Love is a metaphor

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Payne, Elin
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies
Dublin Business School
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What does love have to do with Lacan's idea of the transference and how is Plato's Symposium relevant to this topic? The statement implicit in the title and this question are found in Lacan' s Seminar VIII on Transference (Lacan, 1960-61, Seminar VIII, S.2, pA and S.1, p.ll). In the first twelve weeks of Seminar VIII, Lacan explores the functions of love and desire, illustrating their action and relation as the essence of transference with a detailed interpretation of Plato's Symposium. The Symposium is an account of a drinking party in Athens in 416 BC. At this party a collection of articulate men, including Socrates, discuss the nature of love. There also occurs at this party a scandalous incident involving an (in)famous Athenian character, Alcibiades, who crashes the party. In a state of extreme inebriation, Alcibiades completely disrupts the orderly proceedings of the Symposium. What emerges from the ensuing confusion is a poignant and immediate picture of the nature of love and desire, far more moving than the respectful speeches that precede it.