By James Franklin Johnson
the facility of people to suppose compassion or empathy for one another—and exhibit that emotion via providing convenience or assistance—is a tremendous 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 voters beneficial 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 in old Greek literature.
via cautious textual research, James F. Johnson surveys the remedy 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 notice “pity” indicates an angle of superiority towards the patient, the notice “compassion” has a extra optimistic connotation and implies equality in prestige among topic and item. even though students have conventionally translated eleos and oiktos as “pity,” Johnson argues that our modern day suggestion 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 commonly express the disastrous outcomes of a global the place compassion falls brief. while, they give glimpses right into a international the place compassion can generate a extra beneficial—and as a result extra hopeful—outcome. Their message resonates with today’s readers up to it did for fifth-century Athenians.
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Additional 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