By James Franklin Johnson
the power of people to think compassion or empathy for one another—and show that emotion through providing convenience or assistance—is an immense antidote to violence and aggression. In old Greece, the epics of Homer and the tragic dramas played each one spring within the Theater of Dionysus provided electorate necessary classes in regards to the necessity and correct software of compassionate motion. This booklet is the 1st full-length exam of compassion (eleos or oiktos in Greek) as a dramatic subject matter in old Greek literature.
via cautious textual research, James F. Johnson surveys the therapy of compassion within the epics of Homer, particularly the Iliad, and within the works of the 3 nice Athenian tragedians: Aischylos, Euripides, and Sophokles. He emphasizes reciprocity, reverence, and retribution as defining positive factors of Greek compassion through 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 if students have conventionally translated eleos and oiktos as “pity,” Johnson argues that our modern day idea of compassion comes closest to encompassing the which means of these Greek phrases. starting with Homer, eleos normally denotes an emotion that involves motion of a few style, while oiktos often refers back to the emotion itself. Johnson additionally attracts institutions among compassion and the suggestions of worry and pity, which Aristotle famously attributed to tragedy.
as the Athenian performs are tragedies, they more often than not convey the disastrous outcomes of an international the place compassion falls brief. whilst, they give glimpses right into a international the place compassion can generate a extra beneficial—and for that reason extra hopeful—outcome. Their message resonates with today’s readers up to it did for fifth-century Athenians.
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Extra resources for Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series)
Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series) by James Franklin Johnson