Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Greek Way. Edith Hamilton (14).

Time, Inc. 1930 (14).

Why read It? The Athenians were a people who lived their view of truth which was many-sided and often contradictory. They accepted and lived the contradictions. They were individuals who also participated in the community. They were poets who were also soldiers. They needed to suffer in order to achieve exhilaration. The ancient Greeks’ view of life is summed up in this quotation from Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way: “The Roman games played an important part in the life of the Romans, but, as has often been remarked, the Greeks played; the Romans watched others play.” P. 320.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert F. Kennedy was completely distraught. His sister-in-law Jackie Kennedy gave him a copy of The Greek Way. That book enabled Robert to survive the tragedy in his life. The Greek Way provided a model for how to deal with tragedy.

The purpose of this blog? To find interesting ideas in books.

“The religion of the drama brought men into union with one another.” P. 277. ……….. “Socrates was always the seeker , asking, not teaching….” P. 279. ………. Socrates: “And now we go our ways, you to live and I to die. Which is better God only knows.” P. 281. ………. The Way of the Greeks. ………. “The Greeks always saw things as parts of a whole.”  P. 284. ………. “As they looked at human life, the protagonist was not human; the chief role was played by that which underlies the riddle of the world, that Necessity which brings us here and takes us hence, which gives good to one and evil to another, which visits the sins of the father upon the children and sweeps away innocent and guilty in fire and pestilence and earthquake shock.” P. 286. ………. “To the Greek, human beings were not chiefly different but chiefly alike.” P. 287. ………. “To Aeschylus Clytemnestra’s significance…lay in what was clear for all to see, outstanding, uncomplicated, a great and powerful nature brought to ruin by a hatred within her she could not resist because it was the instrument of fate.” P. 291. ………. “Clytemnestra’s tragedy was from without, her adversary was fate.” P. 291.

To be continued.

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