By Peter J. Ahrensdorf
During this ebook, Peter Ahrensdorf examines Sophocles' robust research of a relevant query of political philosophy and a perennial query of political lifestyles: should still electorate and leaders govern political society by way of the sunshine of unaided human cause or spiritual religion? via a clean exam of Sophocles' undying masterpieces - Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone - Ahrensdorf bargains a sustained problem to the existing view, championed by means of Nietzsche in his assault on Socratic rationalism, that Sophocles is an opponent of rationalism. Ahrensdorf argues that Sophocles is a really philosophical philosopher and a rationalist, albeit one that advocates a wary political rationalism. Such rationalism constitutes a center means among an excessive political rationalism that dismisses faith - exemplified in Oedipus the Tyrant - and a piety that rejects cause - exemplified by means of Oedipus at Colonus. Ahrensdorf concludes with an incisive research of Nietzsche, Socrates, and Aristotle on tragedy and philosophy. He argues, opposed to Nietzsche, that the rationalism of Socrates and Aristotle includes a profound understanding of the tragic size of human lifestyles and for that reason resembles in primary methods the somber and humane rationalism of Sophocles.
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Extra resources for Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays
He then laments his birth, his patricide, and above all his incestuous marriage, which he calls the “basest” of deeds possible among human beings (1391–1408). At that point he breaks off by saying: “But indeed it is not noble to speak of what it is not noble to do, so, as quickly as possible, in the name of the gods, hide me somewhere outside [Thebes], or kill me, or cast me out into the sea, where you will never see me more” (1409–12). Oedipus evidently refers, not to his punishment of himself, but to his 31 1340–6, 1409–15, 1432–41, 1449–54, 1517–21.
The man whom you have been seeking for a long time . . will be shown to have been for his children at once brother and father, and to the woman who bore him son and husband, and of his father a fellow sower and killer” (364–5, 415–19, 424–5, 449–51, 457–60). 35 Oedipus is both husband and son to Jocasta and father and brother to Antigone and Ismene. The incest renders him a hybrid or monstrous being – a kind of two-headed beast – with respect to his family: to Jocasta, half-husband, half-son; to Antigone and Ismene, half-father and half-brother.
Yet by claiming that life is easiest if one lives, not according to reason, but according to one’s will or whim 26 Compare 276–89 (and 555–7) with 116–23, 698–862, especially 754–68. 1 Oedipus the Tyrant 25 (eijg–979), Jocasta herself suggests that she also finds the austerity required by reason too difficult to bear, and hence that she tries to avoid even thinking about the terrible power of chance (977–83). Furthermore, the fact that Jocasta prays to Apollo when she fears for Oedipus’s well-being reveals that, like Oedipus, she embraces piety when what she loves most is threatened (911–23; see also 646–8).
Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays by Peter J. Ahrensdorf