What Plato and Murdoch Think About Love

Shadi Shakouri, Rosli Talif


There are many interpretations of love and lots of scholars write and talk on love; however, what exactly is the meaning of love? Iris Murdoch’s works are an accumulation of emotional relationships and feelings of love. Her great subject is love, both sexual and non-sexual, and her characters are the portrayal of a small group of people caught up in convoluted ties of love and hate, with Eros ruling over them (Cohen 22). Murdoch was one of the most respected British writers and philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century and, of course, the postwar period. In Murdoch’s novels, love is one of the central themes—marriage, as the institution of love, more often binds than frees. Her characters are mainly ego-centric people who struggle to love and are often overwhelmed by the factor of self-obsession, jealousy, ambition, fascination with suffering and charismatic power. They are absolutely ordinary people with a consuming demand for love, and mental and physical exile. Murdoch was inspired by Plato’s ideas in many ways. Like art, here again Plato’s idea of love is more skeptical than Murdoch’s, whereas Murdoch kept it only as a way to the Good, creation, and happiness. Murdoch and Plato saw love more as a Freudian concept, the Eros, the word that comes from the name of the first Greek god of love. Both the philosophers, Plato and Murdoch, believed that this erotic longing and desires revived by Eros can led to a new direction, a way toward virtue and truth. Her protagonist or marginalized characters are usually tackling it with either vulgarity or the heavenly, which results in creation, art or salvation. Murdoch, as a major moral philosopher, usually grasps the chances to encapsulate her moral visions in her works, and created novels that should be counted as meditations on human love and goodness.



Eros, erotic love and real artwork, moral philosopher, The Black Prince

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.3p.58


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