Justice In Herodotus And Aesch Essay

1374 words - 5 pages

Orestes, the Furies, Croesus, and Cyrus - What do all these disparate characters have in common? The answer is that divine justice decides the course that their lives will take. Divine justice plays a large role in both of the works that these characters are from - the Oresteia of Aeschylus and The Histories of Herodotus. However, the two works differ on what exactly constitutes divine justice, and how divine justice operates. Aeschylus would argue that divine justice is reactive. In other words, justice acts after man has committed some terrible act. Herodotus would argue that divine justice is proactive, striking before the culprit has actually sinned. Also, Aeschylus and Herodotus disagree about why divine justice affects men. Aeschylus argues that man must commit a sin for justice to be meted out. In the views of Herodotus, however, God strikes down those who are too rich and successful. It is not necessary for a man to have sinned to be punished, in the view of Herodotus. Herodotus directly tells the reader his views on divine justice through the character of Solon. Solon is one of "…the great Greek teachers of that epoch." (Histories Bk 1 Ch. 29) He was traveling around the world when he paid a visit to Croesus, the King of Lydia. Croesus gave Solon a tour of the palace, and then asked Solon a question. "Well, my Athenian friend, I have heard a great deal about your wisdom, and how widely you have traveled in the pursuit of knowledge. I cannot resist the desire to ask you a question: who is the happiest man you have ever seen?"(Histories Bk 1 Ch 30) Solon's response to this question speaks volumes about Herodotus's opinions on divine justice. The two examples that he presents of people having true happiness have one thing in common - all of the people in them are dead. Why is this significant? It is significant because in Solon's opinion, no man can be called truly happy until he is dead. "But mark this: until he is dead, keep the word 'happy' in reserve."(Histories Bk 1 Ch 32) In Solon's opinion, man cannot be truly happy until he is dead because "…God is envious of human prosperity and likes to trouble us"(Histories Bk 1 Ch 32) In other words, God strikes down those who are too rich and successful. That is why Croesus did not get the response that he wanted to hear - that he, Croesus was the happiest person Solon had ever seen. Solon expounds upon his views when he says, "Great wealth can make a man no happier than moderate means, unless he has the luck to continue in prosperity to the end."(Histories Bk 1 Ch 32) In a nutshell, Herodotus, through the character of Solon, is saying that divine justice strikes those that are too lucky. Therefore, until he is dead, no man can be called happy. Solon's views are confirmed a few pages later. "After Solon's departure nemesis fell upon Croesus, presumably because God was angry with him for supposing himself the happiest of men."(Histories Bk 1 Ch 34) Why did Croesus...

Find Another Essay On Justice in Herodotus and Aesch

Divine Grace and Justice in Dante's Inferno

1540 words - 6 pages Divine Justice and Grace in Inferno The purpose of the pilgrim's journey through hell is to show, first hand, the divine justice of God and how Christian morality dictates how, and to what degree, sinners are punished. Also, the journey shows the significance of God's grace and how it affects not only the living, but the deceased as well. During his trip through hell, the character of Dante witnesses the true perfection of God's justice in

Themes of Blame and Justice in "Othello"

1033 words - 4 pages The Play Othello first performed in 1604 written by Shakespeare was a play that portrayed the problems faced in society regarding blame and justice. He showed this by using the setting of Venice where almost everyone was rich, living in houses based in the most powerful part of Italy. Shakespeare used race which tied into the setting as the main character, a black man living in a white society. He used gender to portray labels and to show how

Justice and Injustice in Moliere's Tartuffe

1796 words - 7 pages Justice and Injustice in Tartuffe   A theme of the play Tartuffe is justice. Justice, or the lack of justice, can be seen in the relationship between father and son, father and daughter, and guest and host. Lacanian philosophy, which focuses on language and the conflict that the male feels due to a disintegration of oneness, can be used to look at injustice as it manifests itself in the male conflict within the play.     According to

Drug Abuse, Prison and Justice in Hungary

790 words - 4 pages IV. CRIMINAL JUSTICE Each year the Hungarian police reports approximately six thousand drug-related criminal cases. These cases include a wide spectrum of offenses, ranging from cross-border drug smuggling to possession and consumption of a single marijuana cigarette. Those people who are lucky enough to be arrested with only a small quantity of illegal drugs have the chance to avoid incarceration once every two years and instead participate in

Justice and Revenge in the Odyssey

1050 words - 5 pages In Homer’s the Odyssey, the theme of justified and deserved revenge and vengeance is very prevalent. The ancient Greeks believe in, Nemesis the Greek goddess who gives justice to people who receive what they do not earn, like unfair riches or unfair hardships. She also deals revenge on the people who are arrogant to gods. Nemesis often causes resentment in the people who get away with crimes or have undeserved good fortune. Because she brings

Justice in Antigone and A Doll’s House

1448 words - 6 pages Before comparing these two pieces of works, the definition of justice is needed to address the question as fully as possible. Justice is a concept which involves fair and ethical treatment for everyone. It is usually seen as the continued effort to do what is right. In most cases this is done by making use of logic. This is the premise which is going to be used for justice when comparing the two works. Sophocles’ Antigone differs largely from

Justice and Social Order in The Oresteia

1163 words - 5 pages Justice and Social Order in The Oresteia   Democracy, emerging in the city-state of Athens, allowed unprecedented power to her citizens. Among these new powers was the ability to legislate. Yet, legislation was not without its problems. First the citizens must agree upon what is just and unjust, and then enforce the law by bringing the unjust to reconcile their guilt with the public through trial, and finally dispense the appropriate

The Dilemma in Defining Good Judgement, and Justice, in Socrates' Definition for Justice

701 words - 3 pages In book four of Plato's “The Republic” Socrates defines justice in the individual as analogous to justice in the state. I will explain Socrates' definition of justice in the individual, and then show that Socrates cannot certify that his definition of justice is correct, without asking further questions about justice. I will argue that if we act according to this definition of justice, then we do not know when we are acting just. Since neither

Nonsense and Justice in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

853 words - 3 pages should not be surprised with flying Cheshire – Cat, my favourite character from the book, which can disappear and reappear however and whenever she wants. Additionaly, it seems to me that Carroll did not want even for laws in Wonderland to be logical and reasonable but only a burlesque of real justice as if he was trying to oppugn mother wit. In Wonderland there is a natural law of chaos, consequently, any idea of a real justice seems

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND YOUTH REOFFENDING IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

1173 words - 5 pages and Wales for the year ending June 2013 (ONS). This represents a 7% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey. Though the rate of crime seems to decrease recent concerns about the rate of reoffending seems to be in main stream of discussions today (ONS). Non-Governmental organizations have started a renewed campaign on the application of a community based system of justice which would include the Victim, offender and the community in

The Notions of Justice in The Republic and Antigone

2034 words - 8 pages Within two classical works of philosophical literature, notions of justice are presented plainly. Plato’s The Republic and Sophocles’ Antigone both address elements of death, tyranny and immorality, morality, and societal roles. These topics are important elements when addressing justice, whether in the societal representation or personal representation. Antigone uses the concept of death in many ways when unfolding the tragic story of

Similar Essays

Justice And Injustice In Othello Essay

1180 words - 5 pages Justice and Injustice in Othello        In the Tragedy of Othello, by William Shakespeare, a great injustice is done to the main character, Othello the Moor. Othello is manipulated by the villain Iago to satiate Iago’s need for control and his desire for revenge. Othello the General has promoted another, Cassio, to hold the position that Iago feels he deserves. For the injustice that Iago feels has been committed against him, he brings

Divine Justice In Genesis And Oedipus

619 words - 2 pages Divine Justice in Genesis and OedipusDivine Justice is the abstract principle by which a higher being assigns merited rewards or punishment based on what is right and wrong. The notion of divine justice a key ingredient in the Old Testaments Book of Genesis as well as in Sophocles? Oedipus the King. The are many differences and similarities between The Book of Genesis and Sophocles? Oedipus the King. The most common similarity between Genesis

Justice In Othello And The Tempest

1723 words - 7 pages will the victim be satisfied? Everyone has a different opinion of the scale of justice and many will go to extreme measures in order to obtain their own sense of justice. In The Tempest and Othello, the pursuit of justice is the motive force that drives the story. Each character sets off on his own quest to reclaim justice from those who have wronged them, believing themselves to be the instruments of divine justice. Order might be restored in the

Justice In Plato's Republic And Hobbes' Leviathan

2841 words - 11 pages One of the main concepts in both Plato's Republic and Hobbes' Leviathan is justice. For Plato, the goal of his Republic is to discover what justice is and to demonstrate that it is better than injustice. Plato does this by explaining justice in two different ways: through a city or polis and through an individual human beings soul. He uses justice in a city to reveal justice in an individual. For Hobbes, the term justice is used to explain