Comparisons of Ethical Cause and Effect

I believe that the comparisons in ethical cause and effect between Hesiod’s Works and Days and Aeschylus’ Eumenides are very few if any at all.

If I were asked to choose which piece of literature held more ethical values beneath its pages I would have to choose Hesiod’s Works and Days.

Works and Days is by far much closer to reality than The Eumenides because in Works and Days working hard, being just, speaking your words with caution, and not stealing or committing crimes are highly promoted in order to have the outcome of a prosperous life. These ideas are exactly what most of the people of today believe will lead you to a virtuous life.

The Eumenides does in fact support these ideas but they are not enforced as prominently. In my honest perspective it seems to appear as though a person’s personal desires, such as revenge or wealth, trump ethical and just ways throughout The Eumenides and even more so in Aeschylus’ other plays consisting of the Orestia trilogy.

Although, in The Eumenides Athena, a goddess residing in Athens, was approached by Orestes who sought her appeal, she didn’t believe herself capable of judging him so she formed a jury of men who were to decide Orestes future. This decision would decide whether Orestes was to be punished for avenging his father’s death by murdering his mother or if he would remain living in peace. The jury’s decision was divided equally leaving the goddess, Athena, who had before stated she couldn’t partake in the decision, to break the tie. She voted in favor of Orestes. The act of the jury deciding Orestes fate was an example of ethical “justice”, though the outcome wasn’t exactly ethically just.

Throughout The Eumenides there were very few circumstances that held ethical cause and effect, where as in Works and Days, as it was a poem of advice, there were many examples of cause and effect.

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