Is human life controlled inevitably and solely by the divine will, or does a man’s innate character in some significant, perhaps even knowable, manner contribute to creating his own destiny? Do the sins of the fathers really pursue subsequent generations, wreaking havoc upon them, or is this idea an excuse that an unvirtuous man tries to use to justify his wicked actions? Does justice have a real basis in the divine, or is the divine ultimately meaningless and arbitrary, giving reward and punishment as it simply wills to do so by its own naked power?
These and other weighty questions, which have often been asked in the history of Christian theology and practice, were felt in the bones of the ancient Greeks, and among their attempts to grapple with such conundrums the work of Aeschylus in The Oresteia remains quite relevant to this day.
In this three-week seminar (2 weeks for each of the three plays), we will explore these questions – and any others that arise – by engaging Aeschylus’ text closely on our own throughout the week and then together in a a live discussion at the end of the week.
Aeschylus’ Oresteia, 3 weeks – $o
Required Text (obtain from bookseller of your choice):