By Mary Whitlock Blundell
This publication is the 1st targeted learn of the performs of Sophocles via exam of a unmarried moral principle--the conventional Greek renowned ethical code of "helping associates and harming enemies." 5 of the extant performs are mentioned intimately from either a dramatic and a moral viewpoint, and the writer concludes that moral topics will not be simply necessary to every drama, yet are subjected to an implicit critique throughout the tragic results to which they provide upward push. Greek students and scholars of Greek drama and Greek concept will welcome this publication, that's awarded in this kind of manner as to be available to experts and nonspecialists alike. No wisdom of Greek is needed.
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Additional info for Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics
Open enmity is far better than deceptive friendship' (Anth. Pal. ). The necessary trust arises only after long familiarity and testing (Arist. EN 1 i57a2O-~4, 1156b25~9), so one should be slow and cautious in making friends (Isoc. 24; Plut. Mor. ; Diog. Laert. 60). For in Plutarch's inimitable words, 'as harmful and disquieting food can neither be retained without causing pain and 42 43 44 45 46 Cf. also Pind. Pyth. 24; Xen. Anab. 48, Mem. 1-3; Hyp. 32; Onas. Strat. 24; Cic. Off. 15. Cf. also //.
W h e n n o other r e t u r n is possible, the r e cipient of a favour 'repays' it w i t h h o n o u r , esteem and loyalty until such t i m e as m o r e concrete r e t u r n can be m a d e (cf. Arist. EN n63bio-i4). Charis is a concept fundamental to philia and the personal and social relations it governs. Its original signification is of something delightful, that which arouses desire or joy. 40 It is used both for an initial favour and for its reciprocation as gratitude. 'Gratitude' is not merely a sentiment, but must if possible be expressed in a form as practical as the original favour which earned it.
The friendless are liable to be victimised (Arist. Rhet. 137335). Without one good friend, life is not worth living (Democr. DK 68 B 99; cf. Arist. ). The corresponding significance ofphilia in ethical thought can be seen from the attention devoted to it by philosophers and moralists. 35 Friendship involves a general requirement of reciprocal help and benefit. 36 General benevolence replaces precise payment in kind as the currency in which 'repayment' may be made, so that the obligations of friendship may be satisfied in all kinds of ways.