Everything you need to understand or teach The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault.
Just as the search for individual arete, the inward thirst for achievement knowingly made beautiful, formed the basis for the society of the Athenian Golden Age, the chief theme of The Last of the Wine is Alexias' growth to manhood through his profound relation with Lysis, who was himself the historical subject of Plato's dialogue on Friendship. Together Alexias and Lysis progress toward perception of the Absolute Good, Absolute Beauty, Absolute Truth delineated in Plato's Symposium. Plato espouses the nature of Love, in which physical expression is only the first step to the ennoblement of the human soul.
As Lysis guides Alexias' development, both men illustrate the Classical pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty won by overcoming physical and spiritual suffering. The scene of Lysis' beating during Renault's parody of an athletic contest reveals the perversion of Athens' ideals that lead to the decline of its Golden Age.... View more of the The Last of the Wine Summary