How Does the Concept of Hubris from Greek Tragedy Apply to the Peloponnesian War: Essay

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Ancient Greece — known for its sophisticated sculpture, architecture, and famous philosophers — is full of history. Moreover, Ancient Greek history is full of culture, amazing architecture, famous philosophers, and most importantly, war. The History of The Peloponnesian War, written by Thucydides, is known to be a historical account of the Peloponnesian War which centers around the fifth-century BC war between two cities—Sparta and Athens. Thucydides was an Athenian historian as well as an Athenian general during the war. The Peloponnesian War began shortly after the Persian Wars ended around 500 BCE. The two cities struggled to agree on numerous subjects regarding their “respective spheres of influence” so the disagreement led to tension—ultimately causing war. Within this essay, readers will learn answers to a series of questions such as “How do Perikles and Alcibiades each make a case for Athens to enter into military conquests”, “How do Athens and the Athenians in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War resemble the Persians in Aeschylus’ Persians?”, and “How is Klytemnestra portrayed as a tyrant in Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Furies, in light of her gender and of ideas about tyrants and autocracy?”. After reading the essay, readers will understand the wholly of dynamic between war, gender, and Ancient Greece!

For the first question: “how do Perikles and Alcibiades each make a case for Athens to enter into military conquests?”, we will focus on Perikles and Alcibiades' methods of how they made Athens enter the military conquests. In 430 BCE, Athens was struck by a disaster—a deadly tragedy (the plague). The plague spread all throughout the city of Athens and Athenians were racked with fevers and diseases which eventually killed them. This is how Perikles decided to convince Athens to enter the military conquests.

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As mentioned earlier, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, focuses on the war between two city-states—Sparta and Athens. The Athens and the Athenians in the History of the Peloponnesian War resemble the Persians in Aeschylus’ Persians in countless ways. Before analyzing the similarities between the two, I’d first like to introduce Aeschylus’ Persians. The Persians is a tragedy written by the Greek playwright Aeschylus. It was first produced in 472 BCE and has been considered the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre. The piece revolves around the “Persian response to the news of their military defeat under Xerxes at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE”. I will be focusing on the similarities between Xerxes and Perikles. Perikles was an Athenian statesman who helped the Athenian empire and democracy flourish due to his great leadership. Perikles and Xerxes are names that no one in history will ever forget. Xerxes will most definitely be remembered throughout history for his high ambitions and goals while Perikles will always be remembered for his realistic ideas for Athens and his ideas toward democracy. Though Perikles and Xerxes’ leadership skills differed in one way or another, both leaders were definitely influential during their time shown through their diplomacy, conquest, and their handling of internal affairs. Both Perikles and Xerxes were vital and powerful leaders during their time. An aspect of leadership includes traits of diplomacy and negotiating. While both leaders had different methods of diplomacy and negotiation, they were still very similar in how well they executed them. Xerxes, an emperor who had a gigantic army was able to get what he wanted by using his military. Xerxes would send messages to his army and instead of being calm and negotiable, he usually was condescending and brutal. He threatened his enemies instead of negotiating. An example of Xerxes’ threatening personality is portrayed during the battle of Thermopylae when Xerxes sends a message to the Leonidas (Spartan King) saying “My armies will shoot so many arrows the sun will be blocked out”. This is one example that illustrates the levels of diplomacy Xerxes went by—he was obviously intimidating when he talked to his enemies which is why he got what he wanted at the end of the day. Perikles was also known to be a master diplomat, in a very calm and non-threatening way. For instance, he made sure to listen to others and made sure not go against the system. He was known to keep the peace between Greece and was exactly the opposite of Xerxes. Although both differed in terms of personality, they were both great leaders—achieving everything they wanted.

In this century, gender equality is definitely considered extremely vital. However, back in Ancient Greek times, it was impossible for a woman to rule/participate in anything political. One exception includes Klytemnestra who can be seen as a tyrannicide in Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Furies. In Greek mythology, Klytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Klytemnestra is set on killing her husband “partly to avenge the death of her daughter Iphigenia”. When Klytemnestra murders her husband, becomes the ruler of Argos. Klytemnestra becomes known as a woman with strong willpower and an extreme thirst for power. She clearly doesn’t care about her husband as she goes on to kill him. She wants power and she wants it at its fullest; readers can conclude that Klytemnestra is a woman who doesn’t give up and a woman who isn’t scared to go against the rules in the book. In the Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides Clytemnestra speaks to Agamemnon saying “ I never loved you! Tantalus you slew, my first dear husband; and my little soon, you tore him from my breast.” Women during the Ancient Greek time period would never go against the men of their household, but Klytemnestra proved otherwise.

All in all, readers learn answers to a series of questions such as “How do Perikles and Alcibiades each make a case for Athens to enter into military conquests”, “How do Athens and the Athenians in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War resemble the Persians in Aeschylus’ Persians?”, and “How is Klytemnestra portrayed as a tyrant in Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Furies, in light of her gender and of ideas about tyrants and autocracy?”. All these questions revolve around topics such as war, gender, and democracy.

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How Does the Concept of Hubris from Greek Tragedy Apply to the Peloponnesian War: Essay. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-does-the-concept-of-hubris-from-greek-tragedy-apply-to-the-peloponnesian-war-essay/
“How Does the Concept of Hubris from Greek Tragedy Apply to the Peloponnesian War: Essay.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/how-does-the-concept-of-hubris-from-greek-tragedy-apply-to-the-peloponnesian-war-essay/
How Does the Concept of Hubris from Greek Tragedy Apply to the Peloponnesian War: Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-does-the-concept-of-hubris-from-greek-tragedy-apply-to-the-peloponnesian-war-essay/> [Accessed 22 Jun. 2024].
How Does the Concept of Hubris from Greek Tragedy Apply to the Peloponnesian War: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Jun 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-does-the-concept-of-hubris-from-greek-tragedy-apply-to-the-peloponnesian-war-essay/
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