[Milton-L] Aristophanes & equality

richard strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Tue Aug 17 11:26:56 EDT 2010

I want to comment briefly on Tom Luxon's reading of the myth as supporting a 
hierarchy of sexual preferences, with male homosexuality at the top.

I understand how he gets this view, and it is certainly true that other speakers in 
the dialogue hold this view (with lots of caveats about how male-male sexuality 
is properly to be enacted), but I would note that with regard to Aristophanes, 
Luxon's view is based on commentary on the myth (and commentary which is 
itself tricky).  

I would suggest that the myth itself -- the unforgettable story -- does not 
differentiate between the three types of sexual orientation, and does, indeed, 
see them as on a par with one another.  The emotional and psychological force 
of the myth (story) applies to each group equally, and one's membership (so to 
speak) in one of the groups is seen as both accidental and fateful.

The important point is the difference between the myth itself and the 
commentary on it --even by the teller of the myth.  This puts me in mind of the 
(now) old critical adage:  trust the tale, not the teller.

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