Back In My Day Essay, Research Paper
Back in My Day
Back in my day, people just didn t do stuff like that. In addition to hearing about how bread used to cost a nickel, that quote is what you hear it from the elders of most generations when talking about violence, especially on television in the present time; they say that the violence seen just did not seem to exist back then. However, when one thinks about it, violence that extreme has existed throughout the ages, whether it was as early as the Iliad and the Odyssey during the Greek era, the Aeneid in the Roman era, or even in Christian stories in the Bible.
The first example of historic extreme violence is back in the time of the Iliad and the Odyssey during the Greek era, which happened during the eighth or ninth centuries BCE. These two epics, which are considered by many scholars to be very fine works of art, are filled with gratuitous acts of violence and other such acts of immoral behavior. In the Iliad, especially in Book 5, where Homer tells of Diomedes aristea, a detailed account of how a man battles and injures both man and gods is given. In lines 72-75, for example, Homer gives us a terrifyingly graphic description of the battle scene:
Now the son of Phyleus, the spear-famed, closing upon him
struck him with the sharp spear behind the head at the tendon,
and straight on through the teeth and under the tongue cut the bronze blade,
and he dropped in the dust gripping in his teeth the cold bronze.
Examples of aggression and viciousness are also given in the Odyssey. In this, most say that Odysseus was justified in doing what he did, but it is still brutal fighting. The best example of viciousness is given when Odysseus finally returns home and has to defeat the suitors:
Odysseus arrow hit him [Antinoos] under the chin and punched up to the
feathers through the throat. Backward and down he went, letting
the winecup fall from his shocked hand. Like pipes his nostrils
jetted crimson runnels, a river of mortal red, and one last kick
upset his table knocking the bread and meat to soak in dusty blood.
These two examples might not be the same as a gang war or a drive-by in the middle of the streets in New York, but they are still brutal and gory nonetheless. The only difference between the two types is that the method that it is given to someone is different. In the past, a person would tell the story, and the audience would have to use their imagination to get the pictures and actions for themselves; in the present time, thanks to technology, people do not have to use their minds as much, only sit in front of a television set or a movie screen to get the same images.
The same idea is also given in Roman epics as well. Take the Aeneid, for example, which is the supposed founding of the Roman Empire, considered to be the Roman version of the Iliad and Odyssey. It does, in fact, hold quite a few of the same aspects and ideas of both of the Greek epics, one in particular being the violence. In his story, Virgil portrays Aeneas, the legendary warrior, as the leader and founder of Rome. However, during his quest, Aeneas does have to face opposition of his cause, and do battle to protect it. In lines 632 636, Book 11, an example of a war is shown:
But when they clashed in battle for the third time, and all the
ranks were embroiled together, each man singled out his enemy,
and then the groans of the dying could be heard, weapons and
bodies lay deep in blood, half-dead horses rolled about entangled
with the corpses of men, and ever fiercer and fiercer grew the battle.
This example shows that even though the Romans tried to overtake and change all of the ways and customs from the Greeks, such as their gods, their writings and entertainment seems to have stayed the same.
The final case in point that shows that brutal violence has not erupted in just the past twenty or thirty years is even in Biblical stories. The most widely known and spoken about would be the torture and crucifixion of Christ. It begins where Christ was first beaten and forced to carry his cross to where he was to be crucified. They then put a crown of thorns upon his head and then proceeded to nail him to the cross by putting the nails through his hands and feet, leaving him there to die.
Other examples from Biblical brutality are in the story of Noah, and the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Noah s case, after he built his ark, God then made it rain for 40 days and nights, flooding the earth and killing all inhabitants that were not on that tiny vessel. In the case of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God rained down sulfur, burning the cities, making them to cease to exist.
In conclusion, violence in literature has existed throughout the ages, from the early times of Homer s Iliad and Odyssey, to Virgil s Aeneid, and then on to Christian lore. So the next time that your grandfather tells you the same old clich Back in my day, things like that just did not happen, you can tell him that, in fact, they did, but bread doesn t cost a nickel either.