By James Franklin Johnson
the facility of humans to consider compassion or empathy for one another—and convey that emotion by means of delivering convenience or assistance—is an incredible antidote to violence and aggression. In historic Greece, the epics of Homer and the tragic dramas played each one spring within the Theater of Dionysus provided voters beneficial classes about the necessity and correct program of compassionate motion. This e-book is the 1st full-length exam of compassion (eleos or oiktos in Greek) as a dramatic topic in historic Greek literature.
via cautious textual research, James F. Johnson surveys the therapy of compassion within the epics of Homer, in particular the Iliad, and within the works of the 3 nice Athenian tragedians: Aischylos, Euripides, and Sophokles. He emphasizes reciprocity, reverence, and retribution as defining beneficial properties of Greek compassion throughout 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 note “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 proposal of compassion comes closest to encompassing the that means of these Greek phrases. starting with Homer, eleos normally denotes an emotion that involves motion of a few variety, while oiktos often refers back to the emotion itself. Johnson additionally attracts institutions among compassion and the strategies of worry and pity, which Aristotle famously attributed to tragedy.
as the Athenian performs are tragedies, they ordinarily convey the disastrous effects of a global the place compassion falls brief. whilst, they provide glimpses right into a global 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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Acts of Compassion in Greek Tragic Drama (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series) by James Franklin Johnson