Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles by Mary Whitlock Blundell

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By Mary Whitlock Blundell

This publication is the 1st specific learn of the performs of Sophocles via exam of a unmarried moral principle--the conventional Greek renowned ethical code of "helping buddies and harming enemies." 5 of the extant performs are mentioned intimately from either a dramatic and a moral perspective, and the writer concludes that moral issues should not simply imperative to every drama, yet are subjected to an implicit critique in the course of the tragic outcomes to which they provide upward thrust. Greek students and scholars of Greek drama and Greek idea will welcome this e-book, that is offered in this type of manner as to be available to experts and nonspecialists alike. No wisdom of Greek is needed.

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The stringency of this demand is shown by his objection to Iphigeneia's about-face in Euripides' Iphigeneia at Aulis (54a32), which some have found insensitive or perverse. 55 Paradoxically, tragedy may require a greater degree of consistency than we may expect in real life, for only then can the universal patterns of human behaviour be clarified and understood. 56 Like most of us, however, Aristotle could overlook minor discrepancies (at least he never seems perturbed by the kind of minute inconsistencies discovered by diligent modern analysts).

Cic. Off. 53f). On the hierarchy of relationships in Greek life see Earp 32-4; Dover 273; Rowe 26of; and cf Bolkestein 79—95. On kinship-philia see especially Dirlmeier 7-21. 40 Helping friends and harming enemies 'closest and dearest of all' (Leg. 873c; cf. Isoc. 20. i ) . 6 4 A comic fragment declares 'there is no one who is not philos to himself'. 66 But the idea that one is one's own friend is something of a paradox, and parasitic upon the basic relational sense of philia. This can be seen from Homeric usage, where philotes (the Homeric predecessor of philia) is fundamentally a social relationship but can be used by extension for anything to which one has a close personal attachment, including parts of the body as well as friends and family members.

G. EN n 6 2 b 2 i , n63b32—1164a2, contrast 1167b 17—33). Plut. Mor. 93f. says we 'buy' friends in the 'coin' of good will, favour (charis) and virtue (arete). Cf. also ib. 96b; Xen. Mem. 5. For 'an eye for an eye' in the Greek world cf. 140^; Diod. 4. In a discussion of kin-murder he refers it to the authority of'ancient priests' (Leg. 872d-73a). See Glotz 48-50; Dihle 14-18. The locus classicus for this theme in Greek is Aesch. Cho. 306-14. On its significance in the Oresteia see Dodds, Morals 25-9.

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