The Philosophy and Psychology of Sophocles’s Antigone and The Eumenides in Aeschylus’ Oresteia

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The Philosophy and Psychology of Sophocles’s Antigone and The Eumenides in Aeschylus’ Oresteia

There is a consensus among readers of the poetry or plays written in the fifth century that the plays succeed with inspiring profound movement on the audience. The methods or reasons for the reader to be moved by a text are often disputed. Specific to tragic works the concepts of philosophy and psychology are critical elements to understand the cause of the stirred emotions of individuals who response to classical tragedies in a similar manner. Philosophy helps to understand “why” and psychology “how” poetry affects and moves human emotion.

Philosophy and poetry are united by a common intent. Each searches for an
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This logic is based on the universal principle, evidently accepted by Athena in the play, and supports the patriarchal ancient Greek society.

The universal described by Aristotle was, “How a person of a certain type will on occasion speak or act, according to the law of probability or necessity” (Aristotle, 68). Aristotle identified the characters of tragedies with tragic flaws. These tragic flaws may be considered tragic qualities because it is the identification and sympathy of the audience for this quality that will have a profound impact. In his introduction of Oedipus the King, Bernard Knox identifies the similarity between values held by Oedipus and the people of Athens and modern readers.

“The more important for the play’s impact on the audience than this grim setting

is the characterization of the play’s central figure, Oedipus the King. The poet’s

language presents him to the audience not as a figure of the mythical past but as one fully contemporary” (Knox, 138).

Oedipus’ quick decisiveness, emphasis on intelligence and dedication are admirable qualities. Creon demonstrates great nationalism promoting, “The safety of our country is our safety” (Sophocles, 68). Agamemnon also has admirable nationalist qualities because of his willingness sacrifice his daughter for the future conquest of Troy.

Each character is met with tragedy but has characteristics that are identified and even admired by the

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