Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in by James Franklin Johnson

By James Franklin Johnson

the power of people to think compassion or empathy for one another—and convey that emotion by means of providing convenience or assistance—is an incredible antidote to violence and aggression. In historic Greece, the epics of Homer and the tragic dramas played every one spring within the Theater of Dionysus provided electorate worthy classes in regards to the necessity and correct program of compassionate motion. This booklet is the 1st full-length exam of compassion (eleos or oiktos in Greek) as a dramatic topic in historical Greek literature.

via cautious textual research, James F. Johnson surveys the therapy of compassion within the epics of Homer, specially the Iliad, and within the works of the 3 nice Athenian tragedians: Aischylos, Euripides, and Sophokles. He emphasizes reciprocity, reverence, and retribution as defining good points of Greek compassion in the course of the Homeric and Archaic classes. In framing his research, Johnson distinguishes compassion from pity. while in English the note “pity” indicates an angle of superiority towards the patient, the be aware “compassion” has a extra confident connotation and implies equality in prestige among topic and item. even supposing students have conventionally translated eleos and oiktos as “pity,” Johnson argues that our modern day thought of compassion comes closest to encompassing the which means of these Greek phrases. starting with Homer, eleos normally denotes an emotion that includes motion of a few variety, while oiktos often refers back to the emotion itself. Johnson additionally attracts institutions among compassion and the ideas of worry and pity, which Aristotle famously attributed to tragedy.

as the Athenian performs are tragedies, they customarily exhibit the disastrous results of a global the place compassion falls brief. even as, they give glimpses right into a international the place compassion can generate a extra beneficial—and consequently extra hopeful—outcome. Their message resonates with today’s readers up to it did for fifth-century Athenians.

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