Explain how Aristophanes said men and women came to be.
Aristophanes, an ancient Greek playwright, presented a humorous and imaginative explanation for the origins of men and women in his play "The Symposium." According to his story, humans were initially creatures with both male and female characteristics, having four arms, four legs, and a single head with two faces. These creatures were known as "androgyne" or "hermaphrodite."
The androgynes were powerful beings who threatened the gods with their strength and attempted to conquer Mount Olympus. As punishment, Zeus decided to weaken them by splitting them into two halves. Each half became a separate individual, either male or female. This division aimed to diminish their strength and make them dependent on each other, fostering a sense of longing and completion.
From then on, men and women were incomplete on their own, constantly seeking their other half to regain their original wholeness. Aristophanes' explanation reflects the idea of romantic love as a search for completeness through the union of two individuals, a concept that resonates with human experiences of longing and desire for connection.