Greek Ethical Thought from Homer to the Stoics

By Hilda D. Oakeley | Go to book overview
Save to active project

525-456 B.C.

As Mr. R. C. Trevelyan says in the Introduction to his translation of the Oresteia, " The fragments of Aeschylus' predecessors are too scanty to give us any idea of what he may have owed to them. But it seems probable that drama, as one of the supreme forms of art, was the creation of his own unique personal genius."

The Trilogy of Aeschylus known as the Oresteia may be interpreted in its moral meaning as a single drama of the development of the conception of justice from the primitive law of vengeance, evil for evil, continuing from generation to generation, towards a more liberal and humane principle. In the Agamemnon the older law prevails. In the Choephori the moral consciousness of the race, growing beyond the ancient law, carries out its behests, with suffering and remorse. In the Eumenides, the old and new conceptions are brought into direct conflict, and the ancient spirit represented by the avenging furies (Erinues) gives way, passing into a milder and higher form as beneficent justice (the Eumenides). As elsewhere in Aeschylus, the value of suffering in bringing insight is emphasised.

Text: Poetae Scenici Graeci ex Recognitione, Guil. Dindorfii. Translation by Mr. R. C. Trevelyan.

Truth comes by Suffering


Zeus, who into wisdom's way
Guideth mortals, stablishing
This decree: "By suffering, Truth."
Woe's aching memories before the mind
Ooze in sleep drop by drop:
So to men wisdom comes without their will.

. . . . .


As even-scaled Justice wills
Those who suffer learn the truth. The future--
Though, ere it come, men may know it--let it be:
'Twere but to weep ere 'tis need.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Greek Ethical Thought from Homer to the Stoics


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 228

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?