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I am Brad, and I am a book addict

Me writing about books in a place where I can say what I want. Can I?

Currently reading

The Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

Oh! How I love the Greeks.

Alcestis (Greek Drama) - Euripides

Gods messing with humanity. Humanity interacting with Gods. Deus ex machinas to make everything work out ever so neatly. The Greeks knew how to write a great tale, and those tales are "oh! so relevant" to our time -- or so I've always been told.


I think that's a bit of bullshit, actually.


When I read Greek Literature I see people with concerns entirely different from our own, and I want to know those concerns, absorb those concerns, figure out what was relevant to them and why. 


Sure, I see ways in which we can make the plays seem timely to ourselves, forcing the plays to say things that the playwrights would never have imagined. There's nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It keeps the literature relevant to our personal mythologies, after all. But I don't read Greek literature to look for a happy reflection of my own morality or to engage in criticism of the Greek's ethical or social short comings. I go to Greek drama to engage with a life we have left behind, to try and see what we are missing, what we have given up, and to wonder if some of what was relevant to the Greeks is what we, too, should find relevant today -- even while deeming it irrelevant.


So I have simply embraced what I feel Euripides was trying to say, which is likely as flawed as anything else anyone else would read into these plays, tainted as we are by so much distance from Ancient Athens.


What was he trying to say, you ask? He was expressing that hospitality was a great virtue, and one that would repay the giver many times over; he was telling us that it is parents who owe their children loyalty -- even if it means the gift of their life -- not the other way round; he was suggesting that keeping one's word, no matter the consequences, is paramount; he was saying that any interference by the gods, even when well meaning in the case of Apollo's deal to save Admetus' life, was to be feared, despised and avoided. Good lessons all, methinks, and the lessons I am most interested in when it comes to the Greeks.