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Terry Ball – Love in Plato‘s Symposium and Lacan‘s Transference Seminar


Issue 47 (Summer 2011)


This article focuses on Lacan‘s eighth seminar on Transference, specifically his references to Plato‘s Symposium, and more particularly the attention he pays therein to the interaction and dialogue between Alcibiades, Socrates and Agathon. Addressed will be Lacan‘s specific take on the development of characters and plot as he outlines the dialectic of love. The interaction between the positions of lover‘ and beloved‘ will be examined as will the progression, according to the law of metaphorical substitution, which culminates in the birth of love. All of this, in an attempt to better appreciate the dynamics of the transference relationship in the psychoanalytic situation.


Keywords: Plato‘s Symposium; transference; love; lover-beloved; dialectic; metaphor 


Love is one aspect of the transference; the other is repetition, the automatism of repetition. Lacan points out that these two aspects can be situated on the Graph of Desire, on the two signifying chains in which the subject is constituted‘ and while he explains that his intention is to join up the two methods of approach‘ to transference, he specifies that he is particularly interested in looking at the consequences [of transference] at the most intimate level of our practice [and therefore in] paying attention…to love‘. It is the love aspect of the transference that will be the specific focus of this paper.

Love in Plato‘s Symposium and Lacan‘s Transference Seminar

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