Corruption In Greek Works Essay, Research Paper
In many works of literature there contains the nature of corruption and what the characters do to redeem themselves. Because these characters are human, they submit to corruption. In the books The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus, “Hecuba”,The Republic ,”Euthyphro”,” Apology” ,and Crito, by Plato and Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, the authors show different forms of corruption, and how it relates to the character. In the book The Oresteian Trilogy, almost all the characters give into the same type of corruption. The type of corruption in the book is revenge. In the book there is a continuous circle of murders rationalized by revenge. It all begins with the curse of The House of Atreus. Agamemnon, is the son of Atreus and is driven by revenge. The reason he goes to war is to revenge the taking of Helen, his sister, by Paris. For displeasing Artemis, he had to sacrifice his daughter to get wind to set sail for war. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, seeks revenge on Agamemnon for what Agamemnon’s father had done to his father and brothers. He seduces Clytaemnestra, and they both seek revenge on Agamemnon. The reason Clytaemnestra seeks revenge on Agamemnon, is for the murder of her daughter. Throughout the book the chorus knows that revenge is going to get their city nowhere but do not have a solution for the corruption. They have a feeling of what’s going to happen and feel for Clytaemnestra, but do not have answers and do not want to interfere. When Agamemnon returns, Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus plot the murder of Agamenon and kill him. This continues the curse of Atreus and continues the idea of the killer must be killed, the form of corruption. Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, then gets revenge by killing his mother and Aegisthus. The furies, probably one of the main forms of revenge, relentlessly chase Orestes, because of the people he murdered. At this point in the story, Aeschylus offers his ideas of justice and how this form of corruption should be redeemed. Orestes runs to Athens and is put in court. Rather than continuing corruption and murder, he is allowed to justify himself. He asks for Apollo’s help to defend him. Apollo defends him while the furies prosecute him. Apollo takes the blame and says he’s the one that told Orestes to kill his mother to try to take blame away from Orestes. In the end, Orestes is acquitted. The jury could not decide and Athene passes judgement. She decides that the killing of a father and husband is worst than the killing of a mother. This new form of justice, is a solution for revenge. I think Aeschylus, feels that under the old way of murder and revenge, it was not helping his country and felt a change towards justice would be good. Hecuba, the wife of King Priam also experiences corruption. In this story, she give up her child to very close friend. She hopes that this will insure her child’s safety. The friend of Hecuba and Priam gives in to corruption. He lies, steals, and murders. He felt that by watching their child he would be killed or taken over so he decides to murder the child. He also keeps the gold that Hecuba gave him to watch the child. One day Hecuba’s maids find the body of her slain child. When Hecuba asks the friend of her child, he says that he is fine. The character does not redeem himself and Hecuba scratches out his eyes. In the books Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, Plato writes about how Socrates deals with different forms of corruption. In Euthyprhro a different kind of corruption is talked about. Socrates and a lawyer, Euthyphro, talk about what is pious. Euthyprho is prosecuting his father in court for murder and he feels that is the will of the gods. They state that being impious is being corrupt, but they can not agree on a definition of impiety. Socrates does not feel he is being corrupt because there is no universal definition of an ethical term like pious. Injustice is the form of corruption that Socrates deals with in the Apology. Although it may seem he is not guilty of the crimes charged against him, he is still voted guilty and must be executed. Socrates knows that this decision is unjust but chooses to accept it because he feels it is the just thing to do. Also in Crito, Socrates deals with whether or not he should be corrupt and disobey the law. A wealthy friend of his could have found a way for Socrates to escape and flee the country. Socrates did not escape because he felt he was given trial and found guilty in court, although the sentence was too harsh and the verdict was materially false. Socrates said it’s not what every person would do but what a just person would do.
Another book by Plato that deals with corruption is The Republic. In this book they are in search for justice. IN the beginning they are n Cephalus’ house and they are discussing what justice is . Cephalus states that justice is telling the truth and paying what is owed. Since he is a merchant he thinks like one. Socrates finds this definition to be inadequate. Polemarchus’s definition was helping one’s friends and harming one’s enemies. Thrasymachus gives his definition of justice and tells the story of the herdsman, but Socrates refutes it. Later with Glaucon and Adeimantus they discuss about justice again and start to create a just state. In this state they feel men should keep the same jobs and that war is the ultimate consequence of the state. Here Socrates creates the Guardians. Also the state will be built and based upon the myth of the metals. This story is not true, but this is what they base their state on. Socrates feels that there is no difference between a just man and a just society. Eventually they create the ideal state with no corruption, but it will soon degenerate because the state was built upon a lie, which is corrupt. To sum it up he tells the myth of Err. This is the redemption of being unjust or corrupt. This is where the just go to heaven and the unjust go to hell. Then they choose to what they want to be in the next life. All in all he suggests that justice within the people itself is the just state. Finally, in The Nichamachean Ethics, Aristotle deals with corruption. The corruption is being unethical according to Aristotle. Aristotle asks what does it take for and individual human being to be a good person. Also he states that happiness is the main goal of every human being. Because happiness leads to virtue, Aristotle felt that this was the highest form of moral activity. All in all, the books and stories show how corruption is not good and that being uncorrupt is the ideal way. Although being corrupt is the easier way these authors feel that being uncorrupt benefits the people and the state together. I agree that being corrupt may cause pleasure, but being uncorrupt will cause happiness in the long run.