it is Socrates' turn to speak, he makes reference to a conversation he had with a woman. The audio production actually brings in a female narrator (who is just as effective as the main narrator) to take over this section. So you really get a "feel" for the ideas being conveyed as the Greeks at the time would have been considering them. Ad a side note, it is amazing how open this culture was to homosexuality. Judging from this classic of western philosophy it was the norm in 5th/6th century Athens.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Greek Philosophy over a Good Wine

This production does a great job on throwing some life into Greek Philosophy. You'll be able put personalities with recognizable greek names, and the discussion is definately easier to follow with the full cast. But this is still pretty heavy stuff. If you're hoping for Greek Philosophy ala "Xena: Warrior Princess ", you're in the wrong selection.

You'll be listening in as these highbrow Athenias philosphers open a few bottles of wine and debate the pros and cons of Eros, the god of Love. (Remember that these intellectuals considered heterosexual love a cheap imitation of the more noble homosexual love - this is one of the few points they seem to agree on). The program revolves around philosophy, there's not any plot or action. But the dramatization helps you understand which opinions are coming from doctors, warriors, actors, etc. - thus making each perspective easier to follow. The fact that this debate took place because everyone had hangovers leaves you gaping at what regular debates had to be like back then!

11 people found this helpful

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Worth the 2.5 hours

Discovering the meaning of love? I call this a good investment. Diotima for the win.

1 person found this helpful

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You'll Wish You Were There

A delightful reading of what is probably Plato's most popular dialogue. Worth it just to hear Aristophanes' famous, witty description of spheroid, hermaphroditic humans before Zeus split us into two genders. Note that if you are a raging homophobe, you had better pass on this classic (and on much of Western Civilization).

4 people found this helpful

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Gross

I usually like Plato, but Symposium is all about grown men doing little boys. Sick.

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Good First introduction to Plato

“Symposium”: Plato is another author on my “Bucket List” and I chose “Symposium” as my first Plato entry read. Not disappointing and I will be looking for the next Plato read. The thought-provoking discussion was a rational examination about “Love” from the great thinkers of the time: Socrates; Phaedrus, Pausanias, and Aristophanes. Experienced as an Audio book.

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A Philosophical Drama

A marvelous way to experience this wonderfully idiosyncratic Socratic dialogue. Gives a real sense and flavor of Ancient Athens at time of Socrates and Aristophanes.

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An easy and quick listen for an afternoon

It’s a nice way to take in this classic work of literature. Actors are believable and emphatic. Translation is modern yet nuanced. Content had me gasping at several moments

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Like a olay

This is the best audio version I've heard. The translation works well for the performance. This feels like a radio play which only needs some background noise to fully complete it. I appreciated Diotema getting her own voice for once.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fluent Breather
  • 06-12-17

It's great

This book far exceeded my expectations. Thoroughly enjoyed this audible purchase. A multitude of perspectives delivered with quality.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-20

Like listening to friends

Fantastic reading by great actors. I felt I was there with them. Much funnier than I thought it would be.