For centuries now, love and philosophy have gone hand in hand. It is hard to find a deep thinker that has not, at some time or the other, pondered the questions love creates, or the nature of love itself. Even without contemplation, people are obsessed with love. Plays, poems, movies and songs about love are everywhere, and there will never be an end to their production. As Agathon himself says, " do we not know that he only of them whom love inspires has the light of fame? (Symposium, 37)" Love inspires people to do great things, and is the greatest source of pleasure there is. .
It is no great surprise to find that one of the greatest thinkers had a discourse with his friends about the nature of love. Socrates obviously took great pleasure in contests of words and ideas, and the discussion of love brought out the best in those with whom he was debating. This is why the Symposium is considered one of the great works of philosophy, even though Socrates is the only real philosopher in the group. The ideas these men put forward in describing the nature of something as powerful yet intangible as love are wonderful.
The people in Plato's Symposium are truly great and wise men. They each have their particular viewpoints, based on their characters and professions. The physician and healer, Eryximachus, is scientific and rational. The comedian, Aristophanes, is humorous and fanciful. Agathon, the poet and host, is eloquent and chooses his words perfectly to deliver the best impression. Socrates, who is of course a great debater and thinker, speaks as if he is arguing with someone about the nature of love while trying to decipher the very same thing. Equally varied are their attempts at describing or praising love. None of these extremely wise men are even close to each other in what they describe, which is surprising to say the least. With such great minds, it stands to reason that the thoughts they have should be somewhat similar, especially since they are friends.