The characters Apollodorus and Alcibiades represent the melancholic and manic poles of what Freud calls the "cyclic disease" in "Mourning and Melancholia." Plato conceives of erôs as entrapped within cycles of pleasure and pain, filling and emptying, until the self recognizes its overfullness — that is, its pregnancy. Socrates embodies the "out-of-placeness" (atopia) that overfullness signifies in a world characterized by emptying and filling, the "whole tragedy and comedy of life" as the Philebus puts it. As a lure for erôs, Socrates points beyond himself; for Apollodorus and Alicibiades, however, he catalyzes their melancholic and manic positions. The reader of the dialogue is thereby cautioned not to relate to the text as containing the fullness of Socratic speech, but to see it as the occasion for the recognition of his or her own out-of-placeness in the "tragedy and comedy of life."


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pp. 243-258
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