Preview
Preview

Essay about Comparing Ethics of Responsibility in The Visit and The Oresteia

:: 5 Works Cited
Length: 1898 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Visit and The Oresteia: Ethics of Responsibility

 
    When Friedrich Durrenmatt wrote the play The Visit, he was doing so in response to what he saw as appalling neutrality on the part of the Swiss during World War II, neutrality that we now know was something more insidious.  This powerful play expresses what happens in a community where responsibility is abdicated and scapegoating is employed, what happens when mercy falls to vengeance in the name of justice.  It is a play designed to shock society into recognizing its own flaws and choosing a different course of action, a different way to be.  Today I would like to briefly describe how this play and its connections help my students comprehend both the wider world (in place and time) and their own world, how literature can speak powerfully to correct social ills.  Finally, I wish show how this play helps students recognize how communities are constructed and how each individual has a responsibility to serve the communities of which they are a part.

 

         In Principia, our first-year introductory course to the liberal arts, we attempt to select texts that help students examine perennial human issues, texts that help students realize that their present and their future is not disconnected from the past.  Durrenmatt's play raises three perennial issues that connect us historically to three specific contexts.  The issues are: a human desire for justice, a human penchant for scapegoating, and the human conflict between selfish individuality and communal responsibility.  The historical contexts are classical Greece, World War II Switzerland, and the 1950s success of capitalism.

 

         Durrenmatt illustrates the human desire...


... middle of paper ...


...atic and structural contexts, leads students to reflect on their own values, their own roles as responsible members of communities.  This play gets to core values and works as a contemporary classic; it deals with perennial human issues and provokes students to thoughtful action. 

 

Works Cited

Aescyhlus.  Oresteia.  Trans. Richmond Lattimore.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

Durrenmatt, Friedrich.  The Visit.  Trans. Patrick Bowles.  New York: Grove, 1990.

Flaumenhaft, Mera J.  The Civic Spectacle: Essays on Drama and Community.  Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994.

Lattimore, Richmond.  "Introduction." Oresteia.  Trans. Richmond Lattimore.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

Loewy, Erich H.  Freedom and Community: The Ethics of Interdependence.  Albany: State University of New York, 1993.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay Reproduction of the Oikos in Aeschylus’ Oresteia - Aeschylus’ Oresteia is the chronicles of a cursed family that includes a circle of betrayal, adultery, and murder, among other things. The Greek word oikos can be used to describe the Greek family structure. In Homer’s Odyssey, two polar opposites of oikoi are given. First, the son of Odysseus’ son Telemachus meets Nestor, who symbolizes a near-perfect oikos . The family is involved in a large sacrificial feast upon the arrival of Telemachus . He also utilizes xenia, the Greek word for manners or the ideal guest-host relationship, to perfection....   [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia ]
:: 10 Works Cited
2296 words
(6.6 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on Comparing Women's Revenge in The Oresteia and Medea - Comparing Women's Revenge in The Oresteia and Medea Clytaemnestra and Medea are two women who are seeking justice for a wrong committed by their husbands. Clytaemnestra?s husband, Agamemnon, did not wrong here directly but rather indirectly. Agamemnon sacrificed their daughter Iphigeneia, in order to calm the Thracian winds. For Clytaemnestra this brought much hatred towards Agamemnon. Here Agamemnon had betrayed Clytaemnestra and their daughters trust, and for that she sought revenge. Medea's husband, Jason, had dishonored her with his unfaithfulness....   [tags: Oresteia Medea Revenge Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1046 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Power of Zeus Teleios in the Oresteia - The Power of Zeus Teleios in the Oresteia         Is the action in the Oresteia preordained. Is the trilogy simply a working through of destiny and fate; the ultimate telos of the events being the downfall of the house of Atreus. Are the characters in the story destroyed by themselves or by the necessity of the deeds that are carried out. These are some of the questions I will discuss in this essay.   I wish to concentrate on the end of the story as we know it, the Eumenides, with reference to character portrayal in the previous parts of the trilogy....   [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia]
:: 10 Works Cited
3299 words
(9.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia - The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia What Price Glory. was the title of a Maxwell Anderson play about World War I. Although the Oresteia deals with the period following a much different war, the same question can be asked of it. In the trilogy Aeschylus presents the reader with a stunning example of ancient Greek society, in which warrior ideals were firmly held, and glory in battle was considered the supreme good. The question of moral justification in the trilogy brings in many complex issues, but all of them revolve around the construction of Greek society and the role of different individuals in this system....   [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia]
:: 1 Works Cited
2076 words
(5.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Point of View in Eudora Welty’s A Visit of Charity Essay - Point of View in Eudora Welty’s A Visit of Charity      Every now and then point of view is worth writing about, because only every now and then is point of view actually seriously considered. In Eudora Welty’s “A Visit of Charity,” the third-person limited point of view of the little girl, Marian—her self-consciousness, descriptions, and fear—exactly portray what a little girl might experience in a nursing home.      To Marian, this is probably the first time in a nursing home. She is there simply because she wants to gain points; when asked who she would like to visit, Marian simply states, “any of them will do.” She brought flowers simply because they added a point, and hid her apple ou...   [tags: Visit Charity]
:: 1 Works Cited
650 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Comparing Oresteia and The Republic Essay - Comparing Oresteia and The Republic The tragic poet Aeschylus, and the philosopher Plato have arguably written two of the most influencing works ever in western history. The Oresteia, and The Republic each respectively depicts its individual accounts of how justice came to exist in human society. In the ancient In the famous dialogs of Socrates, The Republic attempts to analyze society rationally and change the state so that individuals could attain the Socratic goal of moral excellence. For Socrates, the just state could not be founded on tradition because tradition was not based on rational thinking, nor on the doctrine of power and strength being right....   [tags: Papers] 1208 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Oresteia, Aeschylus Essay - In “The Oresteia” trilogy, the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus advocates the importance of the male role in society over that of the female. The entire trilogy can be seen as a subtle proclamation of the superiority of men over women. Yet, the women create the real interest in the plays. Their characters are the impetus that makes everything occur. The most complex and compelling character in the three plays is Clytaemnestra. Clytaemnestra is consumed with thoughts of revenge. She seeks vengeance on Agamemnon for the loss of their daughter, Iphigeneia whose life was forfeited in order to appease the goddess Artemis so that Agamemnon's troops would be allowed passage to the Trojan shore....   [tags: The Oresteia Trilogy] 870 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Conflict in The Eumenides of The Oresteia Essay - The Conflict in The Eumenides of The Oresteia   In The Eumenides, the third book of The Oresteia, there exists a strong rivalry between the Furies and the god Apollo; from the moment of their first confrontation in Apollo’s temple at Delphi, it is clear that the god and the spirits are opposing forces. Their actions bring them into direct conflict, and both of them are stubbornly set on achieving their respective goals while at the same time interfering with or preventing the actions of the other....   [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia] 1372 words
(3.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Justice in Aeschylus' The Oresteia Essay - Justice in Aeschylus' The Oresteia How can an endless and violently destructive cycle be just. The concept appears in places along the human timeline as diverse as the Bible and West Side Story. Why do people have a tendency to amplify and repeat violence through a cycle of murder and revenge, and how can this destructive process be called justice. In The Oresteia, the cycle is a familiar one, but is also interweaved with gender issues and a sense of justice that changes within the cycle itself....   [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia] 1534 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Justice and Aeschylus' Oresteia - Justice and Aeschylus' Oresteia        At first glance, the picture of justice found in the Oresteia appears very different from that found in Heraclitus. And indeed, at the surface level there are a number of things which are distinctly un-Heraclitean. However, I believe that a close reading reveals more similarities than differences; and that there is a deep undercurrent of the Heraclitean world view running throughout the trilogy. In order to demonstrate this, I will first describe those ways in which the views of justice in Aeschylus' Oresteia and in Heraclitus appear dissimilar....   [tags: Oresteia Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
3391 words
(9.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]