Ideals of Conduct: An Exposition of Moral Attitudes

By John Dashiell Stoops | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
GREEK SOLIDARITY BECOMES REFLECTIVE

The older, conservative ideal of the city-state, the ideal which is coming to be known as the pre-Socratic ideal, pulsates with living vitality throughout the pages of Æschylus (525-456). Every page of Æschylus is flooded with the clear light of Greek intelligence; but knowledge and reflection in Æschylus serve to interpret and to idealize the traditional view of the city-state. Æschylus is a realist; there is nothing in him of subjectivism and romanticism. The solidarity of the family, the sacred duty of blood-revenge, the doctrine of group-responsibility, is the central theme of Æschylus' dramas:

In children's children recurrent appears The ancestral crime. (Eumenides, Blackie's Trans.)

But in spite of the overwhelming power of emotion and sentiment in Æschylus, he is represented as saying in the Frogs of Aristophanes (Frere's Trans.)

Indeed, I should doubt if my drama throughout Exhibit an instance of woman in love.

And the reason is perfectly plain. In Japan or in China, it is immoral to love one's wife overmuch. Such sentimentalism is dangerous to the solidarity of

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