In "Symposium", a group of Anthenian aristocrats attend a party held by Agathon to celebrate his victory in the drama festival of the Dionysia.
They talk about love until the drunken Alcibiades bursts in, and decides to talk about Socrates instead. "Symposium" gives a picture of the sparkling society that was Athens at the height of her empire.
The other three dialogues in this collection - "Apology", "Crito" and "Phaedo" - are more sombre.
The Athenians, catastrophically defeated in war, have lost their self-confidence and their ability to tolerate what they do not understand.
Socrates is put on trial for impiety, found guilty and put to death. "Apology" is Socrates's speech in his own defence at his trial. "Crito" explains his refusal to escape when escape could be easily arranged. "Phaedo" gives an account of Socrates's last day. He and his friends discuss the nature and immortality of the soul until the sun sets and Socrates drinks the hemlock which has been prepared for him.